Florida is the golf capital of the world (we even have the license plate to prove it), and if you’re looking for some local links to chase after the white ball, we’ve got you covered.
Although we have several courses, Gainesville is not well known for it’s golf courses. When it comes to teeing it up and hitting the links in Gainesville, Florida, there are plenty of choices.
As with most areas, there are public and private courses, and Gainesville is no different. Let’s start with the public courses first.
Pubic Golf Courses in Gainesville FL
West End Golf Course
West End Golf Course is a great municipal golf course that is perfect for sharpening your short game. Boasting the largest range in the Gainesville area, West End is the best spot in town for you to practice your swing and work on becoming the best golfer you can be. West End also holds the distinction for the world’s largest lighted 18-hole golf course, meaning that you can practice all day long, and still keep refining your swing long after the sun goes down.
Overall, West End has improved tremendously in regards to course maintenance in recent years. From tee to green, you can expect consistent course management. Whether walking or riding, West End is a great local course that you should definitely check out.
Meadowbrook Golf Club
Another public course in Gainesville is Meadowbrook Golf Club. Meadowbrook differs from West End in that it is more of your traditional style course, complete with six par 3’s, six par 4’s, and six par 5’s. Designed by world renowned course architect Steve Smyers, Meadowbrook has some very tight holes that will require very accurate shots from tee to green.
Personally, I enjoy playing Meadowbrook and have always liked the layout and friendly staff.
From a course maintenance standpoint, however, Meadowbrook has been very inconsistent over the past couple years. The dry summer has appeared to really hurt Meadowbrook this year, causing some inconsistency from tee to green. Just keep your expectations in check, and get ready to enjoy a friendly round at a great Gainesville area course.
Ironwood Golf Course
Ironwood Golf Course is unique in that it is owned by the City of Gainesville and maintained by the Department of Parks and Recreation. Ironwood is also an Audubon Cooperative Sanctuary, a distinction earned fifteen years ago. The par 72, 18 hole course offers really challenging holes throughout the course, with the front-nine holes more open than the tighter, more narrower back-nine. Ironwood is also host to several tournaments throughout the year (their website boasts close to 50 annual tournaments).
Since the city owns and maintains the course, you can always expect course conditions to be at least decent. Ironwood does get a lot of traffic, as noted with the amount of tournaments played there. However, a recent $2+ million dollar renovation means that it now offers some of the better golf in the Gainesville area. From a public course standpoint, Ironwood might be the best.
Private Golf Courses in GainesvilleFL
Mark Bostick Golf Course at the University of Florida
The official golf course of the University of Florida is, overall, one of the best golf options in the city of Gainesville. Home to the men and women’s golf teams for the University of Florida, the Mark Bostick Golf Course at the University of Florida was originally built on 160+ acres by one of the most prestigious names in golf architecture, Donald Ross, in the 1920’s. Although a small course at only 6,700 yards, the par-70 course is ideal for walking and hosts some of the best collegiate golf events in the southeast.
Memberships are available, and anyone with direct affiliation with the University is considered a member (student, faculty, or staff). Guest rates are available with an accompanying member, and especially if you’re into walking while playing, I highly recommend you take advantage of this gem of a course here in Gainesville.
**Note: The Mark Bostick Golf Course at the University of Florida is closed until late September 2014 for course improvements**
Gainesville Country Club
Gainesville Country Club is a private, member-owned country club offering full country club amenities. The golf course, designed in 1963 by architect George Cobb (East Lake CC, Atlanta), boasts a par-72 6,938 yard layout full of excellent holes for any level of golfer. The course is pretty wide-open, however, and requires an excellent short-game touch and technique.
Close to I-75 and Paynes Prairie, Gainesville Country Club is also an Audubon Cooperative Sanctuary.
Being a fully private course and country club, you will need to know someone to get invited to play (or become a member, of course). That being said, Gainesville Country Club has classic amenities and gives you the feeling of a traditional golf and country club. The times that I have played there have been great, and I highly recommend experiencing Gainesville Country Club if you ever get the opportunity.
Haile Plantation Golf and Country Club
Haile Plantation Golf and Country Club is one the finer places to play a round of golf in Gainesville. Designed in 1993 by Gary Player (yes, the nine-time major champion Gary Player), Haile is a shorter course, playing at only 6,505 yards. The par-72 course, however, is perfectly designed for walking, which is no surprise, given who the course architect is. Haile is also private, so becoming a member or knowing one is a must in order to play.
I saved Haile Plantation for last for a reason. In my opinion, it is the best option for golf in the Gainesville area. The conditions at Haile are always consistent: excellent. Although not much on practice facilities, the course itself offers great holes and the putting surfaces have always been great. Do yourself a favor and play a round at Haile, perhaps after playing the other courses on this list so you don’t get spoiled right away.
So, there you have it; the Gainesville golf scene in review. Although golf might not be the first thing that comes to mind when talking about Gainesville, there are several course options for you to take advantage of in the Gainesville area. Hit ’em straight and keep it in the short stuff!