America is renowned as a hot-spot for golfers, and the most popular place for those packing their putters for a sporting holiday is Florida. Home to over 1,000 courses, the Sunshine State has the highest concentration of golf courses than any other place in America, making it a haven for those looking to play a few holes outside of the usual holiday season.
Image of a Florida golf course postcard - courtesy of Boston Public Library
However with so many options at your disposal, how do you narrow down where you should place your tee? This guide written by Maria Bain should not only help you plan your dream holiday but also make sure that you get the best game out of your visit as possible.
Top locations for playing golf in Florida
Tibuŕon Golf Club
Based in the picturesque area of Naples, the Tibuŕon Golf Club is home to two courses both designed by former world number one and golfing legend Greg Norman. Despite not being located by the ocean or featuring dunes, the golf courses are highly revered and are said to play as well as any other traditional links course.
Image courtesy of Tibuŕon Golf Club
The 18-hole Gold course was opened in 1998, and spans 7,288 yards and holds a par of 72. The more recent Black course was opened in 2001, which is made with a similar design to the Gold course but presents a slightly more challenging game to players. The black course also as a par of 72 but is slightly shorter than the Gold at 7,005 yards.
Both courses attract PGA professionals for the Franklin Templeton Shootout each December for a 3 day, 54-hole event that raises money for charity.
These challenging courses are not open to just pros – guests can play at the greens too for teeing fees that range from $75-$190, depending on the season. Golf clubs and shoes are also available for hire from the club.
TPC at Sawgrass
In the Ponte Vedra area of Florida resides arguably one of the most famous golf clubs in North America – the Tournament Players Club (TPC) at Sawgrass. This club is home to the PGA headquarters as well as the Stadium Course which is renowned by golfers across the world, and has even been regularly featured during the Tiger Woods PGA Tour series of video games.
Image of the TPC at Sawgrass clubhouse and course - courtesy of Phillip Larson
The 72 par Stadium Course (first opened in 1982) is home to one of the toughest shots in golf, the 17th hole known as the Island Green which consists of only a 78ft long green surrounded completely by water (save for a small path leading up to it). This is known as one of the trickiest shots in golf and it is estimated that over 100,000 balls are retrieved from the water each year thanks to missed shots by professionals and tourists alike.
The club is also home to the Dye’s Valley Course that opened in 1987 – this course mirrors the standard of excellence found on the more famous Stadium Course but offers a calmer experience for the golfer looking for a quieter game that moves at a steadier pace than what may be available at the busier course.
Holiday packages are available for the tourist looking to make the trip to Florida for an unparalleled golfing break, starting at $324 per night per person that includes games of golf, accommodation and access to limited equipment.
Editor's note: The Honda Classic will take place this week at the PGA National Resort and Spa’s Champion Golf Course, considered by many to be one of the most difficult and finest of Florida's testers on Tour. Many of the top names will be in attendance - golf betting previews currently have Rory McIlroy and Tiger Woods neck-and-neck as both top-ten and as winners.
Guest blog bio:
Maria Bain is a freelance travel blogger, she writes on a number of topics including luxury travel, golf travel and photography.
Voice your opinion on Twitter @Golf4Beginners - which Florida Golf Courses do you play?