Florida Golf

Florida is home to more than a thousand golf courses scattered throughout the state. Each year people come from all over the globe to enjoy these courses, some are the most beautiful in the world. There are tough courses and easy ones, courses by the surf and courses in rolling green hills. Wherever you live or visit in Florida, there is bound to be an excellent golf course within a short driving distance.

For example, the Abacoa Golf Club in Jupiter, Florida is an 18-hole championship course designed by Joe Lee. You will be golfing around lush vegetation and beautiful lakes with fairways that tucked into the rolling, gentle hills. Golfers of all playing levels love this course with its scenic views and unique elevation changes. The 20,000 square foot clubhouse includes a waterfall and a covered patio surrounding it, the perfect place for lunch or a refreshing drink after 18 holes.

On the opposite coast the Legacy Golf Club in Bradenton is one of the best if you live or visit near Sarasota. Golf Digest has given this Arnold Palmer Signature Design course a rating of 4.5 stars. The 18 holes have natural wetlands, elevated multiple tees and are surrounded by native oak trees. You can practice driving or putting if you wish before or after your game. It’s a challenging but not impossible course, perfect for the golfer who likes to work for his or her par.

If you like to play often, you might want to take advantage of the many public golf courses owned by cities and counties. These courses are well kept, challenging and much less costly to play than the country club courses.

Of course, Florida is host to many charity golf tournaments like the 2010 Melting Pot Golf Classic. This event benefits St. Jude’s center for research and treatment of pediatric cancer. There are many levels of participation—you can be a spectator and your admission fee will help the center. You can play in the tournament, donate a product or services, provide a raffle prize or items for the auction or just make a monetary contribution. It is held at the beautiful Saddlebrook resort in Wesley Chapel each year and is just one of many charity tournaments that call Florida home.

You may want to get involved in the Florida State Golf Association, which employs volunteers in over 800 branches across the state. This organization conducts 25 state championships a year and more than 40 days of USGA qualifying events as well as about 300 tournament days a year. Through this association you can achieve amateur status. They rate and measure golf courses, give out scholarships and have junior programs. They conducted the Florida Junior Tour in 2004 and each year thereafter, a tournament meant to showcase brilliant young golfers and teach them sportsmanship and values. If you’re looking for an active organization to join, you might want to consider the FSGA.

You may want to check out the Honda Classic in Palm Beach Gardens, the first stop in Florida for PGA players each year on the first weekend of March. Or you might want to attend the Arnold Palmer Invitational in Orlando each year just before the Masters.

One advantage of living in Florida is that you can play some great courses at bargain prices during the months of May through October. This is the “off season” not favored by tourists when things quiet down and businesses, particularly golf courses, are in need of consumer cash.

If golf is a big part of your life you may want to check out some of the many golf-centered communities throughout the state. These master planned developments revolve around beautiful courses with clubhouses fit for royalty. There are lakes and ponds for hazards plus trees and vegetation. These communities may be themed for golf but the majority of their residents are very active people of all ages so there is a lot to do. Some communities have all the amenities you need including theaters, grocery and retail stores and personal services.

Florida is a wonderful place to live, work and play, especially if you enjoy golf. With all its amenities and variety of courses, it’s no wonder it’s the number one destination for golfers!