Create Your Own Florida Swing
Every spring, the best golfers on the PGA TOUR head south for the four tournaments of the Florida Swing: The Honda Classic at PGA National in Palm Beach Gardens, WGC Cadillac Championship at Trump National Doral in Miami, the Valspar Championship at Innisbrook in Palm Harbor, and the Arnold Palmer Invitational at Bay Hill in Orlando.
It’s a golfer’s dream – walking the famous Floridian fairways, competing at the highest level of golf in the warm sunshine and tropical breezes. So, why not make it a reality by planning your own Florida Swing golf itinerary with some of your best golf buddies.
Here’s a look at our suggested itinerary, keeping in line with the pro tour stops.
PGA National – Champion Course (Palm Beach Gardens, Fla.)
Play the exact same course the pros play during the Honda Classic, famous for the “Bear Trap,” those three water-dominated holes (15-16-17) that require precision and guts. PGA National offers other courses, but this is the one that requires steady nerves down the home stretch. How will you measure up against the game’s greats?
Trump National Doral – Jim McLean Signature Course (Miami, Fla.)
Well into multimillion dollar renovations, Trump National Doral is famous for its layout and use of water – including the infamous “Blue Monster” course. While it may not be the same one the pros tee off of, the Jim McLean Signature course has its own set of challenges, including three of the toughest starting holes in golf and “The Bermuda Triangle” – holes 13 through 15. You’ll get a great sense of accomplishment after tackling this one.
World Woods Golf Club – Pine Barrens Course (Brooksville, Fla.)
Few courses offer such stunning natural beauty to go along with a strong test of golf as the Pine Barrens Course at World Woods Golf Club. Designed by Tom Fazio, this course is an ode to Pine Valley – scruffy-grassed bunkers and natural waste areas border expansive landing areas and greens for a look that says natural and fun. World Woods is one of the best overall golf facilities in the state and worth the trip to this small town east of Tampa. Make a day out of it by playing its sister course, Rolling Oaks, a tribute to Augusta.
Grand Cypress Golf Club – New Course (Orlando, Fla.)
Amid the typically flat terrain of Orlando, Jack Nicklaus fashioned the New Course course to honor The Olde Course at St. Andrews. It’s a thoughtful replica of what it’s like to play true links golf – expansive fairways dotted by menacing pot bunkers and double greens with subtle-but crucial undulations. It looks easy, plays strategic, is a ton of fun and is truly a unique Florida golf experience.
World Golf Village – Slammer and the Squire Course (Saint Augustine, Fla.)
The Slammer and the Squire is one of two courses at the World Golf Hall of Fame, a must-play for any true fan of the game and its history. Unlike any other sport, the World Golf Hall of Fame offers fans the chance to experience the game it honors in this facility just outside the state’s oldest city.
TPC Sawgrass – Stadium Course (Ponte Vedra, Fla.)
While it might not be one of the Florida Swing stops, it is the host course of THE PLAYERS Championship in May, so why not squeeze in a round at Pete Dye’s diabolical layout of waste bunkers, water hazards and, oh, that little thing known as No. 17? This famous hole with its island green is only 135 yards but it remains unique in the world of golf – come and find out why for yourself.
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