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:
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.
At the tee box on Cimarrone Golf Club's 12th hole, golfers face a dilemma: play a drive safely out to the right—where, at worst, the ball may stray into the rough—or attempt an aggressive shot over the water on the hole's left side, cutting off much of the dogleg and setting up a closer approach. With multiple bending fairways, deep bunkers, and a water hazard or marsh feature on every hole, the 18-hole, 6,891-yard course presents high-risk, high-reward scenarios at nearly every turn, delighting golfers who like to live dangerously and favoring those whose sand wedge moonlights as an actuary.
Before rounds, golfers can warm up swings at the club's driving range, a much-needed confidence booster before taking to the water-laden course or betting that they can outdrive the staff's resident T-shirt cannon.
Course at a Glance:
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."
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
Placed in the top 10 among the nation's new golf courses by Golfweek and Travel + Leisure Golf, Sugarloaf Mountain sends golfers up and down elevation changes of more than 250 feet. The design by Coore & Crenshaw—Crenshaw, as in 1984 Masters winner Ben Crenshaw—takes advantage of the site's natural characteristics, wandering through verdant oak forests and at one point reaching the highest point in the state. The designers were so loyal to the landscape that they even decided to use native sand in the bunkers rather than trucking in moon dust.
Course at a Glance: * 18-hole, par 72 course * Total length of 7,076 yards from the back tees * Course rating of 74.3 from the back tees * Course slope of 133 from the back tees * Four sets of tees per hole * Scorecard