St. Pete Beach

When I started my career in the hospitality business, I worked for one of the top golf resorts in the U.S. The course hosted a top PGA Tour event, and it also was the spot where I took my first golf lessons from respected instructors Jimmy Ballard and later Jim McLean.

I enjoyed the game, but I found myself agreeing to play mostly because of the bonding opportunity with friends, the beautiful scenery that allowed me to focus and, of course, driving the golf cart.

I haven’t hit the links much this summer, but recently some of my friends were talking about going golfing and asked me where they could go play. So, after some research and conversations with our concierge here at Loews Don CeSar, I discovered that there are a number of options — including a fun new driving range in Tampa.  So the next time you want to experience a “sand trap” of another type, try one of these nearby courses.

The Bardmoor Golf & Tennis Club

Bardmoor 1

Designed by William Diddel, and renovated by Gary Koch, the Bardmoor boasts generous fairways that invite guests to hit away plus glistening water features to add some sparkle to your round. This 7,015-yard, Par 72 course features Tif-Eagle greens that rival tour status and is consistently rated one of the top courses in Florida. Practice range, greens and weekly clinics are available. The Bardmoor is about a 30-minute drive from St. Pete Beach.

Pasadena Yacht and Country Club

Pasadena 1

Just about a 15-minute drive from Loews Don CeSar sits the historic Pasadena Yacht and Country Club. The 6,588-yard, Par 72 course was originally designed by Walter Hagen and Wayne Stiles and opened in 1924, just four years before “The Don” made its debut on St. Pete Beach. Since its development, the course has seen a renovation by Arnold Palmer and has hosted legends including Babe Ruth and Michael Jordan. It’s an ideal course for those who just want to go out and have some fun. It’s not far from the funky seaside neighborhood of Gulfport. So, if you’re up for some “salty” seaside shenanigans — this may be the place for you.

TopGolf Tampa

Top Golf

This is where the competition of sport is combined with fun, games and good food (my kind of golf outing)! It’s the ultimate in driving ranges with 100 climate-controlled bays that seat up to six people — each bay comes with the luxury of a food & beverage server. In addition, the facility includes a 240-yard outfield with dartboard-like targets to ensure that friendly competition is part of the event. TopGolf is about  a 40-minute drive from St. Pete Beach.