I have played many of the best public golf courses in Florida, but I could spend the next decade trying to play a round on all of them. When it comes to the game of golf, Floridians are some of the luckiest people in the world! For most of you, all it takes is a 30 minute drive (or less) to be playing on a world class course. Better yet, most of the great golf courses in FL are open to the public! Yes sir (and mam), I am extremely jealous of you!
When coming up with this list of the greatest courses in Florida that are open to the public in 2015, we had a tough time. There are just so many to choose from, we haven’t been able to play all of them yet, and there’s just a lot of debate amongst the players. We did our best to review comments from others, consider the green fees, and spend a lot of time reviewing the layouts and designs of all of them. You could certainly argue that some should not be included, and that other FL courses should be. We wouldn’t even argue with you. In short, we did the best we could, but there’s a lot of room for discussion. Lastly, this list is in no particular order, and we will refine it throughout the year. On each course we will go over the location, address, phone number, tee times, rates, reviews and more.
TPC Sawgrass: Their telephone number is 904-273-3235. It is located at 110 Championship Way, Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida 32082. One of the highest rated courses in the world, TPC Sawgrass is the home of the Players Championship. It is actually the home of two courses: The Players Stadium and Dye’s Valley. The rate to play The Players Stadium is $325 to $450. The rate for Dye’s Valley is $145 to $220, as of 2015. You can book a golf and resort package well in advance. If you are only wanting to book a tee time, that can be done up to 14 days in advance. The Players Stadium is world renowned for the par three 17th hole with an island green (see pic to the left). Both were designed by the architect Pete Dye. Dye’s Valley was the home of the Senior Player’s Championship for several years, and it is also a PGA Tour level course. The reviews on both of these at Sawgrass is overwhelmingly positive. If you have not played here, it is a “must do” that you should take off of your bucket list while you can.
Streamsong: The phone number is 863-428-1000, Their address is 1000 Streamsong Drive, Streamsong, Florida 33834. Streamsong Resort is actually the home of two amazing courses: Streamsong Blue and Streamsong Red. Blue was designed by Tom Doak, and Red was created by Bill Coore and Ben Crenshaw. They have a very reasonable deal where you can stay at their lodge and play 18 holes for around $139 in the summer and $339 in the winter, based on double occupancy. Both are designed for walking, so be prepared to exercise (yikes!). They do have caddies available though, and you can rent a cart but you must also hire a caddie if you do so. What makes Red and Blue so amazing is the giant sand dunes that you will be playing in. The land was once a mine, and dunes were built to recover the land. The result is something that looks more like fiction than reality. It is truly breathtaking! The reviews have placed both of these well within the top 100 golf courses in the world.
Hammock Beach Resort: Their telephone number is 866-841-0287. The address is 200 Ocean Crest Drive, Palm Coast, FL 32137. It is the home of two amazing courses designed by Jack Nicklaus and Tom Watson: The Ocean Course and The Conservatory Course. The Conservatory, designed by Watson, is the longest in Florida. The Ocean, designed by Nicklaus, has an incredible view of the ocean. These are both amazing Tour courses that are open to the public, but the resort really pushes you to stay there to get a tee time. As their green fee rates fluctuate so much, and they push the resort combination so hard on you, it would be unfair/unrealistic to give a rate here. If any of you have managed to pay only for a green fee, please let us know the rate they charged you in the comment section below so that we can update this.
World Woods: The phone number is 352-796- 5500. The address is 17590 Ponce De Leon Boulevard, Brooksville, FL 34614. World Woods features two of the top 100 golf courses in the country: Rolling Oaks and Pine Barrens, both designed by Tom Fazio. The green fees rates vary from $45 to $119, depending on the day of the week and time of day. There is also a discount for twilight play, juniors, and PGA players. You can schedule your tee time up to 60 days in advance. They also host what is considered to be the greatest training facility in the world (I want to go just for this reason). Pine Barrens is made from a pine tree forest and uses the natural terrain to make it challenging. Rolling Oaks features ancient oak trees with moss hanging down from. Both are simply beautiful places to play.
Trump National Doral: The phone number is 305-592-2000. They are located just outside of Miami at 4400 Northwest 87th Avenue, Doral, FL 33178. The green fee rates are anywhere from $15 to $450 per person, depending on which of the 3 you play and the time of year. They also have caddies available for anywhere from $25 to $125 plus tip. The Trump National Doral Miami resort features 3 world class courses that are open to the public, if you can afford to play them: The Blue Monster, The Red Tiger and The Silver Fox. The Blue was originally designed by Disck Wilson, and it was updated in 2014 by Gil Hanse. The Red rests on only 120 acres and is reminiscent of a New England style course. The Silver Fox will be your biggest challenge as water is in play on 16 out of the 18 holes. In other words, be prepared to lose a lot of balls!
PGA National: Their telephone is 561-627-2000. The PGA National is located at 400 Ave of the Champions, Palm Beach Gardens, FL 33418. It is actually the home of five (yes, 5!) of the best golf courses in FL: The Bear Trap (where the Honda Classic is played), The Palmer, The Fazio, The Squire, and The Estates. David Leadbetter also heads the PGA National Golf Academy here. You can get a package that allows you to stay at the resort and play 18 holes on 4 of the courses (the Champion is extra) for just $159 to $319 per person, based upon double occupancy. The Champion is their signature. It was designed for major tournament play by Tom and George Fazio. The Champion features what is referred to as the “Bear Trap”. This is considered to be the toughest 3 hole stretch (15, 16 & 17) on the PGA Tour.
Innisbrook: The phone number is 727- 942-2000. The address is 36750 Us Highway 19 N, Palm Harbor, FL 34683. Innisbrook Resort owns 6 courses in Florida: Island, North, South, Fox Squirrel, Larry Packard, and their famous Copperhead Course. Copperhead is located in Tampa and is the home of the Valspar Championship Presented By BB&T. Golfweek recently voted it as the 6th best public course in Florida. It’s a par 71, and is 7,340 yards long. They have a very tempting deal called the “Sportsman’s Package”. You get a round of golf, one night’s stay, and your choice of: fishing, hockey game, football game, race car driving and more. The rates start at $229 per person/ per night. That sounds like a fun “guy’s getaway” to me!
Camp Creek: The number is 850-231-7600. Their address is 684 Fazio Drive, Panama City Beach, FL 32413. It is 7,151 yards long, and a par 72 designed by Tom Fazio. This course is well known for using the natural wetlands in the area to its advantage. They have won many awards including Golf Digest’s “Top 100 Public Courses”, and Golf Week’s “Places You Can Play In Florida”. They have a really nice package if you have any children (ages 15 and under) that you are introducing to the game. Kids can get free rental clubs. They also get to play for free after 3:00 when playing with a paying adult.
Turnberry Isle: You can reach the pro shop at 305-933-6929. The address is 19999 WEST COUNTRY CLUB DRIVE AVENTURA, FLORIDA 33180. As one of the premier places to golf in Miami, Turnberry Isle features two courses: Soffer and Miller. They were originally designed by Robert Trent Jones, Sr. They have since been reinvented by Raymond Floyd. They have a discount package called “Fore The Love Of Golf”. You get one 18 hole round, golf cart, unlimited use of the practice facilities, club storage and a breakfast buffet. The fee is $314 per person. If you are looking to play in the Miami, FL area, this and Trump National Doral are your two choices to choose from. Both are amazing, and expensive!
Sandestin: Their telephone number is 850-267-4800. The address is 9300 Emerald Coast Parkway, Destin, FL 32541. You have four choices at Sandestin: The Links Golf Club, Baytowne Golf Club, Raven Golf Club, and Burnt Pine Golf Club. The green fees vary from $59 to $119 and up, depending upon the time of year and the course that you choose from. Note that Burnt Pine Golf Club is semi-private. The only way to play there is to be a member, or to stay at the Sandestin resort. If you are not a member of Burnt Pine, you can only play it before 8:00 AM or after 1:00 PM. If you are staying at the resort you can book your tee time up to 6 months in advance. If you are not staying at the resort, you can book up to 14 days in advance.
There you have it. That’s our list of the 10 best courses in Florida that are open to the public that you can play in 2015. Did we miss any? Should any be taken of of the list? While you’re thinking, check out this video of the incredible hole 17 at TPC Sawgrass: