The "World's Most Famous Beach"


Hitting the Links in Daytona Beach:

A Perfect Place to Test Your Driving Skills.

Posted by: Rick Parnham


A holiday journey out of the snow and cold for a southern golf locale is now an esential part of the family fabric. This year was no exception, with my oldest son and I packing up the clubs and pointing the car south to Florida. For a new experience, we decided that Daytona Beach would be the beginning of our junket. We had travelled the I-95 corridor many times but had only driven by the home of Nascar, having never stopped to see what the golf scene in town had to offer. Combining a few days along the sand with a robust golf itinerary and a plentiful number of craft beer options in the city, we looked forward to our first visit to “The World’s Most Famous Beach.”


The Golf: Daytona has over 20 golf courses in the city and surrounding county ranging from world-class designs to local favorites. We had the chance to experience four facilities in the collection and enjoyed the experience at each of them.


LPGA International: It is likely that anyone who has driven I-95 along Florida’s Atlantic coast has noticed the LPGA Boulevard sign in Daytona Beach. Just north of the famed Daytona International Speedway, an exit here takes you to the LPGA International complex, arguably the most recognized name in the sport of women’s professional golf.  The LPGA Tour headquarters grace a quiet pond near the entry road which leads to the facility’s two championship courses. The Jones and Hills Courses offer a pair of tour calibre golf courses both designed by and carrying the monikers of legendary architects. The Rees Jones Course was opened in 1994 and welcomes the Symetra Tour Championship each year, playing host to the game’s rising stars.


Shot Making Demands of the Hills Course


Our visit had us teeing it up on the Arthur Hills Course, which after its 1997 opening elevated the complex to become Daytona’s premiere golf facility. Widely known for its varied canvas of forests and wetlands, we looked forward to the layout’s billing as the more challenging of the pair.  As only could happen in Florida, our warm-up at the expansive academy facility gave a perfect vantage point to watch a rocket blast off from nearby Cape Canaveral. Our own blast off took us through a routing which was a stern test from the first tee shot to the last putt. The course boasts a severe rating of 75 from the tips due in large part to the smaller than average sized greens along with a trio of holes featuring interrupted fairways and unforgiving forced carries demanded with your approach shots. The secluded setting amid dense forests and plentiful wetlands provides a quiet, natural feel to your round, complete with beautiful vistas and lots of shot making demands. Visit LPGA International here


Victoria Hills: Ron Garl should be a name familiar to Canadian golfers. Having his name credited with two of the more highly regarded courses in Ontario at Wooden Sticks and Taboo, his abilities to design challenging and memorable routings is no surprise. The historic central Florida town of Deland is also home to a memorable Garl creation: Victoria Hills Golf Club. Opened in 2000, the routing is full of challenge and variety, and offers an un-Florida feel to it. The residential community setting is just a couple par 4’s from the Orange Camp Road exit on I-4 and an easily accessible very short trip from Daytona or Orlando.


The first tee sets the tone of the round and provides a glimpse at the experience to come. The course has a rugged feel, with sculpted fairways, vast bunkering and considerable elevation change. Southern pines and mossy-draped live oaks, frame most of the holes, while a memorable stretch of four holes on the back nine have the typical Floridian water and wetlands incorporated into their design. The opening holes feature a a great mix of length and shot shaping. The 4th is a perfect example for the drive must carry a lengthy bunker, but find the fairway guarded on the left by water and the right by a bunker and thick forest. The back nine provides a collection of holes that will surely be part of the memories you take away. A little shorter, this side is filled with a series of risk / reward holes. The wild ride of shot making begins on the short par 4, 12th hole and features elevated, heavily sloped greens, and tempting forced carries over wetlands and lakes. This premium public golf course is an absolute must if you find yourself traversing between Orlando and Daytona. The $20 price tag for cart and golf the for the week before Christmas might have made this best value golf experience ever. Visit Victoria Hills here


Riviera Country Club: Every city needs a local favorite the likes that can be found at Riviera Country Club. Located a couple par 4 holes from US 1 and Calle Grande Ave. intersection in Ormond Beach, the facility has been in the hands of the Meyers family since they purchased it in 1953. Originally opened in the 1930’s as a nine hole course, Riviera has seen many changes over the years. A full service golf experience is had at Riviera with an expansive range available to warm up or spend time working on the glitches in your game in hopes for a great round. Best described as a traditional parkland-style routing, the flat piece of land and member of the Florida Historic Golf Trail is dotted with a number of ponds adding to the challenge along with the numerous pushed-up greens.


Historic Parkland Beauty at Riviera


A tale of two nines can best describe your Riviera round. The opening side of holes has a very traditional feel. Gentle doglegs, tree-lined fairways and large greens with ample slopes starts your round with enough challenge to get your attention. The shot making demands on this nine come from the narrow fairway corridors requiring the ability to shape the ball while avoiding the overhanging limbs. The  second nine is a stern test. It features far more character to the green complexes with more slope and punishing bunkers surrounding the putting surfaces. This collection of holes challenges all aspects of your game, from tee to holing out a surely tricky putt. Visit Riviera here


Venetian Bay: One exit south of Daytona Beach brings you to New Smyrna Beach, home to The Club at Venetian Bay. Opened in 2008 as a private, residential golf experience, the course began hosting public play in 2012. This Clifton, Ezell & Clifton design is now another terrific public play option when visiting the the Daytona area. Well conditioned, the routing boasts a flat canvas dotted with  nearly a dozen ponds, bringing water into play on 14 of the holes. The design is very forgiving off the tee and quite playable with considerable swaths of rough cut short enough to make finding any errant shot easy. The defense of the course lies with its length and the slopes of the larger than average green complexes.


Number 13 at Venetian Bay


The design has a high degree of playability, with few exceptions. The par 3 holes at Venetian Hills are a fine collection of short holes. Each of these tricky holes has a challenging green while three of the them require a forced carry over water. Being able to jot down a par on each of these one-shot beauties will be no easy feat.  Likely to be the most memorable hole of your round is Number 5, a dog-leg right, risk/reward par 5. The second shot leaves you with two distinct options. The wide, yet narrow green is tucked behind bunkers, water and a clump of palm trees. A layup played to the left of the trees, contends with a series of bunkers, while taking on the pond and trees looking for an eagle opportunity demands a perfectly struck hybrid or long iron to avoid disaster.  Visit Venetian Bay here


Life in the Fast Lane


The Ale Trail: In a city that boasts a beautiful Atlantic beachfront and numerous apres golf options, one that stood out for us was the Daytona Beach Ale Trail. The collection of more than a dozen craft breweries and distillers adds a tasteful touch to your post-round time along the coast.


Tomoka Brewery: Our first Daytona Beach Ale Trail visit brought us to the Port Orange location of Tomoka Brewery. Tucked into a quiet commercial area, the brew pub is expansive, with an array of booths, tables and a bar option for seating. An extensive menu of tasty food both appetizers and full entres makes this a perfect location to not only sample some fine Florida brews, but relax with a meal to end a day traversing the links. Home to 18 different beers, regardless of your palette, there will certainly be a pint or two that satisfies. Visit here


Persimmon Hollow: The charming Central Florida town of Deland is home to a very special location on the Daytona Beach Ale Trail. The moniker Persimmon Hollow is a tribute to the area’s wild persimmon groves and the early name given to the area. The brewery is located steps from the quaint downtown corners. Bustling with artisan shops and history, the quiet street front location is warm and inviting.  Built in a former warehouse, the taproom is rustic and spacious, offering both bar seating and tables for larger groups. An extensive menu of tasty taps have a brew for every palate. The Daytona Beach Blonde Ale, Paddle Wheeler Red Ale and Beach Hippie IPA are the staples, but a couple flights of all the other varieties is an absolute must. Visit here


Delicious Apres in New Smyrna Beach


New Smyrna Beach Brewing Company: The quaint downtown of New Smyrna Beach has an eclectic blend of old and new architecture. Canal Street is a perfect example of wide sidewalks and a time where business districts were the hub of the city. A couple blocks from the marinas and Intracoastal Waterway is the New Smyrna Beach Brewing Company. The storefront locale has a trendy feel to it. Adorned with exposed rafters and red brick walls, the brewery offers a casual and communal feel to it. Inviting and built in an open concept, even the brew tanks and malt sacks are part of the experience. The extensive array of ales is colourful and imaginative. A wide range of IPA’s and old-world style brews, some of the high gravity variety provide plenty of choices for even the most discerning beer connoisseur. Visit here


Driving has long been connected to Daytona Beach. Being known as a motorsport mecca from the time the firmly packed sands of the Atlantic shore were used for racing to the modern day colossus at the Daytona International Speedway, our visit involved a different kind of driving. Our path was a little trickier than the pedal down and turn left approach the good ole boys take in the early spring, but was nonetheless exciting and strategic in navigating to our finish line. It was a welcomed stay along  “The World’s Most Famous Beach,” and getting to enjoy a sampling of different golf and Ale Trail experiences made it a memorable one.































Home to the LPGA










LPGA Hills Course: Par 72

Tees Yards Rating Slope
White (M)
White (L)
Gold (M)
Gold (L)
Red (M)
Red (L)










Tomoka Brewery









Victoria Hills: Par 72

Tees Yards Rating Slope
Classic (M)
Classic (L)










Victoria Hills










Riviera C.C.: Par 72

Tees Yards Rating Slope
White (M)
White (L)
Gold (M)
Red (L)
























Venetian Bay: Par 72

Tees Yards Rating Slope
Red (L)













Inviting Persimmon Hollow












Daytona Links:


Daytona Beach


Daytona Beach Golf


Daytona Beach Ale Trail