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Florida League Course Reviews - 2022 Season


GregB135
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Here we go again course review fans, the 2022 summer league season is about to start, so it's time to set the stage for upcoming reviews. If you've followed my previous reviews here, you'll know I try to evaluate the total experience of playing a golf course. I'm adjusting the format a bit from previous years, but the concept is essentially the same. With that, I try to include a comment or two on where the course is and how to get there. Evaluating the courses this year I will break down into two categories; course conditions and playability/challenge. I think this will make it easier to read through rather than trying to lump that all together. Rounding out the total experience are facilities and people, where I like to consider the clubhouse,  practice areas, and other club ammenities (bar-grill, etc.), and of course the level of customer service from everyone I encounter on my visit.

Please keep in mind as you follow along, these courses are selected for a competitive/social, full handicap league with a field of 44 to 48 players each event week so expect most to live in the good to very good categories where course conditions are concerned.

What you should see in this year's review format:

Course: Such and Such Golf Club, Address

Location: Somewhere within about 3 hours of Tampa, FL

Price: $-$$$$$:  <$60=$, $60-75=$$, $75-95=$$$, $95-110=$$$$, $110< = $$$$$

Date of Play

Course Website if available

Rating: ⛳ to ⛳⛳⛳⛳⛳;  ⛳= Don't Bother, ⛳⛳= Do Not Recommend, ⛳⛳⛳= Recommend, ⛳⛳⛳⛳= Highly Recommend, ⛳⛳⛳⛳⛳= Don't Miss It

Description: A little bit about the couse, where it is located, who designed it etc.

Playability:  Separated into two categories - course conditions and challenge

Course Conditions: Assesment of all areas on the course: Tees, Fairways, Greens, Rough, Bunkers and how it played on our play date

Challenge: 😎 Easy..... 😟 Kinda Tough .... 🤬 Screw You Pete Dye! (Something alont those lines to give an idea what to expect)

Facilities: A break down of the course ammeneties to include practice areas, clubhouse, bar/grill and any other notable inclusions or exclusions on the property.

People: This is the spot that can truly make or break the overall experience. I know it sounds petty, but every employee I encounter on the property is part of the evaluation. The players are not only customers, they are guests of the property (in my opinion), and how they are treated matters a lot to me so it carries a fair amount of weight in assessing the overall evaluation.

Review Summary and Rating: A bit more detail on how I arrived at the rating and what went into the final evaluation.

So with that, here is the lineup for this year's schedule. There are some repeats as well as several new sites. When a site has been previously reviewed I will note that with the course name in the individual review. I may not be able to play every event on the schedule, so if I have to miss an event, I will note that.

TTourSched.JPG.de51d8f2f8d127fc19739785107e6403.JPG

For instance, I know already I cannot play week 1 at Lake Jovita North. That course is one the league visits almost every year, so it is included in the previous reviews. To get an idea if you haven't read those, here is last year's thread. Looking forward to the league year and the conversation and comments on the sites.

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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: :EVNROLL: ER2 Murdered Out

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Editied OP to include correct review link

  • 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: :EVNROLL: ER2 Murdered Out

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  • 4 weeks later...

Course: Southern Dunes Golf Club

Location: 2888 Southern Dunes Blvd, Haines City FL, 33844

Price: $$$$$:  $110< = $$$$$ (Seasonal Rate – progressively lower through summer)

Date of Play: 10 April 2022

https://www.southerndunes.com/

Rating: ⛳⛳⛳⛳⛳= Don't Miss It!

Southern Dunes is a great golf course, and one that our league players are always excited to see on the schedule. The websites description is fair and accurate. The unique combination of elevation changes and bunkering make the challenge equal to the visual. A good combination of length, green sizes, and risk reward opportunities make the course a ton of fun to play. The greens at The Dunes are demanding, and feature lots of slope and undulation, and when they are running fast, will challenge even the best of putters.

Playability:  Hard to find better conditions anywhere that isn’t exclusively private. Visually stunning, and equally high quality for play.

Course Conditions: Just about pristine, and I dare say almost Tour quality. Some of the smaller tee areas were a bit worn, but truly that is the only ‘complaint’ I can find to make. Fairways were a little firm and gave plenty of roll out. Later in the rainy season expect a little softer. Rough was still in transition from winter rye over-seeding, and wasn’t cut too deep so finding the first cut was not penal. The spots to avoid off the tee are the big sandy bunkers. The greens were also firm and rolling VERY fast, smooth, and true. It took a good quality shot to hit and hold. The immediate areas around most of the greens though were cut close so putter is an option if you miss the green close. The practice areas are under renovation, so don’t freak out looking at the photos.

2ndhole.jpg.f552f7d44f9823c557fe52406ee1f6ca.jpg   10thTee.jpg.7791d49931a09c5d4469918879244967.jpg

Challenge: Somewhere between 😟 Kinda Tough and 🤬 Screw You Pete Dye! If you execute good strategy and don’t miss big, most of the holes are relatively forgiving off the tee. The green complexes are the real teeth of The Dunes. Especially when the greens are rolling fast you don’t want to have a downhill look. There are also some really deceptive reads to deal with. The 14th green in particular can make your brain hurt thinking your putt just broke uphill. The fairway bunkers have really deep, soft sand so it’s a challenge to maintain footing and make a quality strike. Until later in the summer when they let the rough grow a bit deeper, missing the fairway small won’t hurt you.

Facilities: A nice clubhouse even though it’s a little on the small side. A nice bar/grill overlooks the driving range area and has a good bar selection and menu. We learned the practice areas are undergoing a major overhaul. The small-ish range and small putting green are being replaced with a state of the art, lighted range with shot tracking etc. (think TopGolf at the local course). Another piece of intel is, their recently hired superintendent came to them from Augusta. Yes, that one. That could go a long way to explaining the course conditions, especially the appearance of the rough and speed of the greens. I wouldn’t expect the conditions to get worse.

putting.jpg.5ef0f3c49ab550b4452200bc47523a6b.jpg   Range.jpg.e67aa5b36a85752e548c979f247562c9.jpg

People: The inside clubhouse staff were just kinda ‘meh’. I got neither a good nor bad vibe from either of the gents at the counter checking in. All the outside staff were great though. The cart/bag check guys were a much better source of intel on the course, and were fun to chat with. The starter was engaging, and jovial. The on-course beverage cart made more than enough laps to keep you hydrated. Bar/grill staff were great as well. Altogether, they made us feel more than welcome, even as a large ‘guest’ group on a weekend.

Review Summary and Rating: Southern Dunes is an absolute must if you get a chance. Especially in the summer as the rates go down, you will not find the quality of conditions anywhere in the area for anywhere close to the same price. The downside to summer play is the rainy afternoons will soften up the fairways and make for longer approach shots. If the renovation to the practice areas turns out as good as the cart barn guys described, it’s going to be a premier place to practice as well as play. The good news is the people didn’t spoil it.

 ⛳⛳⛳⛳⛳= Don't Miss It!

  • 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: :EVNROLL: ER2 Murdered Out

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Nice review - I've played there - I did not recall it being so pricey but that may have been because I caught it later summer (September perhaps) before the prices went up.  

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Taylor Made Stealth 10.5  Aldila Ascent Red R flex

Ping G410 5, 7, 9 wood  Alta 65 R flex

Wilson D7 forged 5-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

Still on that elusive hunt for a 3 wood that I'm able to hit - I don't know why, I crush the 5 wood and it's really a 4 wood anyway. 

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5 hours ago, revkev said:

Nice review - I've played there - I did not recall it being so pricey but that may have been because I caught it later summer (September perhaps) before the prices went up.  

We played on Sunday, which was the last day of their peak season rate. According to their website, they are $85 until May, then $65, then later in the summer down to $55. They also apply a $10 Florida resident discount.

  • 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: :EVNROLL: ER2 Murdered Out

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  • 2 weeks later...

Sorry all, I've been a bit lazy about keeping the thread up to date as we've gone through the season. I'll admit to the laziness, but blame playing poorly and not wanting that to influence the reviews 😂

Anyway, here come several reviews all at once, so happy reading on Juliette Falls, and Lake Jovita South. Both of those are previous reviews that haven't changed much. I did skip the event at Rosedale Golf Club for a double graduation weekend. Also got in a preview round on Eaglebrook so I'll do a mini review of that one before the full  review later in the season. Up next is Orange County National which should be a treat.

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: :EVNROLL: ER2 Murdered Out

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Course:  Juliette Falls Golf Club (previously reviewed)

Location: 6933 SW 179th Ave Rd, Dunellon FL, 34432

Price: $$ $65

Date of Play: 16 April 2022

https://www.juliettefalls.com/

Rating: ⛳⛳⛳⛳ Highly Recommend

Description: I’m going to label Juliette Falls as a ‘Hidden Gem’ at least until more people figure out where Dunellon FL happens to be, and what a great golf course Juliette Falls is. Dunellon is a bit off the beaten path, not quite 2 hours from the Tampa Bay area utilizing either I-75 or SR589. It is as visually stunning as it is challenging and fun to play. With lots of elevation changes and large waste areas it is a pleasant deviation from the mostly flat, parkland type courses typical to Florida.

Playability: 

Course Conditions: This was our third visit to Juliette Falls, and the course conditions have always been first rate. Tee areas are nice and level, and large enough they don’t get too worn from play. The rolling fairways drain well and have good depth. We played relatively early in the season, so the rough was not terribly deep, on days where the rough is deeper, it adds to the challenge. The bunkers have softer, reddish sand that plays well. There is very little water on the course to deal with. Instead, there are large, shell-sand waste areas to navigate and dictate strategy. Greens are between quick and fast, hold shots, and roll true. I’ve never found anything to legitimately complain about in the conditions at JF.

JF2.jpg.ac6001ba0e0375d1ce6905e4e846119a.jpg  JF3.jpg.5599fd36559d23dacdd55a683d7bb9ce.jpg

Challenge: 🤕 Kinda Tough It’s important to stay down the line of the hole here. The waste areas if you find them make for a challenging lie, especially if you are trying to play a touchy shot near the greens. Without many water penalty areas to deal with, it’s the bunkers and greens that deliver the challenge. The greens have a good variety of size, and lots of contour, so there’s just about no such thing as a straight putt at The Falls. If they are rolling fast, be ready for lots of colorful commentary if you miss the hole. The bunkers are well maintained and have good quality sand, but when you’re in one, it’s best to just take your lump and be happy with an escape rather than trying for too many hero shots.

Facilities: The clubhouse is kind of small, but well appointed and has good quality merchandise if you need anything before/during the round. It includes an ‘intimate’ bar and grill with a nice, screened patio for post-round gatherings, but if you are with a large group, it will get crowded quickly.

The practice/warm-up area if absolutely first rate. There is a large, all-turf full swing range with plenty of room for multiple players. The chipping green has a bunker and is accessible 360 degrees for shots up to about 25 yards. The putting green represents the course well for speed and slope, just maybe a little heavy on the slope, making it a little better for pre-round warm up than practice drills.

People: Everyone at Juliette Falls did an amazing job making us feel welcome and ensuring we had a good experience. Clubhouse staff was friendly and helpful. The starter engaging and informative on conditions and expectations for play. Even the one course ranger we encountered was friendly and was just keeping tabs on our group so he could remind the local players behind our tail end group there was tournament play ahead of them to consider and plea for patience.

Review Summary and Rating: Juliette Falls is fun to play. Good shots earn their reward, and poor shots will be penalized, but commensurate with the quality of the shot. Throw in that it’s a gorgeous property from start to finish, with fantastic playing conditions and it carries a lot of wow factor on the course. When a place like that has quality people to boot, the only possible conclusion is to highly recommend it to everyone. … Well… maybe not everyone, because then they’d all want to go play there and it wouldn’t be a ‘hidden’ gem anymore.

⛳⛳⛳⛳ Highly Recommend

1165052085_JuliettFalls1.jpg.9b58e9c3188e894873b0e98e2cdea64d.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: :EVNROLL: ER2 Murdered Out

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Course: Lake Jovita Golf and Country Club – South Course

Location: 12900 Lake Jovita Blvd., Dade City, Florida 33525

Price: $$$ $80 

Date of Play: 30 April 2022

https://lakejovita.com/

Rating: ⛳⛳1/2 = Just Below Recommend

Description: Lake Jovita Golf and Country Club is just a short drive off of I-75 in Dade City, about 45 minutes’ drive from most of the Tampa Bay area. It is a semi-private club that is the centerpiece of a community development, and home to 36 holes of what really should be quality golf. The South Course is the more challenging and tends to have better conditions than the North Course, but both have a solid reputation among local golfers. Known for fast, tricky greens, the South Course forces you to bring your ‘A’ short game to post a low score.

Playability:  Usually pretty good. Stay out of the bunkers and you won’t have a lot to complain about.

Course Conditions: Once again, not really much different to say about Jovita South compared to previous reviews. The course always looks good to really good. There is a bit of tactical deception there though. Holes that are visible from the clubhouse or the road get noticeably better care than elsewhere on the course. Not all the tee areas are large enough to endure lots of play so they can be worn. Fairways are going to depend on recency of rain. Early in our round they were dry and rolling. One heavy rain shower late in the round though, and low areas were soaking and soft to muddy. The rough is not deep enough to cause problems, but the tree lines and other hazards more than make up for that. The greens lived up to their reputation. They hold shots well enough, but you’ll need to be in the right portion of the green or you’ll have a challenging putt. The bunkers are the bane of the whole place. Inconsistent is the word of the day. Some have nice playable sand, while others are ½ bare, washed out, or actually holding water. Just pray you won’

Challenge:  Potentially not all that hard, but plenty of opportunity for😡 -worthy moments. The South Course starts with probably the hardest opening hole anywhere within an hour’s drive. And it doesn’t get a whole lot easier after that. Narrow fairways winding through neighborhoods mean there is lots of OB to deal with. Stray too far from the line of the hold and trouble is there to meet you in the form of trees, bunkers, water and the whole mix. Be ready to make some recovery shots. The South puts a premium on ball position on the greens. They vary in size, but all the greens are fast, and have tricky, subtle breaks that can quickly turn into 3-putts.

Facilities: The clubhouse is massive and is adjacent to the community pool. It has banquet facilities along with a larger than average bar and grill above the golf shop. The golf shop is comparatively tiny, and not well stocked considering the size of everything else. The full swing range is not quite large enough to accommodate member play and any kind of a large group outing. Members usually get an exclusive area of the range, so that makes it smaller for guest play. Balls are decent quality, but the turf gets worn quickly. Without a chipping green, the putting green is massive. It does represent the course greens well, but the South greens may be a bit faster.

People: I’ve said this aspect can make or break a review, and in the case of Lake Jovita, it tends to be more of a break. They do not exclude public play, but they don’t exactly invite it either. I think the only person I encountered who didn’t treat me with plain indifference was the parking lot greeter who gave me a ride down to the golf shop from my car. Even the bartender had no appearance of urgency when there were 4 ‘guests’ queued up at his bar, he was more interested in chatting with the seated members who already had everything they’d ordered.

Review Summary and Rating: The golf at Lake Jovita really should be a great experience. The South Course offers plenty of challenge and has a good variety of holes throughout. I could even overlook the inconsistency of the conditions and the infuriating bunkers (as long as I missed most of them). You may have noticed that the play rate was up $30 from last year’s league event. Given they’ve added that much of a premium to the price of play, I would not want anyone to go there on my recommendation and have their experience ruined by the people there.

⛳⛳1/2 = Just Below Recommend

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: :EVNROLL: ER2 Murdered Out

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