Florida’s Fab Four
Florida has more than 1,300 golf courses and 50 golf-oriented resorts so its golf offerings are like some mammoth, multi-page menu that takes time to sort through. To be sure, that’s a lot of golf course selections for a vacation.
To help you narrow your choices, we’ve selected four top resorts that are “must-plays” for a variety of important reasons:
PGA National Resort & Spa
Home to the PGA Tour’s Honda Classic, this Palm Beach Gardens resort has five championship golf courses, a world-class spa and a stellar selection of restaurants. Its most noted course is the Jack Nicklaus designed Champion, which is home to “The Bear Trap”, a stretch of amazing holes on the back nine. The other four courses provide lots of challenge and fun as well. PGA National has a wide variety of guest rooms, suites and cottages so there’s lots of flexibility in designing a golf vacation. If that’s not enough of a draw, the iDeck, overlooking the pool complex and golf courses, boasts the “hottest Happy Hour” in Palm Beach Gardens.
PGA Village Golf Resort
If you’re looking to get your game in gear with some unparalleled golf practice facilities and three exceptional 18-hole golf courses with designer tags like Pete Dye and Tom Fazio, this golf-centric resort in Port St. Lucie has the amenities to accommodate you on many levels. Regardless of your skill level, you’ll have the opportunity to improve and enjoy superbly designed golf courses that are challenging and enjoyable at PGA Village, which is owned and operated by the PGA of America. The 35-acre practice facility is among the best in the world with 100 full swing stations, 9 bunkers that simulate play from around the world, three private teaching pods, pitching and chipping areas, mobile covered hitting bays to protect against the hot sun and rain, a three-hole teaching course, 7,000-square-foot USGA putting green, golf-specific fitness center, golf repair and fitting center and swing analysis. There are several different lodging options and all are conveniently situated near the golf courses and facilities.
It’s been called “the Bandon Dunes of the South” and “a slice of Ireland in Central Florida”. Set in Polk County, Florida (about an hour drive from Tampa), this unique resort conjures up images of Ballybunion in Ireland with its wild, exotic sand mounds, some as high as 75 feet. Streamsong has 36 holes of golf designed by the Bill Coore and Ben Crenshaw team (Red Course) and Tom Doak’s Renaissance Design Group (Blue Course). Debuting in October 2017 is the new Gil Hanse designed Black Course, which will feature abundant sand, rolling elevation changes, native grasses and stunning views of ridges. In addition to world-class golf, Streamsong has a 216-room Lodge, with three casual and fine dining restaurants, conference and event facilities, a spa and infinity pool. Streamsong’s Clubhouse includes 12 guest rooms, a restaurant and bar, an award- winning golf shop and meeting space with breathtaking views. Guests can also enjoy such activities as bass fishing, sporting clays, nature trails and tennis.
Trump National Doral Miami
A must visit on the Florida golf scene since its opening in 1962, this resort was spectacularly refurbished by the Trump Company in 2014. Its calling card today is “Welcome to Trump National Doral Golf Club, a new generation of style and service.” Elegant guest rooms, a fabulous spa, superb dining options, a tennis complex, four golf courses and the Jim McLean Golf School top the list of impressive amenities. The golf course headliner is “The Blue Monster”, a heralded layout that hosted PGA TOUR events for 55 years. Gil Hanse has redesigned the Monster and Golf Magazine rates its 18th hole as one of the Top 100 Holes in the World.