If you're a golf aficionado looking for a new place to enjoy a golf vacation, Tampa Bay just might be the answer. Not quite as popular as a few other East Coast golfing destinations, the Tampa Bay area, nevertheless, has just as much to offer – from courses designed by some of the sport's top names to perfect weather just right for a round or two. Add to that the area's wonderful hotels and restaurants and the pretty beaches that line the coast, and you have a location that provides an all-around excellent golf outing and vacation.
Tampa and the towns and cities that surround it are home to a number of excellent courses. No matter what your skill level, you'll be able to find a golf course in the area that fits your needs, from easy courses for novices to championship courses that will even challenge the long-time, well polished player. Golf pros in the Tampa metro area can help visitors determine which courses are best for them and help you schedule tee times on the most popular courses, which include:
- TPC (Tournament Players Clubs) Tampa Bay – This stadium-style, par 71 course was designed by Bobby Weed with assistance from Chi-Chi Rodriguez. Since it opened in 1991, it has been the recipient of many awards for its design. An aesthetically attractive course where players can view an abundance of wildlife, TPC Tampa Bay has been given 4 ½ stars by Golf Digest Magazine. It also boats an excellent practice facility and an elegant clubhouse.
- World Woods Golf Club – Located in Brooksville, World Woods opened in 1993. Tom Fazio designed the two world championship 18-hole courses at World Woods – Pine Barrens and Rolling Oaks – dubbing them his best work to date. He makes good use of the natural beauty of the area, making this one of the most stunning courses in the region. The Club also has a nine-hole course and a short practice course.
- Fox Hollow Golf Club – Located in New Port Richey, this golf club was the last to be designed and built by Robert Trent Jones, Sr. Dubbed the #1 par 4 course in the state of Florida, Fox Hollow is nothing short of spectacular and, as an added bonus, all the amenities were recently renovated so that golfers can enjoy a great day at the club, even off the links.
- Bardmoor Golf and Tennis Club – The course at Bardmoor is one of the most acclaimed in the area. Located in the town of Largo, Bardmoor has hosted both the PGA and the LPGA tournaments. The course here was redesigned by Gary Koch in 2001 and can be quite demanding, even for players with years of experience. There's also an 11,000-square-foot clubhouse, tennis courts, and an Olympic-size pool.
- Bloomingdale Golfers Club – Consistently ranked one of the top 10 courses in Florida, Bloomingdale calls itself "tough but fair." Golf Digest says the course has the best selection of par 5s of any course they've reviewed and Bloomingdale has played host to a number of local, state, and national tournaments.
- Lake Jovita Golf and Country Club – This Dade City golf club has two championship courses, the North and South. The courses were designed by Kurt Sandness with assistance from Tom Lehman. Beautiful courses with plenty of lakes, ponds, and vegetation, these are among the most attractive courses in the Tampa Bay area and the club's golf shop has been continuously voted by golfers as one of the best in the country.
- Lansbrook Golf Club – One of the area's best daily fee golf clubs, Lansbrook is appropriate for all levels yet still provides a first class golfing experience. Rates are reasonable at this Palm Harbor course, which was designed by Lane Marshall in 1975 and updated by Ron Garl in 1991.
The Best Time to Golf
Given Tampa's wonderful weather and abundant sunshine, golfers flock to the area year round. The most popular seasons for golfing, however, are the spring and fall when the weather is at its best. The summer can bring quite a bit of humidity and temperatures as high as the 90s, making it rather hot for an enjoyable game. Those who prefer a cool day on the links can take advantage of well-priced winter golf outings. Golfing in the spring allows you to combine your golf outings with visits to Major League Baseball training camps for a true multi-sport vacation.
A number of pro shops and golf outfitters in the area offer full golf packages for those who are looking for someone to organize their entire vacation. These golf know-it-alls can suggest the best courses in the area for your level, book tee times for as many courses as you choose, and find you the perfect lodging for your stay. If you choose, golf packages in Tampa can also include dinner reservations and tickets for area attractions and sporting events.