Designed by golf-course architect Ted McAnlis, Misty Creek Country Club's emerald terrain traverses a 350-acre wildlife preserve of native wetlands, forests, and lakes. The par 72 course follows the natural topography of the preserve, rife with environmental obstacles such as bunkers, water hazards, and caddy-eating Venus flytraps. Holes also offer a variety of tactical challenges that require both careful putts and meticulously aimed drives. Players can hop into their golf cart to zoom from each ball borough to open plain, enjoying the cool breeze off the marsh as they ride. The course's wildlife preserve is home to more than 70 winged creatures, including a bald eagle that lays golf balls, deer, alligator, and wild boar. Golfers are respectfully asked to adhere to the course dress code.
You don't want to go into the first hole Waterlefe Golf & River Club's 18-hole, Ted McAnlis-designed course cold. Like many tracks on the formidable course, the opening par-five curves around Manatee River and its surrounding ponds; the river imperils any opening drives that veer right, and a separate pond awaits to gobble up any approach shots that miss to the left. From a birds-eye view, parts of the course look like shapely crescents of green carved into the deep-blue waterways. Unfortunately, you'll have to compromise your enjoyment of the scenery with the challenge of avoiding it.
Played from the tips, the par-three 9th hole plays to 230 yards, and it's all marsh from the tee to the green. The river hugs both sides of each of the final three holes, giving each golfer one last chance to prove they can keep their ball dry without having to dress it in a tiny wetsuit.
Though the course may be a harrowing challenge to some, PGA pro Steve Dietz has made it his home. As director of instruction at The Golf Academy of Waterlefe, Steve draws from 25 years of experience as a golf pro to create the curriculum used by his staff of fellow PGA instructors. The Golf Academy's ultimate goal is to help golfers hit straighter drives, more accurate approach shots, and longer putts en route to lower scores. Lessons often incorporate a combination of video swing analysis, user-friendly online tools, and other modern training devices. In addition, the Academy's club-fitting services match golfers with their ideal club set based on swing technique and body type so they know they're getting the most out of their equipment.
Course at a Glance:
Pinebrook/Ironwood’s 3,964-yard executive course challenges every golfer’s stroke and strokes every retina with its beautiful Gulf Coast surroundings. Water borders 16 of the fairways, with 37 bunkers, or 6.4 million years in hourglass time, buffering the well-manicured greens. Budding Ben Hogans can cruise the course in their own golf cart and line up on super-quick Champion Ultra-Dwarf Bermuda grass, which is said to outperform traditional Bermuda for producing a true roll and distorting Mayday signals.
Designed by Charles Ankrom and built in 1970, Sabal Trace Golf and Country Club sends golfers swinging across 18 holes of undulating fairways, intersecting water hazards, and elevated greens. The course caps off the front nine with its longest hole, a 544-yard par-five with a canal that runs along the right side of the fairway and eventually jets across the fairway in front of the green. After finishing their round on the par-four 18th hole, players can recharge at the Tavern by the Green Restaurant, which serves breakfast and lunch daily.
Course at a Glance:
The one-hour, two-person lessons focus heavily on swing improvement. During the lessons, golfers will learn how to successfully decrease strokes. Check out this video for a 60-second preview of what to expect during a lesson. Establishing a natural swing almost takes the golfer out of the game by removing the human element known as over-thinking. This Groupon includes necessary balls, but you should bring your own clubs to re-familiarize yourself with them; part of successfully forging that no-think stroke is using a consistent club of choice. Sign up with a friend, or alone to be placed into a session by Mike.
Framing an intercoastal highway, Treasure Bay's nine holes sprawl across a manmade peninsula marked by verdure fairways, palm trees, and strategically placed sand traps. Golfing foursomes with today's deal can play through the par 3 course back to back for a total of 18 holes apiece. Conversely, solo golfers can drive, chip, and putt through four separate rounds to gain an intimate knowledge of the course's greens, bunkers, and hidden passages that are actually just the inside of a stranger's golf bag. The 905-yard course is replete with water hazards in the form of a shimmering bay, dual ponds, and a swamp monster who merrily doctors scorecards.