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Course Rater Confidential: What are the best ‘sleeper’ courses in Florida?

March 7, 2020

GOLF’s Top 100 course panelists are among the most respected and well-traveled course evaluators in the game. They’re also keen to share their opinions. In this GOLF.com series, we’ll unlock their unvarnished views on all questions course-related. The goal is not only to entertain you but also to give you a better understanding of how to understand and appreciate golf course architecture. You can see GOLF’s latest Top 100 Courses in the World ranking here, and meet all of our Top 100 panelists here.

The PGA Tour’s Florida swing moves through a landscape familiar to many golf fans. Most of us know about the likes of Bay Hill, PGA National and TPC Sawgrass. We’ve also heard plenty about Streamsong, Seminole and any number of prestigious and well-publicized Florida courses. Please tell us something we don’t know. Specifically, tell us about your two favorite sleeper courses in the Sunshine State — courses that don’t get as much attention as they deserve. Bonus points for places the general public can actually play.

Joe Andriole. (Panelist since 2006; has played 99 of the World Top 100):

My first nod goes to The Concession Golf Club, one of Jack Nicklaus’ best designs. Like most of the Bear’s work, it is difficult but there is great variety, a lot of fun holes and a wonderful set of greens. Pine Tree is my other choice. This is a Dick Wilson design from the 60s, an era that gets very little love these days. It is relatively flat with minimal shaping but the bunkering is extremely strategic. It may be the best-preserved Wilson course in the nation.

Sunil Kappagoda. (Panelist since 2002; has played all of the World Top 100):

Indian Creek, on a man-made island in North Miami Beach, showcases the best of William Flynn’s angles. No trouble off the tee, but placement on the fairway is critical to ensure the best line into some small and tricky greens with treacherous greenside bunkers. Julio Inglesias and family, among other celebrities, can often be seen strolling the grounds.

Pine Barrens, at World Woods, in central Florida, mimics Pine Valley in style. Great terrain with some stunning holes. With access to all, the facility provides for a great and affordable day of golf, particularly when paired with the second course, Rolling Oaks, which mimics Augusta National.

Gordon Dalgleish, (Panelist since 2003; has played 73 of the current World Top 100):

Adios Golf Club is the epitome of Florida golf from an earlier time. It is a very playable Arnold Palmer design on a typical, flat piece of Florida real estate. It was created before the days of significant earth movement to create more elaborate and visually impressive designs. You can almost imagine the initial club vision come to life around a card table as a fun golf course with exceptional clubhouse experience was conceived. Privacy was to be assured, all in the warmth of a Florida winter. The course will challenge the best players to this day.

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More “Course Rater Confidential”:
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What are the 3 best TPC courses?
Is Torrey Pines overrated or underrated?
Palm Desert’s best public golf courses
Which courses make the best use of water hazards down the closing stretch?