After writing as many of these course guides as I have, I’ve lost count of the number I’ve written about top destinations in Florida. Whatever the number is, it’s a lot. But we aren’t done yet. We still have a couple to go and this one’s going to highlight the best public courses in the community of Clearwater.
I haven’t been in Clearwater proper myself, but I’ve spent time in the area. With that being said, I’m by no means an expert about the town’s public golf scene. I just know there’s a lot of golf to be played.
As has become habit, I reached out to our readership to see if there was anyone that might be able to offer some insight. And true to form, I received a lot of feedback. Suffice it to say there’s no shortage of great public options.
Let’s have a look at some of the better ones.
TPC Tampa Bay
TPC Tampa Bay has played host to a PGA Tour Champions event for 21 consecutive years. That alone should tell you that this place is special.
Touted as one of the best maintained golf courses in all of Florida, you can expect exquisite conditions no matter what time of year you tee it up here.
The design is the epitome of target golf with expansive bunkers and water bodies coming into play on nearly every hole. Solid ball striking and strategic course management are the keys to scoring well.
When you’re done with your round, be sure to stop in at !CUATRO. This modern bar and restaurant are designed to bring people together with their welcoming open air environment.
The menu highlights local ingredients and culinary traditions.
A total experience, TPC Tampa Bay is worth the price you pay.
Fox Hollow Golf Club
It’s said that Fox Hollow is Tampa’s premier semi-private facility. That means that while it boasts a vibrant membership, the public is welcome to play too.
Designed by Robert Trent Jones Sr., this course features Paspalum greens and fairways. If you’ve never played off Paspalum, I’ll tell you it’s the stuff dreams are made of. The ball sits up like it’s on a tee.
Like a lot of courses in this part of the country, water and sand come into play prominently. While the landing areas are generous, errant shots can find trouble.
For what you get at Fox Hollow, the rates are more than reasonable.
The Landings Golf Club
The Landings dates all the way back to 1970.
Even though this course only plays to a par of 63, it’s full of character and charm. Small, undulating greens can be tricky to read. The fairways feature unique humps and bumps that can create some uneven lies.
This is the perfect place to come work on your short clubs. If you’re dialed in, expect to have some looks at birdies.
In the event you need some club work done while you’re in the Clearwater area, the Landings is the place to do it. They have all the necessary equipment, a large inventory of shafts and grips, and the staff are club repair experts.
A great value and a fun round, don’t overlook the Landings.
Dunedin Golf Club
The venerable Donald Ross was the mastermind behind Dunedin Golf Club which opened for play in 1927.
Over the years, this track has played host to 18 Senior Tour Championships and countless other prestigious events.
As you might expect, this track isn’t long by modern standards. However, it’s no pushover either. Narrow fairways and small greens demand precise shots.
The mix of holes here is distinct as well. Holes move both left and right, and plenty of trees and hazards come into play.
Steeped in history of some of the game’s greatest players, a round at Dunedin is like stepping back in time. A must see for me.
Crescent Oaks Country Club
Crescent Oaks is set amongst one of the largest nature preserves in Florida. That means it’s not surrounded by houses and your chances of seeing wildlife are almost guaranteed.
Fairways are surrounded by mature pine trees and yes, plenty of water. Keep it in the short stuff. The greens are exceptionally firm and fast so be sure to roll a few putts before you head to the first tee.
What golfers seem to like most about this layout are the number of options you have on each hole. Plenty of risk and reward make for a fun, and interesting round.
This place just sounds cool.
Eagles Golf Club – Lakes Course
As this course’s name would suggest, there’s an abundance of water on the Lakes Course at Eagles Golf Club.
While that’s certainly the case, the driving areas are generous. Go ahead and hit driver when it makes sense.
There’s also plenty of chances for risk and reward. In fact, each nine on the Lakes Course starts out with a risk reward par five. Do you go for it in two, or lay up? That’s a decision only you can make.
One of the more fun rounds to play in the Tampa area, tee it high and let if fly at the Lakes Course at Eagles Golf Club.
Eagles Golf Club – Forest Course
The front nine at the Forest Course was designed by Florida native, Gary Koch. The back nine is the work of the infamous Ron Garl.
Unlike the Lakes Course, which is open, there’s a premium on accuracy at the Forest Course. The fairways are sloped, and the greens well protected.
One of the more memorable holes is the drivable par four third. Eagles and birdies can be made but you’d best be accurate with your tee shot if you choose to go for the green. Water flanks the entire right side, and the green is surrounded by bunkers.
While the back nine is considered the easier nine, it’s also downright gorgeous. Large oak and cypress trees line the fairways, and provide the perfect contrast against verdant fairways and crystalline lakes.
The Forest Course at Eagles Golf Club is a memorable round that will leave you wanting to come back for more.
Lansbrook Golf Club
Lansbrook Golf Club is one of the aforementioned, Ron Garl’s finer works.
Nestled amongst centuries old Cypress trees, there’s an air of southern gentility to be found at Lansbrook.
No two holes parallel each other. Water comes into play on 16 holes. Short and straight is better than long and crooked.
If you happen to hit one in the water, keep your eyes open. Alligators make frequent appearances, but usually keep their distance.
Here again, the variety of holes this track boasts are both fun and challenging. Chances are you’ll get to hit every club in your bag.
Locals say this is one the most underrated rounds anywhere in the Tampa area.
Broadmoor Golf and Tennis Club
Don’t forget your driver when you come to Broadmoor. The fairways are some of the widest in Florida and invite you to swing away. Sounds like fun to me!
Voted the “Best Course in Tampa Bay” in 2019, it comes as no surprise this track has played host to 13 PGA and LPGA Tour events over the years.
Dating back to 1971, this is a classic old school layout. Mature trees line the fairways and the greens are small and tricky to read. As a general rule, it’s best to putt from below the hole out here.
When you’re finished playing, stop by the Pizzeria and Grille for a customized pie and cold beer. Come to think of it, pizza never sounds bad after a round of golf, does it?
Cove Cay Golf Club
Cove Cay is one of the more scenic courses in the area. It sits right on the shores of west Old Tampa Bay.
Just minutes from Tampa Bay International Airport, Cove Cay is the perfect first stop when you get off the plane.
Locals rave about the pace of play out here too. A full round rarely takes more than four hours. That’s unheard for a public course!
The signature hole is the 17th. A par five that runs right along the coast, the views are to die for. Pay attention on your approach shot though. The green sits on a peninsula and an errant shot could spell bad news.
A hidden gem and a great value, there’s no such thing as a bad day at Cove Cay.
As I suspected, there’s an abundance of quality public golf to be found in the Clearwater area. Variety is the spice of life, and no matter if you’re looking for great value, or something high-end, it can be found here.
I’ve played a lot of golf all over Florida, and even spent a healthy amount of time in nearby Tampa. Knowing what I do now however, I’m going to make a concerted effort to get to Clearwater on my next visit.
My most appreciative thanks to everyone that contributed their thoughts about this area’s public golf. I couldn’t have written this course guide without you. Let us know your thoughts in the comments below and we’ll be back with more soon.