Recent FL 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


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
  
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


thegolfinguy
Lakeland, FL
37 Reviews
Windsor Parke Golf Club of Jacksonville, FL
  
Windsor Parke Golf Club is a semi-private, 18-Hole championship golf course designed by Arthur Hills and has been recognized as one of Florida's top 100 courses. Over the years, Windsor Parke has hosted more USGA qualifying events than any other course in the city of Jacksonville; qualifiers for such tournaments as the US Open, US Amateur, US Publinks and US Senior Amateur. It’s also recognized by the NGCOA as a “Beginner Friendly” golf course.

There are four sets of tees that play anywhere from 5206 yards for the ladies to 6765 yards for accomplished players. Average players will find the White Tees (6,003) yards a fitting challenge. In the clubhouse, you will find a well-stocked pro shop with a plethora of logoed apparel and a restaurant/lounge area that offers all your favorite clubhouse foods and adult beverages. Windsor Parke is also a good place to tune up your game with great practice facilities, including a targeted grass range that lets you hit every club in the bag as well as putting and chipping greens.

This championship layout has Arthur Hills written all over it with its rolling fairways, elevation changes and strategically placed bunkers. Several holes feature forced carries over water, including 3 of the 4 par 3 holes and a couple of par 4s. That doesn’t include carries that macho golfers will encounter when they try to reach the par 5 greens in two.

Off the tees, the fairways are fairly easy to find, however several approach shots leave little room for error. For the most part, greens are fairly level with subtle undulations. As always, greens in regulation often equate to good scores. Hills also had some fun with green complexes, as can be seen from the devilish little pot bunkers around the 8th green. Here are a few of the favorites:

Pro’s Pick: Number 4: Par 4, 388 yards (Blue Tees). A dogleg left that plays 388 yards from the Blue Tees and features water all down the left side and strategically placed bunkers on the right in the landing area. If you’re not overly long off the tee, these bunkers are a great aiming point. A decent drive will leave you about 150 yards downhill to a green protected on the left by water.

Member’s Favorite: Number 6: Par 5, 533 yards (Blue Tees). This long, straight par 5 has trees framing both sides of the fairway. The creek that crosses the fairway just in front of the green makes this a three-shot hole for most players. Par is a good score here.

My Favorite(s): Three finishing that will really test your mettle. Number 16 (par 4, 426 yards) features a narrow fairway with water all down the left side and trees lining the right. The green is protected by a large bunker on the left. Number 17 (par 5, 531 yards) is a carbon copy of 16, only 100+ yards longer and has more bunkering around the green. Number 18 (Par 4, 351 yards) requires a tee shot over water to a wide-open fairway and then an approach shot over more water to an awaiting green protected on the left by water. Par or better on these last three holes usually means a good score.

Windsor Parke is one of the best values I came across during my visit to the Jacksonville area, especially when you consider it’s an Arthur Hills layout. Members I spoke with had nothing but good things to say about what Brown Golf has done with the facility since acquiring it in 2015. They continue to make improvements to both the course and the clubhouse.

Memberships are available at Windsor Parke and include unlimited golf and use of all practice facilities with a discounted range plan, reciprocal play at all other Brown Golf facilities and a reciprocal membership at Julington Creek Golf Club.

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Date Played: July 24, 2017 | Cost: $0.00


thegolfinguy
Lakeland, FL
37 Reviews
Windsor Parke Golf Club of Jacksonville, FL
  
Windsor Parke Golf Club is a semi-private, 18-Hole championship golf course designed by Arthur Hills and has been recognized as one of Florida's top 100 courses. Over the years, Windsor Parke has hosted more USGA qualifying events than any other course in the city of Jacksonville; qualifiers for such tournaments as the US Open, US Amateur, US Publinks and US Senior Amateur. It’s also recognized by the NGCOA as a “Beginner Friendly” golf course.

There are four sets of tees that play anywhere from 5206 yards for the ladies to 6765 yards for accomplished players. Average players will find the White Tees (6,003) yards a fitting challenge. In the clubhouse, you will find a well-stocked pro shop with a plethora of logoed apparel and a restaurant/lounge area that offers all your favorite clubhouse foods and adult beverages. Windsor Parke is also a good place to tune up your game with great practice facilities, including a targeted grass range that lets you hit every club in the bag as well as putting and chipping greens.

This championship layout has Arthur Hills written all over it with its rolling fairways, elevation changes and strategically placed bunkers. Several holes feature forced carries over water, including 3 of the 4 par 3 holes and a couple of par 4s. That doesn’t include carries that macho golfers will encounter when they try to reach the par 5 greens in two.

Off the tees, the fairways are fairly easy to find, however several approach shots leave little room for error. For the most part, greens are fairly level with subtle undulations. As always, greens in regulation often equate to good scores. Hills also had some fun with green complexes, as can be seen from the devilish little pot bunkers around the 8th green. Here are a few of the favorites:

Pro’s Pick: Number 4: Par 4, 388 yards (Blue Tees). A dogleg left that plays 388 yards from the Blue Tees and features water all down the left side and strategically placed bunkers on the right in the landing area. If you’re not overly long off the tee, these bunkers are a great aiming point. A decent drive will leave you about 150 yards downhill to a green protected on the left by water.

Member’s Favorite: Number 6: Par 5, 533 yards (Blue Tees). This long, straight par 5 has trees framing both sides of the fairway. The creek that crosses the fairway just in front of the green makes this a three-shot hole for most players. Par is a good score here.

My Favorite(s): Three finishing that will really test your mettle. Number 16 (par 4, 426 yards) features a narrow fairway with water all down the left side and trees lining the right. The green is protected by a large bunker on the left. Number 17 (par 5, 531 yards) is a carbon copy of 16, only 100+ yards longer and has more bunkering around the green. Number 18 (Par 4, 351 yards) requires a tee shot over water to a wide-open fairway and then an approach shot over more water to an awaiting green protected on the left by water. Par or better on these last three holes usually means a good score.

Windsor Parke is one of the best values I came across during my visit to the Jacksonville area, especially when you consider it’s an Arthur Hills layout. Members I spoke with had nothing but good things to say about what Brown Golf has done with the facility since acquiring it in 2015. They continue to make improvements to both the course and the clubhouse.

Memberships are available at Windsor Parke and include unlimited golf and use of all practice facilities with a discounted range plan, reciprocal play at all other Brown Golf facilities and a reciprocal membership at Julington Creek Golf Club.

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Date Played: July 24, 2017 | Cost: $0.00


thegolfinguy
Lakeland, FL
37 Reviews
  
The Julington Creek Golf Club in Jacksonville is managed by Brown Golf, who have done an outstanding job of returning the club to its former glory. The course originally opened as a 9-hole course in 1989 and was designed by Robert C. Walker. New ownership took over in 1991, led by former PGA Tour Professional Steve Melnyk, who designed 9 new holes and developed the course to what it is today. Over the years, Julington Creek has played host to several events including the Hooters Tour, North Florida Junior Tour and USGA Qualifiers.

From the back tees, Julington Creek plays 6,908 yards, with a course rating of 72.4 and a slope of 127. Most golfers will find a formidable challenge from the White Tees (5,888/67.6/114). Ladies typically play from the Green Tees, which at 5,059 yards (69.6/115) will prove to be a good test. The bottom line is that, no matter how good or bad you are, Julington Creek has a set of tees to match your skill level.

Julington Creek features several interesting holes. Number 1, although somewhat short, makes you hit an honest tee shot in order to leave yourself a short pitch to a fairly open green. The second hole features a tree-lined fairway and is straight away; pretty simple until you get up near the green. Hit your approach shot short right and you might find yourself in with a nasty lie in a deep bunker. Number 11 features fairway bunkers at the turn of the dogleg which can lead to a high number should you find yourself in one of them. Hit your tee shot left of the 150-yard marker and you’ll likely have to contend with a large, mature oak tree between you and the green. Here are some other favorites:

Julington Creek offers three levels of memberships, some that include reciprocal privileges to Windsor Parke Golf Club. You’ll also receive unlimited use of the driving range, free golf lessons, discounts on guest fees and access to the Brown Golf Reciprocal program.

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Date Played: July 19, 2017 | Cost: $0.00


GYE.Ocala
Ocala, FL
1 Reviews
  
Staff was nice, couse overall is in rough shape and needs lots of TLC. Won't be going back anytime soon.

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Date Played: May 4, 2017 | Cost: $34.00


ben
Waterford, CT
3 Reviews
Blue Heron Pines of Punta Gorda, FL
  
interesting round, nice staff

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Date Played: January 4, 2017 | Cost: $25


thegolfinguy
Lakeland, FL
37 Reviews
Kingsway Country Club of Lake Suzy, FL
  
Kingsway Country Club – A Must Play, From Sarasota To Naples

If you’re looking to play a great golf course with a country club feel at daily fee rates, I suggest giving Kingsway Country Club in Lake Suzy, FL. The course is conveniently located less than a mile from I-75 just off exit 170, minutes away from Punta Gorda and Port Charlotte, an area of the state that is very popular for both retirement and relocation.

The first thing you see when you arrive at the property is the clubhouse, an 18,000-square foot Old Florida style building with a lot of class. Inside is a large grille room with multiple large, flat screen TVs to catch all your favorite sporting events, a game room and a very elegant dining room, where you can have an intimate dinner party for that special someone or host a gala event. Kingsway’s outside verandah is also a great place to relax and enjoy a cold one after your round.

Before your round, you owe it to your golf game to warm up on Kingsway’s spacious driving range. Here you’ll find an unlimited supply of range balls, an excellent short game area with a chipping green and practice bunker and a massive practice green. You will find that the practice facility is as meticulously maintained as the golf course; you may just feel like spending the day on the range.

Kingsway Country Club originally opened in 1976 and in 2005 went through a complete redesign by golf course architects Ron Garl and Chip Powell. From the back tees, the course plays 7,001 yards with a course rating of 75.0 and a slope of 137. With six sets of tees to choose from, golfers of all abilities can play from a yardage they are comfortable with. I found that Tee No. 3 (6,129/71.6/131) provided a very fitting challenge.

One of the nice things about this course is the proximity of the greens to the next tee box, a fancy way of saying this course is easy to walk. And many players take full advantage of that, especially during the season. Even with walkers, it’s still easy to get around the course in a little more than 4 hours.

Memorable Holes
Favorite Hole: Number 12, 335 yards (Tee Number 3): When Ron Garl redesigned the Kingsway Country Club course, he totally redesigned Number 12. What you have now is a short par 4 that demands accuracy off the tee and then forces you to carry the green on your approach. There is a large waste area down the left side which ends as the fairway starts to slope downward. Off the tee, carry the waste area where it meanders into the fairway and avoid the two pot bunkers on the right, and you’ll leave yourself a short pitch shot to a small, elevated green surrounded in front by sand. Although this is the shortest par 4 on the course, it is by no means a pushover.

Favorite Par 3: Number 16, 144 yards (Tee Number 3). The key to doing your best on this hole is to hit a high tee shot that lands soft and sticks. The first order of business off the tee is to clear the water and carry the bunker that fronts the green. With the green being so shallow, only a lofty tee shot will stop short of the bunker behind the green. A delicate tee shot can translate into a low score.

Favorite Par 4: Number 6, 374 yards (Tee Number 3). Number 6 offers an interesting risk/reward opportunity. With the fairway sloping from left to right, a drive that carries the left edge of the bunker will be greatly rewarded and take full advantage of the slope. Hit this shot, and you’ll be left with a short iron approach shot. If the bunker is too much to carry, play down the left side of the fairway to have the best line into a green that is heavily protected on the right side by sand and water. Another solid golf hole.

Favorite Par 5: Number 15, 509 yards (Tee Number 3). This three-shot, par 5 is Kingsway’s signature hole and for most players, it’s a 3-shot hole. That is, unless you crush your tee shot, then you may be tempted to go for it. To do that, not only will you need the drive of your life, you’ll have to hit a long, high approach shot that carries a second lake. Most players should opt to play their layup shot towards the fairway bunker on the left to avoid the waste area on the right side. Then, your approach shot is to an elevated green fronted by two bunkers. The putting green has a lot of undulation and can prove to be tricky. Make par or better and you’ve done well.

Last Word: This place has private club written all over it. From the elegance of the clubhouse, to the friendliest and most professional staff in the area, to the highly manicured grounds and golf course, non-members should consider themselves lucky to have the opportunity to play this track. Fairway divots are and filled with sand, sand bunkers are meticulously raked, and the areas around waterways are neatly trimmed. You’ll feel bad if you don’t repair your ball marks.

Many holes are well bunkered in front, forcing you to take enough club and carry your approach shot onto the green. This may make it more difficult for seniors, who prefer to bump and run the ball onto the green. Layup shots on par 5 holes need to avoid either water or sand, adding a certain level of accuracy necessary to score well on these holes. Two of the par 5s require a carry over water, but if you’re playing from the tees that best suit your handicap, it shouldn’t be a problem.

The TifEagle greens are amazing – fast and true. The subtle undulations and long, sweeping breaks on a few keep you honest on the putting green.

In addition to great golf, Kingsway Country Club is also the perfect venue for weddings, banquets, business meetings, and parties. Memberships are also available and Kingsway is unique with their various dues structures. Their ultimate equity membership includes unlimited golf with cart, unlimited use of the practice facilities, club storage and handicap service. There are also a variety of other memberships, such as a “pay as you play" program that has become very attractive to the local business community. Social and Dining memberships are also available. Call J.B. Belknap at 941-625-9827 Ext.5 or email him jbbelknap@kingswaycountryclub.com to learn more about all the options.

To learn more about Kingsway Country Club or to set up a tee time, give them a call at 941-625-9827 or visit their website: www.kingswaycountryclub.com. Kingsway was once an exclusively private club, but economic changes forced them to allow a limited amount of outside play. Sooner or later, membership is going to be back at a level that will allow them to be private again. My advice is to play it while you can. Or better yet, join!

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Date Played: December 6, 2016


thegolfinguy
Lakeland, FL
37 Reviews
The Club At Eaglebrooke of Lakeland, FL
  
The Club at Eaglebrooke – A Hidden Gem in Polk County
The 18-hole Eaglebrooke course at the Club at Eaglebrooke in Lakeland, Florida features 7,030 yards of golf from the back tees and plays to a par of 72. From the back, the course rating is 74.6 with a slope rating of 140 on Bermuda grass. Most players will have all they can handle from the White Tees at 6316 yards. There are a total of six sets of tees; just select the one that best suits your handicap. The course was designed by renowned architect Ron Garl and opened for play in 1996. Golf Digest consistently rates Eaglebrooke 4 ½ stars and has designated it course as one of the Best Places to Play for the past nine years.
As you drive in to the parking lot, you will notice the driving range on your right. Eaglebrooke has one of the most comprehensive practice facilities in the area, something that is quickly becoming a Ron Garl trademark. There is a full length driving range with numerous target greensand you can hit balls to your hearts content with a paid greens fee. In fact, many golfers pay one price and use the practice facilities all day long. Next, there is a short game area complete with a large, slightly elevated putting green for chipping as well as bunkers to practice your sand shots. Not a bad idea to brush up on you sand game as Garl has strategically placed several evil pot bunkers around greens. Lastly is the immense practice green that is always in great shape. Be sure to roll a few putts before your round and you will see how fast and true they roll.
The pro shop is fully stocked with all of the latest equipment and logoed apparel and hats and you will find their pricing competitive with the big box stores. Head Professional John Greiner and his staff are there to serve you and can help fix your swing If need be.
Most Memorable Hole: Number 2, Par 4, 384 yards (White Tees). Leave your driver in the bag on this hole! Instead, choose a fairway wood, hybrid or long iron off the tee. You only need to hit it about 210 - 220 yards. From there you will be faced with an uphill shot of about 130 – 140 yards to a green that is much wider than it is deep. Anything over the green spells trouble in the form of sand. Number 2 is a good test of target golf.

Last Word:

Picking only one hole as a favorite was not an easy task; Ron Garl has created a number of them out here. Like all Ron Garl courses, Eaglebrooke is playable for golfers of all levels. There are a few long carries for seniors from the gold tees, but overall the course is manageable. You will find a lot of rolling terrain on both fairways and greens. The course is in fantastic shape all year round.

Eaglebrooke demands both length and thought off the tee. Some holes will require your best tee shots in order to get on in regulation; others will take driver out of your hand and have you thinking about your second shot. There are a number of risk/reward opportunities as well.

For more information, visit them online at www.eaglebrooke.com or give them a call at (863) 701-0101.

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Date Played: July 12, 2016 | Cost: $75