As Spring approaches, so does our desire to get some fresh air, stretch those muscles long kept inside by winter weather, and drive some golf balls on the fairway greens. Luckily, Florida’s Historic Coast offers ample opportunities to do that and so much more. Let’s start with where to go to enjoy golf on Florida’s Historic Coast.
It’s hard to think of a better place to visit than the crown jewel Stadium Course at TPC Sawgrass, home of THE PLAYERS® Championship. Taking place this March 9 through March 14, the tournament draws the best of the best players including many international golf enthusiasts who place this event on their bucket list. But you don’t have to be at THE PLAYERS® Championship to enjoy the thrill of playing the famous island green 17th hole or visit the magnificent, Mediterranean-style Clubhouse. You can tour and visit anytime and even test your skill on the iconic island hole.
In addition to the Stadium Course, TPC Sawgrass also features Dye’s Valley. Designed by the legendary architect Pete Dye, Bobby Weed, and player consultant Jerry Pate, Dye’s Valley Course at TPC Sawgrass is the sister track to the world-famous Stadium Course. With perfectly manicured surfaces and water on every hole, the Dye’s Valley course was ranked No. 21 in Golfweek’s 2017-18 rankings of “Best Courses You Can Play” in Florida.
Of course, Ponte Vedra’s seaside resorts are famous for their world-renowned golf courses like the Ponte Vedra Inn & Club’s Lagoon and Ocean courses. Both courses feature a seaside links atmosphere with meandering lagoons, undulating fairways, and elevated Bermuda greens protected by steep-faced bunkers. These are challenging courses that will require all 14 clubs to conquer, so be prepared!
Recently renovated, the Ocean Course, now playing as a par-71, captures the essence of a modern seaside design with expansive fairways, strategically placed bunkers, and lagoons with newly designed green complexes. Additionally, golf course bunkers were rebuilt and reconfigured with an emphasis on strategy, overall aesthetics, and maintainability. Expansive swaths of non-turf screening areas were introduced, reducing irrigated and maintained rough grasses while adding a striking visual contrast to the course.
Restored and enhanced in 2007 by renowned architect Bobby Weed, the Lagoon Course, a par-70 masterpiece, added character and challenge to the golf experience. New tees, fairways and greens, routing changes on several holes, and a greatly enhanced landscaping theme are just some of the improvements to the course originally designed by Robert Trent Jones and Joe Lee. The restoration provides Lagoon Course its own unique identity golfers of all skill sets will enjoy.
For all golf aficionados, a visit to The World Golf Hall of Fame Museum is a can’t miss. Here, visitors will enjoy a celebration of the history of the game and the legacies of its 160 members. Filled with artifacts, personal memorabilia, photography, video, and interactive exhibits, golf fans can spend time learning more about the legends that played and still play the game. Visitors can also take aim at the Challenge Hole and play over 165 courses on a simulator, all included with admission.
While you’re in the neighborhood, visit The King & The Bear at World Golf Village. The course represents the ultimate collaboration of golf’s greatest legends, Arnold Palmer (the “King”) and Jack Nicklaus (the “Bear”). Set among pristine lakes, beautiful pines, and majestic oak trees, golfers will appreciate that each hole features the design characteristics of both players’ styles to create a unique layout experience–incorporating Nicklaus’ inviting fairways and Palmer’s fast greens. Of course, the layout puts a premium on driving, as both Palmer and Nicklaus were known for their power.
Also at World Golf Village, The Slammer & Squire has become a favorite in the area. The 18-hole course was designed by architect Bobby Weed and named for World Golf Hall of Fame Members and collaborators, Sam Snead (the “Slammer”), and Gene Sarazen, (the “Squire”). Both men shared a desire to build a golf course that would preserve the area’s natural beauty, pristine wooded areas, and unspoiled wetlands, while rewarding reward good shot-making. This has it all. Golfers will enjoy the wide-open course with impressive views of the nearby World Golf Hall of Fame.
So take a break from the ordinary and enjoy the sun and fun of golf on Florida’s Historic Coast.