Destin is one of the most popular beach destinations in Florida, and perhaps even in the country. One wonders where property exists for waterfront golf, then. The answer for the membership at Regatta Bay Golf & Yacht Club is the Choctawhatchee Bay, a saltwater bay that forms near the Florida-Alabama border on the state’s panhandle.
Robert C. Walker, a former design associate of Arnold Palmer, used the body and its neighboring saltwater marshes to create a challenging round of golf. The signature hole may be No. 11, a 380 cape-style par four that plays along an inland pond, with views of the bay and the Mid-Bay Toll Bridge in the background.
In recent years, the club has opened up to a semi-private model, allowing the general public to make tee times (you must bring your own yacht, however). That accompanies an investment of more than $2.25 million toward course improvements, also carried out by Walker. Those looking for a 36-hole tour of the “Emerald Coast” can head across the Spencer Parkway and visit Kelly Plantation, another public-access club.
Feels like a typical Palmer resort course (the lead architect was a Palmer design guy) so this makes sense. Lot of good golf holes and a lot of water. The conditioning was superb when I played it. I think the two memorable holes for me would be #8 which is a pretty par 3 with forced carry over the water and #18 which is a risk reward par three with some interesting routing up by the green. Its a fun hole back towards the clubhouse. This is a course worth playing on the panhandle.