Seascape Golf, Beach & Tennis Resort in Destin: Play the Florida Panhandle in style

By Ed Schmidt, Contributor

DESTIN, Fla. -- Northwest Florida -- commonly called "the Panhandle" -- is a hugely popular beach vacation destination, framed by stunning white sand beaches and turquoise blue waters of the Gulf of Mexico.

Seascape golf course
Several holes at Seascape have views of the Gulf.
Seascape golf courseSeascape G.C.Seascape Golf, Beach & Tennis Resort
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Seascape Golf Beach and Tennis

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The golf course at Seascape Golf Beach and Tennis is routed through a network of freshwater and coastal dune lakes, offering stunning views of the Gulf of Mexico from nearly every hole. With so much water throughout, it is only natural that it comes into play on 15 holes.

18 Holes | Resort golf course | Par: 70 | 6148 yards | Book online | ... details »

For golfers, a superb way to savor the region's natural beauty is on the fairways at Seascape Golf, Beach & Tennis Resort, a venerable choice since opening in 1970.

Seascape is a 300-acre resort with condos, villas and amenities such as tennis, multiple swimming pools and water sports rentals. The golf course is open to non-resort golfers for public play.

You might want to pack your camera in your golf bag. Several of the holes have panoramic views of the Gulf of Mexico and water features come into play on 15 of the 18 holes. Tall pines frame the softly undulating fairways, and the course is dotted with fresh water and coastal sand dune lakes.

Measuring 6,340 yards from the back tees, the par-70 course was designed by Joe Lee. What Seascape lacks in length it more than makes up for with challenges enhanced by narrow fairways that demand accuracy off the tee, as well as well placed bunkers and water hazards that gobble up errant approach shots. Lee, who also designed north Florida golf courses like the Golf Club of Quincy and Lagoon at Ponte Vedra Inn & Club, fashioned Seascape as a true shotmaker's layout.

A Florida native who passed away in 2003, Lee understood the Sunshine State's terrain better than most designers. He took the beautiful piece of coastal property at Seascape and molded it into a playable and challenging layout.

Lee's design philosophy was simple and straightforward: "I start with the premise that golf should be enjoyable, not a chore," he said in the book, "Gentleman Joe Lee: 50 Years of Golf Design."

"Golfers want a challenge but they want a fair one. An architect can't put a foot on the golfer's neck and keep it there all day."

At Seascape, Lee presents a fair challenge with lots of eye candy for those who enjoy course beauty as much as playability.

Seascape is the quintessential Florida resort course. It's playable and photogenic, and it will thoroughly entertain you in between sojourns to arguably the most beautiful beaches in Florida.

Seascape Resort: How to play the course

While it sounds trite and overplayed, you must hit fairways to score well at Seascape. You can't just pull out the driver, give it a go-for-broke Bubba Watson whack and hope to find it in a great spot for a second shot.

Take a few minutes at each tee box to assess your options. There are eight par 4s that play less than 400 yards, so you can hit a fairway wood if you don't have confidence in the big stick.

For lesser skilled golfers who play infrequently or those somewhat laid back from too much beach time, the white tees measure 5,834 yards. The forward tees, favored by juniors and ladies, are 4,891 yards. A great option for those pressed for time is Seascape's nine-hole rate in the afternoon.

Amenities at Seascape Golf, Beach & Tennis Resort

For pre-round preparation, Seascape boasts a 7,200-square-foot practice complex with a grass driving range and putting green. Consisting of 15 hitting stations, the range has a picturesque backdrop of mature trees and landscaping.

If you want to relax after a day on the links with a cool libation and lunch, try the Lakeside Grill on site. For a dining experience directly on the beach, the resort's Whale's Tail Beach Bar & Grill, a Destin favorite for more than three decades, features a deck overlooking the sand and surf.

The golf shop at Seascape has a full range of services, including golf lessons, rental clubs and storage, club cleaning, spike changing and tournament services. Swing help is also available on site at the PureStrike Medicus Golf Academy, where the motto is, "We can improve your swing -- we don't have to change it." Programs include V1 video analysis, putting, chipping, pitching and full swing.

Ed SchmidtEd Schmidt, Contributor

Ed Schmidt, publisher of The Golf Travel Guru Blog, is the author of two books on Florida golf and more than 2,500 articles and columns on golf resorts, courses and destinations around the world. Follow Ed on Twitter at @golftravelguy.

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