Includes Pensacola, Panama City, Crestview and Destin
The Northwest region of Florida lies cradled between Alabama to the west and north, the beautiful beaches of the Gulf of Mexico to the south, and the rest of that golfer's paradise most call Florida. What you'll find there is just the western start of more than 900 courses public, private, military, university, and semi-private all across the state. One could fill a month of days with these wonderful courses and still not have played even the highlights of the region!
We'll begin our tour in the west, leading off with Pensacola. From there, you can follow I-10 to Crestview, and then head south to the coast, or take the scenic route along the Gulf coast to Fort Walton Beach and nearly Destin before trekking on to the delights of Panama City. Either route has its conveniences, styles and charms. The northern route will take you through more tall pine forests, while the southern journey is graced by the Gulf's sea breezes and tranquil sunsets.
With so many fine courses, it would be impossible to describe all of the courses found in any one city. A sampling of the course for the Pensacola area includes: Creekside course at Carriage Hills Golf Club, (with 18 holes, 6107 yards, par 72, a course rating of 69.6, and a slope rating of 119); the public Green Meadows' Par Three (9 holes, great for a half-day); the semi-private Marcus Pointe Golf Club (18 holes of par 72, 6736 years, USGA course rating of 72.3, with a slope rating of 129); Osceola's Municipal Golf Course (an 18 Championship hole course built in 1926, par 72, 6405 yards, course rating of 70, slope rating of 114); the private and closed Pensacola Country Club (18 Championship holes designed by Donald Ross in 1902, and offering up 6615 par 72 yards on a USGA rating of 72.2 with a slope rating of 130); the semi-private Scenic Hills Country Club (18 Championship holes with a par of 72 over 6313 yards, with a course rating of 72 and a slope rating of 128,) and the renovated Sportsman of Perdido Golf Resort (an astounding 7072 yards with a course rating of 74.2 and a slope rating of 133, yet a par 71.) Of course, this only scratches the surface, but it demonstrates the variety of delights that await you in Pensacola. Members of the military may also appreciate the the A.C. Read Golf Club's three 9-hole private courses and the 18-hole “Executive” course within the Pensacola Naval Air Station.
Crestview, north of I-10 and up into the pines, offers up the Adara Golf Club (previously known as the Shoal River Country Club,) the comfortable Foxwood Country Club. A bit further to the north and east is the Whiting Field Naval Air Station's private golf club as well. From there, you can head south towards Eglin Air Force Base and on to the courses of Niceville, Shalimar and Fort Walton Beach before traveling on to Destin's courses.
Fort Walton Beach and Destin are both situated on the Gulf coast, separated by an undeveloped seven-mile sliver of intercoastal highway 98. This area hosts Eglin Air Force Base, and is swimming in clubs and courses, civilian and military alike! (Shalimar Point Golf & Country Club and Niceville's Bluewater Baycourses await on the northern side of Choctawhatchee Bay.) Military base courses like Hurlburt Airfield's 18 Championship holes (6894 yards, par of 72, rating of 72.2, slope rating of 129) are private, of course. Fort Walton Beach Golf Club's two courses are amongst the public gems, a bargain, and a memorable experience in excellence by any standard. The “Pines” offers 6761 yards of Championship par 72 with a course rating of 72.5 and a slope rating of 123 (immaculately kept Bermuda) and is consistently garnered with four and five star reviews.
By the time you reach Panama City, you'll know for certain you've reached golfer's heaven... and you're still just at the edge of all the fantastic courses Florida has to offer! Pelican Point (private non-equity (USAF) with 7051 Championship yards, a course rating of 73.7 and a slope rating of 128), the Nicklaus course at Bay Point Marriott Resort (a surprising combination of Oceanside and Links which offers up a course rating of 75.3 with a slope rating of 143 over more than 7000 yards,) and Holiday Golf Club (6,588 yards , par of 72, course rating:72.2, slope rating: 132) and their lighted Executive course are just a few of the many beautiful winning courses that make a trip to Northwest Florida a winner!
Like strands of pearls, Northwest Florida's many Link and Oceanside courses are a seemingly endless string of golfing delights. Whether you're visiting on business or taking a week or two off, this area is both comfortable and convenient any time of the year. Highly recommended!