Regatta Bay Golf & Yacht Club Review

Texas Outside Rating: 9.0

Golf - Semi Private Course · 18 Holes · Par 72
Destin, FL

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Regatta Bay Golf & Yacht Club Review

Rating and Review of Regatta Bay Golf Club in Destin Florida

Regatta Bay Golf Club opened in 1998 and was designed by Robert Walker.  The owner of Regatta Bay Golf Club is an avid golfer and he wanted every hole to be unique, challenging, and dramatic - and Robert exceeded that goal.  He designed each hole a little different from the others, leveraged the natural plants and landscape to create hazards that blend in with the terrain, he made sure that the bunkers put a premium on accuracy, and he created several risk reward opportunities. 

Regatta Bay Golf Club is short by today's standards (5014 to 6798 yards) but challenging thanks to water that can come into play on twelve holes (16 lakes are within the golf course grounds), 59 strategically placed bunkers, some tight fairways, several dog legs, and a number of risk reward opportunities that can add several strokes to your score if you're not accurate.  It's critical that you pick the right tee box and there are 5 to choose from.  Take the course's virtual tour below and explore the course  hole-by-hole to figure out your plan of approach before heading out and carefully study the GPS before hitting and the greens before putting. Regardless of how you score, Regatta Bay Golf Club is a fun and exciting course to play and it's not surprising that it is consistently ranked as one of the best.  Some of the accolades include:

  • Named one of Golf Digest’s “Top Places to Play in North America”
  • Florida Golf News magazine voted the course “the #1 Favorite Golf Course in Northwest Florida”
  • Emerald Coast Magazine named the course “Best of Emerald Coast”
  • Golf Digest ranked the course among its “Top 200 Places to Play in North America,” as well as one of the “Top 15” courses in Florida

Some of the holes that we really liked included:

  • #7 is a 457 yard par 4 with a blind uphill shot off the tee that needs to carry the hill and miss the huge multi-fingered bunker - then a downhill shot to a green with a long skinny bunker surrounding the green and protecting your shot from landing in the lake which surrounds three quarters of the green
  • #8 is a beautiful and challenging 195 yard par 3 with a carry over the lake and a large bunker in front of the green plus two other bunkers you need to avoid
  • #12 is a 483 yard par 4 with a risk reward shot off the tee to carry more of the lake on this dog right fairway - not only do you need to miss the lake but you've got to avoid 5 bunkers and then stay out of the lake and a 75 yard long skinny bunker next to the lake that goes around to the right side of the raised green which also has left and right bunkers
  • #18 is a beautiful and fun signature hole - a 525 yard par 5 that dogs right off the tee then left along a tight fairway past a lake on the left that also guards the left side of the green with 4 bunkers around it - an excellent risk reward second shot if you think you can carry the lake and stuff it on the two tiered green in two - keep in mind that fellow golfers are sitting on the club house deck with a beer in hand watching what you do!

When we played Regatta Bay Golf Club the fairways were in very good condition but some had a few damaged spots that didn't impact play.  The fairways range from ample to tight and they are tree, bunker, or water lined with a couple having some nice homes along one side.  The rough was playable but didn't allow for much roll.  In most cases if you miss the rough you're wet, under the pines, or lost in native areas.

The greens are a tad small ranging from 19 to 33 yards wide and 24 to 38 yards deep.  They were in very good condition (with some minor insect damage), ran true and fast around 10 to 11, and have plenty of slope and contour.  Most are raised and some have huge puttable fringes and all are well guarded by 1 to 4 bunkers.

The bunker sand at Regatta Bay Golf Club is some of the best I've every played in - light, deep, and fluffy!  They range in size from small pot like bunkers to long and skinny - and they are pretty easy to land in.  From playing out of so many I took a lot of sand back to the car, condo, and beach! 

Bottom line - a beautiful 18 holes of golf with a little bit of everything that makes golf both fun and challenging.

Head Pro's Corner

We are opening in October a new golf academy featuring multiple PGA professionals, over 1200 square feet of covered natural turf teeing area, full club fitting, and trackman technology.

Mike Giammaresi

Head Golf Professional at Regatta Bay Golf Club

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Course Slope & Ratings

Tee Box Yardage Rating Slope
Blue 6,404 71.4 134
White 5,823 69.5 121
Gold 6,798 73.2 138
Red 5,014 70.0 118

Course Information

Course Architect:
Arnold Palmer/Robert Walker
Greens Type:
TIF Eagle
Greens Condition
Greens Difficulty
Fairway Condition
Bunker Condition
Course Map
Beware of water on 14 holes and the 59 sand traps.

Texas Outside Rating

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


Approximate Weekend
$85.00 to $135.00

Service is first class - friendly, helpful, and outgoing. The pro shop is well stocked and the practice facilities are first class. The club house has a bar and grill and a fantastic deck jutting into a lake and overlooking the 18th green.



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.