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Backlit PGA National sign at night on the entrance to PGA National, Florida

5 Sunny Florida Golf Getaways

February 27, 2015

If you’re looking for a temporary reprieve from the world of snowplows and hanging icicles or you just love playing great courses under blue and sunny skies, it’s time you headed to Florida.
The Sunshine State has a plethora of world class resorts where you can play in short sleeve golf shirts and Bermuda shorts and sink birdies all day long.

Here are five golf havens guaranteed to warm you and your game up:

PGA Village — This is the ultimate place to tune up after months of battling Old Man Winter as your clubs collected dust in the garage. The 35-acre practice complex at PGA Village is one of the finest in the world. It has more than 100 full swing stations, 9 bunkers that simulate play from around the world, three private teaching pods, pitching and chipping areas, thousands of square feet of putting greens, a three hole teaching course, swing analysis, club fitting and game improvement areas and a golf specific fitness center. When you’re ready to play, the course menu is impressive with two Tom Fazio designed layouts, the Wannamaker and The Ryder, and the Dye Course, designed by Pete Dye. Enhancing the overall experience is the on site PGA Museum of Golf, which is brimming with golf history exhibits, vintage photographs, posters, golf clubs and other memorabilia. You can also see golf’s four major championship trophies on display. PGA Village is located in Port St. Lucie on the state’s east coast.

PGA National Resort & Spa — This 2,340-acre resort has not, one, not two, not three, not four, but five championship golf courses. The headliner layout is the Champion Course, site of the PGA Tour’s Honda Classic. A long, tough course designed by Jack Nicklaus, the Champion requires everything you’ve got in your game. Many of the greens are wildly undulating and are surrounded by all sorts of trouble, from deep bunkers to mounds and dark lagoons. The Champion’s fifteenth through seventeenth holes, which are called the “Bear Trap” comprise one of Florida’s toughest stretches of finishing holes. When you get through with the “Bear Trap” or it gets through with you, no. 18 is a double dogleg par-5 with water and bunkers on both sides of a snakelike fairway–a final, unforgettable farewell from the Golden Bear. The other courses at PGA National have designer tags like Arnold Palmer, Tom and George Fazio and Karl Litten.

Streamsong Resort — Set near Lakeland between Tampa and Orlando, Streamsong breaks the stereotype of flat, palm-dotted courses in Florida. The amazing terrain has sweeping sand dunes, hills, dramatic landforms, ridges and vistas. Opened in 2012, the two 18-hole championship golf courses were designed in a collaborative effort by the highly respected architecture firms of Coore & Crenshaw (Bill Coore and Masters Champion Ben Crenshaw) and Renaissance Golf Design (Tom Doak). If you love links style golf, you’ll love these magnificently designed courses which offer a little bit of everything–from bump and run shots to to amazing drives off of elevated tees. Recently opened is a stunning, innovatively designed 216-room lodge with four restaurants, a full-service spa and a rooftop lounge.

Marriott’s Marco Island Resort — After golf, you can luxuriate at the spa, float endlessly in a swimming pool overlooking the Gulf of Mexico or sip a cool libation while watching a stunning sunset. Set on 3 1/2 miles of white sands and turquoise water, the resort is a superb way to defrost after a long winter. It encompasses two championship golf courses, eight dining and lounge options, two swimming pools, a 24,000 square foot spa, tennis courts and an expansive beach with watersports galore. When it’s tee time, the options include Hammock Bay Golf & Country Club, a design by PGA Tour player Peter Jacobsen and Jim Hardy that’s very player friendly with wide landing areas on most holes and eight different tee placements and The Rookery, a wonderland of carpet-like fairways, palm and pine forests, lagoons and cypress wetlands designed by Robert J. Cupp Jr.

Turnberry Isle Miami Resort — Think South Florida with a French Rivera flair. Set on 300 impeccably landscaped acres enveloped by lush tropical foliage, this multi-amenity resort is dominated by stucco facades, terra cotta roofs, pillars and arched promenades. The secluded environment creates an air of exclusivity and isolation, yet, you’re across the street from the massive, luxurious Aventura Mall and only a 20-minute drive from South Beach. The two 18-hole championship courses, directly behind the resort, the Miller and the Soffer–were originally designed by Robert Trent Jones Sr. in 1970 and later redesigned by PGA Tour gret Raymond Floyd, who did a masterful job of modernizing the layouts. There’s lots of eye candy on the courses, which have coquina shell waste areas, waterfalls and other aesthetic touches. Clever doglegs, contoured fairways and strategically placed water features present challenges.