Monday, December 27, 2010

Swiss Fairways Golf Course in Florida

There are a lot of golf courses in the Clermont/Orlando area but Denny and I are fairly parsimonious when it comes to paying golf fees so this time around he picked the Swiss Fairways Golf Course. For the two of us to play eighteen holes with a riding cart it cost $53.50 and by the end of the day we thought it well worth the money.

You will notice the sand hill cranes in the middle of the first photograph; I'd much rather have these birds with their prehistoric sounding croaks than the ubiquitous and very messy Canada geese.
The photograph above is of the second hole on the golf course. This is a par three hole and the picture was taken from the women's tee. At the men's tee there is a sign warning golfers to watch for boats which made us wonder since we appeared to be at the end of a channel.
The next thing we knew, there was a roar of engine and this:
Yeah, how many golf courses have YOU played where there are water skiers training beside the greens?

Skier distractions aside, Denny was playing the blue tees today at 6725 yards with a rating/slope of 72.3/126 while I played the red women's tees at 4691 yards with a rating/slope of 63.2/109.

While a few houses came into play for Denny because of wildly errant shots, for the most part the fairways are wide open albeit lined with water on a few holes. It is the sand traps that make this golf course evil, as shown by the eighth hole, a par 3, below. The entire front half of the green is ringed with a long sand trap. Rather than deal with it, Denny and I both parred the hole, a first for us (parring the same hole.)
On the back nine the course started backing up with players and Denny and I ended up pairing up with Vincent and Jerry (the Americanized versions of their French names which I couldn't pronounce.) Vincent and Jerry are from Orleans, France and are spending the month in Florida. They both have traveled extensively in the western part of the U.S. in the winter time and both absolutely love the vast and scenic beauty to be found in our country. Denny and I agree! We spent the rest of a very pleasant afternoon on the golf course with these two gentlemen and followed our game with a great meal at the Oakwood Smokehouse which serves great BBQ. Denny and I tied scores (under a hundred but that's as far as I'll share) and we had a great day. We'd love to go back but the temperatures have dropped here in Florida and I don't think we'll be going out in 40 degree weather to play golf. We don't love the game THAT much!

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Saturday, December 18, 2010

Torrey Oaks Golf Course

For the second week of our stay in Wauchula we decided to play golf a little bit closer to home at the Torrey Oaks Golf Course in Bowling Green, Florida. This time we paid $23 each to play eighteen holes with a riding cart and we were able to pay those rates for a 10AM tee time. Credit cards are accepted for that rate also.

The fairways and rough is a little rougher at Torrey Oaks than what they were at the Bluffs. It is a much shorter course, playing shorter than the distances given at the tee boxes and on the score card which was rather confusing for us first time players. Per the score card, the blue tees have a yardage of 6335 with a slope/rating of 128/70.7 while the women's tees have a yardage of 5075 yards and a slope/rating of 116/68.1. As I said, the course played shorter than that, as I ended up with four pars and that is unheard of for me--I am a bogey/double bogey golfer through and through. So I for one, had fun on the course.

There are a several holes with water hazards although they really don't come into play for the women's tees. There are plenty of sand traps and this is a course where they make sure to have a rake attached to the back of the riding cart so there's no excuse for not raking the sand traps.
There are houses built on the course and they can come into play with errant shots as can some of the trees but if you hit the ball straight this is an easy course for the average golfer. We were joined on the back nine by a French Canadian couple whose grasp of English wasn't terrific but who played some really good golf and we managed to have a good time despite a bit of a communication problem at times. For my golfing ego, I'd play this course again simply to see a lower score than I normally shoot.

Although we didn't check out the daily/weekly rates since we're staying at a free-for-us membership campground, Torrey Oaks Golf Course also has an adjacent RV park that is very attractively set up and maintained with spacious RV sites. Stay and play, as it were.

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Wednesday, December 15, 2010

The Bluffs Golf Course

Although there is a nine hole golf course near to our campground, we decided to drive ten miles south of Zolfo Springs to the Bluffs Golf Course, 8037 US Hwy 17S, (863) 735-2363 to play its eighteen hole course. I think it was a good decision.

The Bluffs is a shorter course so Denny played the blue tees at a distance of 6254 yards with a slope/rating of 116/69.9. I stayed with the women's tee for a distance of 4809 yards and a slope/rating of 108/67.2. On a bright, dry day we had to remember to play one club longer in distance due to being near sea level, something another golfer told us years ago. It's an easy rule to remember when the weather is humid but harder when the weather is so beautifully dry.

The front nine holes are wide open although there is water along several of the holes. Hole #7 is a par 3 with a green that slopes towards a small lake (and folks playing the blue tee have to hit over the lake.) While the open fairways makes getting to the greens fairly easy, the greens have enough slope and tilt to be tricky. The back nine has several holes that have narrower fairways lined by trees so you can hit into a little more trouble there. It was on the back nine that Denny mentioned that there were no sand traps to which I replied "yes actually there are, you just haven't hit any for once". And of course, on the next hole he ended up in a sand trap. Go figure.

Denny and I had a tee time for 1:11PM and we were the last people on the course although we had to wait on every tee because of all the foursomes ahead of us. We paid $30 each to play 18 holes with a riding cart and to get that price we had to pay cash. The cost would have gone up if we had used a credit card. All in all, I think this is a course we would play again.

Edited 12/17/10: We actually paid $15 each to play 18 holes of golf after 1P for a total of $30. My error.
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Sunday, December 5, 2010

A Lovely Day at Legends Golf Course

After waiting two longs weeks for my strained muscle in my back to stop seizing up whenever I bent over, I finally felt loose enough to try swinging a golf club again. We chose the Legends Golf and Country Club, 1700 Legendary Blvd, Clermont, Florida (352) 243-1118 for our outing since we were able to play for $29.00 plus tax each after twelve noon, down from $35 + in the morning. And since it turned out to be a very cool day, having an afternoon tee time allowed the sun to take a tiny bit of the chill off the air.

Run as a country club the pro shop doesn't allow any jeans/jorts (jean shorts) or collarless shirts and you can't drive the golf carts into the parking lot. There are bag boys to assist you with your bag at the bag drop off and they will put your head covers back on after cleaning off your clubs at the end of your round--always a nice touch. We started off at the tenth hold and had only a threesome behind us for the first two holes and then they dropped well back so Denny and I felt no urgency to rush our play which is always nice and makes for better scoring for both of us. Denny played the blue tees (white at most courses) for a total yardage of 6491 with a slope/rating of 71.1/125. I played the purple (red) tee for a yardage of 4859 and a slope/rating of 68/108.

While the golf course itself is set within a housing development, the fairways are fairly wide in the areas of the homes although the houses can come into play with an errant shot. There are ponds to play around and over, lots of sand traps and the greens are can be tricky as many have slopes and shelves that don't have anywhere near as much break as they appear. Be forewarned!

The only time you'll hear any noise is when you are playing the two holes near Hwy 27, otherwise you'll play the course in near silence, at least at this time of year. The golf course is fairly well maintained although some folks were a bit remiss in taking care of their ball marks on the greens. I think when we come back to the area in two weeks we'll probably come back to this course to play again rather than look elsewhere, although there are certainly other courses that are also within a ten mile radius of the campground. I just played the course so well I'd like to try to do it again!

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