Emerald Bay Golf Club Review

Texas Outside Rating: 8.8

Golf - Semi Private Course · 18 Holes · Par 72
Destin, FL
Website · Book A Tee Time

Dsc_2039 Dsc_2011 Dsc_2021

Emerald Bay Golf Club Review

Review & Rating of Emerald Bay Golf Club in Destin Florida

Emerald Bay, a prestigious golf course community. located along the shores of the Choctawhatchee Bay is a Bob Cupp designed championship golf course that is fair for all all golfer skill levels.  The course is a good mix of wide forgiving fairways to some that are tight and tree lined, some straight ahead holes to a sharp 90 degree dog leg right, some risk reward opportunities as well as some forced carries over wetlands, and some long par fours and short par threes.   It's not surprising that Emerald Bay Golf Club won the Readers Choice for Best in Destin in 2016.

Emerald Bay Golf Club underwent a major renovation 2014 by Bob Cupp in conjunction with Southeastern Golf, a world class golf course construction company.  The renovation included new and enlarged greens and tee boxes, new bunkers, new cart paths, several new water features and bridges as well as enhanced and new practice facilities.  And Emerald Bay Golf Club was voted "Best Golf Course in Destin" in 2016

The first four holes on the front nine of Emerald Bay Golf Club are not real exciting and it's opportunity to warm up and get ready for the next fourteen holes.  The back nine is an excellent mix of straight ahead, dog legs, forced carries, and some scenic views of the Bay.  Some of the Emerald Bay Golf Club holes that we really liked included: 

  • #5 is the #3 handicap and is a fun 399 yard par 4 with water along most of the left side of the fairway and then cuts across the fairway at 85 yards out - the green has a left side bunker and a steep drop off on the right side leading to the water requiring a precise shot on the approach
  • #7 is the #1 handicap - a 562 yard par 5 with an excellent risk reward shot to temp you to carry more of the lake off the tee box and a green that's challenging with left and right side bunkers and a ridge down the middle
  • #14 is a 372 yard par 4 with a carry over a marsh off the tee followed by a sharp dog left around a pond that leads to the left side of the green making for a very tough approach
  • #18 is a beautiful finishing hole - a 527 yard par 5 with water crossing the fairway at 185 out and leading to the right side of the green with 3 bunkers on the left front and 1 on the right front - water fountain forms a pretty backdrop

To see all of the golf holes at Emerald Bay, check out their golf course flyover!

When we played Emerald Bay Golf Club the fairways were in very good condition - a few damaged areas but they didn't impact play.  All of the fairways are generous and lined by towering pine trees, water, or a scattering of homes set off to the side.  The rough was thick and challenging.

The bunkers were small to average and easy to avoid except on the approach.  The sand was perfect and the lips were small and in some cases we rolled in and back out.

The Emerald Bay Golf Club greens were also in very good condition, although a few had some damage.  All but three are guarded by one to three bunkers.  Slope and contour were manageable, they are about average in size, and they ran at a good speed of around nine or so. 

Dsc_2022 Dsc_2024 Dsc_2034

Course Slope & Ratings

Tee Box Yardage Rating Slope
Black 7,050 73.9 143
Blue 6,209 69.8 132
White 5,481 66.9 122
Gold 6,620 71.4 141
Red 4,655 67.2 123

Course Information

Course Architect:
Bob Cupp
Greens Type:
TIF Eagle
Greens Condition
Greens Difficulty
Fairway Condition
Bunker Condition
Beware of water on 9 holes and the 35 sand traps.

Texas Outside Rating

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


Approximate Weekend
$69.00 to $129.00

Service is excellent, the pro shop is well stocked, and the practice facilites are very good. The bar and grill are great.



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.