Northeast Florida is far more than just the home of the PGA Tour and The Players Championship.
Yes, the tour's longtime influence does lend some gravitas to the area for golfers, but with the World Golf Hall of Fame set to leave the area soon, it's the golf courses themselves that anchor Jacksonville and St. Augustine's status as a golf destination.
And the golf courses there are strong. The PLAYERS Stadium course at TPC Sawgrass hardly needs any introduction, and if anything, the Hall of Fame's imminent departure will cause the King & Bear and Slammer & Squire golf courses at World Golf Village to shine that much more. Closer to the ocean, Ponte Vedra Inn & Club stands on a century of history, with two classic golf courses and some of Florida's most graceful accommodations.
It's not all high-end golf in this area, though, and that's what makes the coastal stretch from Jacksonville to St. Augustine such a solid destination (#44 on our World Top 100 Destinations list). From local municipal layouts receiving important upgrades to long-standing daily-fee options, there are plenty of golf courses in Jacksonville and St. Augustine that offer considerable bang for a golfer's buck in northeast Florida.
If you're looking to visit the golf courses of Jacksonville or St. Augustine during the Players, expect tee sheets to be crowded and greens fees to be their highest. Visiting in spring or fall is ideal weather-wise, but playing during summer's swelter isn't a bad idea, either, as long as you tee off early. Here's our rundown of where to play golf in Jacksonville or St. Augustine, along with a Choice Hotels recommendation of where to stay:
Best Value Golf Courses near Jacksonville & St. Augustine
Jacksonville Beach Golf Club
This town muni 12 miles north of TPC Sawgrass is a great example of the modern golf "Munaissance" taking place across the U.S. In 2018, former Arnold Palmer Design associate Harrison Minchew revised the green complexes and bunkering at this beloved locals' favorite, raising its profile considerably. $30 walking/$58 riding.
St. Johns Golf Club
Closer to St. Augustine, this county-owned track had fallen on hard times before architect Erik Larsen, also a former Palmer associate, revised 27 tired holes into 18 engaging ones in late 2022. Larsen brought squared-off greens and sharp-edged bunkers reminiscent of the work of C.B. Macdonald and Seth Raynor to St. Johns, making for a striking playing experience for locals and visitors. $30 walking/$60 riding
Choice Hotels: Castillo Real, Ascend Hotel Collection
Located just 200 steps from the Atlantic Ocean and a few minutes from historic downtown St. Augustine, Castillo Real is a tranquil spot to base a Northeast Florida golf trip. On-site amenities include a seasonal outdoor pool, sauna and steam room. The hotel's decor, which evokes the Spanish influence on the area, extends to the guestrooms, some of which offer hot tubs and balconies. Participating Choice Properties will be running a 20% off the best available rate for Choice Privileges members who stay two or more nights through August 31. Click here to book the Castillo Real, Ascend Hotel Collection
* For more information on Choice Hotels and free breakfast at comfort hotels, click here to search and book other options in northeast Florida and elsewhere around the country.
TPC Sawgrass - Dye's Valley
It might seem odd to consider a course where green fees can top $275 a "value," but consider the context. Green fees at The Players Stadium Course can top $800 thanks to dynamic pricing, and many golfers who have played both courses enjoy Dye's Valley just as much as its more famous sibling. That being the case, the notion of paying hundreds of dollars less to play an exciting Pete Dye course at the same facility puts Dye's Valley, which ranks #6 on our Golfers' Choice 2023 U.S. Top 50 Golf Courses list, in a pretty attractive light. $275.
Centrally located in Ponte Vedra Beach (just two miles from TPC Sawgrass) and converted from a struggling 18-hole layout, The Yards is one of dozens of facilities popping up to challenge some of golf's more rigid aspects. With a regulation-length 9-hole loop called The Front Yard and a 6-hole short-hole loop called The Back Yard, there's something to amuse golfers of every skill and obsession level, as well as a raucous weekly skins game on Fridays. $40.
The Golf Club at Fleming Island
Architect Bobby Weed has left a lasting mark on the golf courses of Northeast Florida. Working with Pete Dye for decades shaped Weed's style, and he has built and redesigned several golf courses in the area, adding strategic interest and just a little bit of the cheekiness that made Dye such a titan of architecture. Fleming Island is a Weed original, opening in 2000. $54.
St. Johns Golf & Country Club Not to be confused with the municipal St. Johns Golf Club above, this semi-private facility with a Clyde Johnston-designed course is a little beefier in stature, stretching to 7,250 yards from the tips. Corridors are generous, so it's playable from the other sets of tees. $100.
The Golf Club at South Hampton
Mark McCumber laid this course out in 1999, and it has been a popular St. Augustine-area golf course ever since. It is also home to one of Northeast Florida's best practice facilities, the DWA Golf Practice Grounds, opened in 2018. $85.