If you’ve never been to Miami, you’ve been missing out. There’s so much culture, cuisine, and of course golf that it’ll blow your mind. And the weather is darn near perfect most of the year.
I was in Miami a few years ago for a work conference and was fortunate enough to sneak in a couple rounds of golf. Even though I haven’t played a ton of golf in this tropical paradise, I have a number of close friends and readers of Golfer’s Authority that have. It’s with their recommendations that I’ve compiled a top ten list of the best courses you can play in this great city.
Miami Beach Golf Club
Miami Beach Golf Club originally opened in 1923 under the name of Bayshore Golf Course. Although the property has undergone a number of renovations since then, many of the course’s original characteristics are still apparent.
Like a lot of older Florida golf courses, keeping the ball in play is important at Miami Beach. Thick Bermuda rough and overhanging palm trees make recovery shots difficult.
The greens are small too. I’m told that trying to save par from above the hole can make for a long day.
If you want to learn from some of the best instructors in the game, be sure to check out the Jim McLean golf school.
The Club at Emerald Hills
The Club at Emerald Hills was rated as the #1 course in Southern Florida by the USGA.
Located less than one mile from the Ft. Lauderdale airport, this course is the perfect spot for a round when you first get into town, or before you head home.
Be forewarned, this is a big boy golf course that measures over 7,800 yards from all the way back. The good news is that four other sets of tees allow it to play much shorter.
There’s plenty of water out here but the good news is the fairways are generous.
A great round at a reasonable price that’s easily accessible. Sounds like a winner to me.
Biltmore Golf Course
If you’re a fan of Donald Ross courses, you won’t want to miss out on Biltmore Miami.
Built in 1925, this layout is classic old school. With narrow fairways, small greens, and plenty of water hazards, your best bet is to think your way around this course, not overpower it.
Even though the Biltmore is flat, it’s not short on character. Each hole presents its own set of unique challenges.
I’d highly recommend staying at the historic hotel too. The amenities are second to none and the food is to die for.
Briar Bay Golf Course
Just because a course is short, doesn’t mean it’s not a quality track.
That’s certainly the case of Briar Bay. This nine-hole executive course plays to a par of 31. What I’m told makes this course so great is its outstanding condition and great value.
The course has holes that work in all four directions, so you’ll be challenged playing in different wind conditions.
If you happen to be close by on a Wednesday afternoon, be sure to check out the twilight league.
Blue Monster Course at Trump National Doral
There’s nothing quite like playing where the pros play. You get that chance when you come to the Blue Monster.
Redesigned a few years ago by renowned architect, Gil Hanse, the Blue Monster is a great test that’s always in great shape.
You’ll want to stay out of the thick Bermuda rough here as advancing the ball to green is a challenge. The greens are some of the best in the Miami area. If you get your speed dialed in, you can really make some putts. The par four 18th hole is a real beast. The tee shot is narrow and has water all down the left side. If you do happen to find the fairway, an approach of 200 yards over water to a green that angles away awaits. Making par here is an accomplishment.
Jacaranda West Country Club
Just because this track is a country club, doesn’t mean you can’t play it. While the club does have a private membership, it’s open to the public too.
Voted “Best Place to Play in Sarasota”, this pristine course meanders through mangroves and waterways. Strategically placed fairway bunkers put a premium on hitting it straight.
The greens are firm and fast so make sure to play for a firm first bounce on your approach shots.
Once you get to the green, the fun begins. The surfaces are pure – you can really get it going with the flat stick.
The Bridges at Springtree Golf Club
One of the best kept secrets in the Miami area is the Bridges at Springtree Golf Club.
Owned by the city of Sunrise, locals say this course is always in excellent shape. Unlike most courses in Miami that have Bermuda, the tees, fairways, and greens are Paspalum at the Bridges. The ball sits on top of this turf and it’s a dream to play off of.
Rolling terrain and crystalline lakes can make navigating this course a little tricky. Even though this course only plays to a par of 62, it has plenty of challenging holes and there’s plenty of trouble to be found.
The par three 4th hole is the signature hole. A tee shot over water is played to a bulkhead island green.
If you’re looking for a round to work on precision and iron play, this track fits the bill.
Miami Shores Country Club
One of the most iconic public courses in the city is Miami Shores Country Club.
Built in 1923 and designed by Louis Wilson and Red Lawrence, Miami Shores is classic old-style Florida golf. Tree lined fairways and small greens mean precision is the name of the game.
A 2011 renovation converted the greens to Mini Verde Bermuda. These surfaces have a lot less grain and are easier to maintain.
The course’s close proximity to downtown and Miami International Airport make it easily accessible.
A must play for a great price.
Riviera Country Club
Maybe the best value in all of Miami is Riviera Country Club.
Built in 1953, Riviera is another track that doesn’t require a ton of length off the tee. Instead, accuracy and course management are the keys to playing well.
Golf Digest has consistently given this track the “Best Places to Play” recognition and it’s not hard to see why.
At $35 for 18 holes with a cart, why wouldn’t you give this course a shot?
Palmetto Golf Course
Palmetto Golf Course sits on 121 acres of Florida lowlands. Designed by Dick Wilson, this par 70 opened its doors in 1959.
A serpentine canal system winds through the course and can prove a pesky hazard for errant shots.
While there’s a few holes where you can hit driver, your best bet is to keep the ball in the fairway.
The greens here are small and undulating. Make sure you don’t short-side yourself and stay below the hole.
When you’re done with your round, grab a cold brew and a bite to eat in the sports bar where plenty of TV’s have all your favorite games on.
There’s more to do in the city of Miami than you could possibly squeeze into a single trip. Between food, culture, and beaches, your days are sure to be full. Miami is also a great golf city too. Make sure you bring your sticks and schedule a couple of tee times.
Having been to Miami myself, I can’t wait to get back. If you’ve played golf in Miami, let us know about some of your favorite spots in the comments down below.