Camp Creek Golf Club Review

Texas Outside Rating: 9.7

Golf - Private Course · 18 Holes · Par 72
Panama City Beach, Fl
· Stay & Play

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Camp Creek Golf Club Review

Camp Creek Golf Club typifies everything about what makes golf worth the cost and frustration - beautiful scenery; excellent conditions; fun, unique, and challenging holes; excellent service; great clubhouse and pro shop; and good practice facilities! Camp Creek is one of the best, most fun, and unique courses we have played in years - we compared it to some top notch courses in Cabo, Classic Club in Palm Springs (another Troon course), and the top rated La Cantera Resort Course in San Antonio! This Tom Fazio designed course has been sculpted into a 1000 acre natural area in the St. Joe Company’s ocean-side WaterSound community, a quaint coastal town located mid-way between Panama City Beach and Design. The course was created as a private club for members who are owners of St. Joe selected communities and resort guests of St. Joe’s WaterColor and WaterSound Beach resorts.

If you've visited Florida or played golf in Florida, you know that most of the terrain is flat as a pancake. This is not the case with Camp Creek - over 2 million tons of dirt were moved to create and sculpture rolling and sloping fairways, elevated greens, berms, and mounds. There are no homes on the course just you and nature (watch out for alligators, bob cats, birds, and other wildlife) as the course meanders through the forests, across wetlands, and around natural waste areas. The result is spectacular, in fact just riding the cart along the fairways and to the next tee box is a real treat. At times it is hard to overlook the beauty of Camp Creek and focus on your shot making! Fazio stated that "Golf courses should reflect the natural beauty of the setting. Camp Creek combines coastal dunescape and pine forests for a unique golf experience."

Camp Creek has received a number of prestigious accolades some of which include being ranked for the sixth consecutive year in Golf Digest's Top 15 Best of Florida Courses (#6 in 2008); Travel & Leisure Golf cited Camp Creek as “Florida’s No. 1 Course of the New Millennium;” and WaterColor Inn and Camp Creek were 2008 Silver Medalist Award Winners for Golf Digest's Best Golf Resorts. It has also been recognized for its environmental stewardship through designation as a Certified Audubon Cooperative Sanctuary by the Audubon Cooperative Sanctuary System.


At 7159 yards from the tips with a rating of 76 and slope of 156, Camp Creek will challenge the best player but offers 5 other sets of tee boxes for the rest of us to choose from. You'll find a something of everything on this course - water, waste and wet lands to carry; huge natural sand bunkers as well as lots of strategically placed soft white sand traps; blind shots and dog legs; plenty of risk reward shots; elevated and turtle top greens. All of the fairways were in perfect condition and with very few divots. The roughs were cut thin making it easy to hit out but if you missed the rough, although there are no out of bounds, it's very difficult to find your ball in the forest or natural areas.


In addition to all of the other challenges, what makes Camp Creek challenging are the greens. They were in perfect condition, about the right speed, and large enough, but with both slope and undulation, it was tough to one or two putt. A number of the greens are elevated and most are well protected with water, trees, or lots of bunkers.


Every hole has it's unique character and set challenges, and all are very fun to play. Take #13 for example: it's a short 352 yard dog leg right from the tips (#8 handicap) which sounds easy except when you start to consider where to play the shot to land on a fairly narrow fairway and to get close to the green, but avoid the risk of seeing your ball go swimming in the lake or land in one of 15 traps, the trees, or natural sand areas. Survive that and you have an approach shot to a green that has over 30 feet of elevation, significant slope away from the pin, and is protected by 10 steep faced bunkers! All of the par 3 are fantastic and 3 of the 4 require you to carry the water.


If you're heading to Florida, you need to do whatever it takes to get you on this course - you'll love it! Consider staying at the award winning WaterColor Inn and Resort WaterColor Inn & Resort. You also need to play their other course, Shark's Tooth, which is a fantastic and fun course that we rated 9.3 out of ten - read the review of Shark's Tooth. When you're looking at the pictures, keep in mind that we played in January when the rough and fairways should have been dormant.

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Course Slope & Ratings

Tee Box Yardage Rating Slope
Black 7,159 76.0 152
Blue 6,304 71.6 137
White 5,776 69.3 133
Gold 6,689 73.5 146
Red 5,150 71.3 129

Course Information

Course Architect:
Tom Fazio
Greens Condition
Greens Difficulty
Beware of water on 12 holes and the 60 sand traps.

Texas Outside Rating

Overall Rating:
9.7 out of 10
Fun to Play:
Front Nine Rating:
Back Nine Rating:

Service is fantastic from the guys who meet you in the parking lot to the pro shop staff to the starter. Will and all his staff have a real sense of pride of ownership. The club house is fantastic.



Here's How Texas Outside Determines the Scorecard Rating

The Texas Outside rating scale ranges from 1 to 10 – a perfect 10 course would be something like this:  links along a cliff overlooking the Pacific ocean and bordered by tall trees; lush fairways on rolling hills with lots of natural hazards; water (which is crystal clear) on most of the holes; immaculate greens (but they are undulating and tough); lots of variety and character (each hole is completely different and includes blind shots, elevation changes, doglegs, and significant challenges); perfectly manicured traps with the whitest and prettiest sand you’ve ever seen; a nice club house with great food and a 19th hole; a GPS; plenty of beverage carts or your own cooler and ice; and it only costs $40 bucks! What this means is that you probably won’t find any 10s in Texas – try Cabo San Lucas, Pebble Beach, or some of the Hawaii courses! 
Texas Outside rates courses on the following:

  • Beauty – tall trees, rolling hills, beautiful houses, waterfalls, and similar stuff would score high; a 1 would be flat, bushes or cactus instead of trees, and some grass but mostly weeds
  • Difficulty – a straight, 300 yard par 4 with no traps or hazards, no out of bounds or water would probably get a 1; if it is a 460 yard par 4 over two ravines, with water along one side, natural hazards on the other, strategically placed traps or that dreaded tree right in the middle of the fairway, we are talking a 10. 
  • Variety – what would you give a course where all the holes looked and played exactly the same (“I thought we just played that hole!”); were side-by-side, which is good for finding or dodging other people’s balls, but not much fun; and you can see the flag from every tee box?  That’s right, it gets a 1.
  • Fun Scale – a 10 is where you walk off the course and say “now that was fun” and you can’t wait to get back, or you immediately turn around and play another 18 holes
  • Value – a 5 is $50 to $60, a 10 is $20 to $30, and 1 is $200 or so – of course all of this is dependent upon how you liked the course.  For example, if a run down, boring municipal course, with six players on each hole was only $10; it would still get a value rating of 1.
  • Condition – this one’s pretty easy – what condition are the fairways. A 10 commands very lush perfectly manicured fairways, compared to a 1, which has fire ants, weeds, and more dirt than grass!
  • Condition of Greens and Difficulty – very hard to read greens with lots of undulation and tough pin placement, rate very high on the difficulty scale.  Condition is self-explanatory.  

All of the above determines the overall score for the golf course.  In other words, we like courses that are pretty, fun, very challenging with a lot of variety, and fairways and greens in excellent condition – all for $40.  We also tend to play the courses that are affordable for the masses, which means in the $30 to $80 range. We rate hard and we haven’t found a 10 in Texas yet – don’t worry we haven’t given up and we’re still looking.