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Tampa Bay’s Best Challenging Public Golf Courses

By Barbara Ann Kelley and Gary Adamek, CBSTampa.com
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Patrick Sheehan blasts from a bunker on the first hole during the final round of the 2005 Chrysler Championship at the Westin Innsbrook Resort, Copperhead Course. (Photo by Al Messerschmidt/Getty Images)

Patrick Sheehan blasts from a bunker on the first hole during the final round of the 2005 Chrysler Championship at the Westin Innsbrook Resort, Copperhead Course. (Photo by Al Messerschmidt/Getty Images)

Tampa Bay is one of the fastest growing golf regions in the state. There are nearly 100 public and private courses throughout the area and more are popping up every year. Most of these courses are ordinary. Here’s our list of Tampa Bay’s best golf courses and why they’re so challenging.

98123893 Tampa Bays Best Challenging Public Golf Courses

16th fairway (Photo by Michael Cohen/Getty Images)

Innisbrook Resort – Copperhead Course
Par 71 • 7,340 yards
36750 US Highway 19 North / Palm Harbor, FL
(727) 942-2000
Website: www.innisbrookgolfresort.com

The Copperhead Course is home to the PGA Tour, each March, as part of the Florida Swing. Copperhead offers tree lined fairways, elevation changes that will give any golfer a stern but fair test. The 458-yard, par-4 16th is one of the state’s most talked-about holes. Greens fee: $150 – $250.

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south Tampa Bays Best Challenging Public Golf Courses

South Course (Photo credit: http://www.lakejovitagolfcc.com)

Lake Jovita Golf & Country Club – South Course
Par 72 • 7,153 yards
12900 Lake Jovita Blvd. / Dade City 33525
(352) 588-9200 or (877) 481-2652
Website: www.lakejovitagolfcc.com   

This course, designed by Tom Lehman, offers fabulous elevation changes not normally found in Florida. The opening hole is one of the toughest in all of golf. The Par 5-11th hole features a 94-foot drop from tee to green – the largest natural elevation change on any course in the state. Greens fee: $41 – $60.

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World Woods Golf Club – Pine Barrens Course
Par 71 • 7,259 yards
17590 Ponce De Leon Boulevard / Brooksville 34614
(352) 796-5500
Website: www.worldwoods.com 

The World Woods complex offers 2 fantastic championship courses, and the Pine Barrens course leads the way. This course is ranked #26 by Golf Week as “America’s Best Modern Course”.  Pine Barrens offers the player a glimpse of what it would be like to play the famed Pine Valley Golf Course or in the sand dunes of Australia. Easy access from Tampa via the Veterans/Suncoast (toll) Parkway make Pine Barrens a must for any Golfer. Allow 50 to 80 minutes each way travel time. Greens fee: $54 – $94.

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World Woods – Rolling Oaks Course
Par 72 • 7,279 yards
17590 Ponce De Leon Boulevard / Brooksville 34614
(352) 796-5500
Website: www.worldwoods.com

The other championship course on this awesome property features a totally different look than its sister course, Pine Barrens. Rolling Oaks offers a more traditional parkland feel with tree lined fairways and water hazards. The beauty of World Woods is the diversity and challenge of the course. The changes in hole style and length create a blend of holes that require a variety of shots, and a strategic approach in order to score well. Greens fee:$54 – $94.

For the latest in golf clothing check this story out: Best Golf Clothing Stores In Tampa.

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tpc Tampa Bays Best Challenging Public Golf Courses

Hole #15  (Photo credit: http://www.tpctampabay.com)

TPC – Tampa Bay
Par 71 • 6,898 yards
5300 West Lutz Lake Fern Road   Lutz 33558
(866) PLAY-TPC  or (813) 949-0090
Website: www.tpctampabay.com  

Home the Champions Tour each April the TPC Tampa Bay is certainly one of the top facility’s in the area. The TPC Tampa Bay is always in top condition and offers a variety of tough holes featuring many water hazards and tough bunkering. Score well on the front and hold on coming home as TPC Tampa Bay’s finishing holes are some of the most challenging you will find. TPC Tampa Bay was Rated  in 2010 by Golf World Magazine as  #13 Best Public Golf Facility. Greens fee: $99 – $159.

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fox hollow 14 Tampa Bays Best Challenging Public Golf Courses

14th Tee (Photo credit: http://www.golfthefox.com)

Fox Hollow Golf Club – Fox Hollow
Par 71 • 7,138 yards
10050 Robert Trent Jones Parkway / New Port Richey  34655
(800) 943-1902  or  (727) 376-6333
Website: www.golfthefox.com 

The Fox Hollow golf course is ranked as the 3rd best of all of the Tampa Bay area golf courses. This Robert Trent Jones masterpiece will challenge any players game. The fairway bunkering at Fox Hollow always makes for demanding tee shots. Fox Hollow offers some of the best greens anywhere in the Tampa Bay area. This course is another must play for any golfer. Greens fee: $52 – $97.

Looking for a more affordable course? Check out this list of some of the best low cost public courses by clicking here.

If we missed your favorite golf course let us know in the comment section below.  CBS Tampa values your opinions and comments.

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