Forelinksters gathers up the best rated public golf courses from Golf, Golf Digest, and Golfweek magazines, and created a guide to the best golf courses to play in America, here’s our list of the top 11 best golf courses in Fort Lauderdale (we couldn’t possibly stop at the Top 10) in alphabetical order:
1. Boca Raton Resort & Club The Boca Raton Resort was built in the 1920′s, and is still a classic Mediterranean style resort, designed by Mizner. Grand hotel and setting between Federal Highway and the Intracoastal, south of Palmetto Park. There’s two 18 hole courses here and you need to stay at the resort to play them. The Resort course was originally designed by William Flynn in the 1920′s with recent redesign work by Gene Bates. The Country Club course is more of a typical Florida style golf club, designed by Joe Lee, a Florida parkland type of course, a little longer and tougher than the resort course, plenty of sand and water, and the greens tend to be elevated and well protected. Both courses have impeccable service and conditions, very well landscaped, like playing through a garden, but expect to pay for it.
2. The Club at Emerald Hills Like most in Florida, the course is routed through a tightly packed residential development, with water in play on most holes, and the houses too! It can play to 7300 yards from the back tees, and a tough 146 slope, but has three other sets of tees. Challenging course with a number of forced carries, designed by von Hagge/Devlin, usually in good shape, fairly routine Florida course. Expensive in the season, twilight’s your best option.
3. Deer Creek Golf Club is one of the better public access courses in the area, and is on the expensive side, rates drop by more than half off-season. It was designed by Bill Watts and Art Hills, is always in great shape, it can be very difficult depending on which tees you play from. There’s water in play on at least half the holes, and it’s very well bunkered, especially around the greens.
4. Grande Oaks Golf Club, aka Bushwood from Caddyshack There’s only two ways to play Grande Oaks, the golf club where Caddyshack was filmed, one is join, the other is to stay at one of the hotels that have privileges, like the Ritz Carlton, Hyatt, Sheraton, or Hilton in Ft. Lauderdale. The course doesn’t have the feel of a typical Florida course. Although there’s a good amount of water and sand, but it seems more a northern style parkland style of layout, without palm trees, on slightly rolling land.
5. Heron Bay Golf Club is a former PGA Tour stop, and is routed through an upscale master planned community. It was designed by Mark McCumber and plays to 7268 yards, 127 slope and 74.9 course rating from the back tees. Usually windy here, flat layout with lots of sand and water, well guarded greens and fairways. A little on the boring side, nothing real special, expensive, even though it’s not part of the TPC anymore.
6. Inverrary Country Club used to be the PGA tour stop in the mid-70′s, and lost out to some of the more higher profile and newer designs, but the course is still solid. There’s two courses here, both designed by Robert Trent Jones, Sr, and prices vary wildly depending on the season. The East Course is the former tournament course, and it longest, and most difficult. The West course is the shorter of the two, but has over 100 sand bunkers and 9 holes with water in play. The layout is a classic with tree-lined fairways, playing to slightly raised and well bunkered green s which are quick, true rolling and mildly undulating. Course condition is outstanding, service is good, the environment feels a little “old Florida” with the condos bordering the course.
7. Jacaranda Golf Club Located just west of the Broward Mall on Broward Blvd, 15 minutes from the Ft Lauderdale Airport. Two 18 hole championship layouts here, The West Course, a Bobby Weed redisgn of Mark Mahannah’s original, the front nine’s a nice warm-up for a more brutal backside. The East course is the more notable course and has been a venue for a number of PGA and USGA tournaments. It was redesigned by Bobby Weed as well, and has wide palm tree lined fairways and a somewhat rolling hills terrain, with your typical Florida course water hazards and a lot of traps throughout. This is one of SE Florida’s top golf courses and experiences
8. The Cypress Course at Palm-Aire Palm-Aire is a massive residential golf course community just west of I-95 between McNab Road and Atlantic. There’s a total of four 18 hole golf courses, semi-private, and open to public play, The Cypress and Oaks are the best courses. The Oaks is the premier layout, an original George Fazio design, redesigned by nephew Tom Fazio, it’s 6,370 yards from the back tees, 70.8/125 ratings. The Cypress is a Fazio/Fazio design as well, opened in the early 1970′s, and from the White tees plays 6o 6,051 yards, 70.6/134 ratings, par 71, and is the toughest layout of all, a little funky, small greens, tight approaches.
9. Plantation Preserve Golf Club was designed by Devlin, VonHagge, Smelek & Baril as an Audubon certified design. It’s a great course for a muni, but prices really range depending on the season. The course layout has wide fairways that are bound by a series of lakes that wind through the property creating some interesting hazards, with 13 holes having water in play.
10. Polo Trace Golf Club is located north of Fort Lauderdale on the west side of Delray Beach in an upscale housing development, and is an open links type of course, but with water in play on eight holes. It was designed by Karl Litten and Joey Sindelar, and opened in 1989. From the back tees, the course plays to 7100 yards 139 slope, but has three other tee box options. The overall condition of the course was very good, the ball rolled true and fast on the greens, and rates were on the expensive side, but the environment was very well done overall.
11. The Diplomat Golf Resort is in Hollywood between Miami and Ft. Lauderdale. It’s part of the Westin hotel chain and a full service resort, but you don’t have to stay there to play the golf course. It’s expensive in season, but in the summers you can get on for less than $100. Very upscale and swanky resort, conditions and service are top notch and five star. The golf course was originally designed by Robert von Hagge in the mid-1950′s, and redesigned by Joe Lee. The routing is over flat land through banyan, gumbo limbo, and palm trees with sand throughout, with the wind always a factor being so close to the beach. If you headed further south, take a look at our Miami Course listings , north our best golf courses in West Palm Beach