One of the most popular golf destinations in the U.S is Florida. For golfers that live in the northern parts of America and even into Canada, having a place in the winter months to fly (or drive) down to that has great golf courses for an affordable price is a real advantage. There is a wide range of types of courses that you can play that suit everyone’s game and budget.
Now for some, just going to any Florida golf course won’t do…You want to hit some of the top golf courses in Florida but unless you know a member at one you are left with just the public courses.
Not to worry because Florida is home to some of the best public golf courses in the country and they are in many cases a pretty good value for the rates you pay if you compare them to some of the top courses back home.
We have played a few of these courses below and can vouch for them personally and the ones we haven’t played we have talked to many of our golf buddies that have to get their take on them and we’ve come up with the Top 10 Public Golf Courses in Florida.
1. TPC Sawgrass – Stadium Course
- Location: Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida
- Designed By: Pete Dye
- Built: 1982
- Par 72, 7245 yards
- 18 Holes – Price Varies (Aprox. $600 and up)
TPC Sawgrass boasts two great golf courses but it’s the THE PLAYERS Stadium Course that gets all the accolades and is the one that you want to play if you follow the PGA Tour and want to try your hand at the 17th island hole. Teeing up you’ll be faced with a selection of short, medium and longer holes both right and left doglegs. It’s not an extremely tough course so novice golfers can still have fun and yet be challenged playing a top ranked golf course. If you want the prestige of playing a well-known course, head to TPC Sawgrass and enjoy the memories!
2. Streamsong Resort
- Location: Bowling Green, Florida
- Designed By: Gil Hanse, Tom Doak, Bill Coore and Ben Crenshaw
- Built: 2012
- Streamsong Red Course: Par – 72, 7148 yards
- Streamsong Black Course: Par – 73, 7331 yards
- Streamsong Blue Course: Par – 72, 7176 yards
- Fees For Resort Guests: $89 to $245
- Fees For Non-Guests: $125 to $285
Offering up 3 really great golf courses, the Red Course is easily the best one although you can’t go wrong with the Black or Blue. I debated even making it as the number one public golf course in Florida but knocked it down a peg as a links style course which some golfers (myself included) don’t enjoy unless it’s being played in the UK. If you stay as a guest at the resort you will get a slight discount in green fees but you can still book a tee time if you are staying somewhere else.
3. World Woods Golf Club
- Location: Brooksville, Florida
- Designed By: Tom Fazio
- Built: 1993
- Rolling Oaks Course: Par 72, 7333 yards
- Pine Barrens Course: Par 71, 7237 yards
- Green Fees: $40 to $120
World Wood Golf Club is one of Florida’s finest offering up two spectacular courses – Rolling Oaks and Pine Barrens. Although we give the nod to Rolling Oaks if you are going to just play one, Pine Barrens is a phenomenal course as well. Not to be outdone, World Woods GC also has great 9 hole short course and a 23 acre practice facility if you are looking to fine tune your game in between rounds. If you want to come to Florida just to work on your golf game and play a couple of really great courses then World Woods may have to be on your list.
4. PGA National Golf Club
- Location: Palm Beach Gardens, Florida
- Designed By: Karl Litten
- Built: 1984
- PGA National Champion Course: Par 72, 7045 yards
- Green Fees: Prices Vary depending on package, aprox. $140 to $200
If you are looking for a Florida Golf vacation and want to stay in one area then the PGA National Resort is worth looking into. Depending how long you stay you can play at 5 different courses designed by masters such as: Jack Nicklaus, Arnold Palmer and Tom Fazio with the highlight being the PGA National Champion course featuring the legendary 15th, 16th, and 17th holes or more commonly referred to as “The Bear Trap”. Home to the Honda Classic and having hosted a Ryder Cup and a PGA Championship you can have all your golf dreams fulfilled in one location.
5. Trump National Doral Golf Club
- Location: Miami, Florida
- Designed By: Dick Wilson
- Built: 1967
- Blue Monster Course: Par 72, 7608 yards
- Green Fees: $160 and up
Although there are 4 golf courses on the resort grounds, you will want to play the Blue Monster. Stretching to 7600 yards its signature hole 18th hole often makes everyone’s list of Top 100 Golf Holes in the World. Not a cheap course to play at but public nonetheless and until recent years it was home to PGA Tour events including the World Golf Championship.
6. Innisbook Golf Resort – Copperhead Course
- Location: Innisbrook, Florida
- Designed By: Larry Packard
- Built: 1974
- Par 71, 7340 yards
- Green Fees: Prices vary depending on resort package deal
The resort features four championship golf courses: North, South, Island and of course the most famous of the four Copperhead which hosts the Valspar Championship each year. Dropped in the middle of 900 acres of woodland, Copperhead layouts are cut through the natural forest and surrounding lakes offering up nature views on every hole. During your round you are likely to see any combo of bald eagles, foxes, herons and if you’re lucky (or unlucky) the odd alligator. All four courses are a treat to play but at least try out the Copperhead course when you go.
7. Arnold Palmer’s Bay Hill Club
- Location: Orlando, Florida
- Designed By: Dick Wilson
- Built: 1961
- Par 72, 7205 yards
- Fees: $125 to $169 for hotel suite, must be a hotel guest to play
The proper name is the Arnold Palmer Bay Hill Club and Lodge and yes it was owned by Arnold Palmer himself who bought it in 1975. The course hosts the Arnold Palmer Invitational each year (also known as Arnie’s Tourney) and although it was originally designed by Dick Wilson, Arnold Palmer himself redesigned it in 2009. You will need to be a guest of the resort to play but this is one of the nicest looking courses and if you want to play on a top PGA Tour course this should be on your list.
8. Camp Creek Golf Club
- Location: Panama City Beach, Florida
- Designed By: Tom Fazio
- Built: 2001
- Par 72, 7159 yards
- Green Fees: $145 and up
Camp Creek always seems to appear on lists of top Florida golf courses and from what we’ve heard it deserves to be. It is a pretty tough course for a public course with water in play on 11 holes and bunkers throughout with heavy rough facing you on missed tee shots. A stay at the club’s hotel is needed to play.
9. Hammock Beach Golf Resort
- Location: Palm Coast, Florida
- Built: 1989
The Ocean Course
- Designed By: Jack Nicklaus
- Par72, 7201 yards
- Golf Fees: Rates start at $160
The Conservatory Course
- Designed By: Tom Watson
- Par 72, 7776 yards
- Golf Fees: Rates start at $137
The resort offers up two great golf courses but do yourself a favor and make sure you play The Ocean Course. Designed by Jack Nicklaus, you’ll want to make sure your phone can take quality pics while you play on a course where 6 holes are directly along the Atlantic Ocean. Not a super tough course until you get to the last four holes known as the “Bear Claw” which offers up a bit of a challenge. Having played both the Conservatory Course (Designed by Tom Watson) and the Ocean course, I would definitely suggest playing the Ocean one but you will also enjoy the Conservatory Course as well.
10. The Gasparilla Golf Club
- Location: Boca Grande, Florida
- Designed By: Pete Dye
- Built: 1926
- Par 72, 6,837 yards
- Green Fees: $125 for resort guests
An island golf course on its own private island! This Pete Dye designed championship course is the oldest course on our list of top public golf courses in Florida although you do need to be a guest of the The Gasparilla Inn to play. It is beautiful to play with gulf breezes keeping you cool in summer months. The golf course is under 7000 yards which is pretty standard for a Pete Dye design and allows for even novice players to enjoy the course from any tee box.