Sarasota, Florida is a gorgeous city that sits near the Sarasota beach. The warm and sunny city is an inviting place for golfers. Whether you’re local to Sarasota, the state of Florida, or visiting, there are plenty of public golf courses to enjoy.
It’s no secret that Florida is a superb golf destination – golfers travel from all over the US and Canada to hit the greens that Florida has to offer.
From Championship greens and courses that host prestigious tournaments like the PGA tour, to smaller family-oriented courses, the Sunshine State has it all.
There is a myriad of tourist attractions and facilities to fill your days with plenty to do when not on the course.
When that itch to play a full round of 18-holes hits, your options are not limited. In Sarasota, you’ll find courses for players of all ages and experience levels.
In this article, we’ll look at three of the best public golf courses in Sarasota, Florida, and take a look at what makes them worth your visit.
- 1. The Highlands Golf Course
- 2. University Park Country Club
- 3. The Groves Golf Course
- Best Public Golf Courses in the Sarasota, FL Area
1. The Highlands Golf Course
The Highlands Golf Course features a par 72 championship course and was recently opened up for public play—before, it was a members-only course.
Now anyone who can enjoy the top-quality experience offered by Highlands Golf Course.
The Highlands Golf Course has tree-lined fairways that offer a unique challenge as well as generous greens that provide a bit of leeway.
The course is dotted with massive pines and mature oaks that please the eye and enhance the mood.
This well-reviewed club boasts that they have a unique blend of modern technology mixed in with that classic Florida style of golf.
They offer GPS Mobile equipped golf carts that give a 3D image of the hole and have onboard yard information to make sure you can take your game to the next level.
How Much Does it Cost at The Highlands Golf Course?
The Highlands Golf Course offers flat rates for certain times of the day whether it’s the weekend or a weekday.
All rates include cart but do not include tax.
Effective January 10, the rates are:
- 7 am to 10:59 am is $69.
- 11 am to 12:59 pm is $59.
- 1 pm to 2:59 pm is $49.
- 3 pm to 5 pm is $34.
You can download a scorecard for The Highlands Golf Course, FL here.
The Highlands Golf Course features the Centre Court Lounge—a well-maintained restaurant that serves casual meals for lunch and dinner.
They also have a bar area that serves drinks both alcoholic and soft. They have specialty nights like Pizza Friday and Burger Day Tuesday.
The Centre Court Lounge is open seven days a week.
They always open at 11 am. On Mondays they close at 2 pm; Tuesday at 8 pm; Wednesday, Thursday, and Sunday at 5 pm; and Friday and Saturday at 7 pm.
At the time of writing, the official website does not list any practice facilities or golf training courses.
The Highlands Golf Course hosts events and tournaments. They employ a PGA-trained staff that can adequately serve any golf tournament or event and they are currently taking bookings.
The Highlands Golf Course FL: Contact Information & Directions
The Highlands Golf Course, 3400 Longmeadow, Sarasota, FL 34235.
Tel: (941) 371-0982
Hours: 6:30AM – 5:00PM
Click here For directions to The Highlands Golf Course, FL.
2. University Park Country Club
The University Park Country Club was founded in 1991 and has quickly become a must-play destination for golfers.
Golf Digest rated the course four stars in 1996 and has been voted the #1 Golf Course in Southwest Florida.
University Park Country Club offers 27 holes of championship golf, the fully equipped Fitness Centre, 11 lighted Har-Tru tennis courts, and their creative contemporary cruise restaurant The Park Grille & Café.
The award-winning course has daily fees for public golfers and offers advanced tee time booking for up to three days.
Golf for Women, Florida Sportsfan, and Golfweek awarded the Ron Garl designed course at University Park Country Club several accolades and notices of distinction.
Florida Sportsfan ranked this course in Florida’s Top Fifty.
Sarasota Magazine has voted University Park Country Club “Best of the Best Places to Play Golf and Tennis” for 18 years in a row.
Golf Advisor ranked University Park Country Club at #10 on their 2015 List of the Top 25 Courses in Florida.
University Park Country Club boasts itself as the number one golf course in the Sarasota Bradenton area, and they certainly have the awards, acknowledgment, and praise to say it.
How Much Does it Cost at University Park Country Club?
The club splits its rates into three timeframes.
All rates include green fees, cart, unlimited complimentary range balls.
- From 7 am to 11 am the rate is $80.
- From 11 am to 1 pm the rate is $69.
- From 1 pm to 5 pm the rate is $59.
The club takes advanced tee time books for up to three days in advance for everyone—non-member, daily fee players included.
You can download a scorecard for University Park Country Club, FL here.
University Park Country Club offers members 11 lighted Har-Tru tennis courts on a lakeside vista with clinics, round-robins, holiday tournaments, and quality instruction.
The Tennis Professionals are USPTA certified.
The Fitness Centre is fully equipped and staffed with personal trainers and an active fitness program.
The Park Grille & Café is a casual, through elegant setting with scenic lakeside course views.
Executive Chef Roger Turtch designs a menu for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.
University Park Country Club: Contact Information & Directions
Pelican Bay Golf Club, 350 Pelican Bay Dr, Daytona Beach, FL 32119.
Tel: (941) 355-3888.
Hours: 7:00AM to 5:30PM.
Click here For directions to University Park Country Club, FL.
3. The Groves Golf Course
Designed by well-known golf course architect Arthur Mills, The Groves Golf Course is a premier golf destination in Sarasota, Florida.
The 18-hole course offers plenty of challenges from tight fairways to sloping greens, the course rewards accuracy and likens itself to a championship par 72 course—even though Groves is a par 65.
The course features nine par 4s, eight par 3s, and one par 5.
The course is a unique blend of challenges and The Groves boasts that players won’t soon forget their time on the Executive Course.
The Groves is set on over 50 acres of gorgeous Florida landscape.
How Much Does it Cost at The Groves Golf Course?
All rates include carts but not taxes.
As of January 10, rates are:
- From 7 am to 10:59 am it’s $49.00.
- From 11 am to 12:59 pm it’s $39.00.
- From 1 pm to 2:59 pm it’s $35.00.
- From 3 pm to 5:00 pm it’s $29.00.
You can download a scorecard for The Groves Golf Course, FL here.
The Groves Golf Course does not list any practice or training facilities on its website.
The course features the Centre Court Lounge that offers casual options for lunch and dinner as well as a bar that serves alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks.
They have specialty nights like Burger Tuesday and Pizza Friday.
The Groves Golf Course FL: Contact Information & Directions
Best Public Golf Courses in the Sarasota, FL Area
Sarasota, Florida is a premier golf hotspot in the state of Florida.
All three public courses mentioned here, The Highlands Golf Course, University Park Country Club, and The Groves Golf Course offer unique challenges, beautiful scenery, delicious meals, and fully-trained staff ready to assist you.
There is a wealth of public golf courses in Florida and we have listed the best public golf courses in Sarasota that tick all the boxes when it comes to value for money, facilities and course rating.
You can’t go wrong with any of these three courses.
They each welcome out-of-state and in-state travelers, as well as locals and, have ample tee time slots open.