Golf is, and always has been, an obsession, delight, scourge, and joy to area visitors. Long before oil billionaire John D. Rockefeller made Ormond Beach his winter home in 1914, golfers were hacking through the palmettos, chipping balls past wildlife, and doing what golfers do. 

Not much has changed. Except there are more golfers, more and better courses, zippy carts, better clubs and balls — and golf apparel that isn’t an embarrassment. Golfers have a choice of public championship courses designed by the world’s best — Jack Nicklaus, Rees Jones, Arthur Hills, Arnold Palmer, Gary Player,Lloyd Clifton and Bill Amick.

Golf Digest ranked Daytona Beach in the top 15 places to play golf in the nation, with 20 great public courses. And then there’s the weather — ideal for playing golf year ’round, with an average annual temperature of 70.3 degrees F and an average high of 88 degrees in the warmest months of July and August.

Venture a bit outside our backyard to many of Florida’s other outstanding courses, including one of Golf Digest’s top public courses in the country, the TPC Sawgrass Players Stadium course in Ponta Vedra Beach. Sawgrass, home to The Players Championship tournament on the PGA Tour, offers golfers a challenging layout with water hazards on every hole. The course is famous for hole No. 17, and its notorious island green, which makes you long for easy obstacles such as pines, oaks, Scottish-style bunkers and sandy wastes.

Visitors worldwide choose the greater Daytona Beach area and so did the Ladies Professional Golf Association, which built its international headquarters here. You have two courses to play there, and a clubhouse kitchen that ranks with the best.

Plan your golf getaway and enjoy marshlands, lakes, exotic wildlife, stands of longleaf pine, live oak forests, magnolia trees — and a touch of something exotic that is part of our Southern charm.

And remember Rockefeller. Famous for handing out dimes (dimes!) to passing strangers, he is said to have given one to his embarrassed guest, tire magnate Harry Firestone, after Firestone made a particularly good golf shot one day.

Excerpted from the Daytona Beach Visitors Guide, produced by The Daytona Beach News-Journal. Download a Visitor Guide today!

Enjoy this video that features the "Tee to Green Perfection" of golfing in Daytona Beach!