Saturday, April 12, 2014

The Monarch at Royal Highlands, Leesburg, Florida


I found The Monarch at Royal Highlands through an online discount golf website.  Located about ten miles south of Leesburg, Florida, The Monarch is about a 30 minute drive from The Villages.  The golf course is located within a gated community in a pastoral setting.  You'll drive about a mile back into the complex to get to the clubhouse.  I had made tee times online on a Wednesday, which turned out to be the golf course's shotgun start day.  Every twosome/foursome was assigned a hole to tee off upon, and our starting time was set at 1PM; we waited in the parking lot until a horn sounded and then everyone took off.  Of course, the people that live in the community were familiar with this set up and knew where they were going.  The pro shop was kind enough to give us a map of the golf course with all the tee boxes circled and numbered so we had an idea of where we would be starting (on the 11th tee) and a bit about how the holes were set up.  We were assigned another couple as a foursome, but when we arrived at the tee no one came up with us and the other teams were starting to hit so off Denny and I went with no clue of where to hit but pleased with the general layout and condition of this golf course.

The Monarch is a decent length, measuring 6,141 yards from the Tiger (black) tees with a slope/rating of 119/68.9.  The men's/ladies challenge (gold) tees measure in at 5,477 yards with a slope/rating of 111/66.5, while the master (green) tees are placed at 5,131 yards with a slope/rating of 102/65.2 and finally the ladies classic tees (silver) measure in at 4,291 yards with a slope/rating of 98/64.7.  The course includes a hole with a double dog leg, plenty of sand and waste bunkers, nice landscaping and a few hills and ponds thrown in for good measure.  And it was fun.  Pace of play in this format was a brisk 3 1/2 hours to play 18 holes which is terrific for Florida in the winter.

 10th hole.

 15th hole.

Water hazard, no extra charge for the sleeping alligator.
 We paid just under $25 each to play this course, having to pre-pay online with no refunds for cancellations unless the entire golf course closed down due to bad weather.  Denny and I thoroughly enjoyed ourselves on this course and would definitely play it again.

Sunday, March 30, 2014

Water Oak Country Club, Lady Lake, Florida

Hello again!  It's been a while.  Denny and I landed in The Villages, Florida, hanging up the keys to our RV and settling in to the land of golf nirvana.  Here in The Villages, we are privy to eleven country club golf courses and 32 executive golf courses.  The executive courses we play for free, but in the winter season the rates on the championship courses go up so Denny and I have traveled outside of the town limits to play some golf.

Water Oak Country Club is located with a 55+ manufactured home community but the golf course is open to the public.  The golf course is older and is currently in fairly rough condition, but it's also kind of fun.  Water Oak is a shorter eighteen hole golf course, measuring 5,944 yards from the blue tees, 5,704 yards from the white tees and 4,758 yards from the red tees.  The first two fairways are quite narrow, being lined with stately live oak trees and there are a surprising number of elevation changes for this area of Florida (which is pretty darned flat.)  Water comes into play on several holes, so the challenge of the course comes from where you are able to hit the ball to avoid trouble.  

 Between 11 AM and 2 PM you'll currently pay $22 for a round of golf and a riding cart.  That's hard to beat.  There's a small pro shop with some very reasonably priced golf merchandise, a restaurant that offers breakfast and lunch and a bunch of friendly folks out on the golf course.  That's not a bad deal.