Thanks to its climate and landscape, Florida boasts over 1,250 golf courses, which makes it the state with the most courses in the USA. Floridian golf courses are visited by both Americans as well as international players looking for sunshine all year round. This list includes our top 5.
1. Seminole Golf Club, Juno Beach
Located in Juno Beach right on the Atlantic ocean, Seminole Golf Club was designed by the architect Donald Ross, founding member and first president of the American Society of Golf Course Architects. The golf club was built in 7 months and opened on January 1st, 1930. The golf course lies on a trapezoid area of 140 acres, where Ross strategically positioned the 18 holes in a way that players must deal with the wind from different directions. However, the greens and bunkers are not the originals of Ross as they were redesigned later in the 40s. The topography of the course is reminiscent of Scotland’s championship course Royal Dornoch, where Ross first learned how to play golf. The clubhouse is nestled in a pink stucco structure built in 1929 that still features original lockers made with California knotty pine. As one of the most exclusive golf courses, Seminole golf club has been chosen as the venue for the 48th Walker Cup held between 8 and 9 May 2021.
2. Naples National Golf Club, Naples
Naples is a high-end town located in southwest Florida, nestled on the Gulf of Mexico. Its golf club was created in 1992 by Dr. Michael Hurdzan and Dana Fry, who both designed golf courses in several countries. Every hole is different and the shot options are challenging for players at different levels. One of its peculiarities is the presence of coral rock exposed in various sites of the court. The coral rock was excavated from the site around one meter down when the golf course was created. Instead of burying the rock or treating it as a fill as most Floridian golf courses do, in Naples National Golf Club the coral rock has been used to line the pounds, frame the holes, support the tee decks, and in many other ways. Probably, Naples National Golf Club was the first club in South Florida to use coral rock in such a way, adding different colors to the green course. Suites and fine dining options as well as golf classes with professionals are available for club members and guests.
3. Lake Nona G. & C.C., Orlando
Lake Nona Golf & Country Club is situated at the heart of the Lake Nona Community in Southeast Orlando. The 18-hole championship golf course designed by golf architect Tom Fazio boasts breathtaking lake vistas and a secluded wooden canopy. It hosts several international golf tournaments, from amateurial to professional events. The professional staff offers specialized private lessons combined with video and computer programming to help guests (both adults and kids) improve their game strategy. The club also features a clubhouse with a room lodge, a Bath and Racquet Club with fitness and tennis facilities, a children’s playground, a lakeside pool, as well as a variety of traditional and contemporary dining options from formal to casual service.
4. TPC Sawgrass, Ponte Vedra Beach
The TPC Sawgrass Stadium course was designed in 1982 by architect Pete Dye from the initial idea by former PGA TOUR Commissioner Deane R. Beman. The course was specifically created to host the annual PGA event, THE PLAYERS Championship. Held annually in March, THE PLAYERS championship is one of the most anticipated tournaments on the PGA TOUR calendar. Being the first true “Stadium Course,” TPC sawgrass aimed at improving the on-site fan experience. The course boasts a selection of short, medium and long holes, including one of the most famous, photographed and challenging holes in the world named “Island Green” (the 17th hole).
5. The Bear’s Club, Jupiter
The Bear’s Club was created in 1999 by Jack Nicklaus, an American retired golf professional nicknamed “The Golden Bear.” The golf course is situated in Jupiter, a city in Palm Beach County less than 2 km away from the Atlantic ocean. The beautiful golf community is nestled among 369 sylvan sandy acres rich of vegetation, oaks, pines, cypress trees and wetlands areas. Its 102 bunkers are inspired by the ones of the Royal Melbourne Golf Club in Australia, which Nicklaus visited in 1998. The clubhouse in Tuscan style features an impressive stone façade which is in perfect harmony with the Mediterranean design of the residential community refined by Jack’s wife Barbara Nicklaus. The interiors are decorated with pieces of ceramic and porcelain, artworks, and fabrics, which makes it an impressively elegant property.