Florida Historic Golf Heritage Trail
When Scottish immigrant John Gillespie established his homestead in Sarasota in 1886, he brought his passion for the emerging game of golf with him, and constructed a practice course consisting of two greens and one long fairway behind his home. This two-hole golf “course” became the origin of golfing in Florida and one of the first recorded in the nation.
Today, Florida's golf history is recognized as one of the earliest in the nation. Its growth dates back to the 1890s, when a number of courses were created for resorts along the railroad lines built by Henry Flagler on the east coast, and on the west coast by Henry Plant. The construction of Florida’s early golf courses and resorts continued through the “golden age” of golf course architecture that lasted from the 1900s through the 1930s.
The 76-page trail publication includes historical information on the more than 50 partner courses and identifies other historic public and private golf courses across the state. It also includes a background essay on the history of golf in Florida, a timeline of events, and sidebars on individuals important to the development of golf in Florida. Copies of the booklet are available to public libraries, educators, students and interested citizens throughout the state. Information about the history and current day contact information for each partner course can be found at FloridaHistoricGolfTrail.com.
Find the historic course near you and Come Play on History!
The Florida Historic Golf Trail publication was produced by the Florida Association of Museums, with historic preservation grant support provided by the Florida Department of State's Division of Historical Resources, assisted by the Florida Historical Commission. For more information about the Florida Association of Museums, visit Flamuseums.org.
Published by the Florida Department of State, Division of Historical Resources.
- Read the Florida Historic Golf Heritage Trail guide online.
- Download the Florida Historic Golf Heritage Trail (.pdf)
- Read more about the history of golf in Florida using this bibliography , accessible through the State Library and Archives of Florida.
- Discover other Florida Heritage Publications