An introduction to Fort Lauderdale
There are some great golf courses in Fort Lauderdale, this vibrant coastal city. It is located on Florida’s east coast and renowned for its beaches and boating canals.
In a way, Fort Lauderdale feels far more undiscovered than some of its more high profile neighbors. Places like Miami, Boca Raton and West Palm Beach seem to get more attention.
Yet Fort Lauderdale is well worth visiting as apart from the golf here, there is an array of experiences.
See also: What are the best golf courses in Florida?
Looking for nightlife and buzzing energy? Las Olas Boulevard is the place to come. Yummy food joints and cocktail bars make this a popular detour.
Diplomat Beach is arguably one of the most scenic spots. This is where most people will come to take in the waves, use the pools and chill out in a beachside cabana.
The city is great, but without any further ado, let’s explore the best golf courses in Fort Lauderdale.
The best golf courses in Fort Lauderdale
1. Fort Lauderdale Country Club
Topping off the list of best golf courses in Fort Lauderdale, is Fort Lauderdale Country Club.
This private club is just a 10 minute ride from downtown and Fort Lauderdale International Airport. This is Broward County and the club is just off Broward Boulevard.
Across the 288 acres of forested parkland are 36-holes of championship golf. There is also a vast practice area to be enjoyed.
In fact, not only is Fort Lauderdale Country Club in my view the best golf course in Fort Lauderdale. It is also the oldest private country club in Broward County.
The club was established in 1926 and has been a mainstay in this area ever since. Whilst Broward County has grown, so has Fort Lauderdale Country Club.
The two courses are the North and South. Both are fine examples of championship parkland. Traditional layouts with mature landscaping free of encroaching houses.
The South was built in 1926 whilst the newer North course opened in 1951. Funnily enough, there is no real standout track, both are great.
They feature pristine fairways, there are limited water hazards and the greens are sensational. With great drainage and a large clubhouse, this is a wonderful golf club.
2. Coral Ridge Country Club
In the Oakland Park neighborhood south of Pompano Beach, is the superb Coral Ridge Country Club. This is one of the finest private country clubs in the area.
Designed in 1954 by Robert Trent Jones Sr, this is a fine layout. The routing is relatively back and forth, but the conditioning is simply superb.
There are large undulating greens, classic runaway style tee-boxes and beautifully contoured greens. Many holes are simply picture perfect. This may also explain why Robert Trent Jones Sr and his wife Ione purchased the club, making it their ‘home’ course.
Rees Jones, the famed ‘Open Doctor’, was commissioned to renovate the course in 2020. Part of the project was to enhance some of his father’s design features. But in a similar vein, he was tasked with modernizing the layout, improving the drainage and irrigation.
Today Coral Ridge is rightly described as one of the ‘jewels’ of Fort Lauderdale. Assuming you get an invite here, you can be sure to enjoy the experience. The saying ‘east bogey and hard par’ very much applies!
3. The Club at Emerald Hills
Between Hollywood and Fort Lauderdale, is The Club at Emerald Hills.
This is yet another peach of a course and super popular with the locals. So much so, Golf Digest voted it as one of the ‘Best Places to Play’.
Originally called Emerald Hills Country Club, it came to life in 1969. The course was designed by Robert Von Hagge with the assistance of Bruce Devlin. Von Hagge is renowned for making challenging golf courses with shot-making central to success.
And that challenge continues through to today, despite a renovation led by Charles Ankrom circa 1990. It was also at this time the club renamed itself as The Club at Emerald Hills.
In recognition of the test you can expect, over the years it has hosted qualifiers for amongst others, the US Open, US Senior Open and US Amateurs. It has also hosted a number of local PGA Tour events.
Expect plenty of water, sublime contoured greens and top class condition. This is one of the finest public access golf courses in Fort Lauderdale.
4. Jacaranda Golf Club
Tucked away in Plantation, a city 8 miles west of Fort Lauderdale, is the superb Jacaranda Golf Club.
This is a semi-private golf club with a buoyant and engaged membership. But it also offers the option to book tee times for non-members.
There are two 18-hole championship courses onsite, the East and the West. Immaculate maintenance and on-point design, you can see why both were awarded 4-stars by Golf Digest.
The location is bliss, secluded and carefully landscaped. There are many ponds, lagoons and canals all flanked by a stunning array of different varieties of trees.
The West course is the more challenging of the two. Not overly long, this is the ‘shot-maker’s’ course, with doglegs, ample bunkers, plenty of water hazards and generally tighter landing areas.
The East course on the other hand is more open, with wider fairways to encourage more aggressive driver play. Greens are well defended whilst across the board you will find far more risk-reward opportunities.
The PGA Tour is a regular visitor here, with the East course hosting a number of PGA and USGA tournaments and qualifying events.
5. Plantation Preserve Golf Course & Club
A real hidden gem amongst the golf courses in Fort Lauderdale. Plantation Preserve Golf Course always features highly when ranking golf courses with the locals.
This is without doubt one of the finest public golf facilities in the area. It also has pedigree having been designed by the great Robert Von Hagge in 2006, alongside Mike Smelek and Rick Baril.
Von Hagge is renowned for creating challenging masterpieces. Les Bordes and Golf National in France, many in Spain and the Blue Monster in Miami. Plantation Preserve is another which will challenge every facet of your game.
Indeed, many of Von Hagge’s design traits are apparent here. The island green on the signature 9th hole. The split fairway on 14th and the greenside bunker which surrounds three-quarters of the green later in the round. This is challenging but great fun golf.
From the back tees the course measures over 7,000 yards and bisecting the course is an Everglades-inspired wetlands preserve area.
This is a wonderful spot and the panoramic views from the clubhouse allow you to take in the wondrous setting.
6. Deer Creek Golf Club
Deer Creek Golf Club is probably the furthest from Fort Lauderdale on this list. Traveling north, through Pompano Beach towards Boca Raton, you’ll soon arrive at the Deerfield Beach area. This is where you will find the semi-private Deer Creek Golf Club.
It opened its doors in 1971 and was designed by one of the pre-eminent designers of the time, Arthur Hills.
Over the years, what was once a relatively secluded course has been slowly accompanied by more and more housing being developed. But generally this is well screened by the surrounding vegetation and trees and doesn’t negatively impact the experience.
In 2004 the course underwent a major renovation. All the greens were reconstructed grassing them with hardy TifEagle Ultradwarf Bermuda grass. Bunkers were all resanded and drainage improved.
New bunkers were created as were new tee boxes and fairways. This was a big step into modernizing Deer Creek.
There is an impressive 30,000 square foot clubhouse with great dining facilities. And with attentive staff, you can see why this is one of the more popular golf courses in Fort Lauderdale.
7. Colony West Golf Club
In Tamarac, a short drive from Fort Lauderdale, is yet another Robert Von Hagge creation. The course was designed with long-standing associates Mike Smelek and Rick Baril.
Colony West Country Club has a fascinating claim to fame. The course was built in 1971, with the main purpose of hosting the Jackie Gleason Classic, what is now known as the Honda Classic.
But upon visiting the course, the tournament organizers and Jack Nicklaus determined the course was too difficult. To be fair, it was a huge 7,553 yards which in those days was quite something.
To prepare the course for the tournament, 52 of the 137 bunkers were removed. And yet despite this, the general consensus was that the course was still too difficult. Even Nicklaus struggled carding a 78.
It was shortened quite significantly in the early 80s, but today it is a respectable 7,258 yards from the backs.
The fairways are narrow, with deep rough easily in-play. The greens are small and well-protected. To score well requires patience and plenty of strategy.
8. Grande Oaks Golf Club
Many people may remember Bushwood Country Club in Illinois, the fictional golf club in the film Caddyshack. Well Grande Oaks Golf Club is in fact Bushwood Country Club!
It was here in 1979 that Caddyshack was filmed, although back then it was known as Rolling Hills Country Club.
Back in the day, Grande Oaks was open to the public. Yet today the club is private and purely for the enjoyment of the membership. Which is a shame as it is widely recognised as being one of the finest golf courses in Fort Lauderdale.
The par-71 course, which stretches to 6,680 yards, was designed by the legendary golfer Raymond Floyd. Not the longest by any means, but well proportioned. The undulating fairways do require accuracy from the tee and there is enough water in play to keep you constantly on-guard.
The routing occupies 190 acres of the original 360 acre property and there are plenty of eye-catching features. One of the main ones is a grove of century-old oak trees which give the club its name.
9. Lago Mar Country Club
In Plantation, 20 minutes from downtown Fort Lauderdale, is Lago Mar Country Club.
This is a fine 18-hole championship layout at one of South Florida’s finest family-friendly private clubs.
The course was originally designed by Bill Watts. But in 2009 it enjoyed a multi-million dollar renovation led by the talented Kipp Schulties. Schulties has a fantastic portfolio of courses, especially in Florida.
The redesign was a complete overhaul with no part left untouched. Today, we now have an elegant and first-class layout which is bound to climb these rankings of best golf courses in Fort Lauderdale.
Aside from the impeccable course conditions, there is one dominating feature…water. And a hell of a lot of it. In fact there isn’t one hole which doesn’t have water in some way, shape of form coming into play.
If you do get an invite here, take plenty of balls and hope for the best!
What is the best golf course in Fort Lauderdale?
The best golf course in Fort Lauderdale is Fort Lauderdale Country Club. It is one of the oldest golf clubs in Broward County having opened in 1926. There are two fantastic championship golf courses, the North and the South.