The Best of Central Florida


With more than its share of good golf course – and quite a few great ones – fantastic golf opportunities abound throughout Central Florida’s Polk County. Home to more than 40 public access courses offering nearly 700 holes of golf, Central Florida’s Polk County boasts one of the top collections of golf course in the United States, making it easy for golfers of all abilities to find a course that suits their game. Many of golf’s top designers – names like Donald Ross, Bill Coore/Ben Crenshw, Tom Doak and now, Gil Hanse – have left their mark on the region, providing a wide variety of course design styles, from spectacular resort layouts and undulating link-style courses to, in Hanse’s case, a vast reimaging of the size and scope of a golf course with Streamsong Black, nearly twice the size of your average course.

Variety of Course Designs

With so many course offerings it is very difficult to pick a favorite, but when it comes to distinctive course design, the conversation begins with Central Florida’s championship golf courses, Streamsong Resort’s Red, Blue and Black. Built upon reclaimed phosphate mining land, Streamsong Resort’s courses are atypical of most Florida golf courses. Both Streamsong’s Red Course, designed by Bill Coore and Ben Crenshaw, and Blue Course, designed by Tom Doak, utilize natural contours, sand dunes and native grasses to offer a golf experience that is reminiscent of the links-style courses of the British Isles. Meanwhile, the Black Course, designed by Gil Hanse, is a 300 acre, par-73 expanse featuring dramatic, wide-open wavy dunes and hidden greens. All of Streamsong’s Courses trade palm trees, manicured flower beds, beach sand bunkers and house lined fairways for towering sand dunes, native grasses and sweeping vistas. Golf publications world-wide continue to recognize Streamsong as some of the most spectacular golf holes in the Southeastern United States. Golf Magazine ranked both the Red and Blue courses in the top-15 courses you can play for 2016-2017, while the Black Course named “2017’s Best New Course” by the same publication.

Not to be forgotten is Southern Dunes Golf & Country Club. This course stretches out to more than 7,200 yards from the championship tees and its demanding layout features high ornamental grasses and decorative plantings, paired with 180 distinctively colored bunkers, providing spectacular visual appeal throughout your round of golf. Southern Dunes challenges golfers with more than 100 feet of elevation change, rolling fairways and large undulating greens that will greatly impact a golfer’s club selection.

The Club at Eaglebrooke provides a challenging, but fair test of golf for players of all ability levels. Oak trees, numerous lakes and strategically placed mounding define the lush rolling fairways and visually frame each hole as from the tee. Once you reach the fairway a premium is placed on your approach shot as Eaglebrooke features large undulating greens, many of which are well guarded by bunkers and waste areas.

Florida Historic Golf Trail

Golf courses in Florida have been celebrated for a variety of reasons from the stern test they provide PGA and LPGA Tour players to their stunning beauty, now many Florida golf courses are being celebrated for their history. Dating back to the 1890’s, as the state experienced the development of railroads and hotels, golf courses began to be built for those vacationing in the Florida Sunshine. To help enhance the awareness and increase the appreciation for Florida’s historic golf courses the Florida Department of State has recognized 51 public-access golf courses that were built prior to 1930 to be designated on Florida’s Historic Golf Trail. Polk County is home to four historic courses designated on the list, more than any other Florida county, including Bartow Golf Course (1926), Cleveland Heights Golf Course (1925), Wedgewood Golf Club (1929) and Lekarica Hills Golf Course (1927).

Stunning Scenery

Golfer’s will not only appreciate the area’s variety of course design styles, but also marvel at Central Florida’s natural beauty throughout their round. When compared to other flat-land areas in Florida, Polk County’s topography makes the area unique, and provided the game’s top course architects a very diverse foundation upon which to build their course designs. Boasting some of the highest points on peninsular Florida, courses throughout the region utilize the natural elevation changes and land contours, to provide a golf experience more akin to courses located in the northern states. Courses are defined by natural wetlands, marshes and many of the area’s lakes, while centuries old oaks, native palms and pine forests frame the fairways. Wildlife is plentiful and you may find that deer, bald eagles, foxes, osprey and sandhill cranes provide the perfect visual distractions during your round. 

With great year-round weather, unparalleled natural beauty and a diverse collection of courses that will accommodate golfers of all abilities and budgets, Central Florida’s Polk County provides the perfect destination for a great golf getaway. No matter what type of golf experience you are seeking, you are sure to find that the area’s courses will surely make your golf vacation a memorable one. To plan the perfect golf getaway and for the most complete information on all of Polk County’s attractions, hotels, restaurants and golf courses please visit www.VisitCentralFlorida.org