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Alrighty fellow spies, it's time to gear up for the summer league season. With that in mind, I decided to spin up a new thread for the upcoming season. I play in a casual/competitive league, based in the Tampa area, that branches out to nearby areas for a 14 event season with a Ryder Cup style team event to wrap up the season.

What to expect. I approach these reviews as a look at the total golf experience, not just the course and how it plays. For my format, I lead in with the name of the course, where it is, a link to the applicable course website, which tees were played, and how much it costs. You can see some examples in the previous seasons' version of this thread (Florida League Course Reviews) or in my Tampa Area Course Reviews thread.

My price scale is from 1 to 4 dollar signs. $ <50, $$ 50-75, $$$ 75-95, $$$$ >95. The league tries to find the best courses at the best value so that has an influence on the price scale.

My review areas include: Course Description, Course Conditions, Practice Facilities, and Course Employees. At the end of each review I'll include an overall summary of the golf experience and an overall recommendation.

 ⛳ = Don't Bother, ⛳⛳ = Do Not Recommend, ⛳⛳⛳ = Recommend, ⛳⛳⛳⛳ = Definite Recommend, ⛳⛳⛳⛳⛳ = Don't Miss It

With all of that to set the stage, here is this season's course lineup

  1. Mission Inn Resort - El Campeon, Howey In the Hills, FL
  2. Southern Hills Plantation, Brooksville FL
  3. Old Corkscrew, Estero FL
  4. Orange County National - Panther Lake, Orlando FL
  5. Bella Collina, Orlando FL
  6. Juliette Falls, Dunellon FL
  7. Lake Jovita - North, Dade City FL
  8. Candler Hills CC, Ocala FL
  9. Eaglebrooke, Lakeland FL
  10. Lake Jovita - South, Dade City FL
  11. Innisbrook Resort - Copperhead, Palm Harbor FL
  12. Streamsong Resort - Red/Blue (2-day event), Bowling Green FL
  13. TPC Tampa Bay, Tampa FL
  14. Esplanade at Azario, Lakewood Ranch FL
  15. League Invitational: Ritz Carlton Members Club, Bradenton FL
  16. Team Cup Event: Black Diamond Golf Club - Ranch/Quarry, Lecanto FL

Keep in mind, I may not be able to play in every event of the season, but I do my best. The events I do play, I try to have the course review completed before the end of that weekend. If you are familiar at all with any of those venues, you can see it is a pretty good lineup to begin with. To those who have followed the previous course review threads, thanks for reading. I'm looking forward to another good season, and providing some good info for anyone looking to play in the area.

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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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Looking forward to reviews especially Juillette Falls.


Sent from my iPhone using MyGolfSpy

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Rick

 

 

Left Hand, 

Driver; Titleist TSi2, Kuro Kage 50 gr R2

5 Wood; Cally Steelhead 

5 Hybrid; Cally Steelhead, Hazardous Vista Pro R2

Irons; Ping G710 6-GW, Recoil 460 R2

Putter; Waaay too many to list

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  • 4 weeks later...

2021 Event #1- Mission Inn Resort: El Campeon (March 2021)

Tees Played:    Historic (White)  6,242 / 71.1  / 135

Conditions: Warm to hot; light breeze

Price: $$ ($55) 

https://missioninnresort.com/golf/el-campeon/ 

Mission Inn is an established golf resort in Howey in the Hills Florida, near Leesburg and Lake Harris northwest of Orlando. Drive time from the Tampa area is about two hours, slightly less from the Orlando resort areas. With two championship courses, the resort has plenty to offer for golfers and non-golfers alike. The El Campeon course is a challenging shot makers course with a mix of narrow tree-lined fairways, changing elevation, bunkers and water features that make strategy and course management just as important as shot quality. Large, undulating greens require good shot placement and quality putting once you reach them. While not exceptionally long from the middle tees, El Campeon has a lot of bite to it if you stray too far from the intended line of the hole.

ElCamp1.JPG.62021146565cbe1a48b61e30d800aa8a.JPGElCamp13.JPG.b84d48c6ad1c446acc7b9ec00712e7ec.JPG

Course Conditions:  In general not too shabby but maybe falling a bit short of expectations for a golf resort facility. Some of the tee areas were either severely worn, uneven or both. Fairways had a few thin spots, but for the most part were good to very good. Fairway roll was sufficient with the springtime conditions, but expect conditions to be much softer later in the summer rainy season. Like most resorts, rough was deep enough to notice but typically not enough to have a huge impact on shots. Bunkers were consistent but played more like loose dirt that sand (no rakes - thanks Covid) so watch out for thin shots from them. The greens on our play date were VERY slow, and caused a lot of players in our league group to struggle. Of interest though a few of our players went for a mid-week preview round and claimed the greens were fast enough to suggest a 5-putt limit for the league round. So I guess timing matters. There is a lot of undulation on the greens, so if they are rolling fast they will be very demanding. Rolling like they were for us, they were smooth but frustratingly slow.

Practice Facilities:  Both courses share the same clubhouse area, and the resort also offers a golf school so the practice areas are more than ample. The short game green and full swing range are a short walk or cart ride across the parking lot. The turf is good and there is plenty of room but the range doesn't have many clearly designated targets. It is also a two way range with the golf school using the far end. The large putting green has fewer holes than you might expect so even though it's big it can feel cramped if a lot of players are using it. Of particular note the practice green rolled significantly faster than the on-course greens for us, so be wary. 

Course Employees:  Everyone in the clubhouse area was friendly and engaging. The cart barn attendants had some good tips on the course, and the pro shop check in was quick and easy. Once you get past the starter the only on-course presence is the bar cart which came around frequently enough to not be missed or wanted. 

Overall Impression:  Considering this is a golf resort facility allowing public play, the price tag of $55 on a weekend feels like a pretty good deal. The course was in decent to good condition and was fun to play. Pace of play can be called a down-side to El Campeon. My B-flight 3 player group needed a smidgen over 5 hours to finish using tournament rules (no gimmes/friendly drops). The only other negative for Mission Inn is location. It's very isolated, so if you're not staying at the resort there's not a whole lot nearby as far as things to do or see, and unless you live in one of the nearby communities a round at Mission Inn is going to be an all day affair. In general though I'd call it worth the effort.

Rating: ⛳⛳⛳ - Recommend

  • Like 3

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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That's quite the course line up. 🙂

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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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On 3/2/2021 at 5:48 PM, GregB135 said:

Alrighty fellow spies, it's time to gear up for the summer league season. With that in mind, I decided to spin up a new thread for the upcoming season. I play in a casual/competitive league, based in the Tampa area, that branches out to nearby areas for a 14 event season with a Ryder Cup style team event to wrap up the season.

What to expect. I approach these reviews as a look at the total golf experience, not just the course and how it plays. For my format, I lead in with the name of the course, where it is, a link to the applicable course website, which tees were played, and how much it costs. You can see some examples in the previous seasons' version of this thread (Florida League Course Reviews) or in my Tampa Area Course Reviews thread.

My price scale is from 1 to 4 dollar signs. $ <50, $$ 50-75, $$$ 75-95, $$$$ >95. The league tries to find the best courses at the best value so that has an influence on the price scale.

My review areas include: Course Description, Course Conditions, Practice Facilities, and Course Employees. At the end of each review I'll include an overall summary of the golf experience and an overall recommendation.

 ⛳ = Don't Bother, ⛳⛳ = Do Not Recommend, ⛳⛳⛳ = Recommend, ⛳⛳⛳⛳ = Definite Recommend, ⛳⛳⛳⛳⛳ = Don't Miss It

With all of that to set the stage, here is this season's course lineup

  1. Mission Inn Resort - El Campeon, Howey In the Hills, FL
  2. Southern Hills Plantation, Brooksville FL
  3. Old Corkscrew, Estero FL
  4. Orange County National - Panther Lake, Orlando FL
  5. Bella Collina, Orlando FL
  6. Juliette Falls, Dunellon FL
  7. Lake Jovita - North, Dade City FL
  8. Candler Hills CC, Ocala FL
  9. Eaglebrooke, Lakeland FL
  10. Lake Jovita - South, Dade City FL
  11. Innisbrook Resort - Copperhead, Palm Harbor FL
  12. Streamsong Resort - Red/Blue (2-day event), Bowling Green FL
  13. TPC Tampa Bay, Tampa FL
  14. Esplanade at Azario, Lakewood Ranch FL
  15. League Invitational: Ritz Carlton Members Club, Bradenton FL
  16. Team Cup Event: Black Diamond Golf Club - Ranch/Quarry, Lecanto FL

Keep in mind, I may not be able to play in every event of the season, but I do my best. The events I do play, I try to have the course review completed before the end of that weekend. If you are familiar at all with any of those venues, you can see it is a pretty good lineup to begin with. To those who have followed the previous course review threads, thanks for reading. I'm looking forward to another good season, and providing some good info for anyone looking to play in the area.

Love the rating  system and of course the write=ups. 

  • 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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2021 Event #2- Southern Hills Plantation Club, Brooksville FL (Previously Reviewed) April 2021

Tees Played: Blue:  6,455 / 71.1  / 135

Conditions: Warm and breezy

Price: $$$$ ($189) Tournament Group Rate was discounted

https://www.southernhillsplantationclub.com/golf

Rating: ⛳⛳⛳ - Recommend

The Southern Hills Plantation Club golf course is a favorite of many of our league players, even though it tends to kick our teeth in when we play it. It is a Pete Dye designed championship course just a little off the beaten path in Brooksville, Florida roughly an hour drive north from the Tampa Bay area. "SoHilly" deserves that nickname, as there are lots of elevation changes and sloping fairways with a fascinating mix of bunkers, trees, and water to both please the eye and challenge the skills. With all the terrain factored in, once you're off the tee there is hardly a level lie in sight. Then, there are the Pete Dye greens. If you've read the previous review, you know the phrase of the day is "screw you Pete Dye!". Take your time and read the entire green complex, look at the natural downhill direction, and look at it from the other side. Even then, Mr. Dye's greens will have you losing your faith in physics, and swearing up-and-down your putt just broke uphill.

 

Course Conditions:  As is typical for So Hilly, the course was in terrific shape all around. With the exception of a few worn tee areas the turf tee to green is outstanding. Plenty of roll and play in the fairways. On our play date this year the greens were rolling very smooth and moderately fast. For So Hilly, moderately fast is a bit slow. When the greens are freshly cut and rolled they play extremely fast. The only knock on the conditions this time around was the greens playing firm. Just as in the past, shots will need a LOT of spin to stop, so partial wedges and chip shots tended to roll out a long way. The rough was well maintained and manageable to play from, just be aware, if you are in the rough you probably also have a sloping lie (SYPD!). Bunkers are everywhere, so it's good that they are well maintained and playable as well (no rakes C-19). All in all the course conditions here are never cause to complain.

Practice Areas:  Altogether very nice practice areas. The full swing range has good to very good turf and good targets. The bulk of the area though is reserved for member use. Our tournament group used the public area which room for maybe 8 stations making it was crowded prior to competition play. Playing as a simple foursome the space is more than sufficient. The putting green is fairly large but needs another target cup or two to not feel crowded. Smooth and fast like the course, but lacks any flat area for really practicing. The chipping green also replicates the on-course greens very well. Besides the warm-up/practice areas there is a short game course on site that looks like a lot of fun.

shilly1.JPG.29419f62ebda937966944c48625e1db7.JPG

Course Employees: I have to say, this time, I was a bit surprised. The people at the clubhouse check-in counter seemed no better than indifferent that we were there. We saw a ranger roll by, but he didn't say anything to our group (even though we could have been put on the clock). The bar cart rolled through a couple of times as well but I didn't interact. No one seemed to be going out of their way to take care of anyone though. Only the parking lot greet/cart crew and the bar attendants were pleasant to deal with. So a mark down this time on the overall experience.

Overall Impression: I'll be honest, I'm torn here. The golf course on it's own if fantastic, always in great shape, and is fun to play. But right now, part of me wants to say, "If you're going to charge the public $150+ to play your golf course, you should probably at least try to be nice to them while they're there. A price tag that high, to me says "Resort property", and while the course conditions might live up to that, the people factor this time didn't match. If you can get a bargain on the rate, and I don't know if the rate will be lower in the summer months, then it is absolutely worth it. For now though, Southern Hills only gets a recommend.

Rating: ⛳⛳⛳ - Recommend and at least 1 🤬 Pete Dye!

shilly2.jpg.5785997f73ec1e5d0d3db79548876dcb.jpg    shilly3.jpg.cc6d0c0618ddd1c2232609a96148b45e.jpg

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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  • 2 weeks later...

2021 Event #3- Old Corkscrew Golf Club, Estero FL 

Tees Played: White:  6,222 / 71.1  / 135

Conditions: Warm and breezy

Price: $$$$ ($186) Tournament Group Rate ($95)

http://www.oldcorkscrew.com/index.htm

Rating: ⛳⛳

Considering our group is headquartered in the Tampa area, it is a bit of a stretch to call this a local or Tampa area course. Estero is much closer to Fort Myers and was at least a two-hour drive for most of our players. The course itself is a stand-alone golf property, and a Jack Nicklaus design. It has a links style feel to most of the course, but the numerous water hazards and bunkers make it a shot maker's and strategic design. The absence of any homesites along the course is a welcome change to what you'd experience most anywhere else in Florida. You might also get the chance to see some impressive examples of Florida wildlife.

Course Conditions: Tee to green, the conditions of the course can be considered first rate. Tees are level and well maintained. The fairways were firm and playable. The rough is noticeable but not deep. The greens were very smooth, and rolled true at a consistently moderate speed. One of the few courses I've played recently that had rakes at the bunkers. The bunker sand appeared damp and firm, but played soft, so be wary playing from green side bunkers.

Ocscru2.jpg.7e3e9a4e9df409b758a00818478d9024.jpg

Practice FacilitiesThe practice facilities were a bit spread out, but like the course, were in excellent condition. An ample full swing range with good turf and decent quality balls sits between the chipping area and the putting green. The putting green itself is immediately adjacent to the first tee. 

OCscruRange.jpg.efed972990cd71b19d683825808a448d.jpg

Course Employees:  The greeters/cart attendants were great. So were the check-in desk folks. Then there are the course rangers. And I mean EVER-PRESENT course rangers. It was hard to play more than about two holes without one of them driving by. Several of our groups had issues with at least one of these rangers. Players were called a 'POS' by one of them, and they also tried to suggest to a tournament foursome that they skip a hole to make up pace of play. And that group was 4 single digit players in the A-flight. Never mind your cart GPS screen will also yell at you if you get a few minutes behind pace. Suffice it to say if appears the course management people are more concerned with you playing a sub 4:15 round than in you having the chance to fully enjoy that round. The beverage cart made plenty of rounds as well.

Overall Impression:  Although the course itself is terrific, Old Corkscrew might be placing a little too much stock in the Nicklaus name. Even if you are in or visiting the Fort Myers area, the course is remote and out of the way. Given that, I would find it hard to justify the near $200 weekend rate. Especially when factoring in the behavior of the course rangers. I know they were aware we were a tournament group, because one of them verified we were part of the 'league group' as he put it. So they should have anticipated slightly slower play in general. But there is no cause for a course employee to call any player a "P.O.S."  If you are really, and I mean REALLY itching to play a fun, well maintained, Nicklaus designed course, and you don't mind driving a significant distance off the beaten path to do it, then by all means give Old Corkscrew a go. I only say that because of the quality of the course conditions and the fun challenging layout. Otherwise, the people there are going to ruin what should be a great golf experience.

⛳⛳ Do Not Recommend (and that's a shame)

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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  • 2 weeks later...

2021 Event #4 - Orange County National, Panther Lake, 1 May 2021

Tees Played: Green 6,380 yds, 71.2 / 132

Conditions: Warm, humid, light breeze

Price: $$ ($75)

https://www.ocngolf.com/golf/proto/ocngolf/

Rating: ⛳⛳⛳⛳ Definite Recommend

The Orange County National Golf Center and Lodge is a golf exclusive facility just northwest of the Orlando resort areas, and a few minutes off the Western Beltway toll road (SR429). Home to two championship 18 hole courses, a short/practice course, the largest driving range in the U.S., a full time golf academy, and a small resort lodge. The Crooked Cat course takes top billing, but Panther Lake has equal appeal. The course winds and rolls through natural wood and wetlands offering a splendid outdoor nature experience to supplement the golf. Panther Lake's rolling fairways, doglegs, numerous bunkers, and ample water will challenge your course strategy as well as test your skills.

Course Conditions: Every area of the facility can be considered good to very good, not quite great. The only knock on the course itself is a few of the tee areas showed some extensive wear. In fairness, it is the transitional season for the turf, as it emerges from the dormant season it should recover quickly and show less wear. Still in the dry season, the fairways offered plenty of roll and played with good depth. The rough this early in the season was more aesthetic than penal. Level lies can be at a premium with the varying terrain all around. Of all the sites we've visited thus far, OCN's bunkers were the most well maintained we've seen. The Champion Bermuda greens played well, rolled smooth and true, but were a bit slower than expected pace-wise. Altogether, not a thing really to complain about with course conditions.

Practice Areas: Really hard to equal anywhere nearby. The 300+ yard 360 degree full swing range is the dominant feature. There is a generous short game practice area adjacent to the main range as well. Each course has an ample practice green near the first tee. Add in the 'Tooth' short course and you've got the complete package on ways to work on your game. Whether attending the golf school, practicing, or getting in a pre-round warm up you'll find what you need with conditions and quality equal to the courses themselves.

Course Employees: OCN has a massive clubhouse, and large well stocked pro shop. At arrival the bag drop attendants were more than helpful getting us situated on our carts. The gents at the check-in desk were friendly, welcoming and engaging. Same with the starters at the first tee, who were a good source of intel on the course for the day. There are rangers on the course, but at least they were cordial this week (see Old Corkscrew review). Panther Lake does not route past the clubhouse, so our round time covering lunch made it so the snack cart rounds were a little short of frequent enough, though we never missed it. All the folks in the large bar/grill were friendly and offered good service.

Overall Impression: The Orange County National Golf Center and Lodge is a fantastic place to go if you want to enjoy an authentic golf experience. Given its proximity to the major Orlando resorts, the top-shelf quality of the facilities, and the challenge and enjoyment on the courses, the $75 price point is a tremendous value. If you are in the area and looking for a place to get away from the hype and crowds of the big resorts, look no further. The Panther Lake course is serene to look at, but the layout has more than enough teeth to punish wayward shots. ⛳⛳⛳⛳  Definite Recommend

Apologies for no photos this time. I got a little wrapped up in the round and the scenery.

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...

2021 Event #5 - Bella Collina Golf and Country Club, Monteverde FL, 8 May 2021

Tees Played: Member / 6519 / 71.6 / 132

Conditions: Warm, humid, light breeze

Price: $$$ ($90)

https://www.bellacollina.com/

Rating: ⛳⛳⛳⛳ Definite Recommend

The Bella Collina golf course is the centerpiece of this planned community in Monteverde FL, just a short drive from the prime Orlando resort area. The gorgeous drive from the main gate to the club house sets the tone for the day on the course. Stunning views of the rolling hills and lush grass. With virtually no home sites adjacent to the course (yet) it is easy to forget it is not a resort property of its own. The course itself is a terrific mix of long and short holes, with plenty of elevation change and LOTS of bunkers and sand waste areas to guide your strategy. Wide fairways and large greens offer a little bit of room to miss, but you can't be truly wild off the tee without being punished, and the greens will challenge even the best of putters on a good day.

Bella1.jpg.cd248a55c6b3e791cae4134e8ea110cc.jpg

Course Conditions:  Fantastic is probably all that needs to be said. Well maintained tee areas set the tone for the lush fairways (as long as you find them). It's a little early in the year still for the depth of the rough to be a factor, but even there the turf is more than playable. Be wary though, wander too far away from the line of play and you'll find some bahia/st augustine grass areas that are more uneven and challenging to play from. There is a tremendous amount of elevation change on this course, so pay attention to club selection. The bunkers are everywhere, but they are very well maintained and play the way bunkers should play. The greens were a bit of a mystery on our play date, and just about everyone struggled with putting. The green speeds were maddeningly inconsistent. While all the greens played somewhat firm, some were sun baked and very fast, while others with more lush turf were noticeably slower. Any luck, once the daily rain season starts, the speeds will even out.

Bellafirst.jpg.50a9883fb28032e7955cfd15a0ee9580.jpg

Practice Areas:  Maybe as good as you'll find anywhere. Really good turf on the full swing range. A decent size chipping/bunker green, and a putting green that is smooth, true, and represents what you will see on the course with undulation and roll.

Bellarange.jpg.2004e29b9e6abe4d8bf2f306ae74314a.jpgBellaSg.jpg.0ff9b60a523ff54c507da0c05b4eec57.jpg

Course Employees:  Just about everyone we encountered during our visit was a pleasure to deal with. All the course personnel, greeters, cart wranglers, starters, et. al., were enthusiastic and a pleasure to deal with. I don't recall encountering a ranger on the course, which was good because our round this week was pretty slow, but hey, tough course, and competition rules. The bar and grill folks were great post round as well.

Overall Impression: Bella Collina is in every way a fantastic golf experience. With remarkably little water for a Florida course, don't get lulled into thinking it's a cupcake. The rolling fairways, blind shots, bunkers, and the large undulating greens are challenge enough. A great mix of long and short holes, with risk/reward opportunities abound make it a really fun course to play, even when it's kicking your teeth in. The price point is a notch below the big resort courses, but is a bit too high to consider it a bargain. Take the opportunity to play there though, and you will definitely feel it was worth it.

⛳⛳⛳⛳ A definite recommend in every way.

Bella2.jpg

Bella5.jpg

  • 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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Event #6: Juliette Falls Golf Club, Dunellon FL, 22 May 2021

Tees Played: White 6,269 / 70.4 / 130

Conditions: Windy, warm, and sunny

Price: $$ ($50 w/lunch)

https://www.juliettefalls.com/

Rating: ⛳⛳⛳⛳ Definite recommend

Dunellon Florida is a little, out of the way town, west of the I-75 corridor near Ocala. For most of our players drive time from the Tampa Bay area was in the neighborhood of two hours. The golf course itself though, is well worth the effort to find it. With rolling hills thrown in, you'll find just about every subtle flavor Florida golf has to offer included at Juliette Falls. There are some blind shots, some wide open fairways, narrow holes with run-offs, and occasionally some water areas that will guide your strategy. The par 4s and 5s have a good mix of distances and risk/reward options. The par 3s at Juliette have teeth. They are all fairly long and don't give you a lot of freedom to miss. 

JF1.jpg.cf542b5c43a8a1e7da7dd450052ecfa6.jpg

Course Conditions: The whole course is just visually amazing, and plays just about that good. Great tee areas, lush green fairways that played with good depth and roll. The greens were exceptional, but played a little bit slower than what they looked like, or what was expected from the practice green. They held good shots well though, and rolled smooth and true with consistent speed. The bunkers are well maintained, and played well. Juliette uses a lot of crushed shell based waste sand areas as cart path routes, so be aware of which areas are waste and which are bunkers. I can almost guarantee you'll play at least one shot from a waste area on your way around this course.

 JF2.jpg.b38125079fb41ae10bbb14362a65b2de.jpg

Practice Areas: The chipping and putting greens adjacent to the first tee are fantastic. Compared to those, and to the rest of the course, the full swing range is visually a bit of a let down, but there is good turf in the hitting area and plenty of room for several players to warm up at the same time.

Course Employees:  Hard to imagine finding a non-resort course where anyone would treat you better. Check-in was quick and easy, cart wranglers were helpful, and the starters were all friendly and engaging while keeping our large group all on time, and they were knowledgeable and happy to share information about the course. The rangers make enough rounds that you know they are there but were not a bother to anyone. The beverage cart also made plenty of rounds and had a good selection of drinks and snacks. The bar and grill is small, but the folks in there were great and made sure we had a great time hanging out after the round.

Overall Impression: If you are looking for maybe the best bargain in Central Florida as far as a total golf experience goes, it might be Juliette Falls. The course conditions would be hard to match anywhere, but at the $50 price mark it sets the standard. The golf course is a great challenge, and was fun to play. Add to that, every person there treated us like a valued guest and Juliette Falls has the total package. As long as you can get past the candy shell colored golf carts, you'll have a great golf experience.

Rating: ⛳⛳⛳⛳  Go ahead and plan the road trip!

JF3.jpg.0e8ea2a61dcb9beb5bb684dfc06da51f.jpgJF4.jpg.14ecb52c2030c8daf63cce4006220573.jpg

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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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  • 2 weeks later...

Event #7 Lake Jovita G&CC, North Course; June 5 2021 (previously reviewed), Dade City, FL

Tees Played: White - 6,299 / 70.2 / 130

Conditions: Hot, humid, day prior rain, lift/clean/place in effect

Price: $$ ($55)

https://lakejovita.com/

Rating: ⛳⛳⛳ Recommend

Lake Jovita Golf and Country Club is part of a planned community project in Dade City, a short drive north from the Tampa area. Designated as semi-private, thee facility is open to public play, and does offer online specials for tee times. With two 18 hole courses set among rolling terrain and partially around the namesake lake, the courses please the eye as well as the golfing palette. The North Course has wide fairways and large, challenging green complexes. without much water in play, there are plenty of strategic bunkers to steer around as you make the loop. 

IMG_0529.jpg.fb191e91ff611cd253f2e9f19e95d912.jpg    IMG_0530.jpg.24aa7d8af04523a257410470381651ac.jpg

Course Conditions: Above average best describes everything but the bunkers. Nothing to complain about from tee to green, even with lift/clean/place in effect for our round following heavy rain the day before. A few of the tee areas were worn, but not excessively. The fairways all showed good drainage, and weren't soft enough to have a gross effect on roll or playability. The greens were in good condition, and rolled true. Pay attention to grain though, and be aware the practice green tends to roll much faster than the on-course greens. Just like the previous review though, the bunkers are the one different story. I've never played either course where the bunkers were prepped or seemed well tended. After the previous days rain they were absolutely dreadful, with washout channels and standing water or mud bottoms in almost all of them. Saving grace... that meant relief with the bunker if (when) your ball encountered the degraded condition. The bunkers give the course great aesthetics, just don't hit into any of them.

Practice Areas: There is a decent sized full swing range, with ample depth and lots of target flags. The turf gets worn quickly with lots of players using it together. The provided range balls were good quality so the range is great for pre-round warm up or practice. There is no dedicated chipping area, so light chipping is permitted to the very large practice green. As mentioned above, the practice green rolls VERY fast, usually noticeably faster than the greens on course. There is also a severe slope to the practice green, so it is better suited to pre-round warm-up than true putting practice.

Course Employees: I'm going with 'not rated' for this event, and that's probably a good thing. As a large group we were asked to pre-pay for our event so most of us did not need to check in inside the pro shop pre-round. The outside personnel were nice enough though, they typically shuttle clubs for you from parking to the cart stage. And the starters are genial enough. We didn't see any rangers on course, and the beverage/snack cart made ample appearances. Inside the bar/grill service was dismally slow. With just a single barback trying to handle two reasonably full seating areas and others seated at the bar it turned out to be not worth the wait, and he never even seemed to acknowledge the patrons waiting while he dealt with taking other orders. With it being 50/50 at best on interactions I'll leave it at that.

Overall Impression: If you are looking for a break from the mostly flat terrain of the courses in the Tampa area, Lake Jovita is not so far out of the way. They welcome the public players, and with two fun and challenging courses to choose from, it is probably worth the drive. Stay out of the bunkers, and you won't likely have much to complain about from the course itself. The North Course 11th hole, and South Course #1 are irritatingly bad hole designs. The rest of the course is above average with lots of visual appeal.

Rating: ⛳⛳⛳ 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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Great job on these reviews.  I love the format and how thorough you are.  Especially helpful since I live in the area for some of them, or have heard of these courses through forums or GolfNow

  • Like 2

Eric

Driver: Callaway Big Bertha B21

5 wood: XPC V9

7 wood: Snake Eyes

3 Hybrid: Tour Edge Hot Launch E521

Irons: Maltby DBM 5-PW

Sand Wedge: Maltby M-Series+ 56 degree

60 degree wedge: Maltby Glider

Putter: XPC V9

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8 hours ago, Eric Elliott said:

Great job on these reviews.  I love the format and how thorough you are.  Especially helpful since I live in the area for some of them, or have heard of these courses through forums or GolfNow

Thanks Eric! Nice to hear the positive feedback. Hope the info was helpful.

  • 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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On 6/8/2021 at 9:12 AM, GregB135 said:

Event #7 Lake Jovita G&CC, North Course; June 5 2021 (previously reviewed), Dade City, FL

Tees Played: White - 6,299 / 70.2 / 130

Conditions: Hot, humid, day prior rain, lift/clean/place in effect

Price: $$ ($55)

https://lakejovita.com/

Rating: ⛳⛳⛳ Recommend

Lake Jovita Golf and Country Club is part of a planned community project in Dade City, a short drive north from the Tampa area. Designated as semi-private, thee facility is open to public play, and does offer online specials for tee times. With two 18 hole courses set among rolling terrain and partially around the namesake lake, the courses please the eye as well as the golfing palette. The North Course has wide fairways and large, challenging green complexes. without much water in play, there are plenty of strategic bunkers to steer around as you make the loop. 

IMG_0529.jpg.fb191e91ff611cd253f2e9f19e95d912.jpg    IMG_0530.jpg.24aa7d8af04523a257410470381651ac.jpg

Course Conditions: Above average best describes everything but the bunkers. Nothing to complain about from tee to green, even with lift/clean/place in effect for our round following heavy rain the day before. A few of the tee areas were worn, but not excessively. The fairways all showed good drainage, and weren't soft enough to have a gross effect on roll or playability. The greens were in good condition, and rolled true. Pay attention to grain though, and be aware the practice green tends to roll much faster than the on-course greens. Just like the previous review though, the bunkers are the one different story. I've never played either course where the bunkers were prepped or seemed well tended. After the previous days rain they were absolutely dreadful, with washout channels and standing water or mud bottoms in almost all of them. Saving grace... that meant relief with the bunker if (when) your ball encountered the degraded condition. The bunkers give the course great aesthetics, just don't hit into any of them.

Practice Areas: There is a decent sized full swing range, with ample depth and lots of target flags. The turf gets worn quickly with lots of players using it together. The provided range balls were good quality so the range is great for pre-round warm up or practice. There is no dedicated chipping area, so light chipping is permitted to the very large practice green. As mentioned above, the practice green rolls VERY fast, usually noticeably faster than the greens on course. There is also a severe slope to the practice green, so it is better suited to pre-round warm-up than true putting practice.

Course Employees: I'm going with 'not rated' for this event, and that's probably a good thing. As a large group we were asked to pre-pay for our event so most of us did not need to check in inside the pro shop pre-round. The outside personnel were nice enough though, they typically shuttle clubs for you from parking to the cart stage. And the starters are genial enough. We didn't see any rangers on course, and the beverage/snack cart made ample appearances. Inside the bar/grill service was dismally slow. With just a single barback trying to handle two reasonably full seating areas and others seated at the bar it turned out to be not worth the wait, and he never even seemed to acknowledge the patrons waiting while he dealt with taking other orders. With it being 50/50 at best on interactions I'll leave it at that.

Overall Impression: If you are looking for a break from the mostly flat terrain of the courses in the Tampa area, Lake Jovita is not so far out of the way. They welcome the public players, and with two fun and challenging courses to choose from, it is probably worth the drive. Stay out of the bunkers, and you won't likely have much to complain about from the course itself. The North Course 11th hole, and South Course #1 are irritatingly bad hole designs. The rest of the course is above average with lots of visual appeal.

Rating: ⛳⛳⛳ Recommend

I went back and played the south course this week as well, kind of a preview round for a later league event. The South is a bit more challenging, with narrower fairways. Of note, the greens were much faster than what we encountered on the North, so better represented by the practice green. There is also a LOT more slope on the South Course greens, so when they are rolling as fast as we saw, putting will be a big factor is determining score. 

  • 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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Event #8 Candler Hills Golf Club, Ocala FL, June 12, 2021

Tees Played: Green 6,589 / 71.4 / 125

Conditions: Hot, Humid, Moderate Breeze

Price: $ ($45) 😲 rates slightly higher before 2pm

https://www.candlerhillsgolfclub.com/

⛳⛳⛳⛳ Definite Recommend

The Candler Hills Golf Club is part of the Top of the World Adult/Retirement community near Ocala FL. It is a semi-private club though open for public play, and just a short ride west of the I-75 corridor and about 2 hours drive from the Tampa area. The course definitely lives up to the website's billing as "not your typical Florida golf course". With multiple sets of tees and yardages to play from, you'll find a challenge appropriate for your skill level. A variety of rolling fairways, left and right doglegs, length, and risk reward opportunities make for a highly enjoyable round, and a chance you use every club in the bag. From our tees, we had everything from drive-able par fours, to a 620 yard par 5. Be aware, once you're beyond the white tees, the par threes are all 170+ with challenging greens. Also take note; if your travel route includes I-75 you will almost certainly encounter some travel delays so plan at least an extra 30 minutes driving time.

Here's what 620 looks like from the tee box. (Into the wind just for fun)

candler620.jpg.c56156fe13d256782296ea1fb3e5ae2f.jpg

Course Conditions: Absolutely gorgeous is a good place to start. Everything tee to green is exceptionally well maintained. Nice level tee areas lead into lush, nicely playable fairways. The first cut of rough is hardly any deeper than the fairways, but does get noticeably deeper away from the fairways. There are a variety of landscapes along the route including pine and live oak woods, and sand waste areas with wiregrass. There are bunkers aplenty, but they are well maintained and more than playable. The Bermuda greens rolled true though slightly on the slow side, and you'll have to pay attention to grain for good putting. 

Practice Areas:  I was a bit rushed on arrival so this is a very cursory review of the practice area. The full swing range is cared for just as well as the course. Nice lush turf with quality balls and multiple target flags. They even set aside a reserved area for our tournament group. There is a chipping area adjacent to the full swing range, and a small putting green that both represent the course well, but are perhaps not quite large enough for a real short game practice session.  

Course Employees:  Everyone we encountered was a treat to deal with. The cart wranglers took care of loading bags onto the carts. Starter was generous with information and kept everyone rolling on time. Here's a twist, the rangers carried ice and water on their carts and never once said anything about anyone's pace of play. The snack/bev cart rolled through at least twice each nine. Post round experience at the restaurant or patio can be interesting depending on timing. We had an afternoon round with the middle groups finishing right around 5:00. That was when it seemed every local resident decided to arrive for dinner at the restaurant so the servers got very busy very quickly. Prices for everything are more than reasonable bot on course and at the clubhouse.

Overall Impression:  Given the course conditions, and the quality of customer service, you would assume you are at a premier golf resort. Then you see you only paid $45 for your round and you are left wondering, "what's the catch?".  The course is gorgeous and a ton of fun to play. If you get the chance to play Candler, I say take it. And if you can find a route to the course that avoids interstate 75, take that too.

Rating: ⛳⛳⛳⛳ Definite Recommend

candler17.jpg.8389ba49d542e9a67793f73c62994eca.jpg

 

 

  • 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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