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GREAT GOLFING IN MIAMI Challenging Courses and Tropical Surroundings By Arvin Steinberg
I recently took a tour of Miami’s finest courses, and
this is what I discovered on my golfing holiday. Miami, FL offers
some of the best and most challenging golf courses you could ask
for. And that’s only part of the fun. Miami also has magnificent
hotels that complement your golf getaway experience, and, of course,
South Beach, with its fine restaurants and exciting nightlife.
I started my tour at Crandon Golf Course, a public
course on picturesque Key Biscayne, which is rated by Golf Digest as
“One of America’s top 75 upscale courses”. Playing Crandon Golf
Course is like escaping from civilization, and it’s only ten minutes
from downtown Miami. The first thing that impressed me was the
beauty of the course. It’s surrounded by water, mangrove forests,
and lush, tropical foliage. You also see lots of wildlife -- egrets,
ibis, and colorful iguanas in their natural habitat.
Experiencing the natural splendor of the course is
a real treat, but the course itself presents a true test of any
golfer’s skill. It’s a challenge from the first hole, a dogleg par-5
that requires a drive over water and mangroves, through the 18th
hole, another par-5 with Biscayne Bay on one side of the fairway and
a saltwater lake on the other. I guarantee that your skill will be
tested on the fourth hole -- at 638 yards, one of the longest par-5s
in Florida -- or the seventh hole, touted as one of the greatest
holes in golf, a par-4 that doglegs to the right over water.
Only five minutes from Crandon Golf Course is the
Ritz-Carlton, Key Biscayne oceanfront resort that opened in July
2001. It’s Miami’s only luxury resort built in the last three
decades. In addition to the usual amenities expected at a
Ritz-Carlton hotel, this hotel offers a 1,200-foot golden sand
beach. There are also two ocean view pools including one with a
waterfall and adjacent whirlpool, and a “tranquility pool”. Near the
pools is an oceanfront “Ritz Kids” pavilion and pool for the
youngsters. The hotel has a spacious fitness center with modern
equipment and personal trainers, a 20,000 square-foot spa offering
more than 60 treatments, and an 11-court Tennis Garden.
Another way to enjoy a
wonderful golf getaway in Greater Miami, is to play the
scenic Biltmore Golf Course, a public golf course, adjacent
to the historic Biltmore Hotel in Coral Gables, and,
incidentally, one of former president Bill Clinton’s
favorite golfing spots.
An early morning round of play on
this carefully manicured course with clustered shade and
palm trees is a tranquil setting that would please the most
discriminating golfer. This 18-hole championship golf course
was designed by Donald Ross who is considered “golf’s
all-time greatest golf architect”, according to Golf Digest
The Biltmore Hotel is
South Florida’s only National Historic Landmark resort and
its rich history dates back to the roaring Twenties. In its
heyday, the Biltmore played host to royalty, from both
Europe and Hollywood. The Biltmore’s swimming pool is
considered the largest hotel pool in the Continental U.S.
and it is one of the most beautiful in the world.
In keeping with traditional European grand hotels,
Old World charm permeates throughout the property. The Biltmore also
offers a spa and fitness center, and fine restaurants, including a
newly opened upscale French restaurant.
Turnberry Isle Resort & Club
situated within the lush surroundings of Aventura in North
Miami, offers two championship golf courses. Both courses
designed by Robert Trent Jones Sr. are masterpieces.
courses are exceptionally well-maintained, have firm green
fairways, gracefully sculpted bunkers, and scenic tropical
The 18th hole on the South Course features Turnberry’s famous “Island Green”.
Turnberry’s two courses have won numerous awards,
but I think one award really gives credit where credit is due. Golf
Digest ranked Turnberry resort among the top ten golf courses in the
country for outstanding service. I have personal experience that
Turnberry offers outstanding service with a capital “S” from the
minute you enter the pro-shop until you finish your round of golf.
In addition to the championship golf courses,
Turnberry Isle Resort & Club is a stunning Mediterranean style hotel
secluded on 300 tropical acres. Turnberry recently opened a 25,000
square foot state-of-the-art spa and fitness center. The spa’s three
floors are connected by a grand spiral staircase. There are 26
treatment rooms and a 3,650 square foot fitness center.
Also, for fine dining, don’t miss the Veranda, the
resort’s gourmet restaurant.
Don Shula’s Hotel and Golf
Club in Miami Lakes, named for the legendary Miami Dolphins
coach, offers a fantastic golf getaway.
Don Shula’s Golf Club features an 18-hole
“split personality” championship course. The front nine
holes resemble northern courses with long narrow tree-lined
fairways. The back nine holes offer some great Florida
attractions – plenty of water and marsh traps and dense
foliage with tropical birds and other wildlife.
The Golf Club also offers a lighted Par 3
18-hole Executive Course that is open nightly until 11 P.M.
A driving range and practice area are also lighted and are
open until 11 P.M.
Don Shula’s Hotel has a program based on Coach
Shula’s philosophies of physical fitness and team building sports to
help its guests stay healthy and fit. If exercising is in your
plans, the hotel’s 44,000 square foot Athletic Club will accommodate
your needs. Also, you won’t want to miss dinner at the original
Shula’s Steakhouse. The 1972 Miami Dolphins landmark perfect season
is the theme of the restaurant. A special feature is the 48-ounce
Angus steak. If you can consume this enormous steak, you become a
member of the 48-Ounce Club, which boasts having thousands of
members. I tried, but I just couldn’t finish it. Maybe next time,
but the night course was one of my memorable evenings spent in
If you aren’t exhausted after playing fabulous
golf at the above courses, the world famous Doral Golf Resort & Spa
and its 99 holes is in Miami to challenge your skills. There is the
Blue Monster, home of the Doral-Ryder Open, the new Jerry Pate
Silver Course, the Raymond Floyd Gold Course, the Red Course and The
The Doral is also a good place for families with
many amenities including a zero entry pool, a plunge pool, a
children’s pool and a super-splasher, 125-foot Blue Monster
waterslide. There’s also Camp Doral where kids can enjoy all sorts
of fun activities while you take off for the course. And there’s the
spa for mom or the woman in your life.
If you like golf, there is no better place than
Miami to enjoy some of the best golfing in the nation.
FOR FURTHER INFORMATION:
Greater Miami Convention & Visitors Bureau
701 Brickell Avenue, Suite 2700
Miami, Florida 33131
Phone: (305) 539-3084; Fax: (305) 539-2911
information about accommodations, recreation, dining and
much more in this area and many other US destinations, take
a moment to visit our US Travel Directories:
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