|Steve Smyers laid out Wentworth Golf Club’s course, with fairways weaving through a landscape of woodland and water in Pinellas County.|
I am surprised that this course made this list. I have nothing against Wentworth. The gates driving in are cool but that is about it for me. I would argue the course is too tight and maintains water in summers. I would rather play across the street at Crescent Oaks (who I have no loyalty to) where the course is set up in an interesting manner. Six holes are tight, six are playable and six are wide open. It is more of a fair test. Wentworth is TOUGH.
Good layout, the front is much tighter than the back with lots of oak tree squeezing the fairways. The first hole while not very long can be tricky. Favor the left side off the tee, be wary of the two fairway bunkers hugging the left side. There is also a water hazard on the left. Unless you hit a really bad approach shot it should not be in play. The long par 4 second is a beast. Unless you have a strong power fade you need to be left of the tee and everything is contoured right. Add in an elevated green and it is justifiably the toughest hole on the course. You may choose to exhale on the short driveable par 4 3rd. However, there is a gaggle of bunkers protecting this fun risk reward hole. The par 3 4th green is tilted right to left. I would advocate aiming about 5 yards right of the flag. The par 5 5th is short and reachable. Left off the tee will increase you chances of success. The 7th is a relatively short par 3. It is an indicator of the state of affairs for this course. Former bunkers behind the green have been let go to fallow. Either make them grass bunkers or not, they are in the DMZ today. The 8th hole is another reachable par 5, but you must be left off the tee. There is a strategically placed oak tree on the right that will preclude most mortals from even thinking about going for it. The 9th is another short par 4, favor the right off the tee. As with many holes this means aiming over oak trees hugging the fairway.
The back starts with a par five slight dogleg right, hard to reach in two. The 11th is a good par four dogleg left with the green protected by water half in front and on the right. Certainly, a test of internal fortitude when the pin is back right. The 12th is a cute short par 3 over water. Followed by another dogleg left. There are 3 bunkers on the right elbow, aim at the furthest left. The 14th is a 200+ yard par 3. The 15th is one of the tightest holes, especially for us hookers. Start your tee shot over the right treeline. There is a fairway bunker left in the landing area and little no to room before OB left of the cart path. The par 5 17th is another reachable par 5. However, there are a couple of obstacles. There is a marsh gunch right starting about 200 yards out from the green and a fairway bunker left about 175 yards from the green. I am not a long hitter, yet I was just short of the left bunker. Not sure about the yardage on this hole.
Overall, I liked the layout, but conditions were tired at best. Having said that, green fees are extremely reasonable, hence a great value.