What Are the Best Golf Communities in Florida?
(Originally published on 55places.com)
Ten years ago, a conversation about retirement was sure to bring up two topics: golf and Florida. Times are changing, and retirement today has a much more diverse landscape. Some active adults prefer to settle in a more urban environment that offers all four seasons, and some retirees prefer basketball or online gaming over hitting the links.
Despite the wider range of activities available to active adults, the spectacular golf courses in sunny Florida will always attract retirees who can't wait to hit the fairways. Here are just a handful of Florida’s impressive golf communities for active adults.
The Villages - Top Golf Cart Community in FL
With over 56,000 homes, The Villages is the largest active adult community in the world. This sprawling community is connected by over 100 miles of golf-cart-legal streets and trails, making it a golfer's paradise. If you're new to the sport, don't worry. At The Villages, golfers of all levels can take group or private lessons at any one of the three instructional golf academies.
Residents can play for free at any of the more than 40 executive courses or the 12 championship and country club courses. Most of the executive golf courses offer 9 holes with manageable par 3 holes and the occasional par 4 or par 5.
For a nominal fee, active adults can hit the links at any of the 12 championship golf courses including the famous Palmer Legends designed by Arnold Palmer or the Nancy Lopez Legacy. Membership to the championship courses provides preferred tee times and discounted golf fees. There are also two additional specialty golf courses, Marsh View Pitch & Putt and Fenney Putt & Play, which provide an opportunity to work on your short game.
Lely Resort - Naples, Florida Golf Community
Set along Florida’s southwest coast, Lely Resort boasts three championship 18-hole golf courses: The Mustang, The Flamingo Island, and The Classics. Within the community, The Classics Country Club is a private golf club that offers homeowners exclusive access to The Classics course, a par 72 course by Gary Player. The 6,714-yard championship layout features swaying palm trees and tropical vegetation across the manicured fairways.
The other two courses—The Mustang by Lee Trevino and The Flamingo Island by Robert Trent Jone, Sr.—also offer picturesque views and challenging play, yet the fifth hole of The Flamingo Island course is sure to make an impression; it's a small island accessible by bridges. Community residents can choose from three different golf membership options to meet their own individual needs, and Lely Resort also offers seven target greens, two practice putting greens, and a chipping green.
The Villages of Citrus Hill - Florida Golf Community
The Villages of Citrus Hills is a luxurious community that includes three championship 18-hole golf courses, one 9-hole golf course, and multiple amenity-rich clubhouses. Golfers who reside in this beautiful community will enjoy the convenience of having golf pro shops at both the Skyview Clubhouse and the Citrus Hills Golf and Country Club.
Spread across Florida's gently rolling hillsides, the three championship golf courses provide residents with impressive views and challenging play. Skyview, the community's flagship course, spans over 7,142 yards of lush greenery with elevations of up to 250 feet above sea level. The Oaks is a 6,323-yard, par-70 course bordered by towering oak trees, while The Meadows offers 5,885 yards of golf beside beautiful open spaces.
Additionally, the Brentwood Clubhouse offers its own golf course for a shorter, more relaxing game. The 9-hole Brentwood course features rolling terrain and smaller greens so golfers can fine-tune their skills or simply relax in the Florida sunshine.
Solivita - Golf Community in Kissimmee, Florida
Located in Kissimmee, the Tuscan-themed community of Solivita brings its own distinctive flair to its central Florida setting. With nearly 6,000 homes and a variety of amenities, including two 18-hole championship golf courses, Solivita is an ideal home for many discerning golfers.
Located within the semi-private Stonegate Golf Club, the Oaks Course and the Cypress Course showcase Solivita's exquisite views and natural beauty. Encompassing over 7,000 yards, the Oaks Course opened with the community in 2000 and offers 18 holes of championship golf designed by Ron Garl. This course has large fairways and greens that provide an unmatched golfing experience for players of all skill levels.
Meanwhile, the Cypress Course was recently redesigned by Clifton, Ezell & Clifton to create a more challenging layout. The rolling fairways are still flanked by mature cypress trees, but all the greens have been expanded—some greens have now been bulk-headed. While the Cypress is the tougher course, the Oaks is for all levels of play. Both golf courses are open to both residents and visitors.
Lake Ashton - Golf Community in Lake Wales, FL
Surrounded by rolling hills and citrus groves, Lake Ashton offers two championship 18-hole golf courses, two 30,000-square-foot clubhouses, and a wide range of amenities and social clubs. The community also includes a fully equipped golf pro shop.
With well-groomed fairways and greens, The Lake Ashton Golf Club provides challenging play for golfers at every skill level. The two golf courses within the community are known simply as the "East" course and the "West" course. According to GolfLink, the par-71 East course features 6,306 yards of golf designed by Larry Maxwell. With 6,048 yards, the Western option is a par 72 course that opened in 2007.
Vineyards - Naples, Florida Golf Community
The mid-sized community of Vineyards, which includes just over 2,700 luxurious homes, enjoys a beautiful setting in the popular Naples area. There are two private 18-hole golf courses within the community as well as spacious clubhouses, tennis facilities, and many more amenities.
Open to players of all skill levels, the two award-winning golf courses offer expansive fairways with challenging layouts across 150 manicured acres of greenery. The Vineyards Country Club also offers a 24-station driving range, a short game facility, and a pro shop. With walkable, rolling greens, the North Course was designed by PGA Member Mark McCumber and opened in 1989. The South Course is a more traditional course designed by Bill Amick. It was opened in 1988 but redesigned in 2001.
High Vista at Ridgewood Lakes - Golf Community in Davenport, FL
Only 30 minutes southwest of Orlando, High Vista at Ridgewood Lakes is a gorgeous country club community home to an 18-hole championship course. The popular location also gives residents convenient access to local theme parks such as Walt Disney World and Universal Studios Orlando.
Open year-round to residents and visitors alike, the spectacular 18-hole championship golf course was designed by Ted McAnlis and features four sets of tee boxes. Welcoming golfers of all skill levels, the course is fairly open, with water coming into play on every hole. Additionally, the Ridgewood Lakes Golf Club offers a driving range with a chipping area and a large bunker for golfers to work on their short game.
Heritage Bay - Golf Community in North Naples, FL
Located in North Naples, Heritage Bay provides its residents with easy access to Gulf Coast beaches, shopping centers, dining options, and recreational attractions. This community offers a country club lifestyle with plenty of amenities designed to encourage leisure activities.
Homeowners at Heritage Bay enjoy golf equity at the community’s spectacular 27-hole championship course. Designed by Gordon Lewis and Jay Azinger, these three 9-hole golf courses can be played in various combinations to make up a challenging 18-hole game. Also, each home in Heritage Bay has full membership to Heritage Bay Golf and Country Club, providing access to the golf course.
More Golf Communities in Florida
Every Florida golf community couldn’t be included here. There are so many across this beautiful state. One thing we know for sure, if you are looking for golf community in Florida, there are plenty of options!