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About GregB135

  • Birthday 01/09/1970

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    Lithia, Florida
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    Golf, cycling, grilling, tv sports
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    91-100 mph
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  1. I've had a little bit of a break in the action so just wanted to chime in with an update. I needed to skip this past weekend's league event for family events. We had a double graduation day where Kiddo1 graduated from college, and Kiddo2 from high school, and of course they were on the same day. Fortunately we didn't have to choose a favorite or divide and conquer, the timing of the two ceremonies allowed everyone to attend both. Although, that was a mad scramble to make it all happen. We also have the holiday weekend coming up, so there's no league event scheduled. I'll be honest. Mentally, I think I needed the break. I try not to focus on the competitive nature of being in the league, and try to emphasize the social side of being out there playing golf with friends. It's harder than you think, and usually only lasts until the first double-bogey+ hits the scorecard. Words of the day "Relax, and have fun". I need to get that imprinted on a dozen balls I think. The next league round is going to be at Orange County National in Orlando. A great track that we've played before. That will be followed up by our annual 2-man event. Look for the course reviews in that thread. Having missed two event and posted two bad rounds already is going to make qualifying for the post season events a challenge. If I can remember to Relax and Have Fun, maybe I can make something happen. Stay tuned.
  2. Course: Lake Jovita Golf and Country Club – South Course Location: 12900 Lake Jovita Blvd., Dade City, Florida 33525 Price: $$$ $80 Date of Play: 30 April 2022 https://lakejovita.com/ Rating: 1/2 = Just Below Recommend Description: Lake Jovita Golf and Country Club is just a short drive off of I-75 in Dade City, about 45 minutes’ drive from most of the Tampa Bay area. It is a semi-private club that is the centerpiece of a community development, and home to 36 holes of what really should be quality golf. The South Course is the more challenging and tends to have better conditions than the North Course, but both have a solid reputation among local golfers. Known for fast, tricky greens, the South Course forces you to bring your ‘A’ short game to post a low score. Playability: Usually pretty good. Stay out of the bunkers and you won’t have a lot to complain about. Course Conditions: Once again, not really much different to say about Jovita South compared to previous reviews. The course always looks good to really good. There is a bit of tactical deception there though. Holes that are visible from the clubhouse or the road get noticeably better care than elsewhere on the course. Not all the tee areas are large enough to endure lots of play so they can be worn. Fairways are going to depend on recency of rain. Early in our round they were dry and rolling. One heavy rain shower late in the round though, and low areas were soaking and soft to muddy. The rough is not deep enough to cause problems, but the tree lines and other hazards more than make up for that. The greens lived up to their reputation. They hold shots well enough, but you’ll need to be in the right portion of the green or you’ll have a challenging putt. The bunkers are the bane of the whole place. Inconsistent is the word of the day. Some have nice playable sand, while others are ½ bare, washed out, or actually holding water. Just pray you won’ Challenge: Potentially not all that hard, but plenty of opportunity for -worthy moments. The South Course starts with probably the hardest opening hole anywhere within an hour’s drive. And it doesn’t get a whole lot easier after that. Narrow fairways winding through neighborhoods mean there is lots of OB to deal with. Stray too far from the line of the hold and trouble is there to meet you in the form of trees, bunkers, water and the whole mix. Be ready to make some recovery shots. The South puts a premium on ball position on the greens. They vary in size, but all the greens are fast, and have tricky, subtle breaks that can quickly turn into 3-putts. Facilities: The clubhouse is massive and is adjacent to the community pool. It has banquet facilities along with a larger than average bar and grill above the golf shop. The golf shop is comparatively tiny, and not well stocked considering the size of everything else. The full swing range is not quite large enough to accommodate member play and any kind of a large group outing. Members usually get an exclusive area of the range, so that makes it smaller for guest play. Balls are decent quality, but the turf gets worn quickly. Without a chipping green, the putting green is massive. It does represent the course greens well, but the South greens may be a bit faster. People: I’ve said this aspect can make or break a review, and in the case of Lake Jovita, it tends to be more of a break. They do not exclude public play, but they don’t exactly invite it either. I think the only person I encountered who didn’t treat me with plain indifference was the parking lot greeter who gave me a ride down to the golf shop from my car. Even the bartender had no appearance of urgency when there were 4 ‘guests’ queued up at his bar, he was more interested in chatting with the seated members who already had everything they’d ordered. Review Summary and Rating: The golf at Lake Jovita really should be a great experience. The South Course offers plenty of challenge and has a good variety of holes throughout. I could even overlook the inconsistency of the conditions and the infuriating bunkers (as long as I missed most of them). You may have noticed that the play rate was up $30 from last year’s league event. Given they’ve added that much of a premium to the price of play, I would not want anyone to go there on my recommendation and have their experience ruined by the people there. 1/2 = Just Below Recommend
  3. Course: Juliette Falls Golf Club (previously reviewed) Location: 6933 SW 179th Ave Rd, Dunellon FL, 34432 Price: $$ $65 Date of Play: 16 April 2022 https://www.juliettefalls.com/ Rating: Highly Recommend Description: I’m going to label Juliette Falls as a ‘Hidden Gem’ at least until more people figure out where Dunellon FL happens to be, and what a great golf course Juliette Falls is. Dunellon is a bit off the beaten path, not quite 2 hours from the Tampa Bay area utilizing either I-75 or SR589. It is as visually stunning as it is challenging and fun to play. With lots of elevation changes and large waste areas it is a pleasant deviation from the mostly flat, parkland type courses typical to Florida. Playability: Course Conditions: This was our third visit to Juliette Falls, and the course conditions have always been first rate. Tee areas are nice and level, and large enough they don’t get too worn from play. The rolling fairways drain well and have good depth. We played relatively early in the season, so the rough was not terribly deep, on days where the rough is deeper, it adds to the challenge. The bunkers have softer, reddish sand that plays well. There is very little water on the course to deal with. Instead, there are large, shell-sand waste areas to navigate and dictate strategy. Greens are between quick and fast, hold shots, and roll true. I’ve never found anything to legitimately complain about in the conditions at JF. Challenge: Kinda Tough It’s important to stay down the line of the hole here. The waste areas if you find them make for a challenging lie, especially if you are trying to play a touchy shot near the greens. Without many water penalty areas to deal with, it’s the bunkers and greens that deliver the challenge. The greens have a good variety of size, and lots of contour, so there’s just about no such thing as a straight putt at The Falls. If they are rolling fast, be ready for lots of colorful commentary if you miss the hole. The bunkers are well maintained and have good quality sand, but when you’re in one, it’s best to just take your lump and be happy with an escape rather than trying for too many hero shots. Facilities: The clubhouse is kind of small, but well appointed and has good quality merchandise if you need anything before/during the round. It includes an ‘intimate’ bar and grill with a nice, screened patio for post-round gatherings, but if you are with a large group, it will get crowded quickly. The practice/warm-up area if absolutely first rate. There is a large, all-turf full swing range with plenty of room for multiple players. The chipping green has a bunker and is accessible 360 degrees for shots up to about 25 yards. The putting green represents the course well for speed and slope, just maybe a little heavy on the slope, making it a little better for pre-round warm up than practice drills. People: Everyone at Juliette Falls did an amazing job making us feel welcome and ensuring we had a good experience. Clubhouse staff was friendly and helpful. The starter engaging and informative on conditions and expectations for play. Even the one course ranger we encountered was friendly and was just keeping tabs on our group so he could remind the local players behind our tail end group there was tournament play ahead of them to consider and plea for patience. Review Summary and Rating: Juliette Falls is fun to play. Good shots earn their reward, and poor shots will be penalized, but commensurate with the quality of the shot. Throw in that it’s a gorgeous property from start to finish, with fantastic playing conditions and it carries a lot of wow factor on the course. When a place like that has quality people to boot, the only possible conclusion is to highly recommend it to everyone. … Well… maybe not everyone, because then they’d all want to go play there and it wouldn’t be a ‘hidden’ gem anymore. Highly Recommend
  4. Sorry all, I've been a bit lazy about keeping the thread up to date as we've gone through the season. I'll admit to the laziness, but blame playing poorly and not wanting that to influence the reviews . Anyway, here come several reviews all at once, so happy reading on Juliette Falls, and Lake Jovita South. Both of those are previous reviews that haven't changed much. I did skip the event at Rosedale Golf Club for a double graduation weekend. Also got in a preview round on Eaglebrook so I'll do a mini review of that one before the full review later in the season. Up next is Orange County National which should be a treat.
  5. So I didn't fare well in the first major last week. I played decent enough from tee to green, but my putting totally let me down. It got in my head early, and I never really found the feel of the greens. 41 putts later, I was in the lower 1/3 of the pack for the day. I did earn some points, but I left a lot of shots and points out there on the greens. About to head out for this week's event. Felling a little better after a practice round yesterday. I just need to remember to relax and have fun, but at this point I know I'm going to need a couple of really good finishes to make up for poor rounds early in the season. I also expect to have to miss at least one more event so that will be another zero in the points to overcome.
  6. With the first of three 'Major' tournaments coming up next week, I asked my coach for a tune-up lesson earlier this week. That went okay, but you can never discount what a second set of eyes might see. The 'deputy' coach watched me hit a couple and made a tiny little tweak to my grip and BAM! Things were going much better. I took that out on the course yesterday, and on a windy day I managed a front-9 40 which included 3 penalty strokes. One for an OB, and another for a hazard. I only played 5 holes of the back-9 with all bogeys. I had a couple of bigger misses on those holes, but got things back in line on my last hole of the practice round. I've got another week to dial this swing change in. But so far, I'm encouraged, and looking forward to the next one.
  7. So my 2nd event is in the books. And it was a very frustrating round. At least it was at a great course - Juliette Falls in Dunellon FL. I was a little off warming up, and couldn't really get a feel for the driver swing. That unfortunately carried over onto the golf course. The front 9 especially, wildness with the driver netted me two penalty strokes and had me playing recovery golf for most of the first 9. So, even starting with two pars, I posted 52 for the front . At least I made up for the wild tee shots by not putting very well. I rallied a little bit, and was able to at least get away with the driver misses on the back 9. I made it around the back with nothing worse than bogey. I never really did dial in the feel of the greens though, and it seemed like I couldn't get a putt to fall even if I asked nicely. It wasn't all terrible. I just wasn't able to capitalize when I did hit good shots. With my bad tee shots I was scrambling for bogeys. And I made awful shots following up my good tee shots. I had approach shots for GIR from 110, 90, and 60 yards that all turned into double bogey or worse results. It was just that kind of a day. I know it's still early in the season, but at 3 events in I've got point totals of 0, 1, and 26. I'm going to need to put up a lot more scores like that 3rd one the rest of the way if I'm going to qualify for post season play. The next event is a Major so it is worth more standings points. The challenge for me at this point is to remember to relax and have fun, not step up to the first tee each week telling myself I need to shoot 80.
  8. We played on Sunday, which was the last day of their peak season rate. According to their website, they are $85 until May, then $65, then later in the summer down to $55. They also apply a $10 Florida resident discount.
  9. Course: Southern Dunes Golf Club Location: 2888 Southern Dunes Blvd, Haines City FL, 33844 Price: $$$$$: $110< = $$$$$ (Seasonal Rate – progressively lower through summer) Date of Play: 10 April 2022 https://www.southerndunes.com/ Rating: = Don't Miss It! Southern Dunes is a great golf course, and one that our league players are always excited to see on the schedule. The websites description is fair and accurate. The unique combination of elevation changes and bunkering make the challenge equal to the visual. A good combination of length, green sizes, and risk reward opportunities make the course a ton of fun to play. The greens at The Dunes are demanding, and feature lots of slope and undulation, and when they are running fast, will challenge even the best of putters. Playability: Hard to find better conditions anywhere that isn’t exclusively private. Visually stunning, and equally high quality for play. Course Conditions: Just about pristine, and I dare say almost Tour quality. Some of the smaller tee areas were a bit worn, but truly that is the only ‘complaint’ I can find to make. Fairways were a little firm and gave plenty of roll out. Later in the rainy season expect a little softer. Rough was still in transition from winter rye over-seeding, and wasn’t cut too deep so finding the first cut was not penal. The spots to avoid off the tee are the big sandy bunkers. The greens were also firm and rolling VERY fast, smooth, and true. It took a good quality shot to hit and hold. The immediate areas around most of the greens though were cut close so putter is an option if you miss the green close. The practice areas are under renovation, so don’t freak out looking at the photos. Challenge: Somewhere between Kinda Tough and Screw You Pete Dye! If you execute good strategy and don’t miss big, most of the holes are relatively forgiving off the tee. The green complexes are the real teeth of The Dunes. Especially when the greens are rolling fast you don’t want to have a downhill look. There are also some really deceptive reads to deal with. The 14th green in particular can make your brain hurt thinking your putt just broke uphill. The fairway bunkers have really deep, soft sand so it’s a challenge to maintain footing and make a quality strike. Until later in the summer when they let the rough grow a bit deeper, missing the fairway small won’t hurt you. Facilities: A nice clubhouse even though it’s a little on the small side. A nice bar/grill overlooks the driving range area and has a good bar selection and menu. We learned the practice areas are undergoing a major overhaul. The small-ish range and small putting green are being replaced with a state of the art, lighted range with shot tracking etc. (think TopGolf at the local course). Another piece of intel is, their recently hired superintendent came to them from Augusta. Yes, that one. That could go a long way to explaining the course conditions, especially the appearance of the rough and speed of the greens. I wouldn’t expect the conditions to get worse. People: The inside clubhouse staff were just kinda ‘meh’. I got neither a good nor bad vibe from either of the gents at the counter checking in. All the outside staff were great though. The cart/bag check guys were a much better source of intel on the course, and were fun to chat with. The starter was engaging, and jovial. The on-course beverage cart made more than enough laps to keep you hydrated. Bar/grill staff were great as well. Altogether, they made us feel more than welcome, even as a large ‘guest’ group on a weekend. Review Summary and Rating: Southern Dunes is an absolute must if you get a chance. Especially in the summer as the rates go down, you will not find the quality of conditions anywhere in the area for anywhere close to the same price. The downside to summer play is the rainy afternoons will soften up the fairways and make for longer approach shots. If the renovation to the practice areas turns out as good as the cart barn guys described, it’s going to be a premier place to practice as well as play. The good news is the people didn’t spoil it. = Don't Miss It!
  10. Got the season started this weekend at Southern Dunes. A fantastic track in Haines City FL (review pending). Let's just say, near Tour-like conditions for now, especially the greens. I tried not to have expectations going into the round, but after finishing last season near the top. I also had a couple of swing feel/thought keys hit during practice this week, and on the range warming up so I was feeling pretty confident with my swing getting started. Even with that, I still had some jitters over the first two or three holes, but that finally settled out as we got going. I had one of the best driving rounds I can remember. Dunes is pretty forgiving off the tees, but even with that I was 10/14 in the short grass, and 12/14 FIR by my close enough to count grading . From there though, I was only able to manage 5 GIR for the round . I will take that stat with a grain of salt considering our round was played on Master's Sunday and they had pins placed in some really tight and challenging spots. I know, I know, at a 12 hcp I shouldn't be targeting pins, but that only really cost me on one hole this round. Southern Dunes has a good mix of large vs small greens, but they all have A LOT of slope and undulation. Some of the greens are designed to trick your eyes on the slope. And for this round they were rolling at between 11 and 12 on the stimp. That makes getting up and down a challenge, and 3 putting a real possibility if you get yourself on the wrong portion of the green. Even with the jitters on the first few holes, I had an early run of pars with a couple of good up and downs and made the turn at +5. The back nine was going well enough, just wasn't quite sharp enough on the approaches to make as many pars. But, I was still staying away from the big numbers on the scorecard. I was at +5 through 15, then turned in my only big number of the day. Remember when we said I shouldn't be targeting pins? That needs to apply even when at perfect yardage for a 3/4 sand wedge. There I was at my perfect number for that shot and I chose to go after the pin tucked into the back corner of a green protected by a steep faced bunker. Yup, carry was about 2 yards shy of perfect, and gave me a half sunken lie right in the middle of that bunker's steep face. Attempt 1 failed and rolled back into the bunker a little further down the face. Attempt 2 landed on the top, but dropped back in and rolled to the bottom of the bunker this time. Attempt 3 was bloody brilliant (soft hands in the bunker dummy!) and I thought I was going to escape with only a double. Then the 3 footer rolled over the edge . I thought I took a deep enough breath to get over that, but pull hooked my approach on 17 and left myself on the wrong side of the slope for a 30 yard pitch shot. I thought I hit it perfect, but it landed on the fringe and rolled all the way down/across the green and into another bunker. I got out of that one well enough to two putt for 6. Then there was a -worthy 3-putt on 18 after my approach nearly rolled into the hole, but a subtle break and a frustrating lip-out meant 41 -48 for 89 and a net 76. That was good enough to be top 15 for the day so a decent showing for my first round of the season. I'll work a little more on sharpening up the iron play this week before we play again on Saturday. If I can play as well tee to green at Juliette Falls, I think I'll be in good shape. Cheers all, hope you enjoy following along.
  11. Here we go again Spy-verse. Getting ready to start another season on The Tampa Tour. If you followed along last season, I made the jump from the Middle of the Pack to a 2nd place overall finish. Hence, I've changed the title for the thread this year. To give a rundown of the league setup. It's a full handicap stroke play league, with each event divided into A/B flights, split at the median of that event's players' handicaps. Even though I managed to trend my number down to 11-12, the league added yet a couple more low single digit players, so chances are I'll be playing B-Flight again at most events. We are playing a 14 event schedule this year, and there are two standings brackets. The Overall standings count all events played and factor into qualifying/selections for the end of season Team Cup event. The other standings are the 'Top 6', which apply each players best 6 finishes to qualify for the League Invitational tournament. That event includes the Top 20 players from the Top 6 leaderboard and determines the league champion for the season. My goal this year is again to qualify for both post season events. I almost couldn't ask to finish better than I did last season. I was fortunate that I played pretty steady all year, and had only three 'bad' rounds out of 14. I managed to win the Invitational event with a net 70, which was similar to my regular season wins. All I really did was play on my number most weeks, and a few times that was all it took to win. So this year, I'm just trying to keep up the consistent play, play relaxed and enjoy being out playing golf with the bros. I am starting out at a bit behind the curve because a family event kept me out of the season opener. I've included the link to last year's thread. The event schedule is posted in Florida League Course Reviews 2022 Season. Hope you all follow along and send good vibes.
  12. Here we go again course review fans, the 2022 summer league season is about to start, so it's time to set the stage for upcoming reviews. If you've followed my previous reviews here, you'll know I try to evaluate the total experience of playing a golf course. I'm adjusting the format a bit from previous years, but the concept is essentially the same. With that, I try to include a comment or two on where the course is and how to get there. Evaluating the courses this year I will break down into two categories; course conditions and playability/challenge. I think this will make it easier to read through rather than trying to lump that all together. Rounding out the total experience are facilities and people, where I like to consider the clubhouse, practice areas, and other club ammenities (bar-grill, etc.), and of course the level of customer service from everyone I encounter on my visit. Please keep in mind as you follow along, these courses are selected for a competitive/social, full handicap league with a field of 44 to 48 players each event week so expect most to live in the good to very good categories where course conditions are concerned. What you should see in this year's review format: Course: Such and Such Golf Club, Address Location: Somewhere within about 3 hours of Tampa, FL Price: $-$$$$$: <$60=$, $60-75=$$, $75-95=$$$, $95-110=$$$$, $110< = $$$$$ Date of Play Course Website if available Rating: to ; = Don't Bother, = Do Not Recommend, = Recommend, = Highly Recommend, = Don't Miss It Description: A little bit about the couse, where it is located, who designed it etc. Playability: Separated into two categories - course conditions and challenge Course Conditions: Assesment of all areas on the course: Tees, Fairways, Greens, Rough, Bunkers and how it played on our play date Challenge: Easy..... Kinda Tough .... Screw You Pete Dye! (Something alont those lines to give an idea what to expect) Facilities: A break down of the course ammeneties to include practice areas, clubhouse, bar/grill and any other notable inclusions or exclusions on the property. People: This is the spot that can truly make or break the overall experience. I know it sounds petty, but every employee I encounter on the property is part of the evaluation. The players are not only customers, they are guests of the property (in my opinion), and how they are treated matters a lot to me so it carries a fair amount of weight in assessing the overall evaluation. Review Summary and Rating: A bit more detail on how I arrived at the rating and what went into the final evaluation. So with that, here is the lineup for this year's schedule. There are some repeats as well as several new sites. When a site has been previously reviewed I will note that with the course name in the individual review. I may not be able to play every event on the schedule, so if I have to miss an event, I will note that. For instance, I know already I cannot play week 1 at Lake Jovita North. That course is one the league visits almost every year, so it is included in the previous reviews. To get an idea if you haven't read those, here is last year's thread. Looking forward to the league year and the conversation and comments on the sites.
  13. GregB135

    Tampa Fl

    @CoachTut Hope you enjoy the area. I've reviewed several courses all around the area. You can look them up here. Some personal favorites I can recommend. Southern Dunes is in fabulous shape right now, although I've heard they have added a price premium for it, but it is close to your quoted number. Southern Hills Plantation is another. A bit south of Tampa, about an hour, is the Lakewood Ranch communities, with two great courses at Lakewood National, and another Esplanade at Azario that is a bit newer but a really great, challenging layout. I'd stay away from World Woods. They are going through a management transition, and I've heard the conditions are below standard, and if you look at the reviews, the people (at least under the old mgmt) seem to go out of their way to make you feel unwelcome. Enjoy the trip. I'm a Tampa native so I'm a bit biased to home, but you should have a great time!
  14. GregB135

    G AH

    Thanks gents!
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