No. 17 at TPC Sawgrass is certainly the most famous island green in the world, however the most notorious version may be at Apple Tree Golf Course. Although this apple-shaped island may be the opposite of “minimalist design,” the resort has good reason to tout its favorite fruit: The land got its beginning as orchard land and the original purpose for the property continues. At several points during your round at the resort’s golf course, you’ll pass between rows of apple trees.
In keeping with its feel for flair, Apple Tree hired John Steidel to lay out this route. Although few holes have a chance at outshining the penultimate par three, Steidel does not hesitate to create some other eye-catching, nerve-wracking challenges.
No. 18 features one of the property’s irrigation ponds, jutting in at odd angles from the left, guiding players to go farther right. They must then decide whether to cross the creek that cuts across the fairway ahead of the green. In case you forgot where you were playing, there is one more large, apple-shaped bunker that splits time between the greens for nos. 9 and 18.
This is a fun course, but could very easily become a great course. This has been my home course for the past 12 months and I have seen it through every shape. In March and late in the year(November-December) the greens are firm, fast and the course plays amazing. Every other month of the year(especially when the water is on) the greens and even the fairways are always mushy and wet. I understand that there are challenges with types of grass, but the turf team is more concerned with things being green than anything. On the other hand, it is a "resort style" course and this makes it more playable for the average golfer.
The front 9 has a lot of great variety, challenge and intrigue. The back 9 leaves something to be desired until you it 15 and then 15-18 is a good stretch. The layout is a plus, the conditioning is the only thing holding this course back! The staff in the pro shop, and the restaurant are great!