Plan your next trip with our new Dream Weekend series, which gives you the best recommendations for golf courses, hotels, restaurants, and sightseeing – so you can relax and focus on your round instead of your itinerary. Now on the tee: Tampa
There are no shortage of golf options in Florida, and the Tampa area is no exception. As the weather turns chilly, turn your eye to the Sunshine State to get your golf fix in this winter. One caveat: the best golf is spread out. There’s a little bit of driving involved with this guide, but trust us, it’s worth it.
12 p.m. Resort Course Reboot
Tampa International Airport (TPA) is smack dab in the middle of it all in Tampa. It’s a few miles away from Raymond James Stadium, home of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, and centrally located to the downtown area where hotels and restaurants are plentiful. Grab your rental – you will need it as the best golf in Tampa requires some driving. Our first destination is Innisbrook, officially in Palm Harbor and 40 minutes away. Host to the PGA Tour’s Valspar Championship, the Copperhead Course at Innisbrook finished a thorough facelift at the outset of 2016 and was returned to the original specs of architect Lawrence Packard. It’s a resort course that also offers three additional 18-hole tracks so a stay and play may be your best option. Innisbrook has standard guestrooms in addition to one and two bedroom suites.
7 p.m. Comfort Kitchen
Craft Street Kitchen has two locations, and the Oldsmar spot is most convenient to Innisbrook. Serving indulgent appetizers like buffalo cauliflower and short rib sweet potato tots along with entrees like chicken and waffles and shrimp and grits, there’s no opportunity to leave Craft Street hungry. There are also 11 local brews on the menu including two Cigar City options.
8 a.m. Where Champions Play
TPC Tampa Bay is a 30-minute drive inland and will be enjoyable to play if you’re still reeling from the difficult closing stretch at Innisbrook known as the Snake Pit. The course opened in 1991 and is typically in solid shape year round. It was sold in 2008 to the Heritage Golf Group but kept its TPC brand. Bonus: Back-to-back rounds where the pros play. TPC Tampa Bay has hosted a Champions Tour stop for the last 21 years.
1 p.m. Busch Gardens or Beers
There’s no doubt that Busch Gardens is Tampa’s premiere attraction. If you’re with your family, the wildly popular theme park is no brainer. A better option for a buddies trip is spending the afternoon at Cigar City Brewing. It’s located in Tampa proper and has a large tasting room along with food trucks. It’s easily one of the best breweries in the state, and there are tours every day of the week except Monday and Tuesday.
7 p.m. Time Traveling
Spend the evening at one of the city’s most historical venues: the Tampa Theater. Opened in 1926, the theater has withstood all the changes around it and continues to attract hoards of visitors each week with concerts, plays and classic films being shown nightly. Recent shows include Amos Lee, Golden Dragon Acrobats and Die Hard. Cap off the evening with dinner at the Columbia, one of Tampa’s oldest culinary institutions. It’s been open for more than 110 years and has been a part of the Hernandez family the entire time. Amazing authentic Cuban food and a memorable experience all in one meal.
9 a.m. Worth the Drive
It would be a shame to be this close to Streamsong and not venture over to one of the best public golf destinations in the country. Streamsong is remote golf at its finest, so a bit of a drive is needed, but it’s worth it. It’s home to two stunning venues, named Red (ranked No. 10) and Blue (ranked No. 14), and soon will be joined by the Black Course later in 2017. If you only have time to play one, change your plans and make time to play both. It’s worth it.