Top 10 Golf Courses in Destin and Fort Walton Beach

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    Top 10 Golf Courses in Destin and Fort Walton Beach

    The Third Hole during the second round of the Boeing Championship at Sandestin at Raven Golf Club in Destin, Florida on May 13, 2006
    ••• Michael Cohen/Stringer/US PGA TOUR/Getty Images

    As anyone knows who follows my writings here at Golf Travel on About, this is my favorite place to play golf in Florida. There are any number of fine golf courses along Florida's Northwest coast, but these, my personal list of the Top 10 Golf Courses in Destin and Fort Walton Beach, are the best of the best. This area of Northwest Florida has long been a favorite destination for me. I first visited the area back in 1979, back when the two seaside towns were no more than sleepy little communities on a forgotten, but achingly beautiful shore of the Gulf Coast. Even then, golf was a big attraction, that along with a couple of nice seafood restaurants (both long gone - ah, Sam's Oyster bar, how I miss you), a half-dozen beach-front oyster bars and one chain hotel. In 1979, Destin and Fort Walton Beach were Florida's best-kept secret. Yes, golf was one of the attractions, but there were very few courses, much less a top 10 - Fort Walton Beach Golf Club comes readily to mind;...MORE even then it was open to the public, and was a great round to boot; two great rounds in fact - they boast two 18-hole layouts. The photo above is the third hole during the second round of the Boeing Championship at Sandestin at Raven Golf Club in Destin. Click over to the next page for my list of Top 10 Golf Courses in Destin and Fort Walton Beach, Florida:

     

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    Golf Courses in Destin and Fort Walton Beach

    Shalimar Pointe Golf Club
    ••• Courtesy of Shalimar Pointe

    The Golf Courses:

    Only a privileged few have shared the spectacular beaches that, to this day, are ranked among the best in the world; not because they were private beaches, but simply because no one knew about them, except for the locals and a few, in-the-know visitors, like me. Now, more than 30 years later, Destin and Fort Walton have become a major vacation and golf destinations; they have grown beyond all bounds. Today, more than 1,100 holes of golf set on some of the finest golf courses in Florida, and several dozen hotels, resorts, and time-shares offer a variety of family vacations options unique to this truly major family and Golf destination. 

    So those are my choices for the Top 10 Golf Courses on Florida's Northwest coast. I'm sure you have your favorites, too. If so, please send me an email. I'd like to know about them, maybe even visit and review them. As to the list above. I recommend you put each and every one of them on your "Must Play" list.

     

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    The Beaches in Destin and Fort Walton Beach

    Destin Florida beach
    ••• Henderson State Park, Destin, Florida. Romona Robbins Photography / Getty Images

    The Beaches Along the Emerald Coast:

    Florida boasts of more than 1,800 miles of coastline and 1,100 miles of beach. Folks, that's more than any other state in the union. So what about Destin and Fort Walton Beach? They've got more than 24 miles of pristine sand and crystal waters right there at the Heart of Florida's Emerald Coast. I read somewhere that the sand along Destin's beach is "shockingly fine and so clean that it squeaks underfoot." My friends, it's true. I have spent more hours, days, even weeks on those beaches than most local residents, so I know. The ocean? Stunningly beautiful. If you've never visited the brilliant emerald-green waters of the Gulf of Mexico you have no idea what you're missing. My advice. Take a couple of weeks, head south, and spend some quality time beachgoing, swimming, fishing, boating, dining out of the best fresh seafood anywhere, and don't worry, be happy. There ain't nowhere else on earth quite The...MORE Emerald Coast in general, and Destin and Fort Walton Beach in particular.