Home For Travelers "Best of" Lists 5 Best Golf Courses In Destin To Play Year-Round

5 Best Golf Courses In Destin To Play Year-Round

Thanks to a wonderfully sunny climate and naturally picturesque landscape, Destin has long been a golfer’s paradise. Visitors flock to this Northwest Florida destination for its lush, green fairways, championship-level play and warm weather all year long.

Eager to book a tee time? We’ve rounded up five of the best golf courses in Destin to spend a relaxing day out on the links. Whether you’re an avid golfer looking to test your skills or simply looking for a break from the beach, the golf courses on our list will not disappoint. Plus, book a spacious vacation rental in Destin (FlipKey has more than 1,800 to choose from!) and we’re sure your vacation will be a hole-in-one.

Sandestin Golf Resort

Sandestin Golf Resort, one of the best in Destin, before the golfers take over the course.

“I would rate it a 10. Greens were great and fairways great, also. Player-friendly to anyone.” – TripAdvisor Traveler

Situated in the greater Destin area, the Sandestin Golf Resort features four award-winning golf courses: Baytowne Golf Club, Burnt Pine Club, The Links Golf Club, and Raven Golf Club. With 72 holes spanning the beach to the bay, every course boasts spectacular views and a peaceful setting. Iconic golf course designers like Tom Jackson and Robert Trent Jones, Jr. had a hand in creating the unrivaled experience and unbeatable aesthetic throughout Sandestin Golf Resort.

New to golf or less experienced? Play your first round at Baytowne Golf Club and tee up at the forward or junior tees. Trust us: it’ll be a much more forgiving experience. For golfers looking to truly elevate their game, Raven Golf Club presents the perfect opportunity–fairways wind through the area’s wetlands, marshes and pine trees, providing a variety of challenging shot options. Don’t mind the possibility of losing a few balls to water hazards? Then schedule a tee time at Burnt Pine Golf Club or The Links Golf Club then. Both courses offer spectacular views of the Choctawhatchee Bay, but beware–the Gulf Winds are known for steering airborne balls into the bay and surrounding wetlands occasionally.

From rolling fairways and contoured greens to menacing sand traps and water hazards, Sandestin Golf Resort is one of the best in Destin for the ultimate golf experience. Book online or call in advance to inquire about specials and package deals.

Kelly Plantation Golf Club

Many consider Kelly Plantation Golf Club to be one of the best golf courses in Destin.

“The course was in immaculate condition, the fairways in great shape and the greens rolled true. The course had character and plenty of challenging holes.” – TripAdvisor Traveler

Aptly nicknamed the Jewel of the Emerald Coast, Kelly Plantation Golf Club’s greens are as visually stunning as they are challenging and impressive. The semi-private golf club features miles of waterfront, wide fairways and well-manicured greens, making it one of the best golf courses in Destin.

Long-hitters are put to the test as the course stretches 7,099 yards from the back tees, while novice golfers are encouraged to use the forward tees. Once you (and your ball) have made it to the green, you’ll find a unique challenge at almost every hole. Conquer multi-tiered greens that threaten even the best putter’s chances at making par, or maneuver the double green that serves holes No. 7 and 11, separated by only a boldly placed bunker. As you play, enjoy the sweeping views of the Choctawhatchee Bay and take in the native Magnolias and Palmettos that surround the fairways. You’re sure to have a golf experience unlike any other as all 18 holes captivate visitors.

Looking to save a buck or two? Book online to receive special promotional rates or schedule a tee-time at twilight for more affordable rates. All rates include 18 holes of golf, access to a cart, complimentary range balls, and use of high-tech GPS technology.

Regatta Bay Golf and Yacht Club

Regatta Bay Golf & Yacht Club is a popular course in Destin.

“I can’t say enough about this beautiful and challenging course… If you’re a golfer or a hacker, this place is a must stop during your visit. Get your camera out for the par 3 number 8!” – TripAdvisor Traveler

Land and sea meet on the grounds of the Regatta Bay Golf and Yacht Club, and its pristine, natural setting provides a peaceful escape for golfers all year long. It’s one of the best golf courses in Destin for all skill levels, and the 6,894-yard, par-72 course is a favorite among locals and visitors alike.

The challenging course was designed by Robert C. Walker, the former lead architect for Arnold Palmer. His flawless design blends natural vegetation with course hazards creating the ultimate risk-vs-reward golf experience. Get a feel for the course’s more demanding holes by taking a virtual tour online before hitting the links. If you prefer to be surprised, schedule your tee time online and show up with your game face on. Before each drive, visualize the ball sailing through the bright blue skies on the way to the flagstick so you can attack each hole with the utmost confidence. Hole number two will try to trip you up in the beginning, but you’ll be in a groove by the time you reach the back nine.

Regatta Bay Golf Club is known for offering a wealth of amenities that give it an upscale country club vibe. Feeling flushed? Grab a mango-scented iced towel at one of the holes to refresh yourself. Stomach starting to growl? There are chilled apples available at the 1st and 10th tees. Other niceties available include on-course circulating beverage carts and a state-of-the-art Visage GPS system on all golf carts.

If you flock to Destin during the winter for an extended stay, consider purchasing a winter golf package so that you can maximize your time out on the course and save some money.

Emerald Bay Golf Club

Emerald Bay Golf Club

“Put this course on your Destin A-list. Tees, fairways and greens were all what you would expect from a top level course. This is the best course we have played in Destin.” – TripAdvisor Traveler

With a classic Florida landscape on the front nine and breathtaking bay views on the back, it’s no surprise that Emerald Bay Golf Club is considered one of Northwest Florida’s premier golf courses. Its long, flat holes wind through the exclusive gated community, treating visitors to total privacy and tranquility. The Emerald Bay golf course was designed by famed course architect, Bob Cupp, and underwent a complete renovation in 2014 to improve the overall experience for locals and seasonal guests.

If you’re an early bird, booking a tee time before 8 a.m. will knock 50% off of the price for a round of golf, plus the use of a cart. Prefer to soak up some rays during peak sun time? Make one of Destin’s nearby beaches your first stop, and then book a tee time at twilight for a discounted rate. No matter what time you’re scheduled to play, you can still enjoy the satisfying feeling of hitting the ball right on the sweet spot and launching it the length of the fairway. Emerald Bay Golf Club offers the very essence of Florida golf at every hole, so whether you make par or bogey, don’t forget to take in your surroundings.

Indian Bayou Golf Club

An aerial view of the Indian Bayou Golf Club, one of the best golf courses in Destin.

“This is a treasure in Destin – 27 holes, well-maintained and beautiful layout. Each nine have their own challenges and will test your skills.” – TripAdvisor Traveler

Indian Bayou Golf Club offers three worthy layouts: Seminole Course, Choctaw Course, and Creek Course. Each consists of nine immaculate holes and puts golfers to the test amidst nature at its best. Wide, forgiving fairways, majestic greens, sparkling lakes, and undulating pines that sway with every coastal breeze can be found throughout Indian Bayou Golf Club’s 27 holes.

Power through Choctaw Course, known for its long, straight holes that reward distance and accuracy. Prepare yourself for hole seven, which is deeper than it looks and moves to the right. Plan on at least four shots here before you can move on to the next hole. Choose Seminole Course if you prefer far-reaching fairways and a variety of pin placements that keep you on your toes. Large greens throughout this course provide opportunities for birdie or par. On Creek Course, water alongside several fairways makes each hole beautiful, but challenging. The second can be especially problematic for less-experienced golfers–but anyone who has less than meticulous ball placement might lose a few balls to the bayou.

While it’s possible to play a round of only nine holes here, you’ll save big when you book a tee time for 18 holes. Who wouldn’t want to spend a few extra hours on the golf course, anyway?