We found it in excellent condition for such a young course. It's benefited from the time it was allowed to bed in before they allowed golfers on it. There are 5 Men's tees ranging from 7108 yards long on the Black tees (rating 74.6/slope 139) to 5179 yards short on the Silver tees (rating 65.4/slope 107), so it suits all levels of golfers. here are 2 Ladies tees also. A Par 72, most holes are long enough to present a tough challenge, even from the middle White tees at 6301 yards, which we used. The course features well manicured fairways with lots of natural underlations. Thick semi rough means one can often only see the top of your ball. Prior to playing I had heard concerns of poor drainage on the fairways, but with no measureable rain for well over a week before we played, we saw no such problems. There are many well placed fairway bunkers and strategic greenside bunkers ranging in size and shape throughout the course. Pine & Cyprus trees line most fairways on either one or both sides of the hole. Where there's no trees, you'll likely find water. It's clear that great care has been taken to utilise the natural elements and contours of the environment. Most holes are straight, very straight. If I'm being critical, probably too straight. It's not until the 13th hole that you'll find anything approaching a dog leg. A shape repeated at the 15th, then back to straight and long all the way home. And the 14th is straight also. The greens were in great condition and fast. But be warned, half of the holes have little or no room for error beyond the green so great care must be taken not to overhit your approach. Standout holes (for me) 4th, a standard length par 5, miss the 2 big bunkers from the tee and you've only got to avoid the 5 huge bunkers that diagonally block your approach to the green. 8th, another par 5, driving over water to find the narrowest of fairways. 11th, the par 3 'signature' hole with a bunker encircling almost the entire green. Only allowing access from the front between 7 and 5 o'clock. 12th, the longest par 5, at 623 yards, it seems to go on forever and requires 3 of your best to find the green. 13th, a short par 4, dog leg left around water, but play too safe and you'll find one of 3 huge bunkers on the right. 15th, a longer par 4, again dog leg left, again around water, but a welcome change from the straight and narrow. 17th, the longest par 4 with an intimdating drive over water to reach the fairway which starts some 250 yards into the hole. A special mention for the wildlife living in harmony alongside the golfer. A multitude of birds natural to Florida, along with the usual reptiles & insects are expected. But Turtles inhabit the lakes and can be seen as you cross any of the 5 wooden cart bridges. Less obvious on our visit was the 10ft aligator that lives in the lake (allegedly) between the 2nd/3rd and 7th/8th holes, or the baby gators that tend to dwell under the aforementioned bridges. Overall, a long, tough course with great natural features. Age will only improve it and my only wish would be for more variety in the shaping of the holes. But a thoroughly enjoyable experience nonetheless.
May 13, 2013