While Destin itself is recognized as one of Florida’s top golf destinations, Emerald Bay Golf Club seems to be one of those courses, often overlooked, rarely crowded, that offers an experience not found anywhere else on the Emerald Coast.
Designed by Bob Cupp, Emerald Bay is an 18 hole championship course that is, in my opinion, one of Florida’s best-kept secrets. Why this is, I’m not really sure. What I do know is that Bob Cupp has pulled off a masterpiece. The course plays slightly more than 6,800 yards and, with a par of 72 and a slope of 140, it offers a unique, but ultimately fair, challendge. Water is in play on 12 of the 18 holes, and it’s not been placed simply to enhance the course’s aesthitics. Time and again you’ll find yourself facing an intimidating shot across lake or pond. Cupp has really lived up to his reputation.
I visited the course in late April; it was in beautiful condition. The fairways were lush and green, and the greens themselves were tight and rolling true.
As you navigate from one fairway to the next, you’ll be entranced by the breathtaking views you’ll encounter along the way, and none are more beautiful than those you’ll find on the shores of Choctawhatchee Bay which borders part of the back nine (see photo gallery).
As far back as 1992 Golf Digest voted Emerald Bay one of the top new courses in the country. Since then it has undergone some crucial reconditioning and repairs. The result is a golf course designed to offer a gratifying experience to players of all levels of skill.
Four sets of tees – Gold, 6825; Blue, 6482; White, 6967; and Red, 5184 – cater to most player’s abilities.
The Guesthouse at Emerald Bay has been designed to provide a comfortable and relaxing experience. Each of the eight luxury guest rooms has two queen beds, a private balcony, a spacious bath, television and telephone. Other amenities, including a pool, two rubico tennis courts and outdoor grill complete the list. The Guesthouse at Emerald Bay is situated just yards from the first tee, the clubhouse and pro shop. The versatility of the Guesthouse allows the staff to accommodate most needs, from the single golfer to small groups up to 16. It’s the ideal venue for a small business outing or a group golf vacation.
True, this is a public access golf course and, as such, one usually expects a somewhat Spartan shop and 19th hole. Not so at Emerald Bay Golf Club; the Clubhouse is more in keeping with something you’d expect to find at a more upscale private club.
Rates:Guesthouse: From $75 per night, double occupancy – golf $50 per 18 holes.
Golf: Before 11am $95; after 11am $76; after 2pm $57.
Contact:Emerald Bay Golf Club
4781 Clubhouse Drive
Destin, FL 32541