Best Golf Courses in Destin, Florida

Updated February 2024 to update booking information.

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

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Regatta Bay Golf and Yacht Club offers you a memorable round of golf with its lush fairways and manicured greens. Nestled along the shores of the Choctawhatchee Bay and just minutes from the Gulf of Mexico, this championship course, designed by renowned architect Robert Trent Jones Jr., is a true pearl in Destin, Florida. The recent $2.25 million makeover has propelled the club into the top 200 Places to Play in North America and a top 15 course in Florida, ensuring a top-tier golfing experience.

As you step onto the course, you’ll be greeted by a scenic coastal landscape and a staff dedicated to providing a well-maintained and enjoyable golfing experience. The course itself offers a perfect blend of traditional and modern elements, with strategically placed water hazards and bunkers, providing both challenge and aesthetic appeal.

As you play through the . nature preserves, you’ll encounter a golfing experience that seamlessly blends luxury and sport.

Regatta Bay Golf and Yacht Club is the epitome of an exceptional golfing destination, where every aspect, from the course design to the luxurious amenities, has been meticulously crafted to provide an unforgettable golfing experience.

 

2

Shalimar Pointe Golf Club

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Nestled within a natural setting carved out of a hardwood forest, Shalimar Pointe Golf Club offers a tranquil atmosphere for a memorable round of golf, seamlessly blending luxury and sport just like its neighboring course.

The course, designed by Tom Jackson, showcases the natural beauty of Destin, Florida, with its lush pine forests and emerald fairways. The well-maintained greens and white sand bunkers create a picturesque backdrop for a challenging yet rewarding game.

Golfers can enjoy the spacious practice facilities and a well-appointed clubhouse, adding to the overall experience of this esteemed golf course.

Shalimar Pointe Golf Club is known for its impeccable attention to detail, from the course maintenance to the amenities provided, making it an ideal destination for golf enthusiasts seeking a peaceful and scenic round.

The club’s commitment to providing a top-tier golfing experience is evident in the care taken to preserve the natural surroundings, ensuring that each visit is a truly memorable one.

 

3

Rocky Bayou Country Club

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If you’re looking for a golfing experience that combines a friendly course design, wide fairways, and a welcoming atmosphere, then Rocky Bayou Country Club is the ideal destination for you.

Here’s why you should consider a round at this renowned club:

  1. Welcoming Atmosphere: Rocky Bayou Country Club is known for its warm and inviting ambiance, making it an excellent choice for golfers seeking a relaxed and enjoyable experience.
  2. Quality and Value: Golfers can expect a combination of quality and value when playing at Rocky Bayou Country Club, ensuring that they receive a memorable golfing experience without breaking the bank.
  3. Manicured Greens: The course features wide fairways and manicured greens, offering a characteristic layout that challenges golfers of all skill levels.
  4. Fast Play and Affordability: The club is renowned for fast play and affordability, making it accessible to a wide range of golfers who appreciate a well-maintained course and efficient pace of play.

Rocky Bayou Country Club provides an excellent golfing experience, and it’s a must-visit for anyone exploring the golf courses in Destin, Florida. With its friendly course design, welcoming atmosphere, and affordable rates, it’s a standout destination for golf enthusiasts.

4

Indian Bayou Country Club

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Indian Bayou Country Club offers a charming atmosphere and a memorable golfing experience, known for its glistening green fairways and southern pines. This private membership club, although open to the public, boasts the Seminole and Choctaw nines, providing golfers with a challenging and diverse experience. The gently rolling fairways and undulating greens make for an exciting game, and the layout is often considered one of the best in the Destin area. The course showcases stunning views of the Choctawhatchee Bay, creating a picturesque backdrop for your game.

The Indian Bayou Country Club is renowned for its well-maintained grounds and top-notch facilities. The Pro Shop offers a wide selection of golfing gear and equipment, ensuring that you have everything you need for a successful round. Additionally, the course features strategically placed water hazards and elevation changes, adding complexity to the game and requiring strategic play.

For golfers seeking a challenging yet rewarding experience in a beautiful setting, Indian Bayou Country Club is a must-visit destination in Destin, Florida. Whether you’re a seasoned golfer or a newcomer to the sport, this club provides an unforgettable golfing experience amidst breathtaking surroundings.

5

The Golf Garden of Destin

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The Golf Garden of Destin offers a diverse and enjoyable golfing experience for players of all skill levels, making it a fantastic destination for both families and avid golfers. Here’s why it’s worth a visit:

  1. Family-Friendly: With a nine-hole executive course and an 18-hole putting course, The Golf Garden is an ideal place for families to enjoy a fun and relaxed game of golf together.
  2. Accessibility for Beginners: The facility’s design and atmosphere make it accessible and welcoming for golfers who are just starting to explore the sport.
  3. Practice Opportunities: The well-kept driving ranges and short game areas provide ample opportunities for golfers to practice and improve their skills.
  4. Refreshing Alternative: The Golf Garden of Destin offers a refreshing change from the typical championship courses, providing a more relaxed and enjoyable golfing experience.

Whether you’re looking for a place to introduce your family to golf, seeking a less intense round of golf, or wanting to practice your skills in a beautiful setting, The Golf Garden of Destin is an excellent choice. It’s a welcoming and inclusive space, perfectly situated for both families and golf enthusiasts visiting the Emerald Coast and the courses at Sandestin.

 

6

Blue Water Bay Golf Course

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After exploring the welcoming and inclusive atmosphere of The Golf Garden of Destin, your next golfing adventure beckons at the scenic Blue Water Bay Golf Course, offering breathtaking views of Choctawhatchee Bay and an exceptional experience designed by renowned architects. Tom Fazio and Jerry Pate, the architects of this course, have seamlessly blended the diverse terrain with the natural surroundings, creating a picturesque setting for an unforgettable round of golf.

With 27 holes available, you have the flexibility to mix and match your play, ensuring a varied and dynamic golfing experience. Additionally, after your round, you can unwind and relax at the Slick Micks sports bar, adding to the overall enjoyment of your visit. Whether you’re a seasoned golfer or a novice, the Blue Water Bay Golf Course provides an opportunity to immerse yourself in the beauty of the surroundings while enjoying a challenging game.

If you’re looking to further expand your golfing experiences in Destin, Florida, consider exploring other renowned courses such as Emerald Bay Golf Club, Links Course at Sandestin, Sandestin Golf and Beach Resort, and Regatta Bay Golf and Yacht Club, each offering its own unique challenges and stunning landscapes. Whether it’s forced carries, water hazards, or strategically placed bunkers, these courses are sure to test your skills and provide an exhilarating golfing experience.

 

7

Baytowne Golf Club

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Nestled amidst the stunning vista of Destin, Florida, Baytowne Golf Club offers an unforgettable golfing experience with its picturesque views and strategically designed course. Here’s what you can expect from this exceptional golf club:

  1. Scenic Layout: Baytowne Golf Club extends from the beach to the bay, providing breathtaking views of the surrounding natural beauty. The course, designed by Tom Jackson, features elevated changes and water hazards, adding an extra layer of challenge and beauty to your game.
  2. Strategic Play: Players are encouraged to play safe off the tee and to the fat side of the greens. This strategic approach rewards precision and careful decision-making, making for a fulfilling game for golfers of all skill levels.
  3. Resort Amenities: The golf club is part of a larger resort, the Links Golf and Beach Resort, offering first-rate amenities that complement the golfing experience, ensuring a memorable and comfortable stay.
  4. Excellent Conditions: Baytowne Golf Club is known for its well-maintained greens and a friendly, accommodating staff, enhancing the overall enjoyment of your golfing experience.

Baytowne Golf Club stands as a testament to the beauty and challenge of the golf courses in Destin, Florida, alongside other notable courses like Raven Golf Club, Kelly Plantation Golf, and more.

 

8

Raven Golf Club at Sandestin

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Amidst the stunning golf landscape of Destin, Florida, Raven Golf Club at Sandestin beckons with its renowned design by Robert Trent Jones Jr. and is hailed as a must-play course by avid readers. This course, co-designed by Fred Couples and Gene Bates, is a gem within the Sandestin Golf and Beach Resort.

Raven Golf Club at Sandestin stands out for its demanding layout off every tee, native marshes, pine forests, and large, undulating greens. The course’s dramatic elevation changes and lush landscapes demand a mix of power and precision from golfers, making it a challenging yet rewarding experience. Despite heavy rain, the course remains in excellent condition, ensuring a fun golfing experience.

As part of the Sandestin Golf and Beach Resort, players can expect a luxurious experience with additional amenities. Raven Golf Club at Sandestin has gained recognition, being featured in Golf Digest and praised as a links course, solidifying its reputation as one of the best golf courses in Destin, Florida.

9
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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

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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.

 

  

Paul Liberatore
Paul Liberatore

As the Founder of Golfers Authority Paul Liberatore Esq. has spent the last 7+ years writing about the best golf equipment or instruction from the top golf instructors in the world. He has been a contributing writer for Sports Illustrated Golf and GolfWRX. After graduating with honors from Purdue University, he realized that he had a passion for the golf business and the law. When he's not practicing law, or creating golf content on YouTube, he can be found on his syndicated Behind the Golf Brand podcast both on Apple and Spotify talking with the most prolific leaders in the golf industry. 

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