In this blog post, we’re going to take an in-depth look at the best public golf courses in Broward County.
This diverse region is located in southeastern Florida and is known for its stunning beaches, vibrant culture, and thriving tourism industry.
With approximately 23 miles of sandy beaches, Broward County stretches from Hollywood in the south, right through Fort Lauderdale, up to Pompano Beach. This is a haven for sun-seekers and water enthusiasts.
There are a myriad of quality golf courses in the region, many of which are private. Yet alongside these is a really great selection of public golf courses. Let’s jump into them now.
See also: What are the best public golf courses in Miami?
The best public golf courses in Broward County
|1||The Club at Emerald Hills|
|2||Jacaranda Golf Club (East Course)|
|3||Eagle Trace Golf Club|
|4||Plantation Preserve Golf Course & Club|
|5||Woodmont Country Club|
|6||Deer Creek Golf Club|
|7||Country Club of Coral Springs|
|8||Oriole Golf Club|
|9||Jacaranda Golf Club (West Course)|
|10||Colony West Golf Club|
|Value for money||Woodmont Country Club|
|Groups||Eagle Trace Golf Club|
|Clubhouse||Plantation Preserve Golf Course & Club|
|Views||Jacaranda Golf Club|
1. The Club at Emerald Hills
We kick off this list with what is considered the best public golf course in Fort Lauderdale, The Club at Emerald Hills.
This outstanding layout has in the past been voted the n#1 course in Southern Florida by the USGA. That is some call and may be challenged by many. But what can’t be denied is that The Club at Emerald Hills is certainly one of the best public golf courses north of Miami.
It is located between Hollywood and Fort Lauderdale, just south of the international airport. Like many of its Florida counterparts, residential housing and water form much of the visual aesthetic.
It was designed by the great architectural duo of Robert Von Hagge and Bruce Devlin. Von Hagge is responsible for a number of the finest courses on the continent and was known for creating fine yet challenging routings.
Opening in 1969, The Club at Emerald Hills has remained a firm favorite amongst the locals. Possibly due to the course having tournament pedigree.
Over the years it has hosted many high-profile events. This includes qualifiers for the U.S. Open, the U.S. Senior Open, U.S. Amateurs, and U.S. Mid-Amateurs. It has also been selected to host a variety of local PGA events.
Expect pristine fairways, undulating greens and plenty of water.
2. Jacaranda Golf Club (East Course & West Course)
Next up is the top class golf facility of Jacaranda Golf Club, and its two awesome championship courses.
The club is located about twenty minutes drive west of the international airport, along Interstate 595. What is immediately noticeable upon arrival is how green the surrounding landscape is.
The beautiful grounds intermingle with a number of ponds and snaking canals, which gives the property a very tropical feel to it.
The East Course was the first to arrive, opening in 1970 and being designed by Mark Mahannah. In fact, it was the same Mahannah who then returned five years later to design the West Course.
Measuring just shy of 7,250 yards from the back tees, the East Course is considered the most challenging. Wide undulating fairways entice you to pull out the driver. But a variety of hazards lie in wait including plenty of trees lining the fairways and ample bunkering further towards the green.
The greens themselves present a whole new challenge. Raised and featuring plenty of sloping, you best have your putting game with you. It is no wonder the East Course has been chosen to host its fair share of PGA and USGA tournaments.
The West Course is considerably shorter, measuring from the back tee boxes 6,778 yards. But although shorter, it is no less tricky. It has many of the same attributes as its sibling, but with lagoons, doglegs and strategically positioned bunkers, there is a reason it is considered a shot-makers course.
Both courses have been rated four stars by Golf Digest. So it won’t come as a surprise this is considered one of the best semi-private golf complexes in Broward County.
3. Eagle Trace Golf Club
Pretty much as far west as you can go before hitting the vast Florida Everglades, is Eagle Trace Golf Club. This is where the Sawgrass Expressway runs north to south, on the outer extremities of residential Broward County.
Formerly known as TPC at Eagle Trace, this is a club at the top of its game. It is also renowned in the region for being one of the finest publicly accessible courses.
You must remember, Eagle Trace was formerly the host venue to the Honda Classic between 1984 to 1991. And again in 1996. This is no mere ‘run-of-the-mill’ public course.
The layout is an Arthur Hills design, one of his many in the state of Florida. Opening in 1983, this semi-private club was part of a massive residential project. It started life as a private course, but now happily accepts members of the public.
But be warned, Eagle Trace is not the easiest of courses. Yes, there are very few bunkers to talk about, and generally the fairways are relatively forgiving. But there is water, and a lot of it.
So much so, the excessive water and tough playing conditions were one of the main reasons the Honda Classic got pulled from Eagle Trace.
Which might be slightly unfair, as this is hardly a unique characteristic of a Florida course. What is novel for a Florida course though, is firstly the lack of any palm trees. And secondly, three greens surrounded by wooden bulkheads.
Regardless of what the PGA thought, this is a great challenge and well worth visiting. You’ll experience fantastic conditioning and a real test of golf.
4. Plantation Preserve Golf Course & Club
In the heart of Plantation, in central Broward County, is one of South Florida’s finest public golf facilities. This is Plantation Preserve Golf Course & Club and is one of the best municipal courses in the area.
What was previously Plantation Golf Club, was converted to Plantation Preserve Golf Course in 2006. This newer iteration was rebuilt by Robert von Hagge, Michael Smelek and Richard Baril.
This architectural triumvirate is responsible for countless great courses worldwide. Here at Plantation Preserve, Smelek took the lead role on the project and they’ve created a fun yet immensely challenging layout.
From the back tees, the course measures just under 7,150 yards but with five sets of tees on every hole, this is open to all levels.
Water hazards are a consistent threat, as are some seriously large bunkers. On many holes you’ll encounter vast sprawling bunkers as well as their signature bunker shape on the par-4 eleventh hole. A massive bunker which surrounds three quarters of the green and is found on many other courses designed by von Hagge, Smelek and Baril.
Post renovation works, Plantation Preserve was chosen to host the Second Stage Qualifying School for the Korn Ferry Tour. Yet another nod to the quality on offer here.
5. Woodmont Country Club
Woodmont is a hugely popular country club right in the heart of Broward County. It is located in Tamarac, close to North Lauderdale.
The club has 27 holes of golf onsite as well as a whole host of other amenities. Aside from the obvious practice facilities, it also features a pool, tennis center with over a dozen courts, and a fitness center. Add to this a great restaurant and bar, you have yourself a top class country club.
And then the golf. The main championship layout called the Cypress Course, is another on this list designed by Robert von Hagge and Bruce Devlin. It opened in 1977 and was more recently renovated by Joe Jemsek in 2018.
The name is derived from the hundreds of mature cypress trees which line many of the fairways. Large greens are gently undulating whilst from the back tees, the course reaches 7,043 yards.
This is one of those layouts where you need to be both accurate off the tee and have distance to score well. Clearly water comes into play on most holes, either in the shape of lakes or canals.
This is a good layout and also one of the more competitively priced in the region. Well worthy of being listed as one of the best public golf courses in Broward County!
6. Deer Creek Golf Club
Literally on Broward County’s northern border, between Pompano Beach and Boca Raton, is the fantastic Deer Creek Golf Club.
This semi-private golf facility has a wonderful 18-hole championship course set in a luxurious tropical setting. Even the car park is littered with palm trees and all other sorts of foliage.
The course opened in 1971, when Southern Florida was still in a phase of rampant growth. Places like Deerfield Beach were reasonably underdeveloped and yet to properly take off.
To design the course, the club called upon the celebrated architect Arthur Hills. Having designed countless courses in Florida, Hills was clearly seen as a safe pair of hands to oversee the project.
To create this fine undulating parkland layout, Hills molded the surrounding topography to allow for a bit more movement. It was then heavily landscaped leading to the verdant opulence you can enjoy today.
Ever since opening its doors back in ‘71, Deer Creek has always been open to the public. It prides itself on the service you will enjoy, be upon arrival with concierge, on the course with the marshall, or in the huge clubhouse.
A past host to various USGA Senior Open Championships and USGA Amateur Championships, you’re in for a ride at Deer Creek.
7. Country Club of Coral Springs
Out towards Country Club and Maplewood, is the superb Country Club of Coral Springs. Nestled within a distinctive neighborhood, amongst woodlands and waterways, this is a wonderful part of the region.
Country Club of Coral Springs is one of the oldest golf courses in Broward County, having opened for play in 1969.
It was designed by Ed Ault who across his career was responsible for a number of high-profile courses. Most prominent is probably the Las Vegas Country Club in Nevada, and TPC Potomac in Maryland.
But on this occasion, Ault designed a classic South Florida course, with all the beauty and distinctive challenges you would expect. It’s not the longest, with from the back tees the yardage reaching just over 6,770.
This course is about finesse, shot making, precision, choosing when to attack, when to play safe. And more importantly, it is fun.
The club is renowned for the state of its greens, something it prides itself on. Even more so since its most recent renovation which has elevated this once tired layout.
8. Oriole Golf Club
Oriole Golf Club is located in a similar part of Broward County to Eagle Trace and Coral Springs. Albeit it is slightly closer to Pompano Beach and Margate than the others.
The club has existed since 1971 when the Bill Dietch designed layout opened for play. Although some people may remember the course when it was previously called Oriole Golf & Tennis Club of Margate.
Today the club has one goal in mind, and that is to provide a quality playing experience for its membership and visiting golfers.
It’s worth pointing out now, the course is maybe not one for very low handicap golfers. With wide open fairways allowing for a lot of error off the tee, it is arguably geared more towards mid to high handicap players.
Water does come into play on a number of holes. But generally it is far more subdued than on some of the other courses we’ve covered so far. As for the greens, they present a challenge being quite small and featuring many subtle undulations.
With some of the best value golf rates in Broward County, this is definitely one to keep an eye out.
9. Colony West Golf Club
And the last on our list of best public golf courses in Broward County, is the ever-popular Colony West Golf Club.
This beast of a course opened in 1971 and was designed by, yep you guessed it, Robert von Hagge and Bruce Devlin. Feels like they had a bit of a monopoly on many of the new courses in Southern Florida around this period of time!
Here at Colony West in Tamarac, they designed a championship layout that was immediately hosting the Jackie Gleason Classic, which was renamed some years later to the Honda Classic.
At the time, the course measured 7,553 yards! Although this has now been reduced to a more comfortable 7,258 yards.
Yet despite the length being reduced, it is still considered one of the most challenging public layouts in the area. Fairways are narrow whilst lakes are constantly by your side as you walk up the hole.
Plenty of strategic bunkering and small target-like greens present yet more difficulty. It’s no wonder Jack Nicklaus complained the original iteration of the course was too tough!
With all this in mind, Colony West is a ball. Just make sure you’re hitting the ball well to have any chance of posting a good score.