Whether you’re a regular golfer or a novice who fancies stepping onto the golfing green for the first time, here are some of the Sunshine State’s best courses to perfect your putt.
Doral Golf Courses, Miami
After originally opening in 1962, the courses at the Doral Golf Resort & Spa, Miami, are now the proud property of Donald Trump. And after a re-opening at the end of 2013, the club’s five courses have undergone a distinct revamp. It’s worth checking out the world-famous TPC Blue Monster – a spectacular 7,608-yard course filled with palm trees.
Not only is this 18-hole course the third oldest green in the professional world, hosting the likes of Phil Mickelson and Tiger Woods, it’s also recently been restored to its original grandeur. So why is it called the Blue Monster? Its catchy name is fittingly down to its eight water hazards which will truly put your golfing skills to the test. Up for the challenge?
Key West Golf Club, Key West
Tee up at this wildlife-filled 200 acre course and you’ll see it’s as tropical as it is beautiful. Located at the entrance of Key West, Florida, this is the most southerly located course in the USA. So you can expect a true Caribbean-vibe, plus fast greens, and the occasional swamp to challenge your game.
Designed by golf pro Rees Jones, the course promises picture-postcard views over the Keys and the ‘Mangrove Hole’ – a tropical mangrove that presents a 143 yard, par 3 hole to really challenge your game. And if you’re a wildlife lover, this course is for you. Herons, warblers, egrets and an array of other birdlife all call this area their home. Bird watcher and golf pro? Oh yes you are.
ChampionsGate Golf Club, Orlando
Two 18-hole links-style championship courses home to undulating greens, grass topped dunes and two out-and-back loops of nine holes gives ChampionsGate a distinct UK-style. But you could also feel like you’re in the Land Down Under thanks to Aussie designer Greg Norman’s distinct links design.
Top golf pros Jack Nicklaus and Arnold Palmer are just some of those who have played the Father Son Challenge here. And the thick grass, water hazards and pot bunkers have earned it a reputation as being one of the most challenging courses in Florida. So if you’re a skilled golfer, this is set to impress. Oh, and did we mention it’s a mere 15 minute journey away from the Walt Disney World Resort? So when you’ve putted your way through the 7,363 yard long course, you can head straight for those hair-raising rollercoasters. Woop.
Grand Cypress Golf Club East Course, Orlando
You need to be a precise golfer to navigate these Jack Nicklaus-designed greens because they’re filled with all sorts of wooded areas, challenging bunkers, slopes and plateaus across 45 holes.
Try the 27-hole North/South/East course to truly test your accuracy and the Scottish links-inspired ‘New Course’ – a steep 18-hole green that plays homage to the famous St Andrews course in Scotland. Think Bonny Scotland, but with a lot more sunshine.
Hammock Beach Resort, Palm Coast
With vistas that stretch miles out to the Atlantic Ocean and a choice of yardage to suit a variety of players, this golf course ticks all the boxes for both expert and novice golfers. Designed by Jack Nicklaus and Tom Watson, Hammock Beach Resort has two courses – the Ocean Course and the Conservatory Course.
As the name suggests, the Ocean Course has breathtaking sea views which have earned its reputation as one of Florida’s best. And it’s here you’ll find ‘The Bear Claw’ – four challenging final holes that put the most experienced golfer to the test.
As for the Conservatory Course, these 140 acres of links-style greens are filled with stunning waterfalls and brooks and have earned dozens of accolades. And as the host for PGA tours, and home to breathtaking views, this golf course ticks both boxes for beauty and reputation.