If you’re a golfer who’s planning a vacation focused on your favorite pastime, it can be difficult to decide where to go. After all, there are outstanding courses all over the United States – the particularly famous ones at Pebble Beach or Augusta may come to mind – but when you want the whole package of beautiful weather, excellent courses, and top-notch hospitality, Tampa Bay is the place to turn. Located in the middle of Florida’s west coast, in close proximity to the Gulf of Mexico, the area enjoys gorgeous summers and lovely, mild winters that are sure to please. After all, what could be a better alternative to slogging through a dreary gray winter in the Northeast or Midwest than playing a few holes in the Florida sunshine?
If you plan to fly into town, you won’t need to go far to make tee time because the Westchase Golf Club is right around the corner. Not only does the club provide GPS on every golf cart, but they keep the course very well maintained so the fairways are always challenging and the greens are always smooth. On the other hand, if you plan to stay or visit in North Tampa or anywhere near the University of South Florida, you may want to visit the Pebble Creek Golf Club, which sports an 18-hole, 71-par course that has recently undergone a massive $2 million upgrade and has new sand bunkers to challenge every golfer.
If you would rather stay at a resort that offers golfing onsite, you can always look to Saddlebrook, with its 800 rooms and suites. Saddlebrook is located 30 miles north of Tampa, in Wesley Chapel away from the bustle of the Tampa metropolitan area. The resort offers two golf courses for your enjoyment, both of which were designed by PGA legend Arnold Palmer. You can also utilize the 3.5-acre driving range and browse through the well-stocked Pro Shop, in addition to taking in all of the resort’s other amenities.
Although all of these courses offer excellent opportunities for golfing fun, the crown jewel of Florida’s golfing options is the Innisbrook Resort. Located in beautiful Clearwater, this golf resort has been recently renovated and is well known for hosting an annual PGA championship. The Innisbrook Resort has four courses to choose from, all of which were designed by architect Lawrence Packard, including the highly rated Copperhead course. One of the other courses, the Island, offers the opportunity to take on a unique layout with more than 70 feet of elevation changes – a true treat in the usually flat Florida landscape.
Tampa Bay’s collection of courses isn’t only challenging, but even allows you to experience a bit of the natural environment, with cypress, pine, and oak trees lining the fairways, as well as the occasional glimpse of Florida wildlife. Of course, if you’re looking for other activities after you finish the 18th hole, you can visit one of the many local parks or beaches to witness more of the area’s natural beauty. You can go for a swim, take a short fishing trip, or hike a nature trail to rejuvenate the mind and make the most of your time in Tampa Bay.