Fans of Tom Fazio may want to take heed when the architect discusses his design at the Ranch Course at the Black Diamond Ranch: The final trio of holes "represent the three best finishing holes I've ever designed." That’s high self-praise...we’re not going to weigh in on that argument, but it’s certainly possible the trio are among his most difficult closing holes.
The par five at No. 16 doglegs several times across its 588 yards. No. 17 does not dogleg at all, but as a 250-yard par three, it doesn’t really need to. Finally, at just 415 yards, the closing hole doesn’t seem like much on paper, but it’s a long walk up to the clubhouse.
Whatever you think Fazio’s best trio of closing holes is, it’s worth noting that this trio came at the Ranch course, while many golfers have seen the property’s other course — The Quarry — more prominently on rankings. Like many other properties that differentiate between their most acclaimed course and a “little brother,” Ranch is allegedly the preferred 18 for day-to-day play among members.
Over the years when the PGA Show has been held in Orlando, I have made it a point to use that location as a springboard to venture to other nearby communities and sample the golf. My first awareness about Black Diamond was tied to its notable Quarry Course.
Interestingly, during a later visit I was told the Quarry was having an event and that the Ranch was the only golf option. I was told the Ranch is often preferred by the membership and I opted to play it.
The comments Doug provided in his review are 100% spot on.
The Ranch is a fine complimentary layout and while it will likely never get the fanfare of its big brother Quarry Course the golf experience provided is worth checking out.
When you commence the round at the Ranch -- be forewarned -- hit some balls to thoroughly loosen up because the first two holes -- both engaging par-4's do not suffer hapless plays readily.
Candidly, the 3rd and 10th -- both par-5's -- could be reduced to par-4's for the low handicap player. and therefore, have a par total of 70 instead of 72.
As Doug spelled out, the turf conditions are on the same page with both courses. The property is also beyond the usual flat-as-a-pancake type that is often found in The Sunshine State.
One of the more interesting elements at the Ranch is the variety of green shapes and contours. What the layout gives to some degree off the tee -- the intensity meter picks up considerably as you get nearer to the putting surfaces.
The only downside for me when playing the layout is the plethora of housing that engulfs the layout. Yes, I am aware that housing provided the needed funds to create both courses. Fortunately, the housing is generally set far enough back so that its presence is less of an issue than say when one plays golf in southeast or southwest Florida.
As Doug rightly pointed out, the Ranch has a quality trio of holes that bring the round to a fine conclusion. Those coming to Black Diamond should be sure to play both courses if the time and opportunity presents itself.
M. James Ward
Black Diamond Ranch course. Normally when one visits Black Diamond they go to play the Quarry. The Ranch is however a good day out and holds it's own quite well. The conditioning is excellent and the green contours are very good. The course delivers maybe Tom Fazio's best finish.
1 is a par 4dogleg right with a large bunker protecting the corner
2 is a par 4dogleg left with a slightly elevated green
3 is a short par 5 basically straight with a large deep bunker to the left of green so stay right
4 is a challenging par 4 requiring a precise drive into a bunker waste area right and a deep bunker left, slightly elevated green well bunkered
5 is a shortish par 3 with a waste area between the tee and green but predominantly not in play
6 is a short par 4 requiring your tee ball to avoid the waste area right and bunkers left
7 is a par 4 straight with bunkers to the right of landing area. The green is one of the deepest on the course
8 is a good length par 3 with almost all forced carry over water. The green has 3 tiers
9 a par 5 with bunkers the whole way down the left, stay right as greenside there is a large tree protecting the left side of the green
10 starts the back with another par 5 with bunkers left and right but prefer the right as greenside bunkers are left
11 is a short par 3 that requires you to just not hit into the difficult bunker on the short right
12 is a big par 4 with wide expanse with trees sitting toward the right side, the green is well bunkered
13 a short par 4 with bunkers right and water right
14 a par 4 with bunkers out left and right so to form a narrow area so best to lay up, green is well protected
15 starts the difficult finish a par 4 dogleg right to a tiered green
16 is a long par 5 which zig zags bunkers and is best approached from the left and the green slopes away
17 is a long par 3 with bunkers covering the entire way on the left and a massive tree near the green on the right
18 is a par 4 of average length but the many strategic bunkers in the landing area and a deep bunker on the right short side of green
The Ranch creates a great 2nd course to the Quarry. There is also another 9 called the Highlands. Historically Black Diamond has been a private community. They offer stay and play's now and I would highly recommend a visit to take everything in.