If you live in or are visiting South Florida, you can pretty much throw a rock in any direction and hit a golf course. Interestingly, I have lived in South Florida my whole life, and pretty much stick to the same 2-3 courses every time I play. Maybe it’s because I think I play better some places...or maybe it’s because I think some of my friends play worse. But I can honestly say that meand the group of guys I play with don’t venture out very much when it comes to trying out new golf courses.
I have decided in 2019 I am going to correct that! Because of this revelation, I have decided to put together a list of the topGolf Courses in South Florida – specifically Palm Beach, Broward, and Miami-Dade County. The goal is to play each one at least once before the end of 2019!
Keep in mind, I have played some of these courses, but really have not played most of them – so this is strictly based off the OPINION’s of other people I have asked and some research. I wouldn’t consider this list to be the end all be all, because to be honest – there are a shit ton of courses in South Florida. So it was pretty tough to pick. That being said, I would love to hear some opinions and suggestions once you all finish reading these.
Course Breakdown by County
When I started trying to put this together, my goal was to make a list of the Top 10 courses in South Florida as a whole. I quickly came to the realization that there are SO MANY amazing courses in South Florida, there was no way I was going to be able to do this list any justice with just 10 courses!
So, I have decided to break down each county in South Florida, week by week with the top 5-10 courses in each area. Palm Beach County has the most courses, so I will start with my favorite 5 golf courses in North Palm Beach County. I have also listed the contact information for each course, because I am hoping that after reading about some of these courses it will inspire some people to get out and try out some different courses as well! So without further ado...here it goes.
The Palm Beaches
As I mentioned above, Palm Beach County (or as they like to refer to themselves The Palm Beaches) is famous for having some of the best golf courses in Florida. People travel all over to stay at a few of these resorts for days at a time, just to golf. Between the two distinguished PGA villages, and the semi-private resort golf designed for the golf game of the famously wealthy – you will see why it was so difficult to choose when anointing the Crowned Courses of the Palm Beaches, and why I was forced to break it down between two weeks. So without further ado...here we go.
Palm Beach – North
PGA National's Champion Course, Palm Beach Gardens
PGA National Resort & Spa,
400 Avenue of the Champions,
Palm Beach Gardens,
Florida (FL) 33418
+1 800 863 2819
When talking golf in Palm Beach County, my first thought always goes to PGA National Resort & Spa. If you play golf and live in South Florida and haven’t played here – you are missing out. Famously the host of the Honda Classic in most recent years, but the PGA Champions course also hosted the Ryder Cup in 1984 (U.S. Won 🙂) – which I didn’t know until I started writing this and it made me want to go play there even more. Not to mention it has been designed and redesigned by some of the greats – most recently Jack Nicklaus. Need I say more?
The Champions Course is the crown jewel, but with 5 18-hole courses on the property – you can basically spend a week at the resort and play a new course every day. Which coincidentally is what a lot of people traveling to South Florida choose to do. If you live down here, it’s a perfect little Stay-Cation destination for a golf weekend if you are looking to play as much golf as you can in as little time as possible. Highly recommend checking it out.
North Palm Beach Country Club, North Palm Beach
951 US Highway 1,
North Palm Beach,
Florida (FL) 33408
+1 561 691 3433
The story behind this course is almost as good as the actual golf itself. NPCC has been around since the 1920’s, but around 2006 it was taken from a private to a municipal course by the county, who also commissioned Jack Nicklaus to redesign the course completely. Nicklaus, being a long time Palm Beach resident himself, agreed to redesign the course and refused to take anything more than $1 as his fee.!
Since then, North Palm Beach Country Club has consistently been ranked by Golf Digest and other major golf publications as one of the top golf courses in Florida and is often referred to as one of South Florida’s “hidden gems”. Talk to anyone who has played here, and they will tell you that – although it may not be as manicured as some of the private clubs in the area – the links style golf is second to none. The combination of strategically placed fairway bunkers, large mounds leading up to the greens, and seemingly impossible speed once on the green will challenge even the most confident ball striker. Luckily, Nicklaus kept us amateurs in mind when putting it together, so as long as you play from the correct tee box, and don’t mind spending a little time in bunkers that resemble a Scottish day at the beach, you should have a great time!
Old Palm Golf Club, Palm Beach Gardens
11889 Old Palm Dr
Palm Beach Gardens, FL 33418
Old Palm Golf Club is the first of a few incredibly exclusive golf courses on our list. Originally designed and built by Raymond Floyd, a former PGA Tour champion, the club is currently home to a handful of professional golfers – including golf superstars Charles Schwartzel and Louis Oosthuizen. If you are hoping to join the club and start rubbing elbows with some of the greats, get in line because with only 330 memberships available, this might be the most exclusive club in Palm Beach County.
Right about now I am sure you are asking yourself, well if it’s a private club and I can't become a member – Why the hell is it on the list!? Well – 2 reasons: 1.) It is known to be one of the best courses in Palm Beach County with also one of the best golf training facilities in South Florida...so I think that warrants giving it a look. And 2.) There are other ways to get on to a private golf course than simply becoming a member! I will figure out a way to play there by the end of the year and report back once I do so all of you can enjoy playing there as well.
Otherwise, until then I’m not able to find much more information on the course itself other than it is ranked as one of the top courses in South Florida. The practice facility features a full par 3, 4, and 5 set up and some of the most state of the art ball tracking software and putting assistance technology. I may be more excited to play here to check out the practice facility – but I am confident that the course itself will not disappoint.
The Bears Club, Jupiter
103 Bear's Club Drive,
Florida (FL) 33477
(561) 514 6948
Home to the Golden Bear himself, Jack Nicklaus designed this course with one goal in mind – to create the purest golfing experience imaginable. And many would say he was successful. Home to a number of the golf world elite, including Rory Mcilroy and Ernie Els, The Bears Club is designed to be a golfer's paradise, and is often referred to as Jack Nicklaus’ legacy.
The Bears Club is a member’s only club, so you'll have to make friends with a member and swing an invite to get a chance to play here. Try giving the Golden Bear a call and see if he will take you out for a round.
There is one way you can get yourself an invite to the old Bear’s cave (Not any actual name but would be cool if they changed the name of the bar at the clubhouse to that). Each year the club is host to the Buoniconti Fund Celebrity Golf Invitational with Jack Nicklaus. The tournament is to benefit the Buoniconti Fund to Cure Paralysis. Not sure how to get an invite exactly, but I have included a link below if anyone wants to reach out and see how it works. I will be doing the same and will be sure to update you all in a later article.
Abacoa Golf Club
105 Barbados Dr
Jupiter, FL 33458-2921
Abacoa Golf Club is one of the best public golf courses in South Florida, and probably your best bang for your buck. Designed by Joe Lee, as one of the last courses he designed in his career, it is made to be fair to golfers of all skill levels, but still has the trickiness to it that you want out of a course.
One of the best parts about this course is that, unlike most golf courses in South Florida, it has real elevation change. The elevation can go as high as 40 ft at some points on the course. Now, I know that’s not saying much, but to someone who is used to playing the flat, desert like courses that are so prominent in South Florida, 40 ft may as well be a mountain.
The website has a pretty cool little flyover simulation if you want to check out the course before heading there. Link below. But if you are looking for a fun, beautifully maintained course to play, outside of the private golf course circuit – you will not be disappointed by Abacoa Golf Club.
I hope a little more info on these courses inspires some of you to get out there and try them out! I will be moving down the coast of South Florida, next up is South Palm Beach! So stay tuned - and if I left any gems out don't hesitate to reach out and let me know! Make sure to share this with anyone you think would like to play at any of these courses!