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Florida Keys Golf Courses: The 6 Best Ones

The Florida Keys is a renowned paradise for sunseekers looking for crystal-clear waters, relaxation, and rejuvenation. Although Florida has more golf courses and golf club-sponsored PGA tour players than any other state, the Florida Keys is not typically known for its golf. However, the stunning archipelago has many beautiful and challenging golf courses.

This comprehensive guide will examine the top 6 golf courses in the Florida Keys, exploring their history, amenities, and unique features.

Florida Keys Golf Courses

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Key West Golf Club – Key West

Key West Golf Club is the southernmost golf course in the United States and the only 18-hole course in Key West. It is a Rees Jones Championship course design, and it offers a challenging yet enjoyable experience for players of all skill levels.

History

Opened in 1924, the Key West Golf Club has a rich history, hosting prestigious golf tournaments and attracting famous golfers worldwide. The course underwent a significant redesign in 1983 by Rees Jones, who transformed it into the stunning layout it is today.

Amenities

  • 18-hole, par-70 golf course
  • Driving range and practice facility
  • Pro shop
  • Clubhouse with a restaurant and bar
  • Golf lessons and clinics are offered at Key West Golf Club

Notable Features: The course’s signature hole is the 8th, a par-3 that requires a precise tee shot over a vast expanse of mangroves. This challenging hole is affectionately known as the “Mangrove Hole” and is a must-try for any golfer visiting the course.

Cheeca Lodge & Spa Golf Course – Islamorada

Islamorada’s Cheeca Lodge & Spa Golf Course is a 9-hole, par-29 course designed by golf legend Jack Nicklaus. Its beautiful oceanfront location offers breathtaking views of the Atlantic Ocean, making it a picturesque golfing destination.

History

Jack Nicklaus designed this course in the late 1960s; they wanted to create an enjoyable yet challenging experience for golfers. Over the years, the course has hosted numerous celebrity golf events and remains famous for visitors interested in key west golf.

Amenities

  • 9-hole, par-29 golf course
  • Pro shop
  • Access to Cheeca Lodge & Spa facilities, including a pool, spa, and restaurants

Notable Features: The course’s 6th hole is a short par-3 that requires a precise tee shot over water to reach the green, providing an exciting challenge for golfers of any skill level and all abilities.

Florida Keys Country Club – Marathon

The Florida Keys Country Club in Marathon is an 18-hole (greens are double-pinned to be 18 holes) par-71 course with lush greenery and stunning water views, perfect for golfers of all abilities. Its location in the heart of the Florida Keys makes it an ideal golfing destination for visitors.

History

Established in 1960, the Florida Keys Country Club has a storied history, with its golf course designed by renowned architect Mark Mahannah. The course has undergone several renovations to maintain its pristine condition and improve its playability.

Amenities

  • 18-hole, par-71 golf course
  • Driving range and practice facility
  • Pro shop
  • Clubhouse with a restaurant and bar
  • Golf lessons and clinics
  • Tennis courts and swimming pool

Notable Features: The 15th hole is a par-5 with a dogleg left around a lake, challenging golfers to place their shots to avoid the water hazard strategically.

Ocean Reef Club – Key Largo

Ocean Reef Club in Key Largo is a private club with two championship golf courses – the Hammock Course and the Dolphin Course. Both courses were designed by renowned architects Bruce Devlin and Robert von Hagge, offering a world-class golfing experience.

History

Ocean Reef Club’s golfing history dates back to 1961 when the club’s first course, the Hammock Course, was designed by Dick Wilson. The Dolphin Course was added in 1979, with both courses eventually being redesigned by Devlin and von Hagge to create the challenging layouts that exist today.

Amenities

  • Two 18-hole championship golf courses: Hammock Course (par-71) and Dolphin Course (par-72)
  • Driving range and practice facility
  • Pro shop
  • Clubhouse with a restaurant and bar
  • Golf lessons and clinics

Notable Features: The Dolphin Course’s 12th hole, a par-4, features a challenging island green surrounded by water, testing golfers’ accuracy and course management skills.

Coral Creek Club – Key Largo

Coral Creek Club in Key Largo is a private 18-hole, par-72 course offering a challenging layout focusing on preserving the natural environment and wildlife habitats.

History

Coral Creek Club was established in 1998 and was designed by Tom Fazio, one of the world’s most respected golf course architects. The course was created to provide a challenging yet enjoyable golfing experience while maintaining the natural beauty of the Florida Keys.

Amenities

  • 18-hole, par-72 golf course
  • Driving range and practice facility
  • Pro shop
  • Clubhouse with a restaurant and bar
  • Golf lessons and clinics

Notable Features: The course’s 17th hole, a par-3, requires a precise tee shot over water to a well-guarded green, making it visually stunning and technically challenging.

Card Sound Golf Club – Key Largo

Card Sound Golf Club in Key Largo is a private, 18-hole, par-72 course designed by Robert von Hagge. The course offers a challenging layout with beautiful manicured greens and views of the surrounding mangroves and bay.

History

Card Sound Golf Club was established in 1976, with its golf course designed by von Hagge, who incorporated the natural beauty of the Florida Keys into the layout. Over the years, the club has hosted several prestigious golf events, attracting amateur and professional golfers.

Amenities

  • 18-hole, par-72 golf course
  • Driving range and practice facility
  • Pro shop
  • Clubhouse with a restaurant and bar
  • Golf lessons and clinics

Notable Features: The 16th hole is a challenging par-4 with a dogleg left around a large mangrove area, requiring accurate shot placement to avoid natural hazards. It is also the most private course of all key west golf courses, as membership is by invitation only.

Best Time to Golf in the Florida Keys

When planning a golf trip to the Florida Keys, it’s essential to consider the best time of year to enjoy the courses, favorable weather conditions, and possible off-peak times for a more relaxed experience. This section will explore the ideal seasons for golfing in the Florida Keys, considering temperature, rainfall, and crowd levels.

High Season: December – April

The high season for golfing in the Florida Keys typically runs from December to April, when temperatures are more relaxed and more comfortable for outdoor activities. During this period, average daytime temperatures range from 70 to 80 degrees Fahrenheit (21 to 27 degrees Celsius). This time of year is also characterized by lower humidity and reduced rainfall, resulting in more favorable conditions for golfing.

However, the high season also coincides with the peak tourist season in the Florida Keys. As a result, golf courses and accommodations can be busier, and prices may be higher.

Low Season: June – October

The low season for golfing in the Florida Keys falls between June and October, when temperatures are higher, and the region experiences increased humidity and rainfall. The average daytime temperatures during this period range from 85 to 90 degrees Fahrenheit (29 to 32 degrees Celsius). While golfing in these conditions can be challenging, the courses tend to be less crowded, and you may find more affordable rates on accommodations and green fees.

It’s worth noting that the Florida Keys are susceptible to hurricanes during the Atlantic hurricane season, which lasts from June to November. While the risk of a hurricane directly impacting your golf trip is relatively low, monitoring the weather forecasts and having a flexible travel plan are essential.

Shoulder Season: May and November

May and November shoulder months can balance the high and low seasons with more moderate temperatures, reduced rainfall, and fewer crowds. During these months, golfers can enjoy pleasant weather conditions and competitive rates while enjoying a quieter course atmosphere.

In conclusion, the best time to golf in the Florida Keys largely depends on your preferences and priorities. The high season between December and April is ideal for cooler temperatures and drier conditions. However, if you’re willing to brave the heat and humidity for lower prices and fewer crowds, the low season from June to October might be the perfect fit. Alternatively, consider the shoulder months of May and November for a balanced golfing experience.

Off-the-Course Activities to Experience in the Florida Keys

The Florida Keys offer diverse activities for visitors to enjoy, catering to various interests and preferences. Here are some of the top activities you won’t want to miss during your stay:

Snorkeling and Scuba Diving

The Florida Keys are home to the only living coral barrier reef in the continental United States, making them a prime destination for snorkeling and scuba diving. Explore colorful coral reefs, abundant marine life, and even historic shipwrecks in the clear, warm waters.

Fishing

Known as the Sportfishing Capital of the World, the Florida Keys offer exceptional deep-sea and backcountry fishing opportunities. Anglers can target various species, including tarpon, bonefish, and sailfish, in the diverse fishing habitats throughout the island chain.

Florida Fishing

Kayaking and Paddleboarding

Paddle through the tranquil mangroves, shallow flats, and calm bays of the Florida Keys on a kayak or paddleboard. These eco-friendly activities allow you to explore the unique marine ecosystems and wildlife up close and at your own pace.

Biking

Rent a bike and explore the scenic Overseas Heritage Trail, which stretches over 100 miles from Key Largo to Key West. The trail offers picturesque views of the ocean, historic bridges, and various points of interest.

Visit National Parks and Wildlife Refuges

Discover the natural beauty and diverse ecosystems of the Florida Keys by visiting protected areas such as Everglades National Park, Dry Tortugas National Park, and the Florida Keys National Wildlife Refuges. These parks offer unique experiences, from birdwatching and wildlife viewing to guided tours and educational programs.

Dolphin Encounters

Interact with friendly and intelligent dolphins at a Florida Keys dolphin encounter facility. Learn about these amazing creatures, watch them perform acrobatics, and even have the opportunity to swim with them in a safe and controlled environment.

Florida Dolphin

Taste Local Cuisine

Savor the delicious flavors of the Florida Keys, from fresh seafood and stone crab to key lime pie and conch fritters. Experience the diverse culinary scene by dining at waterfront restaurants, local seafood shacks, and island food festivals.

Golf Cart Rental

Golf cart rentals have become a favored choice for exploring Key West, offering an affordable and convenient way to make the most of your vacation. Whether sightseeing around the island or heading to the beach for relaxation, golf carts present a fun, cost-effective, and simple solution for getting to your destination. Check out our guide to Key West Golf Cart Rentals.

By exploring these top activities, you’ll experience the best of what the Florida Keys offer and create unforgettable memories during your visit.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) – Florida Keys Golf Courses

What is the best time of year to play Florida Keys Golf Courses?

The high season for golfing in the Florida Keys typically runs from December to April, when temperatures are cooler and more comfortable for outdoor activities. The low season falls between June and October, with higher temperatures and increased humidity. May and November shoulder months offer a balance between high and low seasons. Choose the season that best fits your personal preferences and priorities.

What off-the-course activities can I enjoy in the Florida Keys?

The Florida Keys offer many activities and attractions beyond the golf courses. Some popular options include snorkeling, scuba diving, fishing, kayaking, paddle boarding, biking, visiting national parks and wildlife refuges, dolphin encounters, and tasting the local cuisine. Our guide includes a section on off-the-course activities in the Florida Keys to help you plan your trip.

Can I rent golf equipment at the golf courses in the Florida Keys?

Most golf courses in the Florida Keys offer golf equipment rental options, including clubs, golf carts, and other necessary gear. Additionally, many courses have pro shops where you can purchase or rent equipment. Check with the individual golf course for specific rental options and pricing.

Can I book tee times online for golf courses in the Florida Keys?

Most golf courses in the Florida Keys offer the option to book tee times online through their official websites. Online booking is a convenient way to secure your preferred time slot and plan your golfing itinerary in advance. Visit the websites of the golf courses mentioned in our guide to check for online booking availability and policies.

Closing Thoughts

The Florida Keys offers a quaint selection of golf courses that any golfer would enjoy. There is a course for everyone, from the southernmost golf course in the United States at Key West Golf Club to the private and prestigious Ocean Reef Club in Key Largo. These top 6 Florida Keys golf courses provide a unique blend of challenge and stunning scenery, making them the perfect addition to your trip to the Florida Keys.

Beyond golf, the Florida Keys boast an array of off-the-course activities, including water sports, eco-tours, local cuisine, and cultural experiences. So pack your clubs, book your tee times, and get ready to experience a fantastic golf adventure in the beautiful Florida Keys.

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About the author: John White is a 4-Year Letter Winner and South Atlantic Conference (SAC) All-Conference Golf Team member from Lenoir-Rhyne University, writing about all things golf at johncarltonwhite.com.

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