Best public golf courses in Tampa
If you want to enjoy a good game of golf this weekend, go for it. While golf isn’t always considered an aerobic exercise due to the many starts and stops involved, if you choose to walk the course instead of riding a golf cart, you can enjoy some aerobic exercise benefits. I’ll get your heart racing and lower your stress levels.
Aside from this, the complexity of golf helps you improve focus and patience and earn more skills. Not to mention many notable business deals are closed on golf courses.
Tampa, Florida, is home to many renowned golf courses. Let’s look at some great options for you to play in Tampa Bay, Fl.
Top 10 best golf courses in Tampa
TPC Tampa Bay
Designed by renowned architect Bobby Weed and MacCurrach Golf in 1991, TPC Tampa Bay is an 18-hole par-71 course stretching over 6,898 yards. The course is only 20 minutes from Tampa International Airport in Lutz and is open every day of the week.
TPC Tampa Bay is part of an exciting network course owned and operated by PGA Tour Golf Course Properties. The fairway design is subtle and weaves through 19 natural wetlands and lakes with 81 strategically placed bunkers.
The front nine offers a combination of forgiving fairways and challenging green complexes, while the back nine presents tighter fairways and more risk-reward opportunities. The signature 17th hole, a par-3 with an island green, is particularly memorable, as it requires precision and nerve to navigate the surrounding water hazards.
In addition to its exceptional golf course, TPC Tampa Bay offers a wide range of amenities to enhance your visit. The clubhouse features a fully stocked pro shop, where you can find the latest golf equipment, apparel, and accessories. The practice facilities include a driving range, putting green, and chipping area, allowing golfers to fine-tune their skills before hitting the course.
TPC Tampa Bay also boasts an excellent on-site restaurant, ¡CUATRO, which serves a delicious American and international cuisine menu. With indoor and outdoor seating options, golfers can unwind and enjoy a meal while taking in the stunning views of the course.
Westchase Golf Club
Let’s start by pointing out that the Westchase Golf Club is one of Florida’s best excellent golfing facilities. Its quality is such that the National Golf Foundation takes note and has it in the top 10 course national rankings – #1 in Florida in CLASP (Customer Loyalty and Satisfaction Program).
The course was designed and built by Lloyd Clifton in 1992 and winds through acres of forests, lakes, and conservation areas. The greens are well-manicured and surrounded by bulkheads, wooden bridges, and natural wetlands.
The front nine at Westchase Golf Club offers a diverse range of holes, including lengthy par-5s and shorter, strategic par-4s. The back nine incorporates more water features and narrower fairways, demanding precision and thoughtful shot selection. The notable 18th hole, a demanding par-4 with a leftward dogleg and water lining the right side provides an exhilarating conclusion to the round.
The course has a range of amenities, including The Grille, a casual eatery offering tasty food and beverages. Its covered outdoor patio, which overlooks the course, provides the ideal setting for unwinding and enjoying a meal or drink after a round of golf.
Rocky Point Golf Club
Rocky Point Golf Club was initially opened in 1911 as the Tampa Automobile Club. Unfortunately, the course had to close its doors in 1942 due to the impact of World War II. In 1954, the city of Tampa took ownership of the course for a nominal fee of just $1 and reopened it under the name Rocky Point Golf Course. Since then, it has been an important part of Tampa’s golfing community.
Rocky Point Golf Course enjoys a strategic location, only a 15-minute drive away from Tampa International Airport. This convenient position makes it an ideal choice for travelers looking for a quick round of golf upon arrival or before departure.
The course features an impressive layout spread over 6328 yards that offers golfers a fair challenge, with water hazards coming into play on 11 holes and sand bunkers thoughtfully positioned throughout the course. This engaging design keeps players on their toes while providing an enjoyable golfing experience.
Note: The lakes at Rocky Point Golf Course are integral to its design and serve as a sanctuary for various wildlife species, including numerous birds.
The meticulously maintained, 18-hole par-72 Renaissance Golf Course showcases two unique nine-hole sections. It’s located in Sun City Center, a short drive from Tampa, and offers a captivating and challenging golfing experience. The front nine features an expansive, links-style layout with generous fairways and receptive greens, encouraging bump-and-run shots. In contrast, the back nine demands greater precision from tee to green as it winds through an extensive conservation area.
Water hazards come into play on every hole of the final nine on this course, masterfully designed by Chip Powell in 2002. Majestic pines and ancient oaks line most fairways, adding to the course’s charm. Putting on the Renaissance Golf Club’s greens is truly enjoyable. Crafted with cutting-edge TifEagle Bermuda grass, these putting surfaces are fast and offer a smooth roll.
The elegant clubhouse at Club Renaissance is home to Amici’s, a fine dining restaurant offering a delicious selection of dishes and beverages. The restaurant’s inviting atmosphere and beautiful course views make it the perfect place to unwind and socialize after a round of golf.
The Copperhead Course is not located in Tampa, but rather in Palm Harbor, Florida, at the Innisbrook Golf Resort, which is approximately 25 miles northwest of Tampa. The Copperhead Course is one of four championship golf courses within the Innisbrook Golf Resort. While the Innisbrook Golf Resort is a private facility, it grants limited public access to its golf courses, including the Copperhead Course, for guests staying there.
Designed by Larry Packard in 1974, the Copperhead Course is famous for hosting the PGA Tour’s Valspar Championship annually. It allows you to walk where the finest golf players like Stewart Cink walked. In 2015, Jerry Tate redesigned it into its current state.
The 7200-yard course is beautiful, with rolling terrain and tree-lined fairways interspersed with ponds and lakes that create a majestic setting teeming with wild animals.
Babe Zaharias Golf Course
Babe Zaharias Golf Course, situated in Tampa, Florida, is a public golf course named in honor of the legendary female athlete Mildred Ella “Babe” Didrikson Zaharias. It was originally designed in 1926 but was remodeled in 2004 by Ron Garl.
The 18-hole, par-70 golf course stretches 6,020 yards and features diverse holes catering to a wide range of golfing abilities. The course layout combines tree-lined fairways, strategically placed bunkers, and water hazards, requiring golfers to use their skills and strategy throughout the round. The course offers a balanced blend of long par-5s, challenging par-4s, and scenic par-3s, making for an engaging golf experience.
As a public golf course, Babe Zaharias Golf Course offers affordable green fees, making it an attractive option for golfers seeking an enjoyable golf experience without breaking the bank. The course’s convenient location within Tampa makes it easily accessible for local and visiting golfers.
Fox Hollow Golf Club and Restaurant
Fox Hollow Golf Club is a semi-private golf course in Trinity, Florida, approximately 30 miles northwest of Tampa. Fox Hollow Golf Club was designed by renowned golf course architects Robert Trent Jones Sr., Roger Rulewich, and A. John Harvey in 1994 offers a challenging and enjoyable golf experience for players of all skill levels.
The 18-hole par-71 championship course boasts five tees, presenting new challenges with each round, blending native trees and vegetation, shimmering lakes, sand bunkers, and wildlife. Fox Hollow’s undulating fairways offer a refreshing change from the typically flat courses in Florida.
The impressive 15,000-square-foot clubhouse serves as the club’s heart, featuring a fully stocked pro shop, locker rooms, private meeting spaces, and a sophisticated dining room, offering an alternative to the more casual ambiance of the Grille at Fox Hollow Golf Club. Both dining options provide stunning views of the 10th and 18th holes.
You can use Fox Hollow’s clubhouse for various events, including tournaments, private gatherings, weddings, receptions, and dinners, all catered by their professional event staff. The team will assist in crafting the perfect menu, managing the details, and ensuring the golf course is in pristine condition for any occasion.
Lake Jovita Golf & Country Club
Lake Jovita Golf & Country Club is in Dade City, Florida, approximately 30 minutes north of Tampa. The club features two 18-hole 72-par golf courses, the North and South. While Lake Jovita Golf & Country Club is primarily a private facility, it offers limited public access to its golf courses for guests at on-site accommodations or through certain promotional packages. Both courses were designed by Tom Lehman and Kurt Sandness in 2002 and provide a challenging and enjoyable golf experience in a picturesque setting.
The two courses are set amidst a lush landscape filled with mature oak trees, lakes, and ponds. While the south course boasts undulating fairways, the north course has even more dramatic elevation changes, offering picturesque views of the surrounding area.
From the second tee, golfers can enjoy a view extending at least five miles to the northeast on a clear day. The north course presents a more contemporary layout and plays slightly longer than its counterpart.
Bay Palms Golf Complex
Located within the MacDill Air Force Base in Tampa, Florida, Bay Palms Golf Complex offers two appealing 18-hole golf courses, the North and South. The complex was built in 1986 by Ron Garll and is open all year round.
Providing an enjoyable golf experience for players of all abilities, these public courses boast well-maintained greens, picturesque surroundings, and affordable rates. Please note that access to the golf complex may be subject to base entry requirements and restrictions.
The 18-hole, 72-par courses showcase a diverse mix of holes that cater to golfers of varying skill levels. Both courses feature generous fairways, strategically placed bunkers, and water hazards, challenging players to make smart decisions throughout their rounds. Golfers can expect a variety of golf experiences, including long par-5s, risk-reward par-4s, and scenic par-3s, all set against the backdrop of the beautiful Florida landscape.
Southern Hills Plantation Club
Southern Hills Plantation, a semi-private golf club located in Brooksville, Florida, just an hour’s drive north of Tampa, offers a truly exceptional golf experience. Designed by the legendary Pete Dye in 2006, the course is renowned for its challenging layout and picturesque surroundings. Although primarily catering to members, the club accommodates limited public play, allowing golf enthusiasts to experience this stunning course.Southern Hills Plantation showcases Pete Dye’s signature design elements throughout its 18-hole championship course. The layout spans over 7,500 yards from the back tees, offering a challenging test of golf for even the most skilled players.A standout feature of Southern Hills Plantation is its six sets of tees with lengths varying from 7557 yards to 5211 yards. The black tee is the most challenging, and the red is the most forgiving; hence ideal for beginners.
Enjoy these public heavens in Tampa
Tampa and its surrounding areas offer a variety of exceptional public and semi-private golf courses for golf enthusiasts of all skill levels. From the renowned TPC Tampa Bay and Rocky Point Golf Club to the picturesque Southern Hills Plantation and Saddlebrook Resort, golfers will surely find a course that suits their preferences and abilities.
With well-maintained playing conditions, challenging layouts, and top-notch amenities, these courses provide memorable golf experiences in the Tampa region.
In addition to these, you check out some of our other popular golf courses from around the United States including:
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