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Many of you have followed and read the course review thread I started for my summer league events. Thank you to all who have read along. In order to keep my course review writing chops up  to speed, I've started this thread now to include the local courses in the Tampa (or greater Tampa Bay) area where I play outside the league. I'll keep the same format for the reviews just more from the eye of an individual round rather than part of a large group or tourney. To get a feel for the style check out the league reviews under the Florida League Course Reviews. Chime in if you have a course in mind you'd like a review on and I'll see what I can do to make it happen.

 

Driver:  PXG 211 Project X Evenflow CB, 50g 5.5

Fariway:  PXG 211, 3-Wood Project X Evenflow CB, 60g 5.5

Hybrid:   PXG 211, 3H Project X Evenflow H, 80g, 5.5

Irons:  :titelist-small: T300 4-5, T200 6-PW Nippon 880 Pro R

Wedges:  :cleveland-small:  CBX2 50*, 54*, 58*, TT Dynamic Gold Wedge Flex

Putter:  :odyssey-small:  Stroke Lab Rossie

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Here's a sample or two from the other review thread

 

Driver:  PXG 211 Project X Evenflow CB, 50g 5.5

Fariway:  PXG 211, 3-Wood Project X Evenflow CB, 60g 5.5

Hybrid:   PXG 211, 3H Project X Evenflow H, 80g, 5.5

Irons:  :titelist-small: T300 4-5, T200 6-PW Nippon 880 Pro R

Wedges:  :cleveland-small:  CBX2 50*, 54*, 58*, TT Dynamic Gold Wedge Flex

Putter:  :odyssey-small:  Stroke Lab Rossie

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Cypress Creek Golf Club - Public - 

1101 Cypress Village Blvd, Ruskin FL

Date Played: 11 Nov 2019, $$ ($40)

https://cypresscreekgolfclub.com/

Cypress Creek Golf Club is a public course just a few miles south of the Tampa Bay area in Ruskin, also referred to as the Sun City area. There are several other semi-private courses in the area associated with retirement village properties. Opened in 1989 it continues to be one of the more fun and challenging courses in the area. With 5 sets of tees to choose from it's easy to find a yardage you'll be comfortable with. The course was designed around the natural cypress wetlands of the area. There are plenty of water features to navigate around as well as trees and some naturally rolling terrain. You'll also face some creatively challenging shorter holes. All in all there is a good variety of challenges in the design. The greens are mostly elevated and drain well in the wet season. They do trend toward the small size but for the most part from anything on the white tees and forward you won't be hitting many long iron approaches.

Course Conditions:  As a public course that is rarely crowded I'd call the course conditions better than average. With the various sets of tees, the tee area wear rarely seems excessive. The fairways were in great condition. There is Bermuda rough lining the fairways that can be deep enough to challenge without being penal. The condition of the greens was good, in general, but there were a few with some small worn spots and bare edges. They did  receive shots well, and rolled true with moderate speed. Like many public courses, the condition of the bunkers was a bit inconsistent but they were very playable. 

Practice Areas: Adjacent to the clubhouse is a small full swing range that has hitting mats as well as turf (mats only on our play day due to over-seeding of the turf), with room for 6-8 players to use without feeling crowded. There are no target flags on the range, but it is deep enough for a full bag warm-up or practice. The practice green is somewhat small, and uses replaceable target flags in lieu of cut-in holes. It matches the course conditions in both speed and undulation so is a good warm up option. There is no dedicated short game area, but the range and putting green are sufficient to handle the normal level of traffic.

Course Employees: Everyone we encountered on this visit was exceptionally nice. All the clubhouse operators are friendly and welcoming. The course is seldom crowded, so there is typically not a ranger on the course. Unfortunately that also means rarely a beverage cart. The bar/grill is pretty big compared to the other clubhouse facilities and the folks in there are always engaging. 

Overall Impression: Though it can play tough from the longer tees, and the amount of water can be intimidating, Cypress Creek is a lot of fun to play. It is rarely overcrowded and they offer lots of incentives and discount rates throughout the year. They do offer reduced rates for military as well. The course conditions shouldn't leave you complaining. Keeping in mind it is a low traffic public course. If you are planning to be in the area, Cypress Creek is worth the short drive from Tampa and is a definite recommend.

IMG_0041.jpg.8f46bbdc1cb45a4934e7c77c4898d440.jpg

  • Like 1

Driver:  PXG 211 Project X Evenflow CB, 50g 5.5

Fariway:  PXG 211, 3-Wood Project X Evenflow CB, 60g 5.5

Hybrid:   PXG 211, 3H Project X Evenflow H, 80g, 5.5

Irons:  :titelist-small: T300 4-5, T200 6-PW Nippon 880 Pro R

Wedges:  :cleveland-small:  CBX2 50*, 54*, 58*, TT Dynamic Gold Wedge Flex

Putter:  :odyssey-small:  Stroke Lab Rossie

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Bloomingdale Golfers Club

4113 Great Golfers Pl, Valrico, FL 33596

Date Played: 18 November 2019

$ ($20) Discount rate through local InsiderPlus card $ ($20 -31 time based rates)

https://www.bloomingdalegolf.com/

Considering the history of this course and the high quality it maintained for many many years, it is sad to see it in its current condition. When the course opened in the 1980s it was the class of the area as far as new courses, and the greens were meticulously maintained and known as some of the fastest around. The few times I played the course as a high school player I enjoyed the course and thought we were lucky to play it since it opened as a semi-private course. 15 years later I was lucky enough to have the Air Force station me in Tampa and our home was near the course so I called it my home. At that time, the course had become public with memberships prioritized, but still maintained quality conditions throughout the course. Unfortunately, over time and changes in management the quality of the course itself has diminished while the newest management seems more intent right now on popularizing the bar/grill as a neighborhood attraction than on improving the quality and playability of the course. If it weren't for the practice facility and the practice/range membership option, I wouldn't be giving what WAS one of my favorite area courses a recommendation at all.

Course Conditions: In general, nothing special accentuated by lots of less than desirable. It should be a really fun track with the challenging doglegs and narrow fairways along with several 1/2 island style greens. There are areas of the course that get (and stay) really wet and soft after any significant rain while other areas are worn and bare. More tee boxes than not are over-run with weeds and crabgrass but are for the most part level. The fairways play well enough but too many of them don't drain well enough to endure the rainy summer season. The greens are the only moderate highlight to the course. While not the tour quality surfaces they used to be (or as boasted about on the website) you can tell it wouldn't take much TLC to get them back there. The hold shots well and roll smooth, just not quite as fast as what they used to be. The bunkers, like most full public courses, are a hit-and-miss nightmare thanks to little upkeep from the green keepers and next to no course etiquette care from other players.

Practice Areas: 

IMG_0050.jpg.4d2d8b0c9d0b8cee292a367af2cfb9b5.jpg

The practice areas are now the best thing Bloomingdale has going for it. A massive putting green is adjacent to the newly renovated driving range. There is also a dedicated wedge/short-game green with a practice bunker. They do a decent job of rotating the turf practice stations to avoid excessive wear and will designate mats only when the turf is wet to help preserve the grass. It is without a doubt the largest and probably the best dedicated practice facility in the East Tampa (Brandon/Valrico/Riverview) area.

Other Amenities: The bar/grill has improved a lot over the last year or so. But as I said earlier, that seems to be where the new management has had their focus. The practice membership or Player Development Program is a great deal if you want to have unlimited range ball use on the practice range, and it includes weekly clinics with the on-site teaching pro on Saturday mornings. The club fitter/repair pro on site is also top notch. Right now I would recommend any of these over the course itself.

Course Employees: There has been some turn-over lately, but I doubt you'll encounter anyone who makes you feel unwelcome. The clubhouse team are all friendly, and get to know the regular faces. The bar/grill folks are great as well. On hot or busy days, the bev cart runs regularly and there are several water stations out on the course. There is NEVER a ranger on course, but more on that in a minute. 

Overall Impression: Bloomingdale is a mature course that started out with fantastic conditions, and was maintained that way for many years. The changes in management over the years have meant different, lower, levels of course maintenance, and right now the course is showing that neglect. When I ask in the clubhouse, they claim they are working to bring the course back up to the standard of its history and reputation. I find that hard to agree with when I constantly see players driving carts on the tee and green areas (carts without senior/handicap flags that is).

IMG_0048.jpg.1aed45dd8b48bdfe4eace95559d73daf.jpgIMG_0049.jpg.1e9d188c2e70b1b9016ff1b6a00f0d12.jpg

The course is still popular with a lot of the locals, so mornings are usually busy, and weekends it gets crowded. They do have a starter for weekend morning tee times. Aside from that they do little to manage pace of play. They also (you can see in the photos) don't enforce cart path etiquette. I've complained about that several times to no avail. The course is very close to my house and with the practice membership and facilities I do play here fairly often. Without the practice facilities though I'm still giving it a DO NOT RECOMMEND. Which is a shame, because the course really could be so much more than it is right now.

 

Driver:  PXG 211 Project X Evenflow CB, 50g 5.5

Fariway:  PXG 211, 3-Wood Project X Evenflow CB, 60g 5.5

Hybrid:   PXG 211, 3H Project X Evenflow H, 80g, 5.5

Irons:  :titelist-small: T300 4-5, T200 6-PW Nippon 880 Pro R

Wedges:  :cleveland-small:  CBX2 50*, 54*, 58*, TT Dynamic Gold Wedge Flex

Putter:  :odyssey-small:  Stroke Lab Rossie

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  • 4 months later...

Here is another look at East Lake Woodlands CC, North Course in Oldsmar. Oldsmar sits on top of Tampa Bay between Tampa and the Clearwater/St Pete areas. ELW is a ClubCorp facility, which for many of you is all you will need to hear. Nice facilities all around, good course conditions and fast greens. Definitely worth booking if you are a ClubCorp member or will be travelling with one to the area.

  • Like 1

Driver:  PXG 211 Project X Evenflow CB, 50g 5.5

Fariway:  PXG 211, 3-Wood Project X Evenflow CB, 60g 5.5

Hybrid:   PXG 211, 3H Project X Evenflow H, 80g, 5.5

Irons:  :titelist-small: T300 4-5, T200 6-PW Nippon 880 Pro R

Wedges:  :cleveland-small:  CBX2 50*, 54*, 58*, TT Dynamic Gold Wedge Flex

Putter:  :odyssey-small:  Stroke Lab Rossie

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  • 5 months later...
On 11/18/2019 at 6:18 PM, GregB135 said:

Bloomingdale Golfers Club

4113 Great Golfers Pl, Valrico, FL 33596

Date Played: 18 November 2019

$ ($20) Discount rate through local InsiderPlus card $ ($20 -31 time based rates)

https://www.bloomingdalegolf.com/

Considering the history of this course and the high quality it maintained for many many years, it is sad to see it in its current condition. When the course opened in the 1980s it was the class of the area as far as new courses, and the greens were meticulously maintained and known as some of the fastest around. The few times I played the course as a high school player I enjoyed the course and thought we were lucky to play it since it opened as a semi-private course. 15 years later I was lucky enough to have the Air Force station me in Tampa and our home was near the course so I called it my home. At that time, the course had become public with memberships prioritized, but still maintained quality conditions throughout the course. Unfortunately, over time and changes in management the quality of the course itself has diminished while the newest management seems more intent right now on popularizing the bar/grill as a neighborhood attraction than on improving the quality and playability of the course. If it weren't for the practice facility and the practice/range membership option, I wouldn't be giving what WAS one of my favorite area courses a recommendation at all.

Course Conditions: In general, nothing special accentuated by lots of less than desirable. It should be a really fun track with the challenging doglegs and narrow fairways along with several 1/2 island style greens. There are areas of the course that get (and stay) really wet and soft after any significant rain while other areas are worn and bare. More tee boxes than not are over-run with weeds and crabgrass but are for the most part level. The fairways play well enough but too many of them don't drain well enough to endure the rainy summer season. The greens are the only moderate highlight to the course. While not the tour quality surfaces they used to be (or as boasted about on the website) you can tell it wouldn't take much TLC to get them back there. The hold shots well and roll smooth, just not quite as fast as what they used to be. The bunkers, like most full public courses, are a hit-and-miss nightmare thanks to little upkeep from the green keepers and next to no course etiquette care from other players.

Practice Areas: 

IMG_0050.jpg.4d2d8b0c9d0b8cee292a367af2cfb9b5.jpg

The practice areas are now the best thing Bloomingdale has going for it. A massive putting green is adjacent to the newly renovated driving range. There is also a dedicated wedge/short-game green with a practice bunker. They do a decent job of rotating the turf practice stations to avoid excessive wear and will designate mats only when the turf is wet to help preserve the grass. It is without a doubt the largest and probably the best dedicated practice facility in the East Tampa (Brandon/Valrico/Riverview) area.

Other Amenities: The bar/grill has improved a lot over the last year or so. But as I said earlier, that seems to be where the new management has had their focus. The practice membership or Player Development Program is a great deal if you want to have unlimited range ball use on the practice range, and it includes weekly clinics with the on-site teaching pro on Saturday mornings. The club fitter/repair pro on site is also top notch. Right now I would recommend any of these over the course itself.

Course Employees: There has been some turn-over lately, but I doubt you'll encounter anyone who makes you feel unwelcome. The clubhouse team are all friendly, and get to know the regular faces. The bar/grill folks are great as well. On hot or busy days, the bev cart runs regularly and there are several water stations out on the course. There is NEVER a ranger on course, but more on that in a minute. 

Overall Impression: Bloomingdale is a mature course that started out with fantastic conditions, and was maintained that way for many years. The changes in management over the years have meant different, lower, levels of course maintenance, and right now the course is showing that neglect. When I ask in the clubhouse, they claim they are working to bring the course back up to the standard of its history and reputation. I find that hard to agree with when I constantly see players driving carts on the tee and green areas (carts without senior/handicap flags that is).

IMG_0048.jpg.1aed45dd8b48bdfe4eace95559d73daf.jpgIMG_0049.jpg.1e9d188c2e70b1b9016ff1b6a00f0d12.jpg

The course is still popular with a lot of the locals, so mornings are usually busy, and weekends it gets crowded. They do have a starter for weekend morning tee times. Aside from that they do little to manage pace of play. They also (you can see in the photos) don't enforce cart path etiquette. I've complained about that several times to no avail. The course is very close to my house and with the practice membership and facilities I do play here fairly often. Without the practice facilities though I'm still giving it a DO NOT RECOMMEND. Which is a shame, because the course really could be so much more than it is right now.

 

Update review for Bloomingdale Golfers Club

The new management has done a lot to improve the conditions of the property all around. Several of the tees have had turf replacement done, and I believe the plan is to re-turf all the tee areas. The greens are on the better side of okay but nothing to either brag or complain about. 

Regarding Covid-19. B-dale has been open for play throughout. Mask is required indoors. Expect to ride single in carts unless you opt for dual. Bunkers get prepped at the start of the day but that's it, no rakes so preferred lie rule applies. Remaining open meant a lot of new or infrequent golfers have been out on the course. That means the tee shirt and gym shorts crowd is not turned away, and cart shenanigans are everywhere.

The people are great at  making everyone feel welcome. I highly recommend the on-site teaching pro and the resident club fitter is first rate. The re-working of the practice areas made them the class of the area. I am only going to say they REALLY need an on course ranger to help manage pace of play and enforce cart etiquette.

My last round here (literally maybe my last) was on a day after several rainy days. Knowing the course holds water in areas, my partner and I opted to walk since the rule of the day was carts 90* and cart path only on 5 particular holes. On one of the path only holes, my tee shot landing in the fairway was lost in the mud. As we approached the green I looked behind us and an entire 4-some was driving their individual carts through that fairway. I called the pro shop, and to my surprise they actually sent someone out to talk to the group. Then they all drove off the cart path onto the side of the next tee..., and the green after that. I mentioned that to the club house post-round, but nothing was said or done to the offending group as they returned their carts. This tells me that even as nice as all the course people are, they aren't as serious as they claim about improving and maintaining the quality of the course.

Until they get serious about enforcing rules like dress code and proper cart use I'm keeping the Do Not Recommend label on Bloomingdale.

  • Like 1

Driver:  PXG 211 Project X Evenflow CB, 50g 5.5

Fariway:  PXG 211, 3-Wood Project X Evenflow CB, 60g 5.5

Hybrid:   PXG 211, 3H Project X Evenflow H, 80g, 5.5

Irons:  :titelist-small: T300 4-5, T200 6-PW Nippon 880 Pro R

Wedges:  :cleveland-small:  CBX2 50*, 54*, 58*, TT Dynamic Gold Wedge Flex

Putter:  :odyssey-small:  Stroke Lab Rossie

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Review Pending - Westchase Golf Club. 

I am playing in a large group tournament event at Westchase in a couple of weeks. I have played there a few times before, but I will save comments for after the next round so the info is most up to date.

If you are in or visiting the Tampa area and have a course you'd like reviewed leave a comment and I'll see what I can do.

  • Like 1

Driver:  PXG 211 Project X Evenflow CB, 50g 5.5

Fariway:  PXG 211, 3-Wood Project X Evenflow CB, 60g 5.5

Hybrid:   PXG 211, 3H Project X Evenflow H, 80g, 5.5

Irons:  :titelist-small: T300 4-5, T200 6-PW Nippon 880 Pro R

Wedges:  :cleveland-small:  CBX2 50*, 54*, 58*, TT Dynamic Gold Wedge Flex

Putter:  :odyssey-small:  Stroke Lab Rossie

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  • 3 weeks later...

Westchase GC,  Tampa FL

11602 Westchase Golf Drive, Tampa, Florida 33626

Date Played: 3 October 2020

Price: $$ - Dynamic pricing, range $30-45 w/cart, walking permitted

http://www.westchasegc.com/course-information/

The Westchase Golf Course is a full public course affiliated with the planned community of Westchase just Northwest of Tampa. As Tampa courses go, Westchase is a relative newcomer, but it has been around long enough to have maturity and to have developed its feel and personality. The layout offers a good mix of challenging and straightforward holes. You will also find a good blend of long/medium/short across the board (par 3s/4s/5s). Despite being a 'neighborhood' course, there are holes not bordered by homes, as well as some nature areas that help the course hold onto it's parkland feel.

Course Conditions:  Good for a fully public course, but as expected, a little rough around some of the edges. Tee boxes were level, but inconsistent. Some had nice lush turf, while others were well worn, and some had lawn grass/weed invasions. The fairways are lush, playable, and drain well after/during rain. They do behave according to the weather, playing firm and offering plenty of roll when dry and softer when wet. Very few areas of the course hold onto water though which is key for summer time play in the area. The depth of the Bermuda rough can vary with season and conditions. It plays a lot more challenging when allowed some depth, but it will never feel penalizing to miss a fairway in the rough. The greens are becoming a selling point for the course. They hold shots well, and roll true with moderately fast speed. There are some subtle breaks that can leave you shaking your head but the greens tend to be in good to great shape. Like most public courses, especially during the C-19 era, the bunkers can be a mixed bag but for the most part are well maintained and play well.

Practice Areas:  The practice areas are all behind the clubhouse and a short ride from the first tee. The full swing range has both mats and turf, and is a water range with few dedicated targets. It can quickly feel crowded and depending on time of day the turf gets worn. There is also a small short game area with a practice bunker and medium size green for chipping. The fairly large putting green is a good match to the greens on course, but with maybe too few target holes to keep it from feeling crowded. Altogether, a good to very good for pre-round warm up, but lacking a bit for dedicated serious practice.

Course Employees:  You'll struggle to find better at a full public course. The folks at Westchase do a great job taking care of their guests. The clubhouse is limited access during C-19 but restrictions should be lessening as Florida opens at phase 3. The cart area attendants do a great job helping arrange bags and carts on arrival. Starters are friendly and informative. Same when there is a ranger on course. The on-course beverage carts make numerous rounds so you won't be left wanting hydration too often. The bar/grill is roomy and nice and has a good variety on the food/beverage menu so as things continue to re-open it is a great post-round spot with both indoor and outdoor seating areas.

Overall Impression:  Westchase is a great place to go play golf. Especially with dynamic pricing, the rates are reasonable, the course conditions won't leave you complaining, and the people there make sure you enjoy your visit. The layout of the course is a lot of fun. The setup of the course and clubhouse is well suited to group outings if you are looking for a place to host a tourney. All-in-all Westchase is first rate, and gets a Definite Recommend.

 

  • Like 1

Driver:  PXG 211 Project X Evenflow CB, 50g 5.5

Fariway:  PXG 211, 3-Wood Project X Evenflow CB, 60g 5.5

Hybrid:   PXG 211, 3H Project X Evenflow H, 80g, 5.5

Irons:  :titelist-small: T300 4-5, T200 6-PW Nippon 880 Pro R

Wedges:  :cleveland-small:  CBX2 50*, 54*, 58*, TT Dynamic Gold Wedge Flex

Putter:  :odyssey-small:  Stroke Lab Rossie

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  • 4 weeks later...

Lakewood National Golf Club, Commander Course, Lakewood Ranch FL

17605 Lakewood National Pkwy
Lakewood Ranch, FL 34211

https://www.lakewoodnationalgc.com/

Date Played: 30 October 2020

Price: $$$ $79-99 (Peak season rates as of 1 Nov)

The Lakewood National Golf Club is the centerpiece of a planned community development in Lakewood Ranch FL, about an hour drive south of the Tampa area. The Commander course opened in 2014 while the newer Piper course just opened for play in 2018 or 19. Both are projects from the Arnold Palmer design company and offer a challenge to every level of golfer. The Commander has a great mix of length and strategy required as you route through the course with risk/reward opportunities and semi-blind approaches to make it all a lot of fun. All getting you to the fast, undulating greens that have some subtle tricky reads. Make sure you choose the proper tees. If your ego gets the best of you on tee selection, you can be in for a tough day, especially on the par 3's. 

Course Conditions: For a public course it will be difficult to find better all-around conditions. The tee areas are nice and level, and most are large enough to avoid excessive wear. The fairways have large landing areas and enough bunkers and elevation change to require good strategy and shot making. This date of play followed a day with some heavy rain, but even with the fairways cut a bit long, they had good playability and were not so soft it affected roll out on tee shots, so drainage is not a big issue. The bermuda rough was deep enough to notice but not so deep to be penalizing or require lengthy searches. Bunkers are all well maintained, even without rakes for C-19, and have good playability (some of them are really deep though so you don't want to find too many). The greens vary in size, have lots of undulation, and can fool your eye if you aren't careful about reads. They are usually pretty fast and roll nice and true, and though they hold shots well still play a bit firm on approaches. 

Practice Areas: To use the word 'Wow' wouldn't do the place justice. A massive full swing range with numerous target flags sits adjacent to the clubhouse with plenty of good quality practice balls available. Adjacent to that is an equally impressive short game green for chipping/pitching and a practice bunker. The putting greens are adjacent to the respective 1st tees and give a good feel for the speed and undulation of the greens on course. All of it maintained to resort-like conditions. It all makes me wish I lived closer.

Course Employees: Everyone is a pleasure to deal with. I left with the impression it's a public course with the mission of being a resort. Bag/cart attendants at the clubhouse set up the bags on carts for us while we checked in, and scrub down the clubs after the round. There is an attendant at the range to keep the tee sheet on time. Starter as well offered friendly advice on the course conditions for the day and ensured on-time starts. You won't be left wondering if you'll see the beverage cart though the prices are a bit steep). Didn't see a ranger on course but pace of play did not seem like an issue even on a busy play day like ours. 

Overall Impression:  Stylistically, the Commander Course at Lakewood National has a little bit for everyone. The crushed shell waste area/cart paths give a links feel to a lot of the course, there are wide resort style fairways on some longer holes, while the shorter holes, doglegs, and elevated greens bring some target golf and shot-making into play enough to present a variety of challenges. The general course conditions are terrific, and the people there provide resort level service. Though the price might be a bit steeper than most public courses in the area, the return is makes it all feel like a bargain. 
Definite Recommend

  • Like 2

Driver:  PXG 211 Project X Evenflow CB, 50g 5.5

Fariway:  PXG 211, 3-Wood Project X Evenflow CB, 60g 5.5

Hybrid:   PXG 211, 3H Project X Evenflow H, 80g, 5.5

Irons:  :titelist-small: T300 4-5, T200 6-PW Nippon 880 Pro R

Wedges:  :cleveland-small:  CBX2 50*, 54*, 58*, TT Dynamic Gold Wedge Flex

Putter:  :odyssey-small:  Stroke Lab Rossie

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  • 4 weeks later...
On 11/14/2019 at 7:29 AM, GregB135 said:

Cypress Creek Golf Club - Public - 

1101 Cypress Village Blvd, Ruskin FL

Date Played: 11 Nov 2019, $$ ($40)

https://cypresscreekgolfclub.com/

Cypress Creek Golf Club is a public course just a few miles south of the Tampa Bay area in Ruskin, also referred to as the Sun City area. There are several other semi-private courses in the area associated with retirement village properties. Opened in 1989 it continues to be one of the more fun and challenging courses in the area. With 5 sets of tees to choose from it's easy to find a yardage you'll be comfortable with. The course was designed around the natural cypress wetlands of the area. There are plenty of water features to navigate around as well as trees and some naturally rolling terrain. You'll also face some creatively challenging shorter holes. All in all there is a good variety of challenges in the design. The greens are mostly elevated and drain well in the wet season. They do trend toward the small size but for the most part from anything on the white tees and forward you won't be hitting many long iron approaches.

Course Conditions:  As a public course that is rarely crowded I'd call the course conditions better than average. With the various sets of tees, the tee area wear rarely seems excessive. The fairways were in great condition. There is Bermuda rough lining the fairways that can be deep enough to challenge without being penal. The condition of the greens was good, in general, but there were a few with some small worn spots and bare edges. They did  receive shots well, and rolled true with moderate speed. Like many public courses, the condition of the bunkers was a bit inconsistent but they were very playable. 

Practice Areas: Adjacent to the clubhouse is a small full swing range that has hitting mats as well as turf (mats only on our play day due to over-seeding of the turf), with room for 6-8 players to use without feeling crowded. There are no target flags on the range, but it is deep enough for a full bag warm-up or practice. The practice green is somewhat small, and uses replaceable target flags in lieu of cut-in holes. It matches the course conditions in both speed and undulation so is a good warm up option. There is no dedicated short game area, but the range and putting green are sufficient to handle the normal level of traffic.

Course Employees: Everyone we encountered on this visit was exceptionally nice. All the clubhouse operators are friendly and welcoming. The course is seldom crowded, so there is typically not a ranger on the course. Unfortunately that also means rarely a beverage cart. The bar/grill is pretty big compared to the other clubhouse facilities and the folks in there are always engaging. 

Overall Impression: Though it can play tough from the longer tees, and the amount of water can be intimidating, Cypress Creek is a lot of fun to play. It is rarely overcrowded and they offer lots of incentives and discount rates throughout the year. They do offer reduced rates for military as well. The course conditions shouldn't leave you complaining. Keeping in mind it is a low traffic public course. If you are planning to be in the area, Cypress Creek is worth the short drive from Tampa and is a definite recommend.

IMG_0041.jpg.8f46bbdc1cb45a4934e7c77c4898d440.jpg

Played there twice since we got here a month ago. I concur with your comments, however, there was a beverage cart going around several times when we played. Definitely a nice course and nice people. 

  • Like 2

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:ping-small: G410 SFT driver 

Cobra King F-9  5 wood
:ping-small:  410  Hybrids 22*, 26*

Cobra Speed Zone 6-GP/Recoil ESX 460 F3 Shafts 

:titelist-small: SM7 54* Wedge

:ping-small: Glide 3.0  60* Wedge

:odyssey-small: O Works putter
:918457628_PrecisionPro:NX9-HD

:CaddyTek: - 4 Wheel 
:footjoy-small: - too many shoes to list and so many to buy

:1590477705_SunMountain: And  BAG Boy

Golf Balls: Snell MTB-X 

2020 Official Tester :SuperSpeed: Beginning Driver Speed  - 78

2019 Official Tester :ping-small:  410 Driver

2018 Official Tester :wilson-small: C300

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Did I play in one of your league weeks at TPC tampa a while back with RevKev? We played in someone’s while I was down

In The Bag
Driver: TaylorMade M2 (2017) w/ Project X T1100 HZRDUS Handcrafted 65x 
Strong 3 wood: Taylormade M1 15* w/ ProjectX T1100 HZRDUS handcrafted 75x
3 Hybrid: Adams PRO 18* w/ KBS Tour Hybrid S flex tipped 1/2"
4 Hybrid: Adams PRO 20* (bent to 21*) w/ KBS Tour Hybrid S flex tipped 1/2"
4-AW: TaylorMade P770 w/ Dynamic Gold Tour Issue Black Onyx S400

SW: 56* Scratch Tour Dept(CC grooves) w/ Dynamic Gold Spinner
LW: 60* Scratch Tour Department (CC grooves) w/ Dynamic Gold Spinner
XW: 64* Cally XForged Vintage w/ DG X100 8 iron tiger stepped
Putter: Nike Method Prototype 006 at 34"

Have a ton of back-ups in all categories, but there are always 14 clubs in the bag that differ depending on the course and set-up. Bomb and gouge. Yes, I'm a club gigolo.

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18 minutes ago, RookieBlue7 said:

Did I play in one of your league weeks at TPC tampa a while back with RevKev? We played in someone’s while I was down

If you played in either a Tampa Tour or Todd Wright Tour event, then Yes. The Tampa Tour is a local summer league for individual stroke play events. Todd Wright Tour events are team multi-format events held throughout the year. 

The only time I've been able to play with RevKev was around last Christmas along with Fozcycle and now I can't recall our fourth.

Driver:  PXG 211 Project X Evenflow CB, 50g 5.5

Fariway:  PXG 211, 3-Wood Project X Evenflow CB, 60g 5.5

Hybrid:   PXG 211, 3H Project X Evenflow H, 80g, 5.5

Irons:  :titelist-small: T300 4-5, T200 6-PW Nippon 880 Pro R

Wedges:  :cleveland-small:  CBX2 50*, 54*, 58*, TT Dynamic Gold Wedge Flex

Putter:  :odyssey-small:  Stroke Lab Rossie

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On 12/7/2020 at 9:01 PM, GregB135 said:

If you played in either a Tampa Tour or Todd Wright Tour event, then Yes. The Tampa Tour is a local summer league for individual stroke play events. Todd Wright Tour events are team multi-format events held throughout the year. 

The only time I've been able to play with RevKev was around last Christmas along with Fozcycle and now I can't recall our fourth.

Nah, Rev and I played with whoever was running the league and someone else. Foz wasn’t there that day I don’t believe. I do remember the guy running the league had just got brand new sub70 irons when they first came out

In The Bag
Driver: TaylorMade M2 (2017) w/ Project X T1100 HZRDUS Handcrafted 65x 
Strong 3 wood: Taylormade M1 15* w/ ProjectX T1100 HZRDUS handcrafted 75x
3 Hybrid: Adams PRO 18* w/ KBS Tour Hybrid S flex tipped 1/2"
4 Hybrid: Adams PRO 20* (bent to 21*) w/ KBS Tour Hybrid S flex tipped 1/2"
4-AW: TaylorMade P770 w/ Dynamic Gold Tour Issue Black Onyx S400

SW: 56* Scratch Tour Dept(CC grooves) w/ Dynamic Gold Spinner
LW: 60* Scratch Tour Department (CC grooves) w/ Dynamic Gold Spinner
XW: 64* Cally XForged Vintage w/ DG X100 8 iron tiger stepped
Putter: Nike Method Prototype 006 at 34"

Have a ton of back-ups in all categories, but there are always 14 clubs in the bag that differ depending on the course and set-up. Bomb and gouge. Yes, I'm a club gigolo.

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Heritage Isles Golf and Country Club, Tampa FL

10630 Plantation Bay Drive, Tampa Bay Florida 33647

Date Played: Dec 12 2020

Price: $,  $36 weekday/42 weekend, dynamic pricing

https://www.heritageislesgolf.com/

Heritage Isles is in the New Tampa area just north and west of Tampa proper with easy access from Interstate 75. Designed by Gordon Lewis and Jed Azinger, the course utilizes the natural wetlands to create a scenic and challenging layout. There is water at least marginally in play on almost every hole and plenty of bunkers to help drive strategy and shot making. While not a 'target golf' style layout, missing the ideal landing areas off the tee will mean taking a few extra strokes from either penalty drops or recovering from the bunkers. You won't want to be fooled by some of the short par 4 yardages and choose to play from tees that are too far back.

Course Conditions: In general on the pretty good side for a fully public course. The tee areas were a little worn. Fairways were lush and smooth with good play depth and roll. The Bermuda rough is deep enough it can leave you searching for a wayward shot, and will have an impact on play from off the fairway. The numerous bunkers had good playability though the sand is not terribly deep (rakes were available on each cart). The large, undulating greens rolled smooth and fast and received shots really well. Bring your A putting game though, there are lots of challenging and deceptive breaks, and the speed was about as fast as you'll find for a public course.

Practice Areas: Definitely not the calling card for Heritage Isles. The full swing range is a water range. We were there on a Saturday for large tournament, while at the same time there were First Tee classes and private lessons occurring in designated zones. Needless to say, it felt very crowded, and even though tournament entry was supposed to include range balls, we were left scavenging balls from the short game green to share a warm up bucket. The turf on the full swing range was worn to nearly non-existent. The putting green is relatively large, until it gets split in half for First Tee, so again, for warm-up to play on our date it got crowded quickly. There is a chipping/practice bunker green as well, but like the rest it is fairly small. You should be able to get a decent pre-round warm up here, but for legitimate practice somewhat lacking.

Course Employees: This play date was part of a large tourney event where everything was pre-paid. So, I didn't have any interaction with any of the club house personnel. The only course employee we encountered was on the bev/snack cart. She was nice enough, but it felt like our large tourney was more than they expected and the selection was rather limited, though the prices were very reasonable.

Overall Impression: The course itself was a lot of fun to play. There was opportunity to use just about every club in the bag and it requires a variety of shots to manage the many doglegs and hazards. The greens were in really good shape and rolled fast and true, which is rare at most public courses. With tourney expenses we paid a bit of a premium on our date, but at the regular rate the quality of the course should feel like a good value. If you're a Tampa local looking for a decent course at a decent rate, Heritage Isles fits the bill. Same goes for area visitors looking for near resort quality conditions at a regular course price. Again, no real opportunity to assess the course employees but the overall experience earns a Recommend.

  • Like 2

Driver:  PXG 211 Project X Evenflow CB, 50g 5.5

Fariway:  PXG 211, 3-Wood Project X Evenflow CB, 60g 5.5

Hybrid:   PXG 211, 3H Project X Evenflow H, 80g, 5.5

Irons:  :titelist-small: T300 4-5, T200 6-PW Nippon 880 Pro R

Wedges:  :cleveland-small:  CBX2 50*, 54*, 58*, TT Dynamic Gold Wedge Flex

Putter:  :odyssey-small:  Stroke Lab Rossie

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Heritage Isles Golf and Country Club, Tampa FL
10630 Plantation Bay Drive, Tampa Bay Florida 33647
Date Played: Dec 12 2020
Price: $,  $36 weekday/42 weekend, dynamic pricing
https://www.heritageislesgolf.com/
Heritage Isles is in the New Tampa area just north and west of Tampa proper with easy access from Interstate 75. Designed by Gordon Lewis and Jed Azinger, the course utilizes the natural wetlands to create a scenic and challenging layout. There is water at least marginally in play on almost every hole and plenty of bunkers to help drive strategy and shot making. While not a 'target golf' style layout, missing the ideal landing areas off the tee will mean taking a few extra strokes from either penalty drops or recovering from the bunkers. You won't want to be fooled by some of the short par 4 yardages and choose to play from tees that are too far back.
Course Conditions: In general on the pretty good side for a fully public course. The tee areas were a little worn. Fairways were lush and smooth with good play depth and roll. The Bermuda rough is deep enough it can leave you searching for a wayward shot, and will have an impact on play from off the fairway. The numerous bunkers had good playability though the sand is not terribly deep (rakes were available on each cart). The large, undulating greens rolled smooth and fast and received shots really well. Bring your A putting game though, there are lots of challenging and deceptive breaks, and the speed was about as fast as you'll find for a public course.
Practice Areas: Definitely not the calling card for Heritage Isles. The full swing range is a water range. We were there on a Saturday for large tournament, while at the same time there were First Tee classes and private lessons occurring in designated zones. Needless to say, it felt very crowded, and even though tournament entry was supposed to include range balls, we were left scavenging balls from the short game green to share a warm up bucket. The turf on the full swing range was worn to nearly non-existent. The putting green is relatively large, until it gets split in half for First Tee, so again, for warm-up to play on our date it got crowded quickly. There is a chipping/practice bunker green as well, but like the rest it is fairly small. You should be able to get a decent pre-round warm up here, but for legitimate practice somewhat lacking.
Course Employees: This play date was part of a large tourney event where everything was pre-paid. So, I didn't have any interaction with any of the club house personnel. The only course employee we encountered was on the bev/snack cart. She was nice enough, but it felt like our large tourney was more than they expected and the selection was rather limited, though the prices were very reasonable.
Overall Impression: The course itself was a lot of fun to play. There was opportunity to use just about every club in the bag and it requires a variety of shots to manage the many doglegs and hazards. The greens were in really good shape and rolled fast and true, which is rare at most public courses. With tourney expenses we paid a bit of a premium on our date, but at the regular rate the quality of the course should feel like a good value. If you're a Tampa local looking for a decent course at a decent rate, Heritage Isles fits the bill. Same goes for area visitors looking for near resort quality conditions at a regular course price. Again, no real opportunity to assess the course employees but the overall experience earns a Recommend.

Thanks for the detailed write-up. I'm following your posts with a lot of interest since we're still up in the air about where to finally settle in. FYI, we played Scepter a week ago. Interesting course, in pretty good condition but nowhere as challenging as Cypress. Our thinking so far is that while Scepter is around the corner from us and we'll probably meet lots of neighbors there, it won't challenge our game and may be even a bit boring, especially after a year or two.
  • Like 1

Left Hand orientation

:ping-small: G410 SFT driver 

Cobra King F-9  5 wood
:ping-small:  410  Hybrids 22*, 26*

Cobra Speed Zone 6-GP/Recoil ESX 460 F3 Shafts 

:titelist-small: SM7 54* Wedge

:ping-small: Glide 3.0  60* Wedge

:odyssey-small: O Works putter
:918457628_PrecisionPro:NX9-HD

:CaddyTek: - 4 Wheel 
:footjoy-small: - too many shoes to list and so many to buy

:1590477705_SunMountain: And  BAG Boy

Golf Balls: Snell MTB-X 

2020 Official Tester :SuperSpeed: Beginning Driver Speed  - 78

2019 Official Tester :ping-small:  410 Driver

2018 Official Tester :wilson-small: C300

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  • 3 weeks later...

Saddlebrook Golf and Tennis Resort - Wesley Chapel FL (Saddlebrook and Palmer Courses)

5700 Saddlebrook Way, Wesley Chapel, Florida 33543

Date Played: 2 Jan 2021, both courses. $$$ ($105-115)

https://www.saddlebrook.com/tampa-golf/

The Saddlebrook Resort opened in 1981 as one of the first golf and tennis resorts in the Tampa area. It is just east of Interstate 75 about 30 minutes drive north of Tampa. Both the Saddlebrook course and the Palmer course are original designs by Arnold Palmer. Both courses have a similar feel. Neither plays intimidatingly long, but, they are strategic, narrow target centric designs with plenty of bunkers, doglegs and water to create a challenge. The greens trend toward small, and have lots of undulation and shaping that place a premium on shot placement. The listed pricing is the seasonal rate for public (non-guest) play. Resort guests play at a reduced rate, and there are frequent discounts for on-line booking. As similar as the two courses are, the review will not discuss them separately, although, since it bears his name the Palmer course tends to get a little more TLC, and is in general in slightly better condition than the Saddlebrook loop.

Parking may be the biggest draw back. The resort is designed as a walking village, so there is no parking directly adjacent to the golf/tennis clubhouse. There is valet parking available (but not before 7 am), and the self-parking lot is a decent walk from the bag drop/resort check in area. Remember also, it is a resort, so add that price premium to any food or beverage you purchase on property. (Chicken sandwich and two small beers between rounds = $35) (yes you read that right)

Course Conditions: On the better side of good, but a bit short of what you might expect from a dedicated golf resort. Not sure how much of that can be attributed to reduced play during C-19 restrictions, but it was enough to notice. Some of the smaller tee areas were a little worn but otherwise tee areas were nice and level with good turf. The fairways varied from lush to a bit thin, but all seemed to be a bit wet and soft considering it had been several days since the last significant rain. The bermuda rough is deep enough to affect shots but not quite so deep it takes a long search to find your ball. Bunkers were a mixed bag - some played firm and thin while others played softer. There were a few greens on the Saddlebrook course that had areas under repair. In general though, the greens rolled smooth and were just short of fast on the speed.

Practice Area: For practice, the facility is fantastic. The resort hosts a golf school, so there is a really nice full swing range, along with a short game area and moderately large putting green. It is not set up for a lot of players to be there at once though. The down side if you need a pre-round warm up is the range is about a 5 minute cart ride from the staging area at the club house. So, if you prefer to take a few swings before your round, allow for an additional 15 minutes or so for the round trip to the range.

Course Employees: Resort level customer service all the way around. All friendly and genuinely ready to help you enjoy your day at the course or resort. We had a small group, and after a booking mix up, they offered us a significant discount to switch courses for our morning round. There may have been a ranger on the course, but we didn't have any interaction. The snack cart did make frequent rounds, but again, buyer beware on the price of food/beverages.

Overall Impression: The Saddelbrook Resort courses are fun and challenging to play, and are generally in good to really good shape. They are starting to show their age, though so you might find some places in need of a touch up. Even with both being Palmer designs, there isn't any real signature hole that makes you say 'wow' when you see it. The thing to keep in mind is the facility is designed around the resort guest experience, so the daily player may feel a bit inconvenienced. If you are looking for a golf vacation spot, I give Saddlebrook a Definite Recommend. Downgrade that to Recommend if you are looking for a daily play unless you can book at one of the discounted rates online, otherwise it might leave you feeling like it wasn't quite worth the price of admission.

 

  • Like 4

Driver:  PXG 211 Project X Evenflow CB, 50g 5.5

Fariway:  PXG 211, 3-Wood Project X Evenflow CB, 60g 5.5

Hybrid:   PXG 211, 3H Project X Evenflow H, 80g, 5.5

Irons:  :titelist-small: T300 4-5, T200 6-PW Nippon 880 Pro R

Wedges:  :cleveland-small:  CBX2 50*, 54*, 58*, TT Dynamic Gold Wedge Flex

Putter:  :odyssey-small:  Stroke Lab Rossie

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I love these reviews - 

  • Like 2

Taylor Made Sim2  10.5 (Opened 1 click) Ventus Blue 5  R flex

Ping G410 5-9 wood  Alta 65 R flex

Wilson D7 forged 6-GW -  Mamiya recoil 460 R flex

Edison Wedges 54 and 59 KBS Tour Graphite 80's

EVNRoll ER 5

Titleist Pro VIx optic yellow with revkev stamped on them

Tour Exotics 3 wood is in the bag because we are allowed 14 clubs.  It's a great club for pulling balls out of the water or from bushes - you never want to put your hand into anything in Florida unless you are absolutely certain that it's safe.  There are rare wind conditions when I might hit it off the tee on a few holes that I play.  

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This is really cool and first time seeing the thread. Love the format you have it broken into. Might have to do something like this for golf courses in New England... 

  • Like 4

Check out my reviews

 :ping-small: G710 Irons Lacassem official review

WITB:

:ping-small:  Traverse is filled with all this shiny metal and tracked by :Arccos::

:cobra-small: RadSpeed 8* - MotoreX F1 6X I :taylormade-small: SIM 3W - Project X HZRDUS Green 

 :taylormade-small: 2019 P790 4-PW - Project X 6.5 LZ I :titelist-small: 48 SM8 - Nippon Modus 125 S 

:titelist-small: 52, 56, 60 SM7 - Nippon Modus 125 S :odyssey-small: O-Works 1W I :titelist-small: PROV1X #19 

🇺🇸Thank you to all those that have served/are serving and God Bless America 🇺🇸

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This is really cool and first time seeing the thread. Love the format you have it broken into. Might have to do something like this for golf courses in New England... 

Agreed. This is great. We should do this for our area.


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#COBRACONNECT CHALLENGE 4 ALUMNUS

:cobra-small: Speedzone Driver 10.5 - Ventus Blue 6x | :cobra-small: Speedzone 5-wood - Ventus Blue 8s | :cobra-small: Speedzone 4-Hybrid - KBS Proto 85s

:cobra-small: KING Forged Tec 5-GW - Nippon Modus 120x | :cobra-small: KING MIM Black 52.12C, 56.10V, 60.04W - Nippon Modus 125 Wedge

:EVNROLL: ER2B | :titelist-small: Pro V1x | :918457628_PrecisionPro: NX9 Slope

 

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26 minutes ago, B.Boston said:


Agreed. This is great. We should do this for our area.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

 

1 hour ago, Lacassem said:

This is really cool and first time seeing the thread. Love the format you have it broken into. Might have to do something like this for golf courses in New England... 

Thanks guys! I've tried to write to the overall experience of playing each course. I know magazine reviews only rave about courses that cost a small non-vital organ to play. I hope I'm writing for more 'regular people' and the places they might play.

Thanks again for the feedback, glad you enjoy the format. I'll spin up a new thread for the upcoming league season. Rumor has it we'll get to see a couple of new tracks again this year. The past seasons are in 'Florida League Course Reviews'.

  • Like 4

Driver:  PXG 211 Project X Evenflow CB, 50g 5.5

Fariway:  PXG 211, 3-Wood Project X Evenflow CB, 60g 5.5

Hybrid:   PXG 211, 3H Project X Evenflow H, 80g, 5.5

Irons:  :titelist-small: T300 4-5, T200 6-PW Nippon 880 Pro R

Wedges:  :cleveland-small:  CBX2 50*, 54*, 58*, TT Dynamic Gold Wedge Flex

Putter:  :odyssey-small:  Stroke Lab Rossie

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