Updated February 2024 to update booking information.
I swear, by the time I’m done writing about golf courses in Florida, the State Chamber of Commerce is going to hire me for a full-time position. At least that’s what my ego tells me. . .
But I digress. All kidding aside, Panama City is another one of those locales that I’m not qualified to offer much of an opinion on when it comes to golf.
However, as I expected, there are a lot of Golfer’s Authority fans in this community, and like other golfers from around the country, they asked for a guide highlighting their fair community’s best public courses.
The insight I received was more than I can fit into a single public course guide. Nonetheless, here are the consensus top ten picks.
Origins Golf Club
If you’re searching for a golfing experience that’s both unique and refreshing, Origins Golf Club is a must-visit destination, located just a short 17-mile drive from Panama City on the stunning Emerald Coast.
Designed by the legendary Jack Nicklaus, this course offers a minimalist design and a shorter playing time, making it a favorite among golfers. Originally intended as a six-hole regulation course, it can also be played as a ten-hole par three course, allowing for a different and enjoyable experience.
The course is always in great shape, adding to the overall enjoyment of your game. Whether you’re a seasoned golfer looking for a new challenge or a beginner wanting to hone your skills, Origins Golf Club provides a fantastic setting for a memorable round of golf.
The combination of its unique design, well-maintained course, and picturesque location makes it a standout choice for anyone visiting the Panama City Beach area. If you’re in the area and love golf, this club is a definite must-visit.
Nature Walk Golf Club
Nature Walk Golf Club offers a unique and refreshing golfing experience with its shorter par 60 course that creatively incorporates the natural terrain. This Nicklaus Design course is nestled in a nature preserve, allowing you to immerse yourself in the stunning surroundings while enjoying a round of golf.
The course’s minimalist design emphasizes skill and strategy, making it an attractive choice for golfers of all levels. Despite its shorter length, Nature Walk Golf Club doesn’t compromise on the quality of the experience. The club features an expansive driving range and a large practice green, providing ample opportunities to hone your skills.
One of the most appealing aspects of this course is that it offers an affordable round of golf that won’t consume your entire day, allowing you to savor the beauty of the Bay Point Golf Club and take in the breathtaking views of one of the world’s most beautiful golf courses.
Whether you’re a seasoned golfer or a beginner looking for a memorable golfing experience, Nature Walk Golf Club promises a delightful and enjoyable game.
Bay Point Golf Club – Nicklaus Course
Nestled in the stunning natural surroundings of Bay Point Golf Club, the Nicklaus Course offers a challenging and picturesque golfing experience for players of all skill levels. Here are some reasons why you should grab your clubs and head to the Nicklaus Course at Bay:
- Unique Terrain: The course features water hazards and sand traps carved from natural Floridian terrain, providing a challenging yet rewarding experience that will test your skills.
- Scenic Views: As you play, you can take in the beautiful backdrop of the crystal blue St. Andrews Bay, adding an extra layer of enjoyment to your game.
- Facilities: With a full-length driving range, practice putting green, chipping green, and bunker, the Bay Point Golf Club ensures that you have everything you need to sharpen your skills. After your game, Bar 72 is the perfect place to unwind and relive your best shots.
- Variety of Tees: The course provides a variety of tees for different skill levels, offering opportunities to play aggressively, especially on the par fives.
The Nicklaus Course at Bay Point Golf Club is the ideal destination for golfers seeking challenging greens, precise skill, and a memorable experience in the heart of Northwest Florida.
Bay Point Resort – Meadows Course
The Meadows Course at Bay Point Resort complements the Nicklaus Course and offers golfers a distinctive playing experience with its top-notch amenities and strategic layout. This course, measuring over 6,900 yards from the back tees, demands accuracy and strategic thinking. It may not be as long as modern standards, but it provides a great golfing experience.
The Bay Point Resort Meadows Course is known for its shorter playing time, making it popular for golfers seeking a unique and refreshing experience. The course is well-loved by golfers and is always in good shape.
In addition to the golfing experience, the Bay Point Resort offers stay and play options, allowing golfers to enjoy the course and other facilities. For those visiting, the club offers club rental and tee times, making it convenient for visitors.
Holiday Golf Club
If you’ve had your fill of challenging yet refreshing rounds at the Meadows Course, it’s time to tee off at the newly renovated Holiday Golf Club. This club underwent a multi-million dollar renovation in 2014, boasting premier greens with Tif Eagle Bermuda grass that will elevate your game. Known for its strategic layout, the course demands precise shots to navigate around palm trees and bunkers, providing an exhilarating challenge for golfers of all levels.
Here are four reasons why Holiday Golf Club should be your next stop:
- The course at Bay Point is consistently ranked among the best golf courses in the Northwest by Golf Digest, promising a top-tier golfing experience.
- The newly renovated Holiday Golf Club offers a driving range and practice facilities that are perfect for honing your skills before a round or just enjoying some leisurely practice.
- The course’s challenging layout demands strategic play from tee to green, ensuring an engaging and rewarding round for all golf enthusiasts.
- Holiday Golf Club is highly regarded for its excellent shape, making it a popular choice for those seeking a unique and enjoyable golfing experience at Bay Point Resort.
Shark’s Tooth Golf Course
Situated on the picturesque banks of Lake Powell, Sharks Tooth Golf Club offers golf enthusiasts a unique and challenging experience with its well-manicured fairways and distinctive course design. Designed by Greg Norman, this stunning golf course is a gem located in Panama City Beach, Florida.
The Nicklaus-designed course features wall-to-wall fairway cuts and bright white bunkers that beautifully contrast the emerald green landscape. Notable holes along the marshy shore and slick-shouldered greens provide a truly distinctive and memorable golfing experience.
As part of the private golf courses in the area, Sharks Tooth Golf Club offers an exclusive and prestigious atmosphere for golfers seeking top-notch facilities and breathtaking scenery. The club’s location in Northwest Florida, near Signal Hill and the Bay Point Golf Club, makes it a must-visit for those looking for an exceptional golfing adventure.
Whether you’re an avid golfer or simply seeking a memorable round amidst stunning surroundings, Sharks Tooth Golf Club is sure to deliver an unforgettable experience.
Signal Hill Golf Course
Signal Hill is one of the most underrated tracks in Northwest Florida.
Right across from the “world’s most beautiful beach”, this course is challenging and fun all at once. From the back tees, better players are asked to hit quality shots all the way around. Higher handicaps can enjoy much shorter tees and run the ball into most greens.
Signal Hill is also one of the better values in the area. During the week, you can play here for as little as $32.
A great value and fun to play, don’t overlook Signal Hill.
Sunny Hills Golf Club
Another great golf value is Sunny Hills Golf Club.
Even though it’s a 45-minute drive from Panama City Beach, it’s more than worth the trip. Maybe that’s why locals call this track one of the Panhandle’s best kept secrets.
Believe it or not, this course was designed by The Squire – Gene Sarazen. Even though he wasn’t known for his design prowess, I’m told this layout is outstanding.
While most holes are right in front of you, playing smart and executing shots is still important. Once you get to the greens, do your best to stay below the hole. The alternative can be scary.
With peak rates less than $50 including cart, Sunny Hills is tough to beat.
Windswept Dunes Golf Course
When Doug O’Rourke designed Windswept Dunes, he had one goal in mind: to preserve as much of the natural terrain as possible. And what a job he did.
Built on 750 acres of white sand dunes, this course has an American Links feel to it. You’re certainly encouraged to use the ground and play different shots.
Once you get to the greens, you’ll find large undulations and closely mown surrounds. Again, the result is multiple options to play different shots. Creativity is rewarded here.
If it’s your first time around, play up a set of tees than you normally would. You’ll have a much better experience.
Variety is the spice of life, and that’s exactly what Windswept Dunes offers.
Burnt Pine Golf Club
Burnt Pine is part of the larger Sandestin Resort. While it’s semi-private, there are tee times set aside for the public on a daily basis.
This is high-end golf. If you’re looking for a cheap round, this isn’t the spot.
However, if you appreciate the very best that the Panama City Beach area has to offer, you need to play here.
The course was designed by Rees Jones and presents a fair, fun, yet formidable challenge.
Strategically placed bunkers make you think about how you need to play each hole from a strategic standpoint. Even though there’s plenty of room, you need to pay attention. It’s no wonder Golf Magazine called Burnt Pine “The Crown Jewel of Florida Golf”.
Panama City Beach is yet another premier destination that goes overlooked in Florida. From what our readers have to say, there’s no shortage of quality golf to be found.
And the best part is most of it is quite affordable.
As always, I sincerely appreciate everyone that contributed their thoughts about golf in Northwest Florida. If there’s anything I’ve missed, please make your thoughts known below in the comments.