Best Golf Courses in Destin, Florida

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Best Golf Courses in Destin, Florida

Paul LiberatorePaul Liberatore


Paul Liberatore

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When you think of golf in Florida, the Gulf Coast and southern part of the state are the first places that come to mind.  While that’s there’s merit to that assumption, I’m here to tell you there’s great golf to be found in the upper reaches of the panhandle as well.

I’m talking about Destin, Florida.  Not far from the Georgia and Alabama state lines, Destin remains a hidden gem as a place to visit and play some outstanding golf at an affordable price. 

It’s been a few years since I’ve been in this part of the world but from what I recall, there’s more than enough golf to whet one’s appetite.

Sticking with tradition, I reached out to our readers and their feedback was essential in the formation of our top ten courses in Destin.

 

 

1

Regatta Bay Golf and Yacht Club

Regatta Bay Golf and Yacht Club 3Regatta Bay Golf and Yacht Club 3

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One of the most memorable rounds I’ve played in recent memory was at Regatta Bay Golf and Yacht Club.

A premier track on the Emerald Coast, Regatta Bay is the ultimate test for players that like risk and reward. 

Since I’ve played it, the course has undergone a $2.25 million makeover and the reviews are fantastic. 

Lush fairways and perfectly manicured greens leave little excuse for poor shots.

Even though the course isn’t the longest around, it demands your very best.

Golf Digest called Regatta Bay a “Top 200 Places to Play in North America” and one of the “Top 15 Courses in Florida.”

I can’t wait to get back and see all the great work that’s been done to this Northwest Florida masterpiece.

 

2

Shalimar Pointe Golf Club

Shalimar Pointe Golf Club 3Shalimar Pointe Golf Club 3

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If a round of golf in a natural setting is your thing, you need to play Shamilmar Pointe. 

This Dye-Finger design is carved out of the hardwood forest.  Lack of houses and a tranquil setting make this one of the more serene rounds you’ll find anywhere.

Known for its manicured greens and penal white sand bunkers, Shalimar Pointe is a hidden gem in a land filled with plenty of golf.

You’ll find everything you could ever need at this property.  The practice facilities are spacious and well maintained, and the clubhouse is appointed with all the necessary amenities.

A round in nature you won’t want to overlook.

 

3

Rocky Bayou Country Club

Rocky Bayou Country Club 1Rocky Bayou Country Club 1

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Set on a beautiful 115 acres, Rocky Bayou is one of the friendliest courses anywhere.  Both in terms of design and customer service.

Wide fairways give you plenty of room off the tee and large, manicured greens can be found on every hole.

If you’re a fan of playing quickly, you’ve come to the right place at Rocky Bayou.  Both members and guests are known for playing fast and firing when ready. 

Even though the layout is straightforward, the course has plenty of character.

Friendly staff, a great course, and a price that can’t be beat, Rocky Bayou won’t disappoint.

4

Indian Bayou Country Club

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When I imagine golf in the panhandle of Florida, I think of glistening green fairways and whispering southern pines.

That’s exactly what you’ll get at Indian Bayou Country Club.  The Seminole and Choctaw nines combine for 18 holes of golf bliss.

Gentle rolling fairways and subtly undulating greens give this course a character all its own.

Even though this property maintains a private membership, the public is welcome seven days a week. 

One of the best layouts in the Destin area, Indian Bayou is a golfer’s slice of heaven.

5

The Golf Garden of Destin

The Golf Garden of Destin 1The Golf Garden of Destin 1

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If there’s a family friendly golf facility in Destin, it’s the Golf Garden. 

Here, you’ll find an exquisite nine-hole executive course that’s both challenging for good players, and accessible for rank beginners.

While you’re here, don’t miss out on the 18-hole putting course.  I played it with my son and to this day, he hasn’t let me forget the fact that he kicked my butt.

Maybe you’re just looking to introduce a newbie to the game.  This is the perfect spot.  The driving range and short game areas are well kept and there’s plenty of room for everybody.

A welcomed break from the stress of a championship course, the Golf Garden of Destin is fun for everyone.

 

6

Blue Water Bay Golf Course

Blue Water Bay Golf Course 2Blue Water Bay Golf Course 2

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Whenever I’m traveling, I’m always on the lookout for hot deals for golf.  Based on my own experience and what our readers had to say, Blue Water Bay Golf Course is the best you’ll find in the Destin area.

Situated on the shores of Choctawhatchee Bay, this course is a hidden gem with spectacular views.

Designed by Tom Fazio and Jerry Pate, this course’s diverse terrain blends seamlessly with the natural surroundings.  Some 27 holes allow you to mix and match to your liking.

When you’re done with your round, stop in at Slick Mick’s for a cold one and a bite.  Even though this sports bar’s name might make you think twice, I can assure you the beer is cold, the food plentiful, and the service friendly.

 

7

Baytowne Golf Club

Baytowne Golf Club 2Baytowne Golf Club 2

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The slogan at Baytowne is “The Only Course That Extends from the Beach to the Bay.”  Sounds sexy, right?  It is. 

Design by Tom Jackson, this course, which received 4.5 stars from Golf Digest, is a sight to behold. 

Unlike most courses in Southern Bayou country, Baytowne features some elevation changes you’ll need to take into account. 

Water is a theme in this part of the world and there’s plenty of it at Baytowne.  Accordingly, play safe off the tee and to the fat side of the greens if you want to score well.

If you’re looking to stay where you play, Baytowne is part of a larger resort that has plenty of first rate amenities and a few other courses as well. 

This one is the only one I’ve played but, we feature a couple others in this article.  So, keep reading.

 

8

Raven Golf Club at Sandestin

Raven Golf Club at Sandestin 1Raven Golf Club at Sandestin 1

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As promised, I’m touting another course at Sandestin Golf and Beach Resort.  Even though I haven’t played this one personally, our readers tell me it’s a must.

Designed by Robert Trent Jones Jr, Raven Golf Club is a natural wonder that is demanding off every tee.

When you peg it out here, you’ll work your way through native marshes and pine forests that are the emblem of golf on the Emerald Coast.

Large, undulating greens make for tricky pin placements, so you’ll have to be on your iron game to get the ball close.

It sounds like I need to get back to this property and, I suggest you do too.

9

The Links Course at Sandestin 1The Links Course at Sandestin 1

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I told you we’d feature some of the courses at Sandestin, so here’s the third in a row.

I haven’t played the Links Course but, based on the research I’ve done and the input I’ve received, this is by all accounts a track you don’t want to miss out on.

Risk and reward.  Those are the two words the sum the experience at this track.  With the prevailing Gulf Coast winds, shot selection is the number one priority here.

The full routing will test you in every aspect of the game and, force you to make calculated decisions throughout.

Locals tell me you’re either the Hero or the Goat at the Links Course at Sandestin.  One way or another, I can’t wait to see it for myself.

10

Seascape Golf Beach and Tennis Resort

Seascape Golf Beach and Tennis Resort 1Seascape Golf Beach and Tennis Resort 1

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My wife loves resorts, and she loves tennis.  That’s why we chose Seascape as our home base when we were in Destin a few years ago.

While I’m an avid tennis player, you know what I was most excited about – golf. 

The course here is a classic Northwest Florida design with ample water and wetland areas.  Target golf.

With that being said, area locals are all too impressed with this course’s character.  A lively variety of holes keeps you interested the entire round.

At an affordable price, I’d recommend Seascape to any golfer.

Conclusion

The panhandle of Florida remains an undiscovered gem when it comes to great golf.  All too often, we think of other parts of the state when it comes to golf.  With no disrespect to Miami, Tampa, and Orlando, I’m here to tell you Destin has it going on.

Truth be told, I can hardly call myself an expert when it comes to golf in this part of the country.  Thankfully, I have the continued input of our loyal readers to fall back on.  So, here’s to guys.

Many thanks as always and leave a comment below.