When it comes to resort golf, Florida is in a class of its own. With the huge tourist influx every year (around 115 million, and counting), the need to provide excellent facilities in addition to the course itself is paramount. This has meant the growth of some of the finest resort complexes in the country, catering for just about every mod con you can shake a four-wood at.
Once again, they are spread far and wide throughout the state, but you can be absolutely sure you will find several in all of the prime tourist areas, notably Orlando, Miami, Fort Lauderdale, Naples, Sarasota, Tampa, West Palm Beach, Fort Walton Beach, St Augustine and Amelia Island.
Streamsong Resort in Bowling Green, Tampa
You’ll also find some in unexpected places, like the immaculate Streamsong Resort in Bowling Green, just south-east of Tampa. This reclaimed former mining site has been extensively rebuilt and re-shaped to include two of the state’s Top 10 courses, in addition to its hotel, which boasts other activities (including archery and fishing), exquisite dining and its own Spa. Put in one neat package, there is arguably no equal anywhere in Florida.
Innisbrook Resort, Clearwater
Mind you, Innisbrook Resort, on the Gulf Coast north of Clearwater, gives it a good run for its money, with a level of comfort, convenience and charm that are also top drawer, as well as being home to an annual professional tournament each March in the build-up to The Masters.
Grand Cypress Resort, Orlando
Grand Cypress Resort in the heart of Orlando is another with style to burn, especially as it boasts no less than 45 holes of diverse golf, a highly distinctive resort hub, great dining and gorgeously-appointed villa accommodations. Travel just to the south of Orlando and both the Reunion Resort and Omni Orlando Champions Gate have multi-course set-ups (designed by the likes of Greg Norman, Jack Nicklaus and Arnold Palmer) that feature a dazzling array of high-quality facilities to ensure golfers get the best treatment both on and off the course.
Hammock Beach Resort, Palm Coast
Head to Palm Coast in the north-east, just south of St Augustine, and you’ll find Hammock Beach Resort, with a magnificent oceanfront location to go with its luxurious style. Head north to Amelia Island and there is the Omni Plantation Resort, with its wooded acres, Pete Dye-designed course and immaculate hotel. To the south, in West Palm Beach is The Breakers, not just one of the state’s most distinguished, and historic, hotels, but home to great golf at its own two courses, including The Ocean Course, which was originally laid out in 1896, and the Rees Jones Course, dating back to 1968. The Breakers is an attraction in its own right, and golfers here get the best of both worlds.
The Marriott Sawgrass Resort and Spa, Ponte Vedra
The Marriott Sawgrass Resort and Spa at Ponte Vedra Beach is another that would get into many Top 10 lists for the combination of golf and hotel facilities in Florida, and the newly refurbished LaPlaya Beach and Golf Resort in Naples is in the same mould, with all the creature comforts the modern golfer needs, and more besides!
We could go on listing fine resort possibilities throughout the state – like Saddlebrook Resort in Tampa, the Ritz-Carlton in Naples, the WaterColor resort in Panama City, and the Waldorf-Astoria and Four Seasons in Orlando – but we would quickly run out of space.