Recent Golf Course Reviews


thegolfinguy
Lakeland, FL
34 Reviews
  
If you’re looking for some of the best golf between Ocala and Daytona, there is no better choice than Black Bear in Eustis. Black Bear is a P.B. Dye design and from the looks of it, his father would be proud. What it lacks in Pete Dye trademark railroad tie bunkers and risk reward carry-the-water holes, it makes up for in fairway bunkers and difficult greenside bunkers many of them nestled into the surrounding mounds. In all, there are over 120 bunkers throughout the layout.

Over the years, Black Bear has served as a qualifier for the Florida USGA Publinks Championship, as well as the Hooters and Canadian tours and the Florida PGA. Black Bear was chosen not only for the great course but also for the practice facilities; they are some of the best in the entire Orlando area. In addition to a double-ended driving range, there’s a 40,000 square-foot short game area complete with sand traps and a large putting green. One of the things you’ll want to be sure and practice on the range is your lob shot; it will come in handy on those holes where your approach shots miss the green.

On several holes, finding the fairway off the tee can be easier than at most courses; the mounding and dunes on the peripheries tend to funnel the ball back into the middle. Approaching the green from the short grass is a definite benefit as you’ll need all the help you can get to hit some of the smallest greens in the area. It’s not uncommon to find a green that’s over 150 feet long but only 35 feet wide. Or vice versa. The dunes also serve to isolate each hole, giving you the feeling that your group is the only one on the course. Although this Bermuda rough may not look difficult in its brown, dormant state, it’s cut short and still provides the same challenge.

The greens at Black Bear are a story all to themselves. Collectively, they are probably the smallest greens I have played in Florida. That said, there are a couple that are about 150 feet long, but only 35 feet wide or deep! Like the rest of the course, there’s a lot of undulation in the greens, and they are typically quick.

The par 4, 6th hole is a slight dogleg left that plays 351 yards from the Black Tees. Be sure to avoid the waste bunker on the left that sits well below the fairway, it makes getting on in regulation very difficult. A good drive will leave a short to mid iron approach shot to a well-elevated green and may require an extra club. The green presents a difficult bump and run opportunity; in addition to being elevated, it’s fronted by deep bunkers on either side as well as two in back.

Number 9 has the Dye name written all over it as evidenced by the pot bunker that sits in the middle of the fairway. From the Black Tees, the hole plays 391 yards, so for most golfers the bunker is not in play off the tee, but rest assured, it’s there. Your approach shot needs to carry the green as another massive bunker with a huge lip sits directly in front. Par is a good score here.

The 388 -yard Par 4, Number 10 is another hole that doglegs slightly to the left, daring you to try and cut the corner, however with out of bounds looming down the entire left side of the tee, the risk outweighs the reward. Playing down the right side may add a little length to the hole, but it also provides an easier approach as it takes much of the sand and water on the left side out of play.

At only 107 yards from the Black Tees, number 15 may seem like a pushover but the bunkers and green suggest otherwise. This short hole has no less than 9 bunkers around the green awaiting errant tee shots and the green is over 50 yards long and only 15 yards wide. The undulation in the green also makes for some interesting putts.

The two finishing holes at Black Bear Golf Club not only define the course, they are two of the three hardest holes on the course. Number 17 plays 413 yards from the Black Tees. Hitting a good drive often catches the downslope in the middle of the fairway and leaves a manageable shot into a green that sits about 30 feet above the fairway. Anything left and short is likely to find one of the 4 sand traps that adorn the area.

Water comes into play on Number 18 and dominates the hole. From the Black Tees, anything hit longer than 265 yards is likely wet. The hole is 386 yards long with a bunker in the landing area on the right side. A good drive down the middle will still leave about 140 yards over water into an elevated, long, narrow green with a bunker back right. End your round with two pars or better and there’s a good chance you’re in the money!

Last Word: If your golf course has the name “Dye” associated with it, odds are you’re going to garner some special attention, and rightfully so. P.B. Dye has done an excellent job with Black Bear, taking full advantage of the sandy, rolling terrain. The elevation changes are significant for this part of the state and the elevated greens have you constantly thinking about club selection. There’s plenty of room off the tee which is good, because Black Bear is all about your approach shot. You’re often playing uphill and into odd-shaped greens, many of which are very long yet extremely narrow. There’s also a lot of undulation in them. If you’re going to post a low score at Black Bear, you’ll need to have one of your best days of chipping, pitching and putting.


In the event your highly competitive golf match is tied at the end of 18 holes, Black Bear offers a way to break the tie: The 19th Hole, a short shot over the water to settle the score once and for all. The course allows golfers of all abilities to have some fun and enjoy the challenge of playing a wide open but challenging tournament standard undulating links style layout.

Black Bear’s clubhouse features a pro shop with all of the necessary golf accessories as well as men’s and women’s “Dare the Bear” logoed golf apparel. The restaurant/lounge serves breakfast and lunch as well as all of your favorite libations. They have all of the traditional clubhouse food as well as some not so common items such as Bavarian pretzels with white cheese sauce and gyros. If you’re a chicken wing connoisseur, try their Kennedy sauce, a combination of several other sauces. It has a very interesting taste.

For what you get, the greens fees are more than reasonable. In season rates are ridiculously low and off season or “shoulder” rates often include something “extra” such as a hat, polo or lunch. Rounds to Black Bear can also be purchased on many of the major online tee sheets. To learn more about this special Central Florida golf course, give them a call at (352) 357-4732 or visit their website at www.blackbeargolfclub.com.

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Date Played: January 19, 2018


pittfaninmd
Essex, MD
85 Reviews
Bulle Rock of Havre De Grace, MD
  
Great day of golf in early December. Not perfect conditions but still very good conditions. We were treated great from the moment we got out of the car. Bulle Rock is a class act and great golf course,unfortunately they have a pending sale going on and the future is uncertain. They are offering a gold package which includes 3 rounds of golf for 255$, you may want to take advantage of playing here while we still can

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Date Played: December 3, 2017 | Cost: $63


4Aces
Severn, MD
321 Reviews
Northwest Park Golf Course of Silver Spring, MD
  
Similar review as previous years...pretty good condition. The pace of play, though, continues to be an issue...4 hrs. 45 mins. and it didn't need to be. Like the course, but pace unfortunately is a deterrent for future play.

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Date Played: October 7, 2017 | Cost: $65


localgolfer
Owings Mills, MD
63 Reviews
Flatbush Golf Course of Littlestown, PA
  
Boycott the NFL on Sundays. Support a local business.
Go golfing and enjoy the outdoors. Conditions are sometimes good and sometimes not so good. Then read some history and spend some time with your children and grandchildren.

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Date Played: September 24, 2017


thegolfinguy
Lakeland, FL
34 Reviews
Dolphin Head Golf Club of Hilton Head Island, 
  
At long last, the public can play Dolphin Head Golf Club in Hilton Head Plantation, the only course in the area designed by Gary Player. In building the course, Player’s main goal was to leave intact as much of the terrain and to move as little dirt as possible, keeping a natural look to the golf course.

The success he achieved is amazing, as is the golf course. It’s one of the most visually stunning and best maintained courses in the area. The surrounding natural preserves and local wildlife were not interrupted and harmony between man and nature has been achieved.

Dolphin Head Golf Club opened in 1974 as the first course built in the Hilton Head Plantation. Local course architect Clyde Johnson renovated the tees, fairways and greens in 2010, installing denser Celebration Bermuda in the fairways and tee boxes and Mini-Verde Bermuda on the greens. The result is lusher fairways and quicker greens, something admired by the majority of golfers.

From the back tees, Dolphin Head measures 6,606 yards and chimes in with a course rating of 72.7 and a slope of 140. The White Tees at 6,169 yards (70.8/130) will provide as much golf course as the average golfer can handle, and still let you leave with a little bit of respect and dignity!

In building Dolphin Head, Player has created two 9-hole tracks that are completely different. The front nine meanders through tall, centuries-old trees and forests while the back nine has more open space yet brings more marsh and wetlands into play. Both circuits feature Players signature bunkering, resulting in one golf course with no two holes alike. The result is a golf course that is both scenic and playable and captures the natural surroundings.
Dolphin Head gets your round started with a hole that can put you on the right track in a hurry. It’s a modest length par 5, dogleg right at 465 yards from the White Tees, however you’ll need to avoid the pond on the right and trees on the left off the tee. Make it to the dogleg with your tee shot and you’ll have a clear shot into a green protected on the front right and back left by bunkers. The elevated green slopes gently from back to front so be sure to put your approach shot below the hole and start off the round in a positive manner.
Number 4 is the first par 3 you encounter at Dolphin Head. From the White Tees, it plays a moderate 154 yards. With the pond on the left and a large oak tree and mounding in the middle, there is essentially no bailout area. Because of the way the green lies, most golfers can expect a long side hill putt.

At 401 yards from the White Tees, Number 6 is the course’s toughest hole. If a draw is in your shot repertoire, now would be a great time to use it; anything short of the dogleg and you’ll likely be blocked out by tall pine trees. A good drive will still leave a lengthy approach shot into an elevated green protected by sand front left and right as well as grass swales long. Par is a great score here.

Carry the fairway bunker on the right side off the tee and you’re well on your way to a low score on Number 11, a par 4 that plays 365 yards from the White Tees. That will leave a short pitch shot to an odd-shaped green with a large bunker on the right and a small mound in front.

Straight is the key to success on Number 15, a long par 4 that plays 399 yards from the White Tees. The fairway bunker on the right seems like a ball magnet to many and the two-tiered green is well bunkered on either side.

Your round concludes on a signature hole. Number 18 is a dogleg right par 5, playing 470 yards from the White Tees. A good drive up the left side may just inspire you to go for the green in two, however danger awaits any errant attempts. A large pond makes up the right side of the fairway from about 300 yards out and the left side of the green is home to a rogue sand bunker. To further complicate matters, the green has two tiers and a bit of slope to it. Take your par and head to the 19th hole.

Although the golf course is the main attraction, Dolphin Head Golf Club is a place that, as a member, you can make friendships that last a lifetime. As a member, you’ll also enjoy full-service dining, social events, card groups, book clubs, and more. With a Brown Golf membership, you’ll get so much more than just being a member of Dolphin Head Golf Club. You’ll enjoy unlimited golf at 7 championship, 18-hole golf courses, unlimited range balls and use of the practice facility, discounts on guest fees, lodging and pro shop merchandise and unlimited golf lessons with a PGA professional.

For more information on becoming a member or to book your next tee time, visit their website, www.dolphinheadgc.com

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Date Played: August 29, 2017 | Cost: $0.00


thegolfinguy
Lakeland, FL
34 Reviews
Dunes West Golf Club of Mount Pleasant, SC
  
Although Dunes West Golf and River Club opened in 1991, the history of the land can be traced back to 1696, although the land wasn’t developed for another sixteen years or so. Shortly after being developed it was purchased by Captain John Vanderhorst, Joseph Vanderhorst and Thomas Lynch, the same family that owned most of Kiawah Island – in 1712. They kept it in the family for over 100 years. Fast forward to 1937 and Henrietta Hartford, one of the wealthiest women in America, buys the land and marries Prince Guido Pignatelli of Italy. The land would become known as Pignatelli Plantation and Henrietta – aka Princess Pignatelli – has a nine-hole golf course built.

Dunes West Golf and River Club is ideally situated along Wagner Creek and the Wando River, offering up some spectacular views of the surrounding aquatic life. The course itself was designed by renowned golf course architect Arthur Hills and is a “must play” for any golfer traveling in or around Charleston, SC. Dunes West has been proclaimed by both Golf Digest and Golf Magazine as a “Top 10 Resort Course”.
The course plays 6,859 yards from the back tees, with a course rating of 73.0 and a slope of 134. Most golfers will find that the Blue Tees (6,100/69.0/122) will give them all they can handle and still maintain a little dignity.

Hills took full advantage of both the Wando River and Wagner Creek when he built this masterpiece. As you make your way around the course, you’ll see saltwater marshes and coastal tidelands; all commonplace for those who live in the South Carolina’s lowcountry, but visually stunning for those who don’t.

Although the current version of Dunes West does not resemble the 9-hole original course in any way, shape or form, the clubhouse does sit on the very spot of the princesses’ 32-room mansion. The oak trees that frame the drive up to the clubhouse, as well as the right side of the 18th fairway serve as a reminder of the properties history; they were planted by Princess Pignatelli herself.

Like most Arthur Hills, there’s a lot of mounding in the peripheries of the fairways and around the green complexes. Grass bunkers and swales are every bit as challenging as the light, fluffy sand you’ll find in any of the traps. Greens come in all shapes and sizes, most have subtle undulation and all roll true.

There were several challenging holes on the front nine at Dunes West, but none more memorable than the four finishing holes. Number 15 is a Par 5 that plays 481 yards from the Blue Tees has two sets of four fairway bunkers that challenge players off the tee and in the landing zones. The first set are on the edge of the fairway and shouldn’t cause much trouble; the second set bisect the fairway and catch a good deal of layup attempts. A shot from the left side of the fairway bunkers leaves an easier approach and somewhat takes out of play the greenside traps on the right side of a slightly elevated green. A long drive up the left side sets up a good opportunity to get home in two and go for broke.

Number 16 is the toughest hole on the inward nine and plays 369 yards from the Blue Tees. Water come into play over the trio of fairway bunkers on the right off the tee, but is more in play on your approach shot. An ideal tee shot is between the 150-marker and the trees on the left; that will leave a manageable yet challenging approach shot over sand to a small green with water waiting if you hit it right. The green is small with subtle undulations.

Number 17 is a par 3 that plays 169 yards and is by far the most challenging par 3 at Dunes West. With water on the right side and sand left and long, there is no room for error off the tee. Miss the left fairway bunker long and you’re facing a tough lie in a grass swale. The green is small and slopes left to right. Best of luck!

Number 18 is a great finishing hole. This dogleg right par 4 will give any golfer all they can handle from the back tees; from the Blue tees, it’s a manageable 383 yards. There’s not the usual plethora of sand you find on many holes; in fact, there is none. Your biggest challenge on this hole is to control your drive off the tee. Keep it in the short grass and leave yourself a clear shot into the green and you’ll finish strong; just be sure to avoid the marsh area short left.

Before your round, be sure to visit Dunes West’s practice facility. There’s a full-length driving range with multiple targets that will let you hit every club in your bag. The short game area has a sand trap for extra practice and there is a large practice putting green as well. If you’re having troubles with your swing, set up a quick lesson with one of the club’s trained PGA professionals.

In addition to a superb golf course, Dunes West also has a 6000-square foot clubhouse with full service dining. The Grille is open every day from 8am to 3pm; breakfast is served Wednesday – Sunday from 8am – 11am and lunch is served daily from 11am – 3pm. Brunch is available on Sundays from 8am – 12pm. One of the specialties at The Grille are the tacos, which come in several varieties, and the burgers are outstanding. On Thursdays, The Grille is open for dinner with delectable entrees of beef, chicken and fish. There’s also a full array of country club amenities including swim and tennis.

Because of its location, Dunes West is a picturesque and memorable location for weddings. Their experienced event and culinary staff can help you put together your special occasion. It’s also a great venue to host your next tournament or golf outing.

For more information on becoming a member, you can call Dunes West at (843) 856-9000 or visit them online at www.duneswestgolfclub.com.

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Date Played: August 29, 2017 | Cost: $0.00


pittfaninmd
Essex, MD
85 Reviews
Lake Presidential Golf Club of Upper Marlboro, MD
  
Almost one year after I swore I wouldn't come back I did, and unfortunately it was the same result. Greens were great and if it wasn't for dead spots I would have given a 5 rating. Fairways and tees were uncut and shaggy where there was grass, but many bare and dead spots exist, 2 fairways were used as sod farms with just exposed bare earth left. Roughs were plain horrible,either bare spots or it was so thick you couldn't even find your ball. Many bunkers washed out with only hardpan remaining. Needless to say I won't be back

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Date Played: August 20, 2017 | Cost: $60


MShaw
Central Point, OR
4 Reviews
Ranch Hills Golf Course of Mulino, OR
  
Golf Staff and setting or topography for this course was great. It was the middle of summer but everything was still very green. The first 12 holes were a good challenge and made use of the natural topography and seemed more cared or groomed than the some of the holes on back 9. Some of these holes had dead limbs and seemed had not been groomed in a while like the front 9. I lost balls just off fairway that I saw land in 2nd cut and gopher holes. So the moral of story is keep it IN Fairways.

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Date Played: August 13, 2017


MShaw
Central Point, OR
4 Reviews
Shield Crest Golf Course of Klamath Falls, OR
  
Just completed my first round at Shieldcrest and what it lacked in cart paths it more than made up in great conditions and scenery. Greens and fairways were lush green for the middle of summer. Course overall was in good shape and with the blues playing over 6,600 yards it was a challenging course, but unfortunately, my ball striking or scoring did not live up to the challenge on this day.
Jared and the staff treated us well and I will be back to try it again.

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Date Played: August 12, 2017 | Cost: $47


thegolfinguy
Lakeland, FL
34 Reviews
Pinecrest Golf Club of Bluffton, SC
  
Pinecrest Golf Club – Fun to Play No Matter Your Handicap
The Pinecrest Golf Club in Bluffton SC opened for play in 2004 and was designed by Rocky Roquemore, best known for his designs at Cannongate Golf Club in GA and several of the Disney courses in Orlando, FL.

Pinecrest is owned and operated by Brown Golf Management who purchased the club on March 10, 2011 and opened it up for public play. The course is known for having a stunning and scenic layout and plays its way through strands of tall pines and around several beautiful lakes. Water comes into play on about 15 holes with number 9 being the only forced carry over water off the tee, although not a very long carry at that.

Sand bunkers pose more of a threat to your scorecard, especially off the tee. Every non-par 3 hole has at least one bunker on the edge of the fairway in the landing zone; par 5s have been strategically fortified with a second set of bunkers in the layup landing area, although they always seem to be on the periphery of the fairway. Greens are also well protected, with many of them being elevated.

Speaking of greens, Pinecrest’s are large and roll true; if you want to score well, best to not leave yourself a lot of long putts.

Most Memorable Hole: Number 11. The course’s second hardest hole is a par 5 that plays 500 yards from the White Tees and requires an accurate tee shot due to the water on each side. You’ll want to use the left side of the fairway on your layup but be sure to avoid the fairway bunkers over there and be careful of the water that juts out half way into the fairway. These bunkers should not come into play. From here you’ll have a short pitch shot into an offset green. Three good shots and you can conquer this hole.

The practice area at Pinecrest is second to none and could very well be the best public access practice facility in the Bluffton area. There’s a double-sided range, two large putting greens and a separate chipping green to hone your game. If you’re still having trouble, check in at the pro shop and sign up for a lesson with one of their PGA professional staff.

After your round, stop by the 9 Iron Restaurant located in the clubhouse. They feature excellent food at reasonable prices, including fresh sandwiches, soups, salads and daily chef's specials. The jumbo Reuben is one of a kind or, if you’re looking for something a little lighter, try their cranberry-almond salad. No matter what you’re hungry for, odds are you’ll find it here, as well as your favorite after golf beverage.

Brown Golf has some incredible membership opportunities available which are particularly attractive to those in the Bluffton area. A single membership includes unlimited golf at 7 local courses as well as reciprocals at all other Brown Golf Facilities around the country. You’ll also receive access to the practice facilities and unlimited range balls as well as complimentary golf lessons from PGA professionals. That alone is worth the monthly dues. For more information or to book your next tee time at Pinecrest Golf Club, visit them at www.pinecrestcc.com.

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Date Played: July 25, 2017 | Cost: $0.00