By Heather Turk
Ocala/Marion County always scores a hole in one with visitors looking for a classic Florida golf experience. Home to more than 30 diverse golf courses—many open for public play—golfers will have no problem finding a course to tee off on that challenges players of every skill level.
Named the fourth best under-publicized golf course in Florida by worldgolf.com in 2016, this John Sanford-designed, par-72 course in Dunnellon is a true hidden gem. Offering five sets of tees to accommodate golfers of all skill levels, guests can play anywhere from 7,236 to 5,071 yards. The striking 18-hole course features a collection of man-made ponds and four waterfalls around its greens, making for one of Central Florida’s more enjoyable upscale courses near Ocala. Challenging holes include the par-5 6th, which plays over a small lake before doglegging left to an elevated green, and the par-4 9th, which plays downhill and is drivable from the tee with a distance of 300 to 355 yards. Golf rates vary but start as low as $36.95. juliettefalls.com
OCALA NATIONAL GOLF CLUB
Host to many professional, state and national amateur events over the years, this tranquil, Rees Jones-redesigned course in Ocala is set among rolling hills and thoroughbred horse farms. Stretching to 7,364 yards from the black tees (4,754 yards from the red tees), the par-72, championship layout features various elevation changes that create different lies, which golfers who typically play flat courses have to adjust to. Players are guided through dramatic slopes and challenging bunkers, resulting in even the most experienced golfer having to raise his or her game. Green fees range from $29.95 to $59.95, depending on the time of day and year. ocalanational.com
STONE CREEK GOLF CLUB
This par-72, Terry Doss-designed championship golf course comprises 187 acres of Ocala’s lush green countryside and rolling hills. Totaling 7,143 yards (although it can be played as short as 4,853 yards), guests will find strategically placed water on 11 of the 18 holes. There are also seven sets of tees to allow multiple levels of golfers to play the course and enjoy themselves. Premium tee time pricing throughout the year ranges from $36 to $50, with twilight rates as low as $18; public players can book tee times up to 14 days in advance. There’s also a driving range, practice putting green, practice chipping green, golf shop and grille on premise. stonecreekgolfocala.com
Grab your clubs and book your Ocala getaway today at www.allegiant.com!