Best Courses to Play in Southwest Florida

By Kayla Gutierrez
Published on

With snow falling and temperatures dropping in many areas across the country, now is a great time to plan a golf vacation to Florida. Home to year-round sun, pristine courses, and picturesque landscapes, the Sunshine State is the perfect place for your next golf getaway. 
And while many courses in southwest Florida are private, there are plenty of public and resort golf courses that are great to add to your itinerary. As a PGA Golf Management student at Florida Gulf Coast University who’s lived in southwest Florida for the past four years, I’ve had the opportunity to play at many fantastic golf courses in the area.
Here are my favorite top five picks:
Streamsong Resort
Streamsong's Black Course. (Nile Young)
Streamsong's Black Course. (Nile Young)
It’s hard to believe you're still in Florida when you first set foot on property at Streamsong. As one of the most well-known in Florida, Streamsong comes as a highly recommended spot to play, mostly due to its beautiful backdrops and striking scenery. Located within an hour from Tampa, this 54-hole resort golf course can be enjoyed by all golfers of any skill level. Its three world-class, link-style Red, Black and Blue courses – designed by Bill Coore & Ben Crenshaw, Tom Doak and Gil Hanse, respectively – offer their own blend of unique terrains, strategy and bold architecture that provide a challenging yet thrilling experience from tee to green.
No. 17 on Streamsong's Black Course. (Larry Lambrecht)
No. 17 on Streamsong's Black Course. (Larry Lambrecht)
Add in the Roundabout short course and Gauntlet putting course near the Black Course, plus The Chain – an all-new 3,000 yard walking layout with 19 holes ranging from 109 to over 293 yards, with a six- and 13- hole loop – and The Bucket putting course near the resort . . . Streamsong's golf options are never-ending. And although it’s location may seem isolated, the resort offers a ton of dining options, world-class spa and fitness center, and other non-golf experiences like bass fishing and archery.
Aileron Golf Club 
One of the most anticipated courses in southwest Florida finally opened its doors this past year. Aileron Golf Club, situated in Port Charlotte, Florida, is now open exclusively to resort guests and boasts a premier golf experience. Sunseeker Resort offers unique stay-and-play packages, which give guests exclusive access to its 18-hole championship-level golf course and plenty of luxurious amenities on its property. Designed by Kipp Schulties, the course features challenging terrains, rolling fairways, and various waterways – ensuring that all golfers have an unforgettable experience. 
Old Corkscrew Golf Club
This is a southwest Florida gem. Home to the Florida Gulf Coast University men’s golf team, this 18-hole Jack Nicklaus design is certainly a must-visit course in the area and a golfer’s favorite, too! Situated in the heart of Estero, Old Corkscrew’s layout features scenic views, difficult bunker placements, narrow fairways, and challenging greens. I recently played the course and I can certainly attest that this course will offer a trust test of skill for golfers of all levels. 
Tiburón Golf Club
This spot is definitely at the top of my favorite course list in southwest Florida. Host of the LPGA's CME Group Tour Championship, LPGA/PGA TOUR's Grant Thornton Invitational and PGA TOUR Champion's Chubb Classic, Tiburón is the perfect place to visit in the winter months. With two Greg Norman-designed 18-hole championship courses – the Gold and Black – a Ritz-Carlton hotel, and plenty to do in the nearby area, Tiburón is a great destination for your next golf trip. And if you’re looking to walk the same fairways as the pros, you can purchase a stay-and-play package, where you have the opportunity to play both courses. Each course, however, is different in its own way, which makes both worth playing if you have the chance! 
The Gasparilla Inn & Club
Nestled in the gorgeous coastal town of Boca Grande, Florida, you will find the Gasparilla Inn & Club. Open to members and resort guests, this Pete Dye-designed, 18-hole course features stunning picturesque views of Charlotte Harbor and the Gulf of Mexico. Known for its lush fairways, sandy dunes and unique waterways, this course provides a great blend of difficulty and excitement that will provide all golfers with a relaxing, memorable experience. The natural beauty of its island-like landscape coupled with the fun challenges on the course, makes this a notable destination course.
Southwest Florida boasts hundreds of breathtaking golf courses across the Gulf Coast. If you are looking to escape the snow and swap the snowflakes for sunshine, I hope this article can provide you with some options for your next getaway to the Sunshine State!