Tim Gavrich, a senior writer for GolfPass, Golf Channel’s travel portal, is one of the most respected voices in golf travel and architecture circles. As a former collegiate player, Gavrich has experienced many of the game’s best layouts on both sides of the pond, and after playing his 600th course, TPC Sawgrass, he put pen to paper, ranking the best designs he has played.
The lefty broke his rankings into three categories - Top 10 overall, top 25 best upscale public and resort courses, and the top 25 best affordable courses - and one of the Daytona Beach area’s most storied layouts earned a spot on Gavrich’s list.
Family-owned Riviera Country Club was ranked among “The top 25 best affordable golf courses any golfer can (and should) play.”
Gavrich wrote of the Riviera, which is located in Ormond Beach: “Truly walkable golf courses are a rarity in Florida, so this 50s family-owned spot near Daytona (Beach) scores big points with its routing, as well as its pushed-up greens and its unusual no-formal-tee-times policy.”
Who are we to argue?
The Riv, as it is affectionately known, offers an old-school experience in all the best ways, including a clubhouse restaurant that should be a mandatory lunch stop after your round. The venerable layout enjoys a rich history as the host of America’s longest running mini-tour event, the Riviera Open, which has been played since 1960. Among the tournament’s victors are PGA Tour winners Morris Hatalsky, Bert Yancey and Billy Hurley
While Riviera has a membership base, the course very much welcomes public play and doesn’t require a tee time, adding to the property’s charm.
Daytona Beach offers nearly 20 courses, including LPGA International, home of the acclaimed Jones and Hills Courses, and New Smyrna Golf Club and Daytona Beach Golf Club’s South Course, a pair of Donald Ross designed municipal layouts that highlight the range of the area’s offerings.
Combine the golf offerings with the good times Daytona Beach provides off the course and the reasons for the area’s rising popularity are abundantly clear.