Key West golf plays an integral role in the state and the sporty lifestyle and outdoor activities that thrive in this prime vacation destination. Florida, a mecca for retirees, has more golf courses than any state in the country. A great number of these are around the Fort Myers and Naples area, where there is a large concentration of retired and semi-retired residents who love their golf. But the narrow, 129-mile long archipelago that makes up the Keys offers plenty of Florida Keys golf, and the several courses therein have the added attraction of extraordinary ocean vistas. When you're not indulging in Key West golfing and other Florida Keys golf you will find plenty of other activities to keep you busy for your entire vacation.
While there is not a large number of Key West golf courses, there are several nearby, as everything in the Keys is within about a 90-minute drive. The closest of the Key West golf courses is the Key West Golf Club, the only public course in the Lower and Middle Keys. It is actually located on Stock Island, which is between Big Pine Key and Key West, just over the bridge from the town of Key West. It boasts a stunning setting with tropical gardens, palms, and mangroves frequented by pelicans, herons, egrets, and other water birds. You may even spot tarpon rolling on the water surface off its many ponds. The legendary Rees Jones designed the course, and undoubtedly, the best Key West golf is played here on the southernmost course in the continental United States. You'll also find excellent dining in the Clubhouse Restaurant.
Other places for those interested in Key West golf courses to play include the Sombrero Country Club on Marathon Key, just over the bridge from Big Pine Key. It's only one block from the main highway, and it is a private club with membership limited to only 300. If you are not a member, you need to be invited by one. The course is set on 135 acres of lush lagoons and tropical gardens. Next over from Marathon Key is the Key Colony Beach Golf and Tennis Club, a 9-hole course open to the public. If you have come for Key West golf you won't be disappointed with the available venues.
Key Largo is the closest of the Keys to the Florida mainland, and golf in Key Largo is possible at a number of courses, though some of them are private or belong to resorts. At those courses, you need to be invited by a member or be a guest of the resort. The most exclusive of these is the 18-hole Card Sound Golf Club, which limits its membership to only 235. Also exclusive are the courses of the Ocean Reef Club, one of the most luxurious of the Key Largo hotels. There are two championship 18-hole courses here: the Hammock Course and the Dolphin Course. Both are scenic and take advantage of numerous water hazards. Other activities at this exclusive resort include tennis, both court and lawn, and deep sea fishing launched from the private marina. There is also one of the Keys' luxurious spas, a movie theater, and even a cooking school. More Florida Keys golf is available at another exclusive resort located in Islamorada, the Cheeca Lodge and Spa. While this is only a 9-hole executive course and the resort itself burned down in early 2009, the course it still active and available for play.