On the Shores of the Choctawhatchee Bay:
Nestled among the breathtaking nature preserves along the Choctawhatchee Bay, the Regatta Bay Golf Club, Destin, Florida is one of those golf courses that once visited is never forgotten. Designed by Robert Walker, it’s a lush, first-rate course, dominated by wetlands, and peppered with well-placed bunkers and natural water hazards that offer a unique range of challenges for players of all levels of skill.
Florida's Emerald Coast - From Pensacola to Panama City Beach:
As there are now more than 1,100 golf holes on Florida's Emerald Coast, an area along the Gulf of Mexico that stretches from Pensacola to Panama City Beach, if a golf course is to attract the attention of the visiting golfer it has to be able to offer an outstanding level of play along with an aesthetically beautiful layout: it has to offer a memorable experience. At Regatta Bay, Walker has achieved both conditions quite nicely.
Eyecatching and Enjoyable:
Walker, a former associate with Palmer Course Design, wanted Regatta Bay to be both eye-catching and enjoyable. "The owner wanted every hole to be unique, challenging, and dramatic," Walker said. Thus his goal was to create a course where no two holes would be alike and each tee offered something new.
Bunkers, Swamps and Water:
The elaborate bunkering and judicious use of natural swamp and water at Regatta Bay’s two signature holes demonstrate how well Walker managed to achieve those goals: consider the par 4 7th with its huge guardian bunkers, and the par 5 18th where the fairway snakes along the shore of a lake to finish on a green that's a little reminiscent of those seen at the TPC PLAYERS Stadium Course, Sawgrass.
And there are several other holes that will make the hair stand on end. One that readily springs to mind is the par three 8th which demands you carry the ball a full 191 yards across a lake (see images right & photo gallery).
Much More Than Just Window Dressing:
But Regatta Bay is so much more than its signatures – the lush fairways, meandering wetlands, and acres of dense underbrush take it a step beyond the norm.
No, it’s not just a lot of window dressing thrown across its acres simply to create something pretty, although it's certainly that; the natural wetlands and attendant hazards have been used by Walker to great effect, and they do present a unique string of obstacles that can play havoc if a player is off his/her game, or even makes a questionable call. Regatta Bay is a thought-provoking 6,864 yards, but eminently enjoyable just the same.
Of Regatta Bay’s 18 holes:
, nine are directly affected by the omnipresent wetlands, especially off the tee. Water hazards come into play on nine more and Walker’s use of massive freeform bunkers complete with fingers and bays can make life on and off the fairways… well, “interesting” would be a mild way of putting it.
Regatta Bay is not a course for the feint of heart:
This is no hacker’s day out, that’s for sure. You really do have to be able to drive the ball accurately, or at least have the self-discipline to play conservatively. The course is lush, upscale and somewhat expensive to play. In this case, however, you really do get what you pay for: a memorable golfing experience, even if you don’t make the score of a lifetime.
$124 before 12:00 p.m. - $89 after 12:00 p.m. - $59 after 3:00 p.m. The rates include 18 holes, cart and practice balls.
Tee times may be reserved up to three months in advance by calling the Regatta Bay Golf Shop at 850-337-8080 or book on-line at http://www.regattabay.com/rates.htm
Dining Out In Destin & Ft. Walton Beach:
There are some great restaurants in Destin & Ft. Walton, including these:
More About Florida's Golf Courses:
Florida offers more than 1,000 courses for you to choose from. Here are a few you must not miss:
- The TPC Sawgrass PLAYERS STADIUM Course
- Dye's Valley Course at Sawgrass
- The Blue Monster at Doral
- The Kelly Plantation in Destin
- Indian Bayou in Destin
- The Rookery on Marco Island