The needles of pine trees brush together softly in the forests that line St. Johns Golf & Country Club, mimicking the bated breath of golfers as they wait for a ball to fall on the bunker-speckled 18th hole. The undulating green caps the 7,250-yard Clyde Johnston-designed course, where golfers unleash their swings from one of five tee distances. The course has served as host of the PGA Tour Q-School for five consecutive years, and a practice facility with a 10,000-square-foot putting green and double-sided driving range allows golfers to work on their grip or stop yelling a childhood secret every time they swing the club. Chatter and the sound of clicking margarita glasses drift down to the course from a restaurant with views of the 9th and 18th holes, and a banquet hall hosts wedding receptions and other gatherings.
Mounds, sand traps, and trees hem the fairways on Royal St. Augustine Golf and Country Club's 18-hole course. Its 6,529-yard layout plays long, as it has some strategically placed hazards and large greens. Ponds also come into play on multiple holes, making it problematic for any golfer whose driver doesn't double as a snorkel. Before beginning their round, golfers can warm up at a practice facility that includes a 20-stall, grass-tee driving range, a short-game area with sand traps, and a putting green.
Course at a Glance: * 18-hole, par 71 course * Length of 6,529 yards from the tips * Course rating of 71.9 from the tips * Slope rating of 137 from the tips
For more than half a century, salty breezes off the Atlantic have rustled the fronds of the palm trees that arch along the fairways at New Smyrna Golf Club. The 18-hole, par-72 layout—originally dreamt up by course architect Donald Ross—more recently underwent renovations by Bobby Weed, updating them for 21st-century expectations such as an absence of pack horses. Before driving and putting their way across the 6,567-yard course, golfers can warm up at one of the driving range’s 30 hitting stations or acquire gear from Titleist at the pro shop to fill their club quivers.
The 27 holes that comprise Magnolia Point Golf & Country Club sweep across a 1,000-acre tract of Clay County rife with wildlife and picturesque forests of oak, pine, and magnolia. The three par-36 sides feature no parallel fairways, meaning golfers seldom worry about hitting other groups or face the temptation to joust with oncoming carts on adjacent fairways. As golfers tick off strokes, they may spot local wildlife such as deer, alligators, and waterfowl frolicking about in their natural domain. In 2006, the USGA elected to hold its final qualifying tournament for the U.S. Amateur at Magnolia Point, drawn to its scenic layout, challenging play, and abundance of bird informants who keep an eye out for unwarranted mulligans. Course at a Glance: * Three nine-hole sides * Maximum 18-hole length of 6,796 yards * Five sets of tees per hole * See the scorecard
Founded in 1976 and managed by the same owner ever since, Lauden Golf instills that prolific experience into every transaction, from its custom-built equipment to lessons taught by seasoned golf pros, including 10 members of the PGA tour. Private lessons help players refine a number of shots, from tee shots with drivers, to iron-approach shots, and transcendent putts requiring no club at all. Lauden Golf also fills bags with custom clubs such as exclusive Logo wedges, hybrids, and putters, personalized with etchings ranging from names and business logos to a caddy's invaluable advice: "Hit the ball kind of far."
Renowned golf-course architect Bobby Weed aims to fill his courses with the kind of rich details typically produced only by Mother Nature herself. His 2008 overhaul of The Deltona Club completely transformed the course: today, blowout-style native-sand bunkers bear roughly scalloped edges that call to mind a raw desert landscape, and the elevation rises in craggy steps as the course progresses, giving players a sense of conquering the land itself. The course's resulting beauty, sense of challenge, and secret bonus level snagged the club a spot on Golfweek's list of best Florida courses in 2012.