Lush landscaping, beautiful views, well-designed layouts combined with year-round play make Broward County a hole-in-one for golfers. The pleasant tropical weather creates a perfect atmosphere for the popular sport of golf. Golf Digest, Travel & Leisure, and USA Today consistently recommend South Florida golf courses.
The leisurely lifestyle of the Greater Fort Lauderdale area means there is no shortage of golf courses. More than 60 courses offer options for players of all skill levels and includes exclusive private clubs, resort courses, premier municipal facilities, public courses, and executive courses. Legendary golfers such as Raymond Floyd, Jack Nicklaus, Bruce Devlin, and Tom and George Fazio designed many courses in the Fort Lauderdale area. For a comprehensive Broward County listing and website links visit:
Miami and Palm Beach, both only a 45-minute drive from Fort Lauderdale, also offer a myriad of courses at every skill level and price point. Visit www.golfmiami.com and www.thepalmbeaches.com/golf.
If you are an avid golfer who likes to attend major PGA TOUR events and see the top-ranked golf professionals at work, you are in the perfect location. The iconic Blue Monster at Trump National Doral in Miami has hosted major PGA TOUR events for 55 years and virtually every major league golfer has graced this course. Golf Magazine has ranked the infamous 18th hole as one of the Top 100 holes in the world. The PGA National Resort and Spa in Palm Beach hosts the PGA’s Tour annual Honda Classic that began in 1972 with numerous world-renowned golfers winning this tournament over the past four decades. Detailed information found at www.pgatour.com and www.golflink.com.
Adios Golf Club located in Coconut Creek is “uber” exclusive, a male-only club, and membership is by invitation only. Females are not allowed on the property at any time, even as guests for dining. While this may seem discriminatory, it is legal because the property is privately owned.
The history of the property is most interesting. Eleanor Ritchey, the granddaughter of Philip John Bayer, founder of the Quaker State Oil Refining Company, inherited and owned the property until her death in 1968. Eleanor never married, never had children, but had lots of dogs…150. When her will was recorded, it was learned that the dogs got everything. The trustee of her estate was instructed to supervise the dog ranch. Wendy’s founder, Dave Thomas, Arnold Palmer and several hall-of-fame sports team owners and players formed the founding membership of Adios Golf Club. Arnold Palmer designed the course and construction began in 1982.
Fort Lauderdale Country Club, the oldest private country club in Broward County, was established in 1926. This is the only private club in the county that offers 36 holes of championship golf. Their two well-maintained courses, competitive tournament schedule, and popular ladies golfing program make this club one of the most desirable options in the South Florida region.
Coral Ridge Country Club, established in 1954, is a non-equity based club located in the heart of Fort Lauderdale just minutes from the beach. The club offers a classically designed championship course and a Par 3, 9-hole course that are flawlessly maintained as well as various practice facilities. In addition to golf, the club features 11 tennis courts, a junior Olympic swimming pool, a playground and three dining locations. This club is known for a casual and family-friendly atmosphere. Every season of the year offers a robust schedule of sports and activity events.
There are numerous other private golf clubs in Broward County, which are easily resourced by a Google search for “Broward County private golf courses”. Amenities, atmosphere, and price points are personal considerations; you will pay a handsome initiation fee and annual dues to become a member at any of these private clubs. Personal recommendations are suggested which will provide you with the nuances of a particular club that are not offered in written format.
Public and Municipal Courses
There is an abundance of great public and municipal courses in the Fort Lauderdale area. If you are a novice golfer or an infrequent player, this may be your best option to take a few lessons with a golf professional, get a few rounds under your belt and learn if this is your game for a leisurely hobby. You can expect an 18 hole round to take 5-6 hours even with scheduled tee-times during high season from January through April. Additionally, the courses will show wear-and-tear i.e. no divot or green repair by players and you will experience golfers that do not adhere to the etiquette rules of Golf which can be frustrating for some.
As with private club considerations, talk with you friends and family for their feedback and play a few rounds with them on suggested courses. Not only will you make your own decisions but you may also hone your skills of keeping the ball in the fairway and a nice lay up for the short game where you will lower your handicap.
An acquaintance of mine, who plays to a 12 handicap and has played virtually every public course as well as numerous private courses in the Greater Fort Lauderdale area, highly recommends Boca West, Deer Creek, Emerald Dunes, Grande Oakes, and Turnberry Isle.
Two notable public facilities for golf instruction are the Kevin Battersby Golf Learning Center in Coconut Creek and Conte’s Palm-Aire Golf Academy in Pompano Beach. The instructional staff at both facilities are award winning PGA and LPGA professionals as well as previous playing professionals on both men’s and women’s tours. No where your current playing level, from a casual to a competitive enthusiast, these pros have walked the path. They have the unique ability to not only play the game but to communicate and teach the game to others.
The Conte Academy is located at Palm-Aire Country Club with access to the Oaks and Cypress courses. They offer individual, group, junior programs, as well as playing lessons on the course.
The Battersby Center offers individual, group, and junior instruction but do not have access to an on-site course for playing lessons.