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Florida Course Review

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#1 GregB135

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Posted 01 May 2018 - 01:40 PM

I've just started my second season playing in a local Florida amateur league. We average a field of 36 players in two handicapped flights with individual handicaps ranging from low single digits to 30+.

 

Since I'm offering only course reviews, I will leave the league name out, and say only that we play on West Central Florida area courses. Some of the venues will be more well known than others, but I will do my best to give a fair assessment of the courses as we go. Where possible I will include a link and the rating/slope of the tees played, and a general feeling on the course from that day's players.

 

I'll use a three tiered price rating:

Under $50 - $

$50-75       - $$  

$75+          - $$$


Driver:  :titelist-small: 917 D2, 9.5 Fujikura Blue

 

Fariway:   :titelist-small: 917 F2, 3-Wood Fujikura Blue 

 

Hybrid:   :benhogan-small: VKTR 19 Degree, Aldila NVH 85 Stiff

 

Irons:  :benhogan-small: PTx, Mid Launch (21-45), KBS Tour-V Stiff

 

Wedges:  :benhogan-small: Equalizer 50, 54, 58, KBS Tour-V Wedge Stiff

 

Putter:  :odyssey-small:  Works Fang 2-ball, 35" 


#2 GregB135

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Posted 01 May 2018 - 02:09 PM

Week 1: Lakewood National - Lakewood Ranch Florida

Tees Played: National (blue) 70.2/130 6,374 yds

Conditions: Sunny, moderate, light breeze

Price: $$$ ($75+)

http://www.lakewoodnationalgc.com/

 

Lakewood National is one of the newer venues in our area, and is in a location convenient to many central Florida travel spots (Tampa, Orlando, Ft.Myers). The course (courses in the future) is the centerpiece of a large planned community under development. As it stands now, the course has a wide open feel and look that will diminish as development continues to add more homes/condos along the course routes.

 

The course conditions were fantastic for a new track that is still maturing. The fairways were well manicured and very playable (I needed to be in more of them). The greens showed their youth, as they were still pretty firm, and even good iron shots into them tended to roll out a bit rather than grab and check up. The greens also had lots of contour, and played very fast - posted stimp reading was 12 the morning we played, but they rolled very true. The rating and slope should say it all. If you stay in or near the fairway, your score will reflect it. If you have too many wayward shots, the rough and hazards will take their toll (and then some).

 

Range/Practice facilities were first rate. All grass range had plenty of space. Large practice green adjacent to range for chipping/putting as well as a first tee practice green for putting only. Both practice greens had lots of contour, which matched the course, but finding a flat putt to work on line was a challenge. The clubhouse is new and shows it. Clean and well stocked for most essentials. There is no dining option on site yet.

 

People/Customer service were all exceptional. Every employee we dealt with was courteous and genuine in their efforts to make our visit a positive experience.

 

A definite recommend for those seeking a fun challenging round.


Driver:  :titelist-small: 917 D2, 9.5 Fujikura Blue

 

Fariway:   :titelist-small: 917 F2, 3-Wood Fujikura Blue 

 

Hybrid:   :benhogan-small: VKTR 19 Degree, Aldila NVH 85 Stiff

 

Irons:  :benhogan-small: PTx, Mid Launch (21-45), KBS Tour-V Stiff

 

Wedges:  :benhogan-small: Equalizer 50, 54, 58, KBS Tour-V Wedge Stiff

 

Putter:  :odyssey-small:  Works Fang 2-ball, 35" 


#3 GregB135

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Posted 01 May 2018 - 02:57 PM

Week 3: Sanctuary Ridge Golf Club, Clermont FL (I didn't play week 2)

Tees Played: Blue  67.5/113  6,143 yds

Conditions: Sunny, Mild, Moderate Breeze

Price: $  (Under $50)

https://www.sanctuaryridgecfl.com/

 

An Orlando area course that is a bit off the beaten path. Easy to reach though from 'resort central' in Orlando. An established public course with lots of elevation change (rare for Florida) and character enough to make you think your way around the shorter total yardage.

 

Overall the course showed that it is a true public venue. The grounds on our day of play were what most would consider average to below average. Several of the fairways had bare spots, while others had either encroaching weeds or large wet areas despite no recent rain. The greens were in fair condition and would hold a good shot. Speed on the greens was moderate but consistent but tended to be less than smooth and did not provide a consistent true roll through the round. The course played to it's rating slope numbers. Only truly wild shots were punished. You could get away with a moderate miss and still have a chance to recover your par. There were some areas of deep rough along the slopes surrounding the fairways and greens, as well as some areas that played as waste/playable hazard for us on our early spring date, that would be water hazards during the rainy season.

 

The practice facilities were minimal with a cramped and well worn grass tee range which had no immediate cart access, and a small severely sloped putting green adjacent to the clubhouse. The clubhouse itself was very sparsely stocked, so unless you need only the barest essentials there wasn't much.

 

We didn't encounter many course employees, but the ones we did were friendly and accommodating.

 

Overall the general opinion was we wished we had been able to play the course while it was in peak condition. A date later in the summer or early fall when nature has taken care of a lot of the daily watering and the fairway turf is a little more robust would hopefully make a difference for the better. The layout and design are terrific and every hole has some unique character. As mentioned, the elevation changes throughout the course make for a different feel from what most expect from Florida golf.  

 

If planning a trip to the area, I wouldn't recommend this as the premier or highlight of the trip stop, but if you are looking for a starting venue to get warmed up and have some fun at a comparative bargain to its big resort style neighbors, Sanctuary Ridge is a decent option.


Driver:  :titelist-small: 917 D2, 9.5 Fujikura Blue

 

Fariway:   :titelist-small: 917 F2, 3-Wood Fujikura Blue 

 

Hybrid:   :benhogan-small: VKTR 19 Degree, Aldila NVH 85 Stiff

 

Irons:  :benhogan-small: PTx, Mid Launch (21-45), KBS Tour-V Stiff

 

Wedges:  :benhogan-small: Equalizer 50, 54, 58, KBS Tour-V Wedge Stiff

 

Putter:  :odyssey-small:  Works Fang 2-ball, 35" 


#4 MDGolfHacker

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Posted 01 May 2018 - 03:24 PM

Week 3: Sanctuary Ridge Golf Club, Clermont FL (I didn't play week 2)
Tees Played: Blue 67.5/113 6,143 yds
Conditions: Sunny, Mild, Moderate Breeze
Price: $ (Under $50)
https://www.sanctuaryridgecfl.com/

An Orlando area course that is a bit off the beaten path. Easy to reach though from 'resort central' in Orlando. An established public course with lots of elevation change (rare for Florida) and character enough to make you think your way around the shorter total yardage.

Overall the course showed that it is a true public venue. The grounds on our day of play were what most would consider average to below average. Several of the fairways had bare spots, while others had either encroaching weeds or large wet areas despite no recent rain. The greens were in fair condition and would hold a good shot. Speed on the greens was moderate but consistent but tended to be less than smooth and did not provide a consistent true roll through the round. The course played to it's rating slope numbers. Only truly wild shots were punished. You could get away with a moderate miss and still have a chance to recover your par. There were some areas of deep rough along the slopes surrounding the fairways and greens, as well as some areas that played as waste/playable hazard for us on our early spring date, that would be water hazards during the rainy season.

The practice facilities were minimal with a cramped and well worn grass tee range which had no immediate cart access, and a small severely sloped putting green adjacent to the clubhouse. The clubhouse itself was very sparsely stocked, so unless you need only the barest essentials there wasn't much.

We didn't encounter many course employees, but the ones we did were friendly and accommodating.

Overall the general opinion was we wished we had been able to play the course while it was in peak condition. A date later in the summer or early fall when nature has taken care of a lot of the daily watering and the fairway turf is a little more robust would hopefully make a difference for the better. The layout and design are terrific and every hole has some unique character. As mentioned, the elevation changes throughout the course make for a different feel from what most expect from Florida golf.

If planning a trip to the area, I wouldn't recommend this as the premier or highlight of the trip stop, but if you are looking for a starting venue to get warmed up and have some fun at a comparative bargain to its big resort style neighbors, Sanctuary Ridge is a decent option.


I've played this course and your assessment is spot on!

MDGolfHacker

What's In The Bag?

Driver:  LH  :cobra-small: F8 10.5° Project X Even Flow Blue 65g shaft Draw setting

Fairway Woods: LH :cobra-small: F8 3W Project X Even Flow Blue 75g shaft

Fairway Woods: LH  :cobra-small: F8 5W Project X Even Flow Blue 75g shaft

Irons: LH  :cobra-small: F8 One Length 4-LW with the Nippon NS Pro Modus3 Tour 120

Putter: LH  :bettinardi-small: C03

Bag:   :cobra-small: Ultralight Stand Bag Black

Ball:   :bridgestone-small: B330-RX

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#5 GregB135

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Posted 01 May 2018 - 03:34 PM

Thanks MD. Appreciate the feedback. More to follow in a couple of weeks.


Driver:  :titelist-small: 917 D2, 9.5 Fujikura Blue

 

Fariway:   :titelist-small: 917 F2, 3-Wood Fujikura Blue 

 

Hybrid:   :benhogan-small: VKTR 19 Degree, Aldila NVH 85 Stiff

 

Irons:  :benhogan-small: PTx, Mid Launch (21-45), KBS Tour-V Stiff

 

Wedges:  :benhogan-small: Equalizer 50, 54, 58, KBS Tour-V Wedge Stiff

 

Putter:  :odyssey-small:  Works Fang 2-ball, 35" 


#6 cyrusjanssen

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Posted 02 May 2018 - 02:04 PM

Thanks MD. Appreciate the feedback. More to follow in a couple of weeks.

Awesome course reviews! What a great value for guys living in the Central Florida area, keep it up :)


:titelist-small: 915 D2, 9.5 Degrees, Kai'li 70 Shaft, X-Flex, D4 Swingweight

:titelist-small: 915F, 15 Degrees, Kai'li 70 Shaft, X-Flex, D4 Swingweight

:titelist-small: 915H 18 Degrees, Speeder 904HB, X-Flex, D5 Swingweight

:titelist-small: 716 AP2 4-PW, Project X 6.0, ½” Over, 2 Degrees Upright

:titelist-small: SM5 50.08F, Raw Black, Project X 5.5, ½” Over, 1 Degree Upright

:titelist-small: SM5 54.10M, Raw Black, Project X 5.5, ½” Over, 1 Degree Upright

:titelist-small: SM5 58.07S, Raw Black, Project X 5.5, ½” Over, 1 Degree Upright

:titelist-small: Scotty Cameron Newport 2, 35”

:titelist-small: Pro V1


#7 GregB135

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Posted 13 May 2018 - 01:10 PM

Week 4: World Woods, Pine Barrens. Brockville FL
Tees Played: Green 70.2/125 6,458 yds
Conditions: Cloudy and warm, very light breeze
Price: $ (Under $50)
https://www.worldwoods.com
 
World Woods opened in the early 90s as one of the first pure golf resorts near the Tampa area. It's location in Brooksville is still going to be a road trip of it's own from either Tampa/St.Pete or the Orlando resort areas - door to door for me from east of Tampa was 1:20. So plan to make a day of it if you are including World Woods on your calendar. The good news is you can get a discounted replay rate for a second round the same day. 
 
The course conditions were on the better side of good but not fantastic. Our date of play had not seen any significant rain for a while. Even so, the tees were all well manicured, level and more than playable. Fairways were free of any bare spots and edge to edge had great turf to play from. One somewhat unique characteristic to the course is all sand areas are considered waste area rather than bunker, so grounding clubs and removing impediments is permitted. Many of the fairways had waste collection areas along either side so expect to recall those rules - dutifully briefed by the starter at the first tee. World Woods is an annual site for our group, and as such, many of us remarked that the greens were atypically slow. I'll give some benefit of the doubt here and guess they were not cut as short as usual due to the dry conditions. Either way, we battled with inconsistent speeds and the occasional roll that was less than true. It made for a challenging day on greens that already have lots of contour and deceptive angles. Needless to say, several of us gave up a few strokes on the greens. There is very little designated out of bounds, so there is ample room to miss your shot and still be in play. If you miss badly though, expect it to cost you a stroke or two with the trees and waste areas to deal with (trust me).
 
The practice facilities are first rate all around. Two all grass ranges, one designated for irons only, a putting course, chipping green, and 3-hole practice course are all available for use prior to your round and located between the two starting holes. The putting course is challenging, and there isn't a flat putt on it anywhere. It truly preps you for the courses' greens, but doesn't offer the opportunity to dial in line as much as speed an break. 
 
The course employees were a mixed bag. The only two I encountered that were any kind of cordial were the beverage cart attendant and the post-round cart assistant. Check in at the pro shop was professional at least, but less than welcoming. Of note, we were charged $7 more than what our club organizer quoted on our schedule. Pay attention to their rain check policy. They will give a rain-check, but not a refund. If  you play more than a couple of holes, the rain check will be pro-rated not the full fee. Bottom line, if you pay at the desk and start your round, they've got your money and aren't giving it back. We saw the course rangers a little more often than we saw the beverage cart, but neither was intrusive or interfered with play (i guess we were fast enough even at a little over 4 1/2 hrs for our foursome). The Pine Barrens course does not route back to the clubhouse at the turn so grab snacks if you need them when you see the bev cart. There is a small  bar and grill at the clubhouse. Given our date was an early summer Saturday with good weather, you'd assume they would expect to stay busy. Yet, the service was somewhat slow and confused, and again, a little less than cordial.
 
Overall impression, great courses that will challenge but not overtly punish, very fun to play. This was my second trip to WW with our group, and I've felt the same vibe both times. The facilities and the course are the draw, you are there to appreciate those, and the people who work there are not there to make you feel any kind of special for being there. Go into the experience with that in mind, and you'll have a great time on an enjoyable course.

Driver:  :titelist-small: 917 D2, 9.5 Fujikura Blue

 

Fariway:   :titelist-small: 917 F2, 3-Wood Fujikura Blue 

 

Hybrid:   :benhogan-small: VKTR 19 Degree, Aldila NVH 85 Stiff

 

Irons:  :benhogan-small: PTx, Mid Launch (21-45), KBS Tour-V Stiff

 

Wedges:  :benhogan-small: Equalizer 50, 54, 58, KBS Tour-V Wedge Stiff

 

Putter:  :odyssey-small:  Works Fang 2-ball, 35" 


#8 GregB135

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Posted 03 June 2018 - 12:49 PM

Week 6 - The Ritz Carlton Members Golf Club, Sarasota FL

Tees Played: White 6,198 Yards, 70.0/120; Blue 6,557 Yards 71.5/124

Conditions: Hot, humid, light breeze (gustier near finish)

Price: $$ ($65)

http://www.rcmcsarasota.com

 

The Ritz Carlton Members Golf Club is a private resort club in the Sarasota/Lakewood Ranch area south of Tampa with easy access from I-75. Ours was an organized tournament event, otherwise access if limited to members and guests of the RC Resort in Sarasota.

 

The Tom Fazio designed course was in immaculate condition tee to greens. Lush well manicured fairways were framed with deep but manageable rough. The numerous water hazards and bunkers create challenges and define strategy for each hole. It is a resort course, so the landing areas for the defined shots were fairly open.  It takes a fairly significant miss or overaggressive play to bring the hazards into play enough to really hurt your score. The greens were a bit slow early in the round, but as the temperature and breeze both went up, so did the speeds. There was also a fair amount of grain influence on the reads. Take your time reading putts. Several greens had deceptive slopes and angles that can give a false read if not considered from multiple angles. The greens held shots well and rolled true. Altogether the course was a pleasure to play. Enjoy the views and the strategy, take the shot that the course gives you, and it all makes for a beautiful and enjoyable golf experience.

 

The practice areas were outstanding as well. Adjacent to the clubhouse are an all grass, full swing range with numerous target greens, a medium size putting green, large chipping green, and a bunker practice green. All are supplied with quality practice balls, and the wedge areas included ball sweepers for clearing the greens. The conditions of all the practice and warm up areas were a close match for the course conditions. So if you are just having a practice session, or warming up before a round, the grounds are fantastic for working on any portion of your game.

 

The course employees were all very welcoming and friendly. The beverage cart on the course appeared with enough frequency we never had to think we'd never see it again, but it was never a hindrance either. Bag attendents are available to clean your clubs post round if you choose to unload at the cart return. Carts are equipped with GPS. There were occasional differences between the cart GPS and handheld, and rangefinders tended to favor something in the middle where they didn't match. There were no on-course rangers, but the cart system tracks your round timing, and the clubhouse may send a message encouraging pace of play. (Using tourney rules can occasionally drag our rounds out a bit). 

 

Overall impression, the Ritz Carlton Members club is a definite recommend if you can find or make the opportunity to play there. It is a resort course, so it is all designed to ensure you enjoy the golfing experience and want to go back. Mission accomplished. It's a fantastic course, with great aesthetics as well as offering a challenging, strategic, and fun round of golf. Ask about the free t-shirt if you manage par or better over the closing three, nicknamed the Lion's Den.


Driver:  :titelist-small: 917 D2, 9.5 Fujikura Blue

 

Fariway:   :titelist-small: 917 F2, 3-Wood Fujikura Blue 

 

Hybrid:   :benhogan-small: VKTR 19 Degree, Aldila NVH 85 Stiff

 

Irons:  :benhogan-small: PTx, Mid Launch (21-45), KBS Tour-V Stiff

 

Wedges:  :benhogan-small: Equalizer 50, 54, 58, KBS Tour-V Wedge Stiff

 

Putter:  :odyssey-small:  Works Fang 2-ball, 35" 


#9 GregB135

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Posted 10 June 2018 - 01:10 PM

Week 7: Innsbrook Resort - Copperhead Course

Tees Played: Green 73.1/139, 6,624 yds; White 71.1/137 6,243 yds

Conditions: Warm to Hot, Still to light breeze

Price: $$$ ($89)

https://www.innisbro...pperhead-course

 

The Innsbrook Golf Resort is a long standing favorite resort of both residents and visitors of the Tampa/St. Pete Area. The resort is about a 30 minute drive from the Tampa Airport and would be up to a 1 hour drive from most of the area beaches. The Copperhead Course hosts the PGA Tour's Valspar Championship during the spring Florida stretch leading into the masters. It is a challenging course with good variety in the shots demanded for the relatively flat property. The famous 'Snake Pit' holes 16-18 are the signature run, typically among the hardest finishing holes the Tour players face all season.

 

The course is always challenging, but the rating/slope truly tell you the story of Copperhead. If you manage to stay in play, and down the line of the fairway you stand a chance to score. Wander too far off the intended line, and the numerous trees, fairway bunkers, and some water will definitely run the stroke tally up for you. To help build your strategy, there is a downloadable yardage guide on the resort website, as well as an informative hole by hole guide from TrackTips on YouTube. The overall condition of the course will never be considered bad. Tees, greens, and fairways were all in very good condition for us. The rough had some issues on our day though. We  got some intel post round as to why. The course gets oversewed with rye prior to the PGA event (that's how they always get nice green stuff for TV). While the bermuda in the playing areas recovers quickly in the growing season, the shade and high traffic in the rough areas is slower to recover. With that, we had lots of patchy to bare areas in the rough to deal with. We also played a day after some significant rain, so we were lift and place in the fairways. 

Another note about the rough. The closer you play to the PGA week, the deeper the rough is going to be. It takes time for them to cut it back down to normal depth after the pros leave. Last season our group was a few weeks earlier, and several of us had to deal with 'lost' balls that were only a few paces from the green or fairway. If you are planning a visit to Copperhead, keep that in mind.

 

Practice Areas: While not expansive, the practice areas are more than adequate for a pre-round warm up. The large, mostly flat putting green is the closest to the first tee. The putting green was pretty close to the speed of the on-course greens, but does not have the contour or slope that you will face on the course. Practice balls are provided at the small to medium sized chipping green where you can practice short chips from fairway and rough. The chipping green is between the putting green and the full swing range. The full swing range is a decent walk from the first tee, and there is no cart access to the practice areas. The range has about 12 stations with balls provided, but as a busy resort course the quality of the turf may depend on your tee time. We were early, so there was still plenty of good grass at each station. Later in the day, expect lots of divots unless they move to the adjacent teeing area. There is another practice area down the street a bit used by the resort's golf school and guests that has a larger practice tee area but fewer short game areas to use. 

 

Course Employees: Everyone we encountered seemed happy to have us there, and sincere about making our visit enjoyable. You will most likely be met at your car by the bag attendants who will load your bag on a cart to transport it, and you if you are ready, to the starting area and they will already have your cart assignment for the round. The bag and cart attendants in the starting area are a great source of daily intel on how the course is set up and playing that day. Clubhouse staff was efficient and friendly. The on-course beverage carts were well stocked and made enough rounds you won't have to wonder for long when they will be by next. The clubhouse also houses one of the resort's restaurants with a buffet breakfast available if you arrive prior to an early tee time, and a limited but varied lunch menu. The wait staff was excellent, but expect to pay resort prices for food and beverages.

 

Overall Impression: Any of the Innsbrook Resort's courses will provide an enjoyable golf experience. Copperhead is the show-piece course, so the fees will be a bit higher to play it. The course conditions and challenges will show you why the PGA comes back year after year. You'll also get a perspective on how good those guys really are (the championship tees are not usually marked for public play, so you'll be looking back from your tees to get the feel for it). If you aren't a straight hitter, you can expect a challenging day for the scorecard, but the course itself will leave you smiling.I have visited and stayed at the resort for other events, and I definitely recommend including Copperhead if you are planning a multi-day trip. The resort is a great place to plan a weekend or longer golf vacation, with courses that are both fun and challenging, and a staff that are genuinely dedicated to ensuring you enjoy your visit.


Driver:  :titelist-small: 917 D2, 9.5 Fujikura Blue

 

Fariway:   :titelist-small: 917 F2, 3-Wood Fujikura Blue 

 

Hybrid:   :benhogan-small: VKTR 19 Degree, Aldila NVH 85 Stiff

 

Irons:  :benhogan-small: PTx, Mid Launch (21-45), KBS Tour-V Stiff

 

Wedges:  :benhogan-small: Equalizer 50, 54, 58, KBS Tour-V Wedge Stiff

 

Putter:  :odyssey-small:  Works Fang 2-ball, 35" 


#10 GregB135

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Posted 10 June 2018 - 01:11 PM

Just a note, our league has a break for the next couple of weeks. Next review should appear July 1.


Driver:  :titelist-small: 917 D2, 9.5 Fujikura Blue

 

Fariway:   :titelist-small: 917 F2, 3-Wood Fujikura Blue 

 

Hybrid:   :benhogan-small: VKTR 19 Degree, Aldila NVH 85 Stiff

 

Irons:  :benhogan-small: PTx, Mid Launch (21-45), KBS Tour-V Stiff

 

Wedges:  :benhogan-small: Equalizer 50, 54, 58, KBS Tour-V Wedge Stiff

 

Putter:  :odyssey-small:  Works Fang 2-ball, 35" 


#11 GregB135

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Posted 29 June 2018 - 11:02 AM

League is back in action this week on Saturday 30 June at Southern Dunes in Haines City FL. I'll post my course review Sunday.


Driver:  :titelist-small: 917 D2, 9.5 Fujikura Blue

 

Fariway:   :titelist-small: 917 F2, 3-Wood Fujikura Blue 

 

Hybrid:   :benhogan-small: VKTR 19 Degree, Aldila NVH 85 Stiff

 

Irons:  :benhogan-small: PTx, Mid Launch (21-45), KBS Tour-V Stiff

 

Wedges:  :benhogan-small: Equalizer 50, 54, 58, KBS Tour-V Wedge Stiff

 

Putter:  :odyssey-small:  Works Fang 2-ball, 35" 


#12 revkev

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Posted 29 June 2018 - 11:56 PM

Nice - thanks - i

What’s the league? Those are some great courses. It sounds like the one my friend plays in.

Also where do you live? I’m in Pinellas Park and have played most of those courses.


Sent from my iPhone using MyGolfSpy

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#13 GregB135

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Posted 01 July 2018 - 01:18 PM

Nice - thanks - i

What’s the league? Those are some great courses. It sounds like the one my friend plays in.

Also where do you live? I’m in Pinellas Park and have played most of those courses.


Sent from my iPhone using MyGolfSpy

League is called The Tampa Tour. I'm in the Riverview/Bloomingdale area of East Hillsborough Co.


Driver:  :titelist-small: 917 D2, 9.5 Fujikura Blue

 

Fariway:   :titelist-small: 917 F2, 3-Wood Fujikura Blue 

 

Hybrid:   :benhogan-small: VKTR 19 Degree, Aldila NVH 85 Stiff

 

Irons:  :benhogan-small: PTx, Mid Launch (21-45), KBS Tour-V Stiff

 

Wedges:  :benhogan-small: Equalizer 50, 54, 58, KBS Tour-V Wedge Stiff

 

Putter:  :odyssey-small:  Works Fang 2-ball, 35" 


#14 GregB135

GregB135

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Posted 01 July 2018 - 02:05 PM

Week 8: Southern Dunes Golf and CC, Haines City FL

Tees Played: Blue - 6,803 yes, 73.3/134 ; White - 6,298 yes, 70.9/125

Price: $$ ($50 - Seasonal)

https://www.southerndunes.com

 

Southern Dunes is a semi-private golf club just outside of Orlando, in a gated community a few miles off of I-4 in Haines City. It sits approximately 45 minutes from the major Orlando resort areas, and was an hour to hour and 1/2 for most of us from the Tampa area. A distinct design for Florida with ample elevation changes, LOTS of bunkering and sand waste areas, and undulating greens. Be mindful of the seasonal rate schedule. Our summertime play date came in at $50 while the peak/cool weather season rate is significantly higher.

 

Everything about the course makes a tremendous first impression. From arrival at the entry gate it is a short drive through some neighborhoods to the clubhouse. While not large, the clubhouse is impressive, clean, and surrounded by the warmup and practice areas. The course itself was in immaculate condition. Seriously, think Tour level maintenance, tee to green: level, neatly mown tees; fairways firm enough to provide roll but good turf to play irons from (also really good drainage); and fast, true rolling greens. The rough was deep enough to know you were in rough, but it is not there to effect your score the way the bunkers and waste areas are. They are present on virtually every hole to define strategy and offer plenty of risk/reward shot opportunities for either the tee or approach shots. The green complexes were fairly large, with near-pristine apron/fringe areas. The mounding and undulation of the greens definitely makes finding the right area near the flag a plus, and the majority of green-side bunkers are deep and can really punish errant approach shots. We did encounter some moderate to heavy rain during the round, hence the note about the drainage. Most of the groups said they halted play for about 15-20 minutes during one downpour, and the course was immediately playable without much noticeable change in the conditions. The fairways and greens drained very quickly and continued to play very well. Be ready for that if you choose a summer date, especially in the second half of the day. Also noteworthy was the down-loadable yardage guide that gps links for use on the course, as well as cart-mounted gps that calculates distance to pin as well as green front/back.

 

Practice Areas: Sufficient not ample, but superb in condition is the best description I can offer. You do have to carry clubs to the full swing range. There is a small putting green, which matches the speed and conditions of the on-course greens. There is a practice bunker/chipping area as well. All first rate in condition and a good representation of the course for pre-round warmup, but it would quickly get crowded if you intend to strictly practice.

 

Course Employees: Very friendly and accommodating. Club attendant may greet you in the parking lot. They had our tee sheet so were able to load clubs on the appropriate, pre-positioned carts for each group. Checking in was quick, and the desk personnel were happy to answer questions from the 'never played here before' crowd. We only saw the on-course bev-cart twice during our round, but the bad weather may have influenced that. The course does route back to the clubhouse if you need to stock up mid-round. The bar/grille is adjacent to the clubhouse, with a good variety on the menu, reasonable prices, and quick friendly service. 

 

Overall Impression: A fantastic course with lots of character that will challenge players of all abilities. A definite recommendation if you want to get a taste of what the Tour players see with respect to the condition, speed and challenge of the greens. 


Driver:  :titelist-small: 917 D2, 9.5 Fujikura Blue

 

Fariway:   :titelist-small: 917 F2, 3-Wood Fujikura Blue 

 

Hybrid:   :benhogan-small: VKTR 19 Degree, Aldila NVH 85 Stiff

 

Irons:  :benhogan-small: PTx, Mid Launch (21-45), KBS Tour-V Stiff

 

Wedges:  :benhogan-small: Equalizer 50, 54, 58, KBS Tour-V Wedge Stiff

 

Putter:  :odyssey-small:  Works Fang 2-ball, 35" 






Also tagged with one or more of these keywords: Florida, Course Review

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