Sculpted in the lush scenery of George T. Bagby State Park by golf architect Willard Byrd, Meadow Links’ 18-hole, 7,007-yard course unfurls a tapestry of emerald fairways, golden-brown rough, and cerulean waters. Club-toting twosomes can loosen up for the round with a stint at the driving range, where a stash of obedient practice spheres launch themselves into the stratosphere and withhold judgment of players clashing argyle with plaid. The course’s bucolic hills crest behind the tenth green, where players can recapitulate their conquest of the 402-yard par-4 hole in the shade of two pecan trees, a pear tree, and a bush that blooms with divot-repair tools. The relatively difficult links-style course challenges golfers with an omnipresent array of round sand traps and water hazards in play on five holes, though four generous tee options make the course surmountable for duffers of all abilities.
The Golf Garden of Destin fosters putt-putt delight and club-flailing fun in a family-friendly atmosphere replete with a nine-hole executive golf course, expansive driving range, and 18-hole miniature golf course. Golfers can groom their putting stroke with a round at the putting course, where slick, faux-grass surfaces and subtle slopes coalesce to create breaks more difficult to read than a kindergartener's dissertation. The outdoor driving range keeps metal clubs and dimpled orbs on a collision course well into the evening with over 30 hitting stalls outfitted with towering lights. Duffers looking for a more immersive golf challenge can take to the executive course, where seven par 3s beckon to players still seeking their first hole-in-one and two par 4s assure that drivers and 3-woods do not abscond in search of work at the nearest sword-forging convention.
A quartet of golf courses hug the beaches of the Choctawhatchee Bay at Sandestin Golf and Beach Resort, presenting oceanside fairways and greens that showcase the handiwork of some of golf's finest course designers. As the former host of two PGA Champions Tour events and recipient of multiple accolades, Raven Golf Club runs through swamps and pines, forming a 6,900-yard layout designed by Robert Trent Jones, Jr. His brother, Rees Jones, designed the neighboring Burnt Pine Golf Club course, which was once referred to as the "Crown Jewel of Florida Golf" by Golf Magazine. Tom Jackson designed the other two courses, using elevation changes to his advantage in the Baytowne Golf Club course and emulating the old courses of coastal Britannia with The Links Course.
Sandestin Golf and Beach Resort offers more than golf at its 2,400-acre property. Players scamper and slide across three hard-courts and twelve HydroGrid clay courts at the Sandestin Tennis Center, which hosts matches day and night. Soft, white sand awaits guests at the beach, and the resort rents out chairs, umbrellas, and cabanas. Boogie boards and kayaks are available for those who want to enjoy the benefits of buoyancy without filling their bathing suit with helium.