DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. -- Speed is the topic of conversation in Daytona Beach from late January through February as the sports world turns its attention to the Great American Race. Golfers, of course, are always in search of their own version of speed: courses with great pace of play.
With that in mind, Daytona Beach might be the game’s fastest destination.
As surely as Daytona Beach is a mecca for auto racing enthusiasts, the area is equally appealing for golfers in search of a sub 4.5-hour round. How can we be so sure?
Because Daytona Beach is home to courses that were designed to provide a complete golf experience at a pace that would make Jimmie Johnson proud.
If you want to play in four hours or less, here are three Daytona Beach golf courses where the caution flag is never waved.
-- Crane Lakes, a par 66 that plays 5,186 yards from the tips, has eight par 3s and a pair of par 5s, but it isn’t a short course. Golfers will hit every club in the bag. A 435-yard par 4 and a 495-yard par 5 ensure the need for a good day with the driver, and the par 3s range in length from 156 to 200 yards (back tees). Crane Lakes, always among the area’s best conditioned courses, will test every part of a player's game and do so in a timely manner.
-- A par 69, Hidden Lakes is an ideal course to play on the first day of a trip, as it provides everyone a chance to score. The layout is 5,454 yards from the tips and doesn’t have a par 4 that plays 400 yards, so players should almost always have a comfortable club in hand. A round at Hidden Lakes is fun and when combined with one of the area’s best practice facilities, there are a lot of reasons to play the course.
-- Riviera Country Club is the longest layout on the list at 6,250 yards from the tips, but it's an old-school course designed with pace of play in mind. There is ample room to hit the ball, greens and tee boxes are in close proximity, and the course is maintained in a way that guarantees golfers won’t spend all day looking for balls.
Daytona Beach is home to nearly 30 courses and all of them emphasize pace of play, but players will likely reach the checkered flag first Crane Lakes, Hidden Lakes and Riviera.
For more information, go to DaytonaBeach.com/things-to-do/golf.