Mountain Lake - Florida - USA

Mountain Lake,
2300 North Scenic Highway,
Lake Wales,
Florida (FL) 33898


  • +1 863 676 5900


Mountain Lake is one of Florida’s best-kept secrets and was originally listed on this website in October 2006 as a hidden gem. Since then, we have expanded our Florida Best In State listings and this 1916 Seth Raynor classic has finally made it onto a ranking list.

Located in the Central Florida lake region, Mountain Lake is part of a community that dates back to 1915. Frederick Law Olmsted Jr. whose dad was considered the “father of American landscape architecture” designed it.

The course itself is a quintessential classic but it took significant restoration effort at the turn of the new millennium by Brian Silva – aided by vintage aerial photography – to rediscover lost Raynor bunkers and greens that had been improperly modified over the years.

Mountain Lake can now hold claim to being an authentic, classical Seth Raynor course, which will no doubt become more widely recognised.

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Reviews for Mountain Lake

Average Reviewers Score:
Description: Seth Raynor moved very little earth at Mountain Lake. The holes sit on rolling terrain not typically associated with Florida. Rating: 9.6 out of 10 Reviews: 5
TaylorMade
Javier Pintos

I came to this course by surprise when hosting a LACC and Philly Cricket Member in Argentina and Uruguay last year. Since then my friend suggested me that this course was a must play and I just waited for his ok to do it. In the meanwhile I read a lot of stuff about it and it was unanimous that this one was a very special course from the Golder Era so I moved forward and arranged it.

It was not the typical 4hs round with three other players, walking and experiencing the course together but just myself, after flying the night before from Buenos Aires and then Mountain Lake Golf Course - Photo by reviewer driving for 4hs to the course. And it was literally jumping off the course, changing my shoes and directly to the first tee in maybe one of the final days of the season with no more than 20 players on the course, the Club House already closed for renovation and even the 19th Hole Bar closed. All of this on a hot humid day with millions of bugs hanging around and sticking to your legs in pairs, I believe it was reproduction season!!

I played 2 rounds, almost consecutive, each of them in around 2hs, on my own with a cart. Is this the best way to enjoy a course? No, but probably the best to analize it, take your time to watch every detail and just be amazed by the features Raynor created 100 years ago and still remain untouched and quite challenging for the game for today’s technology.

In the names of the holes you will find them all: Double Plateau, Alps, Biarritz, Road, Short, Eden, Redan, Punch Bowl, Carry, Raynor … and there are some of them that are even the best of their model.

Will try to point out the best ones:

- Par 3 5th Biarritz, extremely long Mountain Lake Golf Course - Photo by reviewer green where there can be a 3/4 clubs difference from short to long pin position, with OB on the left as well.

- Par 5 8th Raynor with a hidden lake which is not seen from the fairway has a very tough green to judge.

- Par 3 11th Redan is just GREAT, I was both times just short of the green with a short pin and both times a decent chip went 5mts past the hole.

- Par 4 15th Punch Bowl maybe the best green, both times hit very good shots from 50yds and the putts I faced downhill were just frightening fast.

- Par 4 18th facing club House with a nice name Colony House due to the style of the construction is just very good finale, up the hill and again tough to judge exact distance.

A Great experience and another lesson of golf architecture learned, length is not necessary to make quality. Mountain Lake is one of those great examples!

June 26, 2019
8 / 10
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Steve MacQuarrie
Just off one of the strip mall-infested highways that abound in Florida lies one of the state’s original gated communities—and among its most charming. As at Fisher’s Island, Seth Raynor was teamed with the Olmsted Brothers (sons of Frederick Law Olmsted) to create Florida’s first gated community cum golf course. Though Mountain Lake lack’s Fisher’s spectacular views, it’s peppered with the same Raynor features that delight the golfer at both courses. Template holes include Double Plateau, Maiden, Biarritz, Eden, Punchbowl, Short, Road and Alps. Raynor’s signature squared off greens abound. A note on template holes in general: While a couple at Mountain Lake (most notably Alps and Road) are pale versions of the originals at Prestwick and the Old Course, those who make that comparison miss the point: Raynor saw them as templates and copied the strategic challenge, but not necessarily the hole. Not all the work is Raynor’s, however. In the early years of this century, the club hired Brian Silva to restore Raynor’s work. Silva did an outstanding job, even going so far as to square off the corners of some bunkers. Charles Banks also contributed. Soon after Raynor’s untimely death, the former assistant returned to add the par 5 8th hole—a version of “Raynor’s Prized Dogleg”. Banks also built the Short hole at that time. In 2015 the green on Short (#9) was changed to include a doughnut, a round ridge with a slight depression inside, found on only a handful of other Raynor courses. There’s even a bit of MacKenzie-style camouflage here. My favorite drive is from the 12th tee, where three bunkers obscure the fairway entirely. It turns out one of the bunkers is on the far side of the fairway and there is room to place one’s drive among the three in the fairway. But even then, as at many of the holes here, Raynor includes a line of charm, where the risk of driving near a hazard is rewarded with a superior angle to the green. The challenges do not, however, end with the approach shots. Once on Mountain Lake’s greens, the golfer is confronted with Raynor’s lovely contours. There are only a couple Florida courses I’d rather play than this one.
March 06, 2016
10 / 10
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Mike
March 09, 2016
Mountain Lake is certainly the best "winter Raynor" out there with its location in Florida. Much, much more consistent than Black Diamond in Florida, which has four spectacular quarry holes, but not much else. I play with a nationally ranked senior amateur, and he places it with TPC Sawgrass for best in Florida, and ahead of Seminole. It is the true hidden gem, as very few have heard of it.
steve smith
Very underrated and unknown golf course. Fun to walk, play and putt. Love the history as well.
February 12, 2015
10 / 10
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jeff irish
A true hidden gem that doesn't get talked about too much. I loved the square greens and bunkers....biarritz, redan, and a fairly good amount of hills for the middle of florida.
November 18, 2014
10 / 10
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nicholas roy
beutiful course...square greens and bunkers...a real step in time when you play here ...old florida (you feel like you are stepping back 100 years in time 100) ...they grow their own citrus fruits at the club..so serve their own orange & grapefruit juice...the course is first classs...complete with a `Redan` par 3 (copied from North Berwick...if you get a chance definately play it
September 06, 2012
10 / 10
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