DAYTONA BEACH, Florida – Golf is a game that reveres its rich history. From the Golden Age of design to the competitive exploits of Ben Hogan, Arnold Palmer and their peers, golf ensures that its heroes live on in the eyes of contemporary players.
Those efforts have paid dividends as destinations that have ties to golf’s fabled past continue to soar in popularity, and players revel in uncovering a course that traces its origins back to one of the sport’s legends.
Daytona Beach, which offers all the perks of a modern destination – varied accommodations offerings, great food and abundant nightlife – also delights players with its connections to the game’s past.
* Donald Ross, the father of American golf course architecture, designed a pair of area gems – the South Course at Daytona Beach Golf Club and New Smyrna Golf Club, both municipal layouts that locals and traveling players alike flock to. The South Course opened in 1921 and features the small turtle back greens Ross was known for while New Smyrna Golf Club is a testament to the virtues of classic golf course design.
* Not to be outdone Riviera Country Club, located in Ormond Beach, traces its roots back to the 1930s. The venerable layout has hosted the Riviera Open, America’s longest running mini-tour event, since 1960. Among the Riviera Open’s victors are PGA Tour winners Morris Hatalsky, Bert Yancey and Billy Hurley, and PGA Tour rules official Slugger White.
* The history of the Daytona Beach Golf Club’s South Course doesn’t end with Ross. Four of the game’s all-time greats, Ben Hogan, Sam Snead, Jimmy Demaret and Byron Nelson, teed it up on the South Course on March 13, 1946. A three-time Masters champion, Demaret shot a course record 63 to win the storied exhibition.
Daytona Beach’s golf history, combined with the quality of modern facilities like LPGA International, home of the acclaimed Jones and Hills courses, and the Ron Garl-designed Victoria Hills Golf Club, has helped make the area one of the game’s rising stay-and-play destinations.