Heading for Florida in an RV? Pull aside for a round of golf

By Tim McDonald, Contributor

The open road has always beckoned poets, drifters, adventurers and golfers.

There is a certain class of golf wanderer who eschews "stay and play" condos and villas, and who likes to travel in mobile style, to stay in one place for a while only to leave for another.

RVers may have a reputation for being older, retired folks who finally have time to see the country. A lot of them are also golfers, and there are a number of younger RVers who like to explore both the country and the golf courses that appear periodically through the windshield, along both interstates and back roads.

Florida is one of those states that is a haven for both seekers of warmth, RV hookups and golf courses.

People don't normally associate great golf with RV resorts, and they are usually correct. And there are many RV resorts that advertise golf courses "nearby." Still, there are RV resorts in Florida that offer golf on the grounds. There are even RV country clubs, believe it or not. Here are some of the better RV resorts that offer golf.

Clerbrook RV Resort is in the rolling hills of Lake County in central Florida, close to the Florida Turnpike.

The resort has an 18-hole course that's short at 5,200 yards, but it is not an executive course, boasting two par-5s and a par of 67.

"We're not exceptionally long, but we have water on every hole but one, tight fairways and small greens," said head pro Dave Reinhardt. "It's target golf at its finest."

Clerbrook has a driving range, putting greens and instruction. It is also known for its boating and fishing, and has swimming pools and a spa.

Green fees are $26, and a six-month golf lot costs $2,520 with an annual rate of $3,111.

Shady Brook Golf and RV Resort has a par-72, 18-hole course measuring 6,441 from the back tees.

"It's two distinct nines," said head pro and owner Jim Carmichael. "The front is shorter and tighter and has water on five holes. The back is more open and longer, has a Scottish-links feel, and mounding. It's like playing two totally different golf courses."

There is also a driving range and putting green.

Great Outdoors Resort is not a membership RV park, like many, but it is a sprawling resort on more than 2,800 acres that lays claim to a Ron Garl-designed 18-hole course.

The course is 6,542 yards long and makes its way through woodland and wildlife habitat. The course has paved cart paths, wooden bridges and numerous water hazards. The resort also has a lighted driving range, 15-hole putting green and a chipping area with sand bunker, as well as a pro shop and clubhouse with a full-service bar and restaurant.

There is a private, stocked fishing reserve and a heated pool and health club. The resort has homes for sale as well as RV sites.

Deer Creek RV Golf Resort is spread out on more than 200 acres in North Davenport, between Orlando and Cypress Gardens, and offers an 18 hole course, a lighted driving range, pro shop and putting green. It's an executive course, a par-60, with six par-4s.

Winter green fees are $32 including the cart and the resort offers a twilight rate after 2 p.m. of $21.

It has a $2 million clubhouse, billiards, a heated pool and a spa. It also has a tiki bar and restaurant.

The resort has 95 full hookups that cost $35-$45 and can handle RVs up to 40 feet.

Carefree RV Country Club in Winter Haven has a nine-hole course designed by John Olsen. Built in 1982, it's a private club with a driving range, though there are no rental clubs available.

The course is a par-35 with two sets of tees - it measures 2,133 yards from the back and 1,948 from the forward tees.

Cypress Point Golf Club and RV has a 9-hole, executive course that's a dream for golfers who hate sand traps - there are none on the course, but there is quite a bit of water.

Rates are $9 for nine holes walking, $12 for 18 walking $12 for nine with a cart and $18 for 18 holes, including cart.

Fisherman's Cove RV Park Golf 29115 N Eichelberger Rd, Tavares FL (352) 343-1233

"We're just an executive, par 3, 9-hole course," said manager Mike Flood. "But, it has a beautiful swamp and the course is built on a hill, so you're playing up one side and down the other. There's no water, just sand."

Grand Lake RV and Golf Resort, between Ocala and Gainesville, has a 9-hole course, with rates starting at $8.50. They also rent golf carts - $25 for a day or $125 monthly.

Okeechobee KOA Resort and Golf Course is 1/4 mile from the big lake and has a nine-hole course, driving range and putting green. Its best point may be the 10th hole, the Shanty Lounge, a barefoot Florida-style bar.

Tim McDonaldTim McDonald, Contributor

Veteran golf writer Tim McDonald keeps one eye on the PGA Tour and another watching golf vacation hotspots and letting travelers in on the best place to vacation.

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