Amelia Island Golf Courses

A barrier island in North Florida, Amelia Island combines 13 miles of mostly undeveloped beachfront with a historic district in the town of Fernandina Beach that offers a walk back in time. As a golf destination, Amelia Island packs a lot of punch: Golf courses range from resort courses to traditional parkland layouts to a links-style course that winds through a housing development and natural areas.

Amelia Island is about 15 miles east of Interstate 95. It is midway between Atlanta and Miami and takes about six hours to drive from either city. The closest major airport is Jacksonville International, 30 minutes to the south.

Oceanfront Courses

For an island that has miles of beachfront, there are surprisingly few golf holes with ocean views on Amelia Island. The Golf Club of Amelia Island is the only public-access oceanfront course and is adjacent to the Ritz-Carlton Amelia Island, the only true luxury property in the area. The award-winning Ocean Links Golf Course, which is part of the Amelia Island Plantation complex, also has ocean-view holes, but is a private club.

Ritz guests are entitled to premium tee times at discounted rates. The course is a traditional resort course, well-manicured and beautiful with two holes that offer views of the Atlantic Ocean. It is not a difficult course, as greens are generally unguarded and there are few sand traps. The fairways are wide open and rolling.

Municipal Course

Once rated one of the top 50 municipal courses in the country by “Golf Digest,” the Fernandina Beach Municipal Golf Club fell into disrepair through the 1990s and early 2000s, but has been undergoing improvements since a new head pro took over in the mid-2000s. Key to the improvements are a new irrigation system and more consistent greens.

The golf club has three nines, each with a distinct flavor. The wide-open north course is the easiest, while the short south has tight fairways and tough greens and the lengthy west requires long, accurate tee shots. The courses are flat and have mature live oaks. Water comes into play on a handful of holes.

Links-Style Golf

Though not technically on Amelia Island, the Golf Club at North Hampton does have a Fernandina Beach address and is certainly worth the 15-minute drive. Of all the public-access courses in the area, North Hampton is the best value for your dollar, particularly if you can play during the week or at twilight, when prices are lower.

The course was designed by Arnold Palmer and was rated the No. 7 best course to play in Florida by “Golfweek” magazine. Overall, the course is tough and requires accurate tee shots to avoid not only waste bunkers but protected natural areas, water and the myriad sand bunkers that dot the course.

Amelia Island Plantation Golf

The Amelia Island Plantation, which was the original resort on the island, has four golf courses, but only one, Amelia River, is public. Resort guests can get access to the Long Point, Ocean Links and Oak Marsh courses, as well. Both Long Point and Ocean Links are award-winning courses. Long Point was selected to “Golfweek” magazine’s “America’s Top 100 Resort Courses” (2005) and Ocean Links was named a top 50 course for women by “Golf for Women” (2004). All of the courses are pricey.

Of the four courses, Amelia River is the most playable, but also the most overpriced. Before it was acquired by the Amelia Island Plantation corporation in the mid 2000s, tee times were available for less than $50 per round, but have ballooned. That said, Amelia River is a scenic and manageable course with lots of wide fairways, bailout areas and mature landscape. No. 17 has an island green, but more troublesome are the blind shots throughout the course.

Practice Facilities

North Hampton offers the most complete practice facility in the area, with a grass driving range, putting green and sand bunker. If you want to beat balls rather than play, the course sells a discounted range card.

The municipal course and Amelia River have adequate practice facilities, but lack sand bunkers. None of the resort courses has extensive practice facilities, though there are practice greens.


  • Ritz-Carlton
  • Fernandina Beach Golf Club


  • Amelia Island Convention and Visitors Bureau
  • GolfLink: Directory of Amelia Island Golf Courses

Writer Bio

J.D. Chi is a professional journalist who has covered sports for more than 20 years at newspapers all over the United States. She has covered major golf tournaments and the NFL as well as travel and health topics. Chi received her Bachelor of Arts in professional writing from Carnegie Mellon University and is working toward a master’s degree in journalism.