Winter Wonderland: Your Guide to the Best Golf, Food, and Fun South Florida Has to Offer

With average temperatures reaching the mid-seventies, world class golf courses and hotel accommodations (not to mention a nightlife that rivals the likes of Ibiza), over 1,000 flights arriving daily at both Miami and Ft. Lauderdale International airports; South Florida is the perfect destination for a winter golf excursion. Having lived and worked as a PGA Golf Professional in South Florida for eight years, I have played many of the exceptional courses the area has to offer and I have put together what I believe is the ultimate four-day golfer’s weekend.

miami-beach-golf-club

Photo courtesy of Miami Beach Golf Club

Thursday

After arriving in Miami where else would you want to start your trip, but with the glitz and glamour of Miami Beach. Originally opened as Bayshore Golf Course in 1923 and set in the heart of Miami Beach, this Arthur Hills design recently underwent a $10 million face-lift, helping to make this facility one of the preeminent courses in Miami. Measuring 6,813 yards from the tips and a course rating of 73.1, the Miami Beach Golf Club is the perfect course to dust of the winter rust. The signature hole of this layout is without a doubt the Part 3 17th, which requires a tee shot over water into a sloping green, surrounded by a horseshoe bunker and a view of the Miami skyline. After finishing your round grab a drink in the newly built clubhouse, then head over to Ocean Drive for dinner at Prime 112 or Joe’s Stone Crab. After dinner, it’s time to experience the world-renowned South Beach nightlife.

Rates: $225 per player (December 15th -April 30th)
Tee Time Booking Policy: 5 days in advance, for groups of 9 or more contact the Golf Shop.

winter-wonderland-trump-national-doral

Photo courtesy of Trump National Doral

Friday

Home to the world renowned Blue Monster and the World Golf Championship-Cadillac Championship the Trump National Doral Golf Club features five incredible courses testing every skill level. Located roughly 30 minutes west of Miami Beach this resort has undergone extensive renovations over the past few years under the direction of Donald Trump.

Blue Course
With Donald Trump and legendary architect Gil Hanse at the helm, the historic Blue Monster Course has undergone a complete redesign and has become a new golf course thus reaffirming its reputation as one of the most challenging and spectacular golf courses in existence. The 7,608 yard course features a series of strategically placed deep bunkers, long flowing fairways, interesting undulating greens, deep Bermuda rough and a challenging assortment of water hazards – all of which combine for a course that requires both length and finesse to score well.

White Course
TheGreg Norman Signature Course, the 7,171-yard, par-72 Great White Course is the only golf course of its kind in the Southeastern United States that utilizes coquina — crushed shells — as the primary design element on every hole. In designing the Great White, Norman blended strategically demanding fairways with hundreds of palm trees. He then laid out the course in a manner where water comes into play on 14 of the 18 holes, which makes for a challenging, but picturesque Great White Golf Course.

Gold Course
PGA TOUR legend, Raymond Floyd, recently redesigned this course to follow a traditional Florida layout, incorporating gently contoured greens, strategic bunkering, and water surrounding 16 holes. The course features narrow, tree-lined fairways and finishes with a dramatic par-4 island green on the 18th hole. This course hosted the 1999 PGA Qualifying School finals.

Red Course
Unique to the Red Course are two island greens at No. 6 and No. 14. This course is often the site of corporate tournaments due to its promise of a fair test of golf at any level of play.  The Red Course forces golfers to use strategy and shot placement, rather than driving for show. Featuring 14 water holes with fairways winding around several lakes, the course provides breath-taking beauty and exhilarating challenges, without intimidating length. This course hosted the LPGA in 2001 for the Office Depot Championship.

Silver Course
The Silver Course joins the infamous Blue Monster and the Great White as the third of Doral’s premier courses. It is unique among courses in the Southeast because it presents a variety of challenges that include three of the toughest starting holes in golf, a series of phenomenal par 3’s, and “The Bermuda Triangle” of the 13th through 15th holes. Five sets of tees let golfers from novices to champions decide how difficult they want the course to be – but no matter where they start, they’ll have earned a real sense of accomplishment every time they finish.

Rates: Blue- $450 / Red & Gold- $250 / Silver – $195
Tee Time Booking Policy: Reservation policy varies depending upon course; contact Golf Shop for tee time availability.

winter-wonderland-turnberry-isle-soffer-course

Photo courtesy of Turnberry Isle Miami

Saturday

Just 13 miles north of Miami Beach in Aventura is the often overlooked but never disappointing Turnberry Isle. Originally designed by Robert Trent Jones, Sr., Turnberry Isle Miami’s 18-hole championship courses – The Soffer and Miller Courses – have been re-interpreted by golf icon Raymond Floyd. With contoured fairways, clever doglegs, rolling greens, perfectly carved bunkers, strategically placed water features and a variety of elevation changes to challenge and enthrall casual golfers and enthusiasts alike, Turnberry Isle Miami is a showcase of the best in Florida golf.  The 18th hole of the Soffer course features a dramatic waterfall and island green making it the perfect place to settle your group’s wagers.
Rates: $295 per player
Tee Time Booking Policy: Up to 30 days in advance.

winter-wonderland-the-biltmore-hotel

Photo courtesy of The Biltmore Hotel

Sunday        

The Biltmore Hotel, a National Historic Landmark built in 1926 and situated on 150 tropical acres, is located just south of Miami in the affluent suburb of Coral Gables.  This classic Donald Ross gem is the perfect track to finish your weekend trip as it is only 6 miles from MIA for your departing flight.  After a $7 million renovation in 2007 this Ross design is a must-play course while in South Florida.  Similar in style to Pinehurst #2, the Biltmore features turtleback greens throughout with collection areas surrounding each green making for challenging bump and run shots.  Following your round be sure to tour this classic hotel which routinely hosted Al Capone, Bing Crosby, and the Roosevelt’s among others.

Rates: $200 per player
Tee Time Booking Policy: 7 days in advance.

Other Notable Courses

Crandon Park
Rates: $180 per player
Tee Time Booking Policy: 5 days in advance.

Miccosukee Golf Club
Rates: $70 per player
Tee Time Booking Policy: 7 days in advance.

If you are fortunate enough to be a member at a private facility, below are a few recommended private clubs you where you may want to inquire about reserving a tee time. More often than not, your PGA Professional can call and setup reciprocity for you.

Deering Bay Yacht & Country ClubLa Gorce Country ClubRivera Country Club

Recommended Hotels
  • The Beacon Hotel South Beach
  • Edgewater South Beach Hotel
  • Fontainebleau Miami Beach
  • Loews Miami Beach Hotel
  • Trump National Doral Miami – Trump Collection
  • Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino – Hollywood, FL
Recommended Restaurants
  • Seafood – Joes Stone Crab (World Famous for Stone Crab), The Rusty Pelican (Best view of the Miami Skyline)
  • Steak – Prime 112, Shula’s Steakhouse at the Alexander
  • Italian – The Big Cheese (Unofficial University of Miami sports museum), Spiga Ristorante Italiano
  • Cuban – Havana Harry’s, Puerto Sagua
Nightlife
  • South Beach – Cameo Night Club, The Clevelander, Nikki Beach
  • Hard Rock Casino – Hollywood, FL
  • Miami Heat – Miami (Bayside)
  • Florida Panthers – Sunrise, FL

Look at our other golf guides to plan your trip to Las Vegas, Pinehurst, and Palm Beach.

Have more questions about planning your trip to Miami? Reach out to our PGA Professionals.

Kevin Bender, PGA

Kevin has been a Class “A” member of the PGA of America since 2009 and graduated from the University of Miami with a degree in Business Administration. He has 7 years of experience at two of South Florida’s most prestigious clubs, Coral Ridge Country Club and the Broken Sound Club. Prior to Global Golf, Kevin was the Lead Professional at the Hasentree Club in Wake Forest, North Carolina for 4 seasons. Kevin has an extensive knowledge in club fitting along with a tremendous passion for golf course architecture and has traveled extensively throughout the United States and Europe playing many of the world’s top courses.

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