The 30 best golf courses in Florida (2022/2023)

calusa pines

Calusa Pines comes in at No. 5 in the state of Florida.

Courtesy of Calusa Pines

As part of GOLF’s course rating process for 2022-23, our fleet of 100-plus expert panelists identified the best golf courses in Florida. Browse the links below to check out all of our course rankings, or scroll down to see the best courses in Florida.

GOLF’s other course rankings: Top 100 Courses in the World | Top 100 Courses in the U.S. | Top 100 Courses You Can Play | Top 100 Value Courses in the U.S. | America’s Best Municipal Courses | The 100 Best Short Courses in the World

SYMBOL GUIDE
1 = Top 100 Course in the U.S.
P = Public/Resort Course
V = Top 100 Value Course in the U.S.
M = Top 30 Municipal Course in the U.S.

Ed. note: Some courses were omitted from our rankings because they did not receive enough votes.

The best golf courses in Florida (2022/2023)

1. Seminole (Juno Beach) [1]

Arguably the finest site on which Donald Ross ever worked, the course plays along and between two main dune lines, and Ross made the most of the opportunity with holes continually tacking in different directions. The club prides itself on its firm playing surfaces, which were on full display during the 2021 Walker Cup. Some grouse that the course’s reputation is built on the club’s exclusivity, which is unwarranted given that standout holes abound, including the 4th, 6th, 13th and one of the game’s finest finishing three-hole stretches.

A view of Seminole. Zephyr Melton

2. TPC Sawgrass-Stadium (Ponte Vedra Beach) [1, P]

Some sniff at the artificiality of a course being hewn from a swamp, yet that’s also what makes the Stadium Course stand out from the crowd. Home of the Players Championship since 1982, the design has evolved into a handsome battleground (however you feel about the towering clubhouse), highlighting Pete Dye’s talent for envisioning something from nothing. The short par-4 4th, reachable par-5 11th and the long par-4 14th rank among Dye’s all-time best. For shotmaking options and memorable individual holes that require a blend of power and finesse, the Stadium Course has few peers.

3. Streamsong-Red (Bowling Green) [1, P]

When the modern minimalism of Coore and Crenshaw meets the heaving, sandy landscape of a former phosphate mine, the result has more in common with a Scottish links than it does with a typical Florida design. Forget soft landings on flat, water-laden fairways. Like its Streamsong siblings, the Blue and Black courses, the Red is built for bouncy, rollicking play. There’s some leeway off the tee. But attacking from the proper angle is essential. So is a knack for creative shot-making. The ground game is more welcome here than almost anywhere in the Sunshine State. Max fee: $259, resort guest; $299, non-resort guest.

4. Streamsong-Blue (Bowling Green) [1, P]

Tom Doak and Bill Coore literally shared holes and land as they built the Blue and Red courses in a collaborative spirit. To a certain extent, that means the two courses also share the spotlight, which may not be fair to either, as both are standouts. A talented greenkeeper pushes the dormant Bermuda fairways to tawny perfection during the winter months (no overseeding here!) and the firm playing surfaces can make a hole like the 6th, with its green that races away, exasperating. The in-your-face 4th climbs a ridge and some contend this is the best hole of the 54 at this luxe resort. The par-5 17th, with its appealing cross hazard, and the long two-shot 18th, where the ground game is the star are as good a 1-2 finishing punch as Doak has ever built. Max fee: $259, resort guests; $299, non-resort guests.

tpc sawgrass 17th hole
The 17th at TPC Sawgrass. Michael Bamberger

5. Calusa Pines (Naples) [1]

Unusual for Florida, this is a pure golf club with no homes. Quiet rounds are guaranteed. A beautiful Hurdzan-Fry artistic creation, the course encapsulates the best that Florida has to offer: scrubby, sandy soil; pine trees; the occasional lagoon; and some shockingly fine land movement. Generally speaking, either an expansive sandy area or lagoon is on one side of the fairway and plenty of short grass is to the other. The more you flirt with the hazards, though, the better the angle for your approach. The stretch from 4 to 6 highlights that design thesis. Adding to the enjoyable challenge are its perched greens, which require demanding approaches and deft recovery shots. The cadence of the holes and the ever-changing asks of the player add to the experience.

6. McArthur (Hobe Sound)

7. Mountain Lake (Lake Wales)

8. Jupiter Hills-Hills (Tequesta)

9. Indian Creek (Indian Creek)

10. Streamsong-Black (Bowling Green) [P]

Streamsong's Black Course is designed by Gil Hanse.
Streamsong’s Black Course. Courtesy of Streamsong

11. The Concession (Bradenton)

12. Medalist (Hobe Sound)

13. Pine Tree (Boynton Beach)

14. John’s Island – West (Vero Beach)

15. Seminole Legacy (Tallahassee)

16. Timuquana (Jacksonville)

17. Bear’s Club (Jupiter)

18. Old Memorial (Tampa)

19. Black Diamond Ranch – Quarry (Lecanto) [P]

20. Isleworth (Windermere)

21. Lake Nona (Orlando)

22. Belleair (Belleair)

23. Pablo Creek (Jacksonville) [P]

24. Bay Hill (Orlando) [P]

25. Trump National Doral – Blue (Miami) [P]

26. Grove XXIII (Hobe Sound)

The Grove XXIII in Hobe Sound, Fla.
Check out Michael Jordan’s The Grove XXIII. Courtesy of Bobby Weed Golf Design

27. Trump International GC, West Palm Beach (West Palm Beach)

28. CC of Florida (Boynton Beach)

29. Dye Preserve (Jupiter)

30. Emerald Dunes (West Palm Beach)

How we rank our courses

For GOLF’s course rankings lists, each panelist is provided a list of hundreds of courses and “buckets,” or groupings. If they believe the course to be among the best in its category (World, U.S. Value, etc.), they check the corresponding box to place it in a specific bucket. Panelists are also free to write in courses they felt should have been included on the ballot. Points were assigned to each bucket; to arrive at an average score for each course, we divide its aggregate score by the number of votes. From those point tallies, the courses are then ranked accordingly.

The key to the process is the experience and expertise of our panel. Hailing from 15 nations and all the worldwide golf meccas, each of our 115 handpicked panelists has a keen eye for architecture, both regionally and globally. Many of our panelists have played more than 1,000 courses in 20-plus countries.

Because we don’t prescribe a set method to assess courses as other ranks do, no one opinion carries the day — our rank is a democracy. Some panelists believe that enjoyment is the ultimate goal, and thus prioritize design attributes such as width and playing angles, while frowning on upon having to constantly hunt for balls in thick rough. Other panelists value challenge and the demands of hitting every club in the bag. Still others consider a course’s surroundings and overall environment of paramount importance, thereby emphasizing the setting and naturalness of the course. In the end, allowing raters to freely express their tastes is what produces the desired eclecticism in our Top 100 lists.

Panelist integrity is vital. Voters with any ties or associations to eligible courses must flag such conflicts. Panelists also know not to let the quality of their play influence their ballot — same for a luxe experience or clubhouse. While opulence may make for a more a memorable outing, it’s not what GOLF’s course lists are about. Our focus is on design and architecture. We study the course, not the trappings around it.

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