California vs. Florida: Which State Has Better Golf Courses?

California golf courses offer beautiful surroundings including rolling terrain, mountain views, lush landscaping and sometimes, stunning ocean vistas. 
California golf courses offer beautiful surroundings including rolling terrain, mountain views, lush landscaping and sometimes, stunning ocean vistas. 

Active adults who love to golf will likely take the proximity to great courses into account when choosing their retirement destinations. Both California and Florida are known for having a spectacular selection of championship golf courses, but which state comes out on top in a side-by-side comparison?

According to the listings at Golf Link, Florida has 1,481 public and private golf courses, compared to the 1,140 courses in California. In Florida, the top golfing destinations include areas like Naples, Fort Myers and Orlando. California’s destinations with the most golf courses feature top spots like Palm Desert, San Diego and La Quinta. It’s clear that both states have an abundance of courses, but what makes one better than the other depends on many different factors.

Both states feature sunny, coastal areas with spectacular views and high-end resorts. As a peninsula, Florida has coasts on both the Atlantic Ocean and the Gulf of Mexico. Its central areas also feature an impressive number of lakes, rivers and wetlands. On the other side of the country, California adds mountain vistas, high deserts and rolling vineyards to its Pacific Coast location.

While the weather in both California and Florida is mainly hot and sunny, there are definite differences in their climates. California offers a dry heat, while Florida is known for its soaring levels of humidity. That makes a big difference in the way the day feels, regardless of the actual temperature. Teeing off on a 105-degree morning in Palm Desert may feel much more comfortable than hitting the links in Naples when the 95-degree temperature comes with 90 percent humidity.

Golfing throughout Central Florida offers beautiful vistas of inland lakes, rivers and wetlands as well as mature forests and plenty of wildlife.  

Whether you golf in Florida or California, each state has its own nuisances from the local wildlife. In Florida, that generally means mosquitoes and alligators. When you’re in California, you’re more likely to run into rattlesnakes and coyotes. Any of these tend to be unwanted guests on a golf course, particularly when Florida’s mosquitoes appear in swarms that just won’t be swatted away.

Climate is part of the regional picture, but weather is a big factor when you actually head out to the course. Though Florida is known as the Sunshine State, California is likely to have sunnier skies more days of the year. California is also spared the dangerous weather Florida can have with hurricanes and tropical storms. If you’re looking for the top-rated courses in the country, California has a bit of an edge as well.

On Golf Digest’s list of America’s 100 Greatest Golf Courses, California courses appear twice in the top ten with Cypress Point Club (number 5) and Pebble Beach Golf Links (number 6). The top Florida course, Seminole Golf Club, makes the list at number 13. Golf Magazine’s Top 100 Courses in the U.S. find similar results, yet it ranks Cypress Point Club at number 2, Pebble Beach Golf Links at number 5 and Seminole Golf Club at number 14.

Looking at these factors, it appears that California golf may take the lead over Florida courses. But choosing which is better will always come down to a matter of preference. Are you a fan of Florida golf or would you rather hit the links on California’s West Coast? Let us know what you think in the comments below.

Can you spot the $207,744 difference between these identical homes?

Financing is the difference!

Get the details in The 62+ Loan Homebuyers Guide.

55places Mortgage is a joint venture between Mutual of Omaha Mortgage and
Details here.

Share this post:

We're here to help! (800) 928-2055

Call us to speak with a customer service representative.

Subscribe to Our Newsletter

Get Weekly Updates

I agree that 55places and its affiliates, partner providers or agents may call, text, or email me about my inquiry, which may be made with automated means. I understand that my consent is not a prerequisite for buying a property. I may revoke my consent at any time by contacting [email protected] Message/data rates may apply. I also agree to’s Privacy Policy and Terms of Use.

The Best Places to Snowbird in 2021

We’ve gathered 25 of the best places for snowbirds, including cities in Florida, Arizona, California, Texas, South Carolina, and Nevada. For each entry, we’ve also provided a list of recommended 55+ communities in the area. If you’re ready to find your own winter retreat this season, here are some of the best places to consider.

Interior view of the indoor pool at Del Webb Ponte Vedra in Ponte Vedra, Florida.

Jacksonville Area 55+ Communities With Indoor Pools

There’s something so luxurious about an indoor pool. Take a look at these communities in Jacksonville and the surrounding northeast Florida area. You’ll find indoor pools and much, much more.

Sunset on sandy and rocky beach in the Bay Area of California.

55+ Communities on the Beach in the Bay Area

Perhaps you’re ready to turn your dream of living by the beach into reality. In that case, we’ve got you covered, because there are a few wonderful beachside 55+ communities right in the Bay Area.

A 55+ couple with arthritis holding hands and enjoying a day at the beach.

The Best Places to Retire With Arthritis

Those with arthritis know the pain and discomfort can be difficult to manage day-to-day. While there are many remedies to manage the pain, one you may not consider is climate. 55Places has taken a look at the best regions to live if you have arthritis, and many of them are home to 55+ communities!

A bridge over a pond on the grounds of Sun City Lincoln Hills in Lincoln, California.

Large 55+ Communities in the Sacramento Area

One of the greatest benefits of living in a large community is the vast amount of amenities typically offered. If you’re looking for larger 55+ communities in Sacramento, you’ll want to check out the three following communities.

Aerial view of the Downtown Spartanburg skyline in South Carolina on a sunny day.

Living in Spartanburg, South Carolina

Located in the scenic foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains in Northwestern South Carolina—also known as the Upstate—Spartanburg is an ideal destination for active adults who want to retire in a mid-sized city with a small-town, close-knit feel.

About 55places

We’re changing the way people 55 and older are searching for their perfect next place. With a national network of hand-selected real estate experts, plus comprehensive information, unbiased content, and on-the-go insight about thousands of communities across the country, we’re a trusted resource paving the way from here to home. Whether you’re interested in a low-maintenance single-level residence, an active lifestyle or age-qualified community, an intimate enclave, or anything in between, we can help you make your next move the best one yet.

Scroll to Top