5 Best Public Golf Courses In Florida

Golf enthusiasts, get ready to explore the best public golf courses Florida has to offer!

These top five courses—TPC Sawgrass, Streamsong Resort's Black Course, Hammock Beach Resort's Ocean Course, Windswept Dunes Golf Club, and Bay Hill Club & Lodge—are renowned for their unique layouts, stunning scenery, and top-notch facilities.

Keep reading for a more detailed explanation of each course.

TPC Sawgrass (Stadium Course)

TPC Sawgrass, located in Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida, is one of the most iconic golf courses in the world.

Designed by Pete Dye, this course is famous for its unique challenges and stunning design, making it a must-play for golf enthusiasts of all skill levels.

Overview of TPC Sawgrass

TPC Sawgrass is situated in the beautiful coastal town of Ponte Vedra Beach, offering a picturesque setting for golfers.

The course was masterfully designed by renowned architect Pete Dye, who is known for creating visually striking and strategically challenging courses.

TPC Sawgrass is home to the PGA Tour’s annual Players Championship, which attracts the world's top golfers each year.

Iconic Features

One of the most notable features of TPC Sawgrass is its famous 17th hole, known as the “Island Green.”

This par-3 hole is surrounded by water, with only a narrow bridge connecting the tee box to the green.

It's a nerve-wracking shot for any golfer, regardless of skill level.

Beyond the 17th, the course boasts a variety of hole lengths and layouts, ensuring that each round offers a unique and engaging experience.

The mix of long, challenging par-5s, tricky par-4s, and delicate par-3s keeps players on their toes from start to finish.

Course Difficulty and Accessibility

TPC Sawgrass is designed to be both challenging and accessible, catering to a wide range of golfers.

While it presents numerous strategic challenges, it is not overwhelmingly difficult for less experienced players.

The course's layout requires thoughtful shot selection and precise execution, particularly around the greens.

For those looking to tackle the tougher holes, it’s essential to have a solid game plan.

For example, on the famous 17th hole, focusing on a smooth, controlled swing rather than power can help avoid the water hazard.

Facilities and Amenities

The facilities at TPC Sawgrass are second to none.

The clubhouse is well-equipped, offering luxurious locker rooms, a pro shop stocked with the latest golf gear, and dining options that cater to all tastes.

The course also boasts excellent practice areas, including a state-of-the-art driving range, putting greens, and short game practice areas.

These facilities provide golfers with ample opportunities to fine-tune their skills before hitting the course.

Visitor Tips

For those planning a visit, the best times to play TPC Sawgrass are during the shoulder seasons of spring and fall, when the weather is pleasant, and the course conditions are optimal.

Booking in advance is highly recommended, as the course is incredibly popular and tee times can fill up quickly.

Pricing varies depending on the season, with peak rates during the Players Championship week and other major events.

To ensure a smooth experience, consider staying at nearby accommodations that offer packages including tee times at TPC Sawgrass.

This not only guarantees a spot on the course but often includes additional perks such as dining credits or access to other local golf courses.

Streamsong Resort (Black Course)

Streamsong Resort in Polk County, Florida, offers a golfing experience like no other.

Among its three courses, the Black Course, designed by Gil Hanse, stands out for its unique layout and challenging features, making it a favorite destination for golf enthusiasts.

Overview of Streamsong Resort

Located in the serene and secluded Polk County, Streamsong Resort is a premier golf destination known for its luxurious accommodations and world-class golfing facilities.

The Black Course, designed by Gil Hanse, is one of the resort’s three distinct courses, each offering a unique and memorable golfing experience.

Unique Aspects of the Black Course

The Black Course at Streamsong is renowned for its wide fairways and undulating greens, which provide a challenging yet fair test for golfers of all skill levels.

The course's dramatic elevation changes are a rarity in Florida, offering stunning views and a variety of shot-making opportunities.

Each hole is thoughtfully designed to blend seamlessly with the natural landscape, creating a golfing environment that is both beautiful and challenging.

The Resort Experience

Streamsong Resort offers more than just golf; it provides a comprehensive luxury experience.

The accommodations are top-notch, featuring spacious rooms with modern amenities and breathtaking views.

The resort also boasts a variety of dining options, from casual eateries to fine dining restaurants, ensuring that guests have a wide range of culinary choices.

Additionally, Streamsong offers a spa, fishing, and other outdoor activities, making it a perfect getaway for both golfers and non-golfers alike.

Playing the Black Course

Navigating the Black Course requires strategic thinking and careful shot selection.

Golfers should be prepared for the wide fairways, which can be forgiving but also demand accuracy to set up the best approach shots to the greens.

The undulating greens require precise putting skills, as their slopes can be challenging.

It's essential to pay attention to the elevation changes throughout the course, which can significantly impact club selection and shot execution.

For first-time players, taking a course map or playing with a local caddie can provide valuable insights into the best strategies for each hole.

Visitor Tips

The best times to visit Streamsong Resort are during the cooler months of fall and spring, when the weather is most pleasant for golfing.

Booking well in advance is recommended, especially during peak seasons, to secure preferred tee times and accommodations.

Pricing can vary depending on the season and the specific package chosen.

Visitors should check the resort's website for the latest rates and available packages, which often include golfing, dining, and spa services.

For those planning an extended stay, exploring the other two courses (Red and Blue) can add variety and enhance the overall golfing experience.

Hammock Beach Resort (Ocean Course)

Hammock Beach Resort, located in Palm Coast, Florida, offers a premier golfing experience with its Ocean Course.

Designed by the legendary Jack Nicklaus, this course provides golfers with breathtaking views and a challenging yet rewarding layout.

Overview of Hammock Beach Resort

Hammock Beach Resort is nestled in Palm Coast, providing a luxurious and serene escape for golfers and vacationers alike.

The Ocean Course, designed by Jack Nicklaus, is the resort's crown jewel, known for its meticulously crafted layout and stunning oceanfront scenery.

This course combines the natural beauty of the Atlantic coastline with the strategic challenge that Nicklaus courses are famous for.

Course Highlights

The Ocean Course is renowned for its stunning Atlantic Ocean views, with six of its holes running directly along the water.

This unique aspect provides not only a visual treat but also introduces the coastal winds as a challenging element in play.

The course's layout features a mix of long par-4s, strategic par-5s, and picturesque par-3s, each designed to test a golfer's skill and strategy.

The contrast of lush green fairways against the blue ocean backdrop makes every round a memorable experience.

Resort Amenities

Hammock Beach Resort offers a range of amenities that cater to both golfers and their families.

The resort features a luxurious spa where guests can relax and rejuvenate after a day on the course.

Recreational facilities include swimming pools, tennis courts, and a fitness center.

Dining options are plentiful, with several on-site restaurants offering a variety of cuisines, from casual fare to fine dining.

Accommodations range from spacious hotel rooms to multi-bedroom suites, all designed to provide comfort and luxury.

Playing the Ocean Course

Playing the Ocean Course requires thoughtful planning and precise execution.

The coastal winds can significantly influence shot selection, especially on the holes closest to the water.

Golfers should pay close attention to wind direction and speed, as well as the tide's effect on playing conditions.

Notable holes include the signature 18th, a challenging par-4 that runs parallel to the ocean and requires an accurate approach to a well-guarded green.

Players should also be prepared for the strategic bunkering and undulating greens that are hallmarks of a Nicklaus design.

Visitor Tips

The best times to visit Hammock Beach Resort are during the spring and fall when the weather is mild, and the course conditions are optimal.

Booking in advance is recommended, especially during peak seasons, to secure preferred tee times and accommodations.

Pricing for rounds can vary based on the season, so it's advisable to check the resort's website for the latest rates and packages.

Many packages include accommodations, dining credits, and access to resort amenities, offering excellent value for visitors.

Windswept Dunes Golf Club

Windswept Dunes Golf Club, located in Freeport, Florida, is a hidden gem known for its expansive layout and unique design.

Created by Doug O’Rourke, this course offers a distinctive golfing experience with its wide fairways, large greens, and significant elevation changes.

Overview of Windswept Dunes

Situated in the serene town of Freeport, Windswept Dunes Golf Club stands out with its vast, open design.

The course was crafted by Doug O’Rourke, who envisioned a golfing landscape that challenges traditional Florida golf norms.

Windswept Dunes spans over 750 acres, making it one of the largest golf courses in the state, and its design harmonizes beautifully with the natural sand dunes and pine forests.

Course Characteristics

The course at Windswept Dunes is characterized by its expansive layout featuring wide fairways that provide plenty of room off the tee.

This openness is complemented by large greens, which are both a challenge and a delight, offering multiple pin positions and strategic putting surfaces.

The significant elevation changes throughout the course add another layer of difficulty, making club selection and shot accuracy crucial for a successful round.

These features make Windswept Dunes stand out from the more typical flat, water-laden courses found elsewhere in Florida.

Practice Facilities

Windswept Dunes offers excellent practice facilities to help golfers hone their skills.

The grass driving range provides a natural feel and ample space for working on long shots.

Additionally, the club boasts well-maintained putting greens and short game practice areas, allowing players to practice all aspects of their game before heading out onto the course.

These facilities are perfect for both beginners looking to improve and seasoned players seeking to fine-tune their techniques.

Playing at Windswept Dunes

Playing at Windswept Dunes presents unique challenges that differ from other Florida courses.

The wide fairways might seem forgiving, but the course's length and elevation changes demand strategic play and thoughtful shot planning.

First-time players should take note of the wind conditions, as they can significantly affect ball flight and distance.

It's also advisable to familiarize yourself with the large greens' contours and slopes to make the most of your approach shots and putting.

Visitor Tips

The best times to play Windswept Dunes are during the cooler months of spring and fall when the weather is most comfortable.

To ensure a smooth experience, it's recommended to book tee times in advance, especially during peak seasons.

Pricing for rounds can vary, so checking the club’s website or calling ahead for the latest rates and available packages is a good idea.

Windswept Dunes often offers special deals that include multiple rounds or group discounts, providing excellent value for visitors.

Bay Hill Club & Lodge (Challenger & Champion Courses)

Bay Hill Club & Lodge in Orlando, Florida, is synonymous with golf legend Arnold Palmer.

This prestigious golf club is renowned for its challenging courses and luxurious amenities, making it a top destination for golfers worldwide.

Overview of Bay Hill Club & Lodge

Located in the heart of Orlando, Bay Hill Club & Lodge holds a special place in the golfing world, thanks in large part to Arnold Palmer.

Palmer made Bay Hill his winter home and significantly influenced its development and design.

The club features two main courses, the Challenger and Champion courses, which are integral parts of the annual Arnold Palmer Invitational, a premier event on the PGA Tour.

Course Features

The courses at Bay Hill have undergone several redesigns to enhance their playability and challenge.

The bunkers, greens, and water hazards have been meticulously redesigned to provide a modern and demanding golfing experience.

These courses are known for their strategic layouts, requiring precise shot-making and thoughtful course management.

The annual Arnold Palmer Invitational draws top golfers from around the world, further cementing Bay Hill's reputation as a top-tier golfing destination.

Lodge Amenities

Staying at Bay Hill Club & Lodge offers guests exclusive access to a range of high-end facilities.

The accommodations are luxurious, providing comfort and style in a serene setting.

Guests can enjoy dining at the club’s restaurants, which offer a variety of culinary delights, from casual meals to gourmet dining experiences.

Additionally, the lodge features a fitness center, spa services, and swimming pools, ensuring a well-rounded and relaxing stay.

These amenities make Bay Hill an excellent choice not just for golfers, but also for their families.

Playing Bay Hill

Playing the courses at Bay Hill is both a challenge and a delight.

The course difficulty is notable, with well-placed bunkers, water hazards, and fast, undulating greens.

Notable holes include the par-5 6th, which requires a strategic approach to navigate the water hazards, and the par-4 18th, a challenging finishing hole that demands precision and nerve.

To get the most out of your round, it’s essential to have a solid game plan, focusing on accuracy over distance and paying close attention to the layout and pin positions.

Visitor Tips

The best times to visit Bay Hill Club & Lodge are during the cooler months of fall and spring, when the weather is ideal for golfing.

Given the popularity of the club, especially during the Arnold Palmer Invitational, it is advisable to book your stay and tee times well in advance.

Pricing for rounds can vary depending on the time of year and any special events, so checking the club’s website for the most up-to-date information is recommended.

Additionally, consider taking advantage of any package deals that include accommodations, dining, and golfing to make the most of your visit.


Florida’s top public golf courses offer diverse and unforgettable golfing experiences, from the iconic TPC Sawgrass to the luxurious Bay Hill Club & Lodge.

Each course presents unique challenges and stunning scenery, making them must-visit destinations for any golf enthusiast.

Plan your trip to enjoy these exceptional courses and elevate your golfing adventures in the Sunshine State.