Recent Golf Course Reviews


thegolfinguy
Lakeland, FL
37 Reviews
Most golfers are familiar with Tom Watson the PGA Tour golfer, winner of eight major championships, including five British Opens and outdueling Jack Nicklaus on several occasions. He certainly was fun to watch.

Not as many people are familiar with Tom Watson the golf course architect. As a golfer, Tom Watson was praised for his passionate play, attention to detail and outstanding course strategy. His company, Tom Watson Design, employs the same integrity, dedication and focus to each of their designs. The company only builds one or two courses each year using a few fundamental requirements: beauty, variety and challenge. Each course design will challenge a golfer’s mental and physical skills and at the same time provide a memorable golf experience. This is especially evident at the Watson-designed Conservatory Course; part of the Hammock Beach Resort in Palm Coast, Florida.

In their January 2008 issue, Golf Digest ranked The Conservatory third on its elite list of America’s Best New Public Courses. And with good reason. As you meander through the course, you will encounter some breathtaking sights: waterfalls, babbling brooks and veneered field stone work.

Not finding a suitable set of tees to play from is not possible; there are seven of them ranging in distance from 7,740 yards to 5,168 yards. From the back tees, The Conservatory is the longest course in Florida. Move up to the fourth (White) set of tees, and you’ll have a manageable distance of 6,281 yards. Ladies typically play from the Red Tees (5,225 yards).

There is a lot of mounding and undulation at the Conservatory, not only on the greens but all down the fairways and roughs. Conservatory is anything but your typical Florida course and for this reason some players may find it too much. If that’s the case, my suggestion is to relax, take a deep breath and look around you. Looking back on the previous hole provides every bit as much of an inspiring view as what lays before you!

For me, what sets this course apart from any other I have played around the world is the bunkering; there’s sand everywhere. And it comes in all shapes and forms: there are your typical greenside bunkers and coquina-shelled waste bunkers which are fairly easy to navigate. But then there are a number of pot bunkers – some visible off the tee, some not - that can wreak havoc with your score not to mention your mind. Some of these are sod-walled, which adds a true Scottish feel. Most are penal in nature; one in particular on the first hole is in play off the tee if you hit it right. The face of this bunker has to be 5 feet high and about 140 yards out. Find this bunker and you can say goodbye to par – or even bogey – on this hole! Not a great way to start.

Most Memorable Hole: Number 15, Par 4, 377 yards (White Tees). With a Tom Watson course, what you see isn’t always what you get; many shots appear more difficult than they actually are. Case in point is the 15th hole, a par 4, dogleg right. The waste bunker that runs up the right side of the fairway blends in with the bunkers on the far side of the fairway, creating the illusion that the landing area is miniscule. Trust me, it’s not; there’s plenty of room out there. The large multi-tiered green is also surrounded by sand, so it will take an accurate approach shot to get it close.

Favorite Par 3: Number 8, 134 yards. The shortest hole at The Conservatory is also the signature hole. At only 134 yards from the White Tees, the island green looks inviting. If your nerves are already shattered, there’s plenty of room to bail out to the right. The green is wider than it is deep and has plenty of undulation. Don’t get too greedy with a left pin placement.

Favorite Par 4: Number 14, 431 yards. Regardless of the tees you decide to play, this is the longest par four on the golf course and offers a great risk/reward opportunity. Longball hitters can cut off a significant amount of yardage off the tee by playing to the right of the fairway bunkers. Water guards the entire right side of this behemoth hole. For us mere mortals, it’s either a long iron or fairway wood into the green. For many, your best shot at par is to get on the green in three and one-putt.

Favorite Par 5: Actually, there are two of them. Number 4 plays 497 yards and is fairly straight away. From the back tees, number 4 stretches out to 621 yards; it’s sheer length makes it a formidable opponent. From the White Tees, it’s a manageable par 5. Off the tee, water is in play on both sides. The layup is the toughest shot on the hole and requires both accuracy and distance control. The water creeps in very close on the right while strategically placed pot bunkers on the left side and middle of the fairway make you choose to either layup short or go over them. An approach shot from the left side opens up the green. A good wedge player can score well on this hole.

Number 18 is a dogleg left that plays 592 yards from the Back Tees; 502 from a humane distance (White Tees). Pot bunkers and Florida wetlands dot the landscape up the right side, while water guards the left. Watson has provided a generous landing area at the bend in the dogleg, which will require a mid-length iron into a long and narrow green guarded tightly on the left with water and on the right with sand. Find the fairway off the tee and you’re well on your way to a good score.

Last Word: For my money, this course rates as one of the top tracks in Florida; far and away Tom Watson’s best work in the state. His use of bunkering is unrivaled on any course I’ve played; they are plentiful and penal. Avoid them if you want to score well.

Although this course can play very long for the men, ladies enjoy many benefits. From the Red Tees, the majority of hazards faced by the guys off the tee are taken out of play. All they will need to deal with are the rolling fairways and undulating greens. In building The Conservatory, Watson’s two major goals were to create course that was both beautiful and playable. He has succeeded on both fronts.

These are just a few of the memories I have of the Conservatory Course at Hammock Beach. The best way to experience this course is to book at vacation at Hammock Beach Resort in Palm Coast, FL. When doing so, be sure to package it together with a round on the newly renovated Ocean Course. Combined, these two courses offer the best one-two punch of any two courses in the state.

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Date Played: March 22, 2018


pittfaninmd
Essex, MD
88 Reviews
Legends Resort - Parkland of Myrtle Beach, SC
  
This was my favorite of the Resort, unfortunately the greens are in terrible shape. As with the Mooreland and Oyster Bay they have sprayed green tack over the dead spots to hide them.I hope they get this place back by next year

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Date Played: March 13, 2018


pittfaninmd
Essex, MD
88 Reviews
Legends Resort - Moorland of Myrtle Beach, SC
  
Course was in good shape with the exception of the greens, just like Oyster Bay the greens have been sprayed with green tack to hide all the dead spots, very disappointed because I really like the golf course

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Date Played: March 13, 2018


pittfaninmd
Essex, MD
88 Reviews
Legends Resort - Heathland of Myrtle Beach, SC
  
I just love the Legends Resort. Heathland was in good shape, everything is over seeded right now so outside the fairways the roughs are pretty thin in most areas, still very playable though. Pace of play was great and staff is always very helpful

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Date Played: March 12, 2018


thegolfinguy
Lakeland, FL
37 Reviews
  
If you’re into golf, one venue on your bucket list should be the World Golf Village in St. Augustine, FL. There’s plenty to do there, for example, you could spend all day at the World Golf Hall of Fame, taking in all the exhibits, viewing movies in the IMAX theater and testing your stroke on the Challenge Hole – reminiscent of Number 17 at Sawgrass. Or, if you’re looking to play a round of golf designed by a couple of legends, you can book a round on the Slammer and Squire Golf Course, one of two courses connected with the World Golf Village.

The Slammer & Squire Golf Course is the property’s original course and is located just a wedge shot away from the World Golf Hall of Fame. It was designed by noted golf course architect Bobby Weed with considerable input from the course’s namesakes: Sam "The Slammer" Snead and Gene "The Squire" Sarazen.

Five sets of tees plus a blended set – a combination of the Blues and Whites – makes The Slammer & Squire enjoyable for any golfer – provided you play from the set that best suits your game. From the back (Stone) tees, the course plays 6,939 yards with a course rating of 72.7 and a slope of 127. The Blue tees at 6,132 yards (69.2/121) will challenge most golfers and still enable them to leave with a little dignity. Ladies will find the Green Tees at 4,996 (68.0/115) an enjoyable test.

The Slammer & Squire opened to the public in May 1998 and features two distinct nines. The outward nine traverses through fairways lined with giant Loblolly pines, while wooden pathways and bridges guide you through traditional Florida wetlands. On the back nine you will find generous fairways, contoured greens, and plenty of water hazards. You’ll also be treated to impressive views of the World Golf Hall of Fame.

Just behind the pro shop is a full length driving range with plenty of targets, a large practice putting green as well as a short game area that includes a sand trap. The Clubhouse has a fully stocked pro shop with lots of logoed gear from a number of top apparel companies as well as Men’s and Women’s locker rooms complete with showers. Inside the clubhouse you’ll also find the Legends Grille where both breakfast and lunch are served. The food is reasonably priced and very delicious. I highly recommend the Philly Cheesesteak Sliders or the Caribbean Fish Tacos after a round of golf. The bar has all of your favorite libations as well as several domestic and craft beers on tap.

Memorable Holes (All Yardage is From the Blue Tees)

Most Memorable Hole: Number 18, Par 4, 371 yards. The distant bunker is a good line for your tee shot. With water running down the entire left side, there is ample room right of the green to bailout. The subtle undulations of the green will make your last putts quite memorable and the view of the Hall of Fame across the water is quite spectacular and definitely camera worthy.

Favorite Par 3: Number 7, 143 yards. This hole is truly a shotmaker’s delight. Fashioned after The Redan, the famous 15th at North Berwick, the flag can be attacked either by carrying the bunkers straightaway, or better yet, by fading a tee shot. This allows the ball to feed down to the hole. Miss the green and you’re most likely staring a big number right in the face. No wonder The Redan is the most copied par 3 in all of golf.

Favorite Par 4: Number 1, 358 yards. The wind will dictate how difficult this hole plays. Keep your tee shot left of the right-side fairway bunkers on this dogleg right. Make it to the dogleg off the tee and you’ll have a short approach to the slightly crowned green. Par – or better – is a good way to jump start your round.

Favorite Par 5: Number 16, 527yards. The last three holes are a daunting task and feature the longest par 5 and the longest par 4 on the course. Shot placement off tee is essential on #16. If you’re feeling good about your game thus far, you may want to take an aggressive line over the fairway bunkers in an attempt to get home in two. Should you choose to layup, you must avoid the left hazard as well as the trees on the right side. The green’s false front slopes heavily back towards the fairway.

Last Word: The Slammer and the Squire provides a challenge regardless of which tees you play from or how good you are. Low handicappers will be challenged by a number of risk/reward opportunities; playing these holes smartly will yield a low score. High handicappers will be glad to know that the greens are pretty straight forward with not a lot of hidden breaks and subtle undulations. They are quick, running about 11 or 12 on the stimpmeter. There’s a full length driving range as well as a large practice putting green and short game area to hone your skills. Should you arrive hungry or get so during your round, the Legends Grille is a great place to grab breakfast or lunch. The food is very good as are the portions. You won’t leave hungry.

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Date Played: March 8, 2018


thegolfinguy
Lakeland, FL
37 Reviews
Forest Hills Golf Club of Augusta, GA
  
Augusta, GA is certainly a well-known golf destination. Outside of that course that very few will ever have the privilege of playing, there are a number of great local tracks that the public does have access to. One of these courses is Forest Hills Golf Course, an 18-hole Donald Ross masterpiece that has been repeatedly named “Best Public Course” by Augusta Magazine.

Ross designed Forest Hills in 1926, and then in 1984, the Arnold Palmer Company redesigned several holes to accommodate construction of the Augusta University Athletic Complex. In 2004, the course was restored to its original design and has remained that way ever since.

There’s a lot of history behind Forest Hills; it’s where Bobby Jones started his Grand Slam of Golf in 1930. It’s also home to the 2010 NCAA Division I National Champions Augusta University Men’s and Women’s Jaguar Golf Teams, a feat which the Men’s Team repeated again in 2011. Several PGA Tour Professionals also played here during their college careers including Phil Michelson and Davis Love III.

Men can choose to play from 5 different sets of tees ranging from 7,140 yards (course rating 74.3 and a slope of 137) to 5,098 (65.3/115). Most guys will find that the White Tees (6,183/70.1/126) will provide them with enough of a challenge that they can still leave with a little dignity. Most women here play from the Silver Tees (5,098/69.9/121). No matter your skill level, just choose the tees that are right for your game and you’ll have a great time.

The golf course at Forest Hills features a variety of holes, some straight, some turn to the right and others dogleg to the left. Water only comes into play on the two par 3 holes on the back, other than that, there’s no wet stuff to worry about. The greens are not too fast and roll true.

Memorable Holes (All Yardage from the White Tees)
Number 1: Par 4, 383 yards. This gently winding dogleg right that plays downhill and features a variety of trees on the right side including dogwoods, magnolias and pines and a sparse pine forest on the left. The green is fronted by a single bunker that guards the front right side of the green and slopes gently from back to front with a lot of undulation. A middle pin position can lead to low scores so be sure to check the pin sheet.

Number 5: Par 4, 351 yards. From the White Tees, a good drive down the right side will easily clear the fairway bunker and can lead to a low score. Others can choose to play out to the right and short of the fairway bunker on the right and then hit a layup shot over it and short of the deep bunker that guards the right side of the green. This is a pretty golf hole.

Number 6: Par 5, 487 yards. This is perhaps the most scenic hole on the golf course. It starts off with a blind tee shot, slightly uphill. Trees line each side of the fairway, creating a narrow passage way and a lone fairway bunker guards the right side off the tee. I’m sure it sees its fair share of balls. Your second shot plays downhill and is also blind and leaves an approach shot to a smaller two-tiered green. There’s not a lot of trouble on this hole, just hit three solid shots to get there and it’s easy!

Number 11: Par 5, 535 yards. This monster par 5 plays straight downhill, with fairway bunker left and trees to the right off the tee. Number 11 also features some unique grass mounding in the middle and right side of the fairway that needs to be avoided on your layup shot. Two fairway bunkers sit about 40 yards short of the green, awaiting any short approach shots. The green is oddly shaped and has a lot of undulation in it. Par is good.

Number 16: Par 3, 159 yards. For a hole that’s pretty straight forward, this one can give you fits. Number 16 plays over water and slightly uphill, perhaps a half to one club longer than normal. Short is better than long as there is plenty of room in front of the green, which is flanked by bunkers on both sides. Anything over the green makes for a tough up and down.

Number 18: Par 4, 286 yards. It’s not often that a golf course ends with the easiest hole on the course but that is exactly what Forest Hills does. Your toughest chore on this hole is to keep your tee shot in the fairway as it can get very narrow in the landing area. A good tee shot will leave a short pitch to a large green with bunkers front, left and right and trees long.

Last Word: Forest Hills offers a good time for golfers of all ages and abilities with wide open fairways, magnificent trees and putting greens that roll fair and true. From the back tees, Forest Hills will challenge even the best of players and the five sets of tees make it playable for any level of golfer. With all of the pine trees, rolling terrain and not much water, Forest Hills has a Carolina Sandhills feel to it.

Before your round, be sure to visit the driving range, where you can hit every club in the bag prior to your round. There’s also a bar and grill to celebrate in after your round as well as banquet facilities.

If you live in the Augusta area or plan on spending a good deal of time there, Forest Hills offers eight different membership plans, so there is something to suite everyone. All memberships include green fees, complimentary usage of the driving range and a two-week advance booking on tee times. They also receive a 15% discount on merchandise other than golf clubs, golf balls, and Augusta University Jaguars gear.

If you plan on being in the area that magical Master weekend in April, be sure to book your round early at Forest Hills. They are running some great Masters Week Packages which include greens fees, cart, range balls and a boxed lunch, all for one low price. You’ll also see some great specials on pro shop merchandise.

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Date Played: March 1, 2018


thegolfinguy
Lakeland, FL
37 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
88 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