Birdies and Beer in St. Lucie
From a world-class PGA Golf resort to craft beer and wine, this Treasure Coast enclave has everything needed to go off the grid.
You may think that golfers have been exploring Florida for so long that there’s little left to discover. But those who relish the game are sometimes surprised to learn about the opportunities to hit the links in St. Lucie, with nearly two dozen courses designed for a variety of skill levels and budgets. And because the area flies just under the radar of those who head to locations with big crowds, the courses here can be more accessible, even in the peak winter playing season.
Perhaps most interesting, though, is the opportunity to pair the greatest game with the most satisfying drink: craft beer.
“The Treasure Coast Wine & Ale Trail runs right through this part of the state, making it possible to swing clubs all morning and sample suds in the afternoon. You can even reserve the ‘Brew Bus’ for a chauffeured excursion to all the stops,” says Charlotte Bireley, director of tourism and marketing for Visit St. Lucie.
Most golfers are drawn to the PGA Village in Port St. Lucie, home to the PGA Golf Club, where professionals from around the globe come to play and train. Here, three championship courses designed by legends Tom Fazio and Pete Dye course through the landscape, and each has earned the Audubon International “Signature Sanctuary” status for maintaining and enhancing the habitat by conserving wildlife, water and energy through sustainable maintenance practices.
“It’s the feather in our cap when it comes to golf,” says Bireley, “and it draws visitors from all over the world.”
The PGA Golf Club is multifaceted, with practice putting greens, a driving range and a 6-hole family short course, which is a great place to introduce youngsters to the game.
St. Lucie is also home to reputable semi-private courses, including the Champion Turf Club at St. James, which features 6,838 yards of golf from the longest tees for a par of 72. Recent updates at this location include new greens and collars, and renovated fairways and bunkers.
There are several excellent public courses too, including Fairwinds Golf Course in Fort Pierce, which has earned 4.5 stars on Golf Digest’s Recommended Places to Play, and Indian Hills Golf Course, also in Fort Pierce, with a recently redesigned 18-hole layout.
After you’ve spent an afternoon improving your game, celebrate that success with a cold drink. The Treasure Coast Wine & Ale Trail extends through a tri-county region known as the Treasure Coast, but six of the trail’s 12 locations—4 craft breweries, a cidery and a vineyard among them—are located in St. Lucie County.
One of the most popular stops along the trail is the Sailfish Brewing Company in downtown Fort Pierce. The suds on tap are infused with local ingredients and given names that pay homage to the great fishing off the coast: think White Marlin Wit wheat ale and the Flounder Pounder IPA. Another popular stop is Hop Life Brewing Company, which was started by two local firefighters and is located just minutes away from the PGA Village.
Beer not your thing? Then try Summer Crush Winery. “From a venue point of view, it’s worth seeing. And don’t miss their Sunday events,” says Bireley. “It’s a vineyard in the agricultural area of Fort Pierce, where the grapes are grown and wine is made on site. And the owner is an old-school surfer, so the whole place has a surf vibe.”
Whether you play a perfect round or not, St. Lucie has a number of options for a great day on the green, and a relaxing afternoon off of it.