Field Notes: Where is Florida’s top golf destination?

The golf-rich state of Florida is broken down into seven statistical regions as it relates to golf travel and rounds played. Many would be surprised by the annual leader the last four years. While Orlando, Miami, Naples or Tampa are all good guesses, those are wrong answers. The No. 1 golf destination in the Sunshine State is the Jacksonville area, known by the moniker of Florida’s First Coast of Golf.

The statistical area encompasses a footprint approximately 120 miles north and south from Amelia Island to north of Daytona Beach, and from the Atlantic Ocean stretching 60 miles west. Florida’s First Coast of Golf is the nonprofit marketing arm of golf in the area and was formed in 1992 by a group of local tourism and business executives.

“They got together and said, ‘Hey, look what Myrtle Beach is doing up there to fill hotel rooms, we should do the same thing,” says David Reese, Florida’s First Coast of Golf longtime president. “That’s what they did.”

Amelia National Golf and Country Club is located in the Jacksonville, Florida, footprint.

The five-county region in Florida is packed with public and resort golf choices (53 of the 72 layouts are publically accessible), unlike areas such as Miami and Naples, which are high-profile destinations filled with more private golf courses.

“When we communicate with visitors globally we like to dial in our main attractions as being weather, beaches and The Players,” Reese says. The Players Championship is often referred to as golf’s fifth major and is played at the TPC Sawgrass resort. The iconic island green 17th hole is on most bucket lists for avid golfer.

“It’s a very big deal,” Reese says of the upcoming PGA Tour event in mid-March. “It’s the best advertising commercial for Northeast Florida on the planet. You just can’t put a value to that really.”

Reese said Florida’s First Coast of Golf logged an estimated 2.3 million rounds of golf in 2023, up 3% from the previous year and its highest mark ever. “There are 1,300 golf courses in Florida, so there is plenty of business to go around, but I would be lying to you if I didn’t say I do the comparison of golf data when the rounds played report comes out,” he says.


If you’re an avid golf traveler and free the first week of May you might consider registering for the opportunity to help iconic Bandon Dunes Golf Resort celebrate its 25th anniversary. The resort on the rugged coastline of southern Oregon will randomly select 48 entries for a chance to celebrate in style from May 1-4. Registration closes Sunday, Jan. 21. The four-day anniversary event will include plenty of golf at the iconic resort, along with a putting and practice center skills contest, a fireside chat with the resort’s architects, live music and tons of gourmet food options. The cost, which includes lodging, is $3,800 per golfer.

Bandon Dunes and its six links-style layouts have annually been listed in the top five offerings in the United States by numerous publications over the past quarter century. The resort, with its Scotland links look and feel, has agreed to host 13 future USGA Championships, including the 2025 U.S. Women’s Amateur.


It has been 30 years since Kalos Golf introduced the golf cruise, at the time a new concept in travel. The Chapel Hill, North Carolina-based firm began chartering boutique ships in 1994, hosting a select number of country club members aboard what became a private club afloat, escorting guests to the top courses and touring destinations in Europe.

Since those days, Kalos has continuously enhanced its service and expanded its selection of uniquely designed itineraries to only the finest golf and touring locations around the world. Kalos Golf likes to say its itineraries combine the best of global golf and touring with five-star service. Kalos uses nine ships and has trips scheduled in 2024 to such locations as Spain, Germany, Italy and Japan. The company’s first two itineraries begin in just a few days with the New Zealand Golf Cruise departing Jan. 22 and the Caribbean Golf Cruise leaving a day later. Both run through Feb. 2.

Kalos Golf also has its 2025 schedule listed.



Pebble Beach Golf Links is no longer the most expensive golf course in California. In 2024, that destination belongs to Porcupine Creek in Rancho Mirage outside of Palm Springs. A round of golf will cost you $950 at the upscale Sensei wellness resort, which was once an invitation-only private escape of Oracle Corp. co-founder Larry Ellison, the fifth richest man in the world. The resort’s luxury extends all the way to a loaner car — a Tesla Model X Plaid SUV. … TPC Sawgrass’ Players Stadium Course is among the hardest layouts golfers can play with a slope rating of 155. The northern Florida resort course is home to The Players Championship and is one of 19 courses the USGA has in its database that has earned the maximum slope rating of 155. The slope rating of a golf course tells you how difficult it is for a bogey player compared to a scratch golfer. Water, bunkers, railroad ties … you get the picture. … Arcis Golf announces the addition of more amenities to its trio of frequent player programs in the golf-rich Phoenix, Arizona, market. Golfers will enjoy expanded benefits at nine of the area’s top daily-fee courses. For the first time ever, Arcis Prime members will enjoy exclusive twilight access and select play days at Grayhawk Golf Club — the closest to a private-club experience available at a daily-fee club in Phoenix.