9 fantastic public golf courses to play in Florida


When the winter cold hits the northern United States, many warmth-seeking golfers are ready to fly south. Watching winter snowbirds in the Sunshine State usually results in warm days filled with amazing beach and golf tours. Whether you’re heading to the beaches of Palm Beach, Miami, Orlando, Naples, or anywhere in between, there are some amazing golf courses out there for you to show off your swing and swagger. These Florida golf courses aren’t just accessible; they are legendary. We have included a few private courses that offer their clients stay and play packages, making these exclusive golf enclaves accessible to the general public.

Prices for a round of golf vary depending on the day of the week, the time of day and the season of the year.

We have featured amazing courses with a price range based on greens and cart fees. The cost of scoring does not include club rental.

  • $: $ 75 or less
  • $$: $ 75 to $ 150
  • $$$: $ 150 to $ 250
  • $$$$: $ 250 and more

Note: Some of the information in this article was obtained during a sponsored press trip, but all recommendations are mine. The courses below are listed in no particular order.

Sandi Barrett

1. TPC Sawgrass, Ponte Vedra beach

A golfer’s dream is to land a smooth ball on the island’s 17th green hole at TPC Sawgrass. There is no elevation change on this hole, just a tough little green surrounded entirely by water. One of the best golf courses on the east coast of Florida, TPC Sawgrass is home to the Players Stadium Course and the Dyes Valley Course.

When you’re done tackling one of these two incredible courses, enjoy a libation at Nineteen at TPC Sawgrass where you can review your game while taking in the great views. If you don’t have time for a game, enjoy lunch on the patio and dream of playing another day.

Cost: $$$ and more

Pro tip: You can take a free tour of the 17th hole with a club guide. It is a golfer’s fantasy to drive a tee to the island’s green on this hole and you can live vicariously through the experiences of your guide.

2nd hole, Riverwood Golf Club.
Michael burton

2.Riverwood Golf Club, Port Charlotte

If you find your getaway takes you to the southwest corner of Florida, the Riverwood Golf Club should be on your must-see list. Plenty of holes in Riverwood will test your ability to hit straight, as a good portion of the fairways are surrounded to the right or left by a ribbon of bullet-stealing water. The abundance of strategically placed traps add a required measure of accuracy to your flea shots.

The par 5, 551 yard hole 17 is a monster with an intimidating green cradled by dense tree growth. Scoring a par on that hole really is a feather in any golfer’s cap.

Cost: $$ and more

Pro tip: A lunch and bar service is available for guest golfers. The dinner service is for members only.

Golf green surrounded by large bunkers on a course in Florida.
Basic ESB / Shutterstock.com

3. Lakewood National Golf Club, Lakewood Ranch

Located in west-central Florida, the Lakewood National Golf Club is home to the Commander Course and the Piper Course. Both are magnificent courses that crisscross a luxurious golf community. The 36-hole course was designed by legendary Arnold Palmer and showcases Florida’s beautiful natural surroundings.

As you travel this challenging course, you can explore its hidden intricacies and your way to the flag. The 7,291-meter Piper Course gently persuades you to give it your all. Every swing, every chip, every putt gets you closer to that elusive perfect spin.

Cost: $$ and more

Pro tip: If you are in the market for life in a beautiful golf enclave, buying a home on Lakewood National in the Lakewood Ranch community can be a perfect retreat or retreat for snowbirds.

4. Streamsong Resort, Bowling Green

Located in the heart of Central Florida, the Streamsong Resort offers three courses, Streamsong Red, Streamsong Blue and Streamsong Black. Whichever course you choose to play, you’ll love working your game at this beautiful resort.

The Streamsong red course designed by golf icons Bill Coore and Ben Crenshaw consistently ranks among the top golf courses in Florida. The red course winds through the local natural habitat, creating stimulating strokes, challenging golfers to play a single ball game. The 16th par 3 hole requires a perfect shot over water to land on the small green; this may be the hole where you lose one or more golf balls. Gentle ripples, unobstructed views, copious sand traps and challenging roughs make this course a winner and a dream golf destination.

Cost: $$ and more

Pro tip: Streamsong offers a customizable golf package that is sure to please even the most accomplished golfer.

Trump National Doral Miami is a golf resort in Doral in South Florida in the United States.
D-VISIONS / Shutterstock.com

5. Trump National Doral Miami, Doral

The luxurious Trump National Doral Miami is home to four magnificent golf courses, including the Blue Monster Course. The 7,590-meter-long course is dotted with deep bunkers that hinder your approach shots and undulating greens that challenge your line to the cut.

The other three outstanding games are the Red Tiger Course, the Silver Fox Course and the Golden Palm Course. Known for its beautiful landscaping, Doral is one of those clubs that every golfer wants to face. By following in the footsteps of the PGA Champion of multiple PGA Tour winners, Woods, Nicklaus and Norman, you can be sure that a round at Doral will be something you will remember for the rest of your life.

Cost: $$$$

Pro tip: Forecaddie fees are mandatory to play.

6. World Woods Golf Club, Brooksville

Designed by Tom Fazio, the World Woods Golf Club is home to two magnificent courses, Pine Barrens and Rolling Oaks. The Pine Barrens course is perfect for the golfer who is not a fan of water. Only a few holes are hampered by a water obstacle on this course carved out of a dense pine forest. However, other golfing challenges await the unsuspecting World Woods golfer.

Natural beauty gives way to challenging bunkers, undulating greens and tree-lined fairways. You’ll love the layout and play on these two top ranked courses.

Cost: $ and more

Pro tip: The club also offers a Short Course designed by Fazio. An executive-style 9 hole par 3 and 4 course for a quick game under the beautiful Florida sun.

PGA National Resort, Palm Beach Gardens.
Sandi Barrett

7. PGA National Resort, Palm Beach Gardens

PGA National Resort courses include The Champion, The Palmer, The Fazio, The Estate, The Match and The Staple.

Home to the Honda Classic of the PGA Tour, the Champion Course was redesigned by Jack Nicklaus and is now home to The Bear Trap, the legendary 15th, 16th and 17th holes where water and wind combine to wreak havoc on the unsuspecting golfer . Precision shots are the name of the game when playing the Champion Course in general and The Bear Trap in particular.

This is one of those courses that seems like you can tackle it when you watch the game on TV. It’s so different when you go to the green in person.

Cost: $$$$

Pro tip: The PGA National luxury resort is open to guests in a variety of stay and play vacation packages, perfect for your next round of golf.

Turnberry Isle Country Club.
Sandi Barrett

8. Turnberry Isle Country Club, Aventura

The luxurious Turnberry Isle Country Club offers two courses, the Miller Course and the Stoffer Course. A world away from the hustle and bustle of South Beach, but accessible to visitors to Miami, the courses are a welcome oasis of green space. Widely open fairways mask tricky holes that require shooting precision and thoughtful approaches.

You can hone your game and enjoy the magnificent flora and fauna of Florida’s east coast in Turnberry. You will love the opening of the courses.

Cost: $$$$

Pro tip: Turnberry Isle Country Club is private, but you can play the course with a stay and play package at JW Marriott Miami Turnberry Resort and Spa.

9. Innisbrook Golf Resort, Palm Harbor

Innisbrook Golf Resort is home to the Valspar PGA Tour Championship. The exceptional Copperhead course is joined by three sister courses: the North course, the South course and the Island course. With typical Florida Gulf Coast terrain, you’ll love the stunning scenery and welcome the challenging playground.

Each course has its own unique style, but all four are suitable for golfers who like to play a game of precision. With four challenging courses, you can golf on a new course every day when you visit for a getaway.

Cost: $$$$

Pro tip: The Innisbrook Golf Resort is an ideal resort for your next golfing getaway. Grab your favorite golfing friends and head to the Tampa Bay area for incredible golf and fun in the sun.

Colorful works of art on display along popular Calle Ocho in historic Little Havana.
Little Havana (Photo credit: Fotoluminate LLC / Shutterstock.com)

The 19th hole

Florida is synonymous with golf. Whether you’re visiting for a quick golf-focused vacation or just want to take one or two rounds during your stay, you’ll love expertly designed courses across the Sunshine State. When you’re in the Palm Beach area, we’ve provided an area golf planning guide to get you started. If Miami is your vacation destination, be sure to check out Little Havana and our recommendations for authentic Cuban cuisine.

You don’t need to belong to an expensive club to play amazing golf in Florida. There are some fabulous designer courses open to the public just waiting for you to pick up your sticks and play a game.

Florida’s golf courses are legendary, but the state has other options for travelers: