With its captivating beauty, year round sunshine and miles of unspoiled shoreline, Palm Coast and the Flagler Beaches is a perfect destination for golf lovers who want to immerse themselves in nature while perfecting their game. The area is home to several courses designed by some of the top names in golf, as well as fairways that take advantage of the region's natural hazards.
The following courses have been recognized as some of the best in the state, if not the country, and many are located minutes from Palm Coast and the Flagler Beaches’ gorgeous shorelines, popular restaurants and unique cultural activities.
Grab your gloves and spike shoes and get ready to explore. Here are three of the most popular golf courses in Palm Coast and the Flagler Beaches.
Ocean Course at Hammock Beach
Frequently hailed as one of the best resort golf courses in the country, the Jack Nicklaus-designed Ocean Course at Hammock Beach has been recognized by everyone from Conde Nast to Golf Digest for its pristine setting, beautiful layout and attentive service. The course was also recognized multiple times by Golfweek as one of the best courses in Florida, and Golf For Women named it one of the top 50 courses in the country.
One glimpse at the course and you’ll see why the praise keeps pouring in. Hammock Beach’s 18-hole Ocean Course winds through acres of undisturbed wetlands and pristine lakes, as well as some of the nicest neighborhoods in Palm Coast and the Flagler Beaches. The real treat for most players is the six holes that overlook the sparkling waters of the Atlantic Ocean. Don’t forget to pack your camera in your golf bag; you’ll never want to forget these views.
The course is designed to keep even golf pros on their toes. A steady ocean breeze provides a pleasant challenge when lining up your shot. The final four holes, nicknamed “The Bear Claw” in honor of designer Jack Nicklaus (A.K.A. The Golden Bear), are perched precariously close to the water and offer demanding uphill and corner shots before culminating in a par five finishing hole that offers panoramic views of the entire course.
In October 2017, the course is set to reopen after a year of renovations. When it does, it will be one of the few in the Southeast to feature Platinum Paspalum turf, a thick, short-blade grass that stays green year-round. To make the course even more visually appealing, the bunkers were updated with sparkling white Angle-G sand. While the renovations stay true to Nicklaus’ original vision, the updates include new forward tees at each hole, allowing the par 72 course to play as short as 4,100 yards while still retaining a demanding overall length of 7,210 yards from the back tees.
If you’re looking to perfect your game, the resort’s team of certified PGA golf professionals offer group and individual lessons for beginners and pros alike. Classes can be customized to your interests and skill level. Learn how to cover more distance with your driver and get back to the green from any bunker shot. Some lessons offer video recordings and analysis, enabling you to continue to fine-tune your swing long after you return home from your golf trip.
Palm Harbor Golf Course
You’ll love the recently redesigned course at Palm Harbor Golf Club. But don’t just take our word for it. The course has repeatedly won the People’s Choice award for best golf course in Flagler County. Meandering through corridors of palm trees and old oaks, the 18-hole course is designed to satisfy golfers of all skill levels.
Each hole offers its own unique challenges and rewards. The course kicks off with scenic views of the Intracoastal Waterway and weaves through a tree-lined greenway before doglegging around moss-covered oaks. Difficulty levels vary. There’s the par three-second hole, which is designed to help you kick off your game with a fairly straightforward shot, while hole nine is engulfed in hazards. Golfers will appreciate the hard to find skinny fairway of hole 14, where par four is a great score for even the most experienced players.
The on-site golf club features a pro shop, where you can shop for brand name apparel and equipment. The course also has an exceptional practice facility, where you can perfect your stroke on the driving range, putting green or the chipping green, complete with a recently updated bunker.
The Grand Club Pine Lakes Golf Course
Designed by golf pro and legend Arnold Palmer, the Pine Lakes Golf Course ranks among the best golf courses in the state. The course has hosted multiple professional events over the years and is considered a must play by tournament champions around the world.
A few years ago, Palmer returned to his creation to make the Pine Lakes Golf Course even more exceptional. More than $2.5 million was invested in renovating the course and clubhouse. Today, amateurs, pros and weekend warriors will find a course that’s bigger and better than ever.
The par 72 Pine Lakes Golf Course is one of the few courses in Florida to have natural hills and undulations in the fairways. These organic dips and rises create a unique topography that provides an exciting challenge for pros and novices alike.
As you play, you’ll make your way through more than 160 acres of undisturbed wetlands, winding creeks and the towering pine forests that give the course its name. As lush as it is, the Pine Lakes Golf Course also has a strong drainage system, meaning your golf trip is less likely to be inconvenienced by “cart path only” days. By embracing the best of Florida’s natural terrain, Palmer has created a course that’s not only beautiful but also functional and fun to play.
The golf course also has a comprehensive practice facility complete with a driving range, short game area and expansive putting green. The course also offers private and group lessons to help you perfect your stroke with a pro. PGA star Craig Rudolph, a staple in the Flagler golf community, offers everyone from novices to scratch golfers personalized lessons on producing a swing that’s as efficient as it is easy to repeat in future games.
Considering a family golf trip? Kids can also get in on the fun at Pine Lakes Golf Course’s camps and clinics.