The course at Plantation Palms Golf Club slithers among numerous water hazards and over an incessant barrage of elevation changes, keeping golfers on their toes. David Harman orchestrated the links-style layout to tangle with the natural lay of the land and added his own flourishes in the form of large, white sand bunkers and gently billowing greens.
Players make swift acquaintance with local difficulties on a par 5 first hole that stretches 561 yards from the back tees. Elsewhere on the front nine, two par 3s measure 198 yards and 221 yards, calling on golfers to exhibit distance and accuracy or the ability to hypnotize opponents into believing they just saw a hole in one. Plantation Palms' on-site restaurant, the Oasis Bar & Grill, is open to the public and has a menu that features items such as a grilled mango fish sandwich and the Plantation Palms club sandwich.
Course at a Glance:
18-hole, par 72 course
Total length of 6,824 yards from the back tees
Course rating of 73.4 from the back tees
Course slope of 139 from the back tees
Four sets of tees per hole
With a successful career as a golfer and a coach that earned him a 2011 induction into the U.S. Golf Teachers Hall of Fame, Mike Stevens draws from a lifetime of experience to foster golf-game improvement in his clients. Mike’s custom, six-week golf training program—the flagship curriculum for his On Target Golf Schools—uses a biomechanics-based understanding of the golf swing to help students hit the ball farther and straighter without having to sell their soul for a corked 3-wood. Mike enhances lessons with the competitive insight gleaned from his continued success in tournaments, including a 2011 victory at the Copperhead Cup in Tarpon Springs. In addition to his six-week course, Mike offers clinics designed for kids and one-on-one lessons for those who want more private counseling.
Situated in the cool shadows of cypress trees and home to glistening ponds, Northdale Golf & Tennis Club's 6,824-yard course reflects architect Ron Garl's vision to sculpt a layout that capitalizes on natural beauty without spoiling it. A former dairy farm, the emerald expanse challenges golfers with tree-lined fairways, water hazards that appear on multiple holes, and white-sand bunkers, which greenskeepers procure in bulk by trimming Zeus's beard every spring.
Tennis instructors preside over the club's nine lighted tennis courts, grooming forehand strokes in lessons and ensuring an even-spread layer of dust over the clay surfaces. The Compass Grille awaits hungry visitors and tennis balls that have lost their bounce at the end of the day, serving up deli-style fare and drinks from a full-service bar with a variety of imported and domestic beers.
Course at a Glance:
Northdale Golf & Tennis Club's rates fluctuate throughout the day and week.
Ray Baldorossi, Jr. helped to create Softgolf by accident. As a child, he sent a miniature basketball soaring in his backyard with the help of a golf club. His father, an aerospace design engineer, took note of its trajectory and set about inventing a soft ball with holes that, as described by Tom Jackson of The Tampa Tribune, "plays remarkably like its more familiar cousin." After running the first Softgolf in southern New Jersey until the late 1980s, the family retired the business?until Baldorossi, Jr. re-established it in Tampa, this time with a twist. Instead of illuminating the course with a blend of traditional lights and the winks of fireflies, he lights the Softgolf balls from within thanks to phosphorescent materials. He also dots flags, holes, and tee boxes with solar-powered batteries and LED lights. The result: a whimsical, family-friendly game that whisks the orbs up to a distance of 70 yards along a sprawling fairway?the same number of yards owned by most 18th century robber barons.
The golfing gurus at Edwin Watts Golf Academy diagnose and correct their students' poor swing and putting habits in an effort to help them improve their shots and lower their scores. In one-on-one swing-analysis sessions, students learn a repeatable swing that eliminates tendencies they may have to slice, hook, push, or pull the ball. A special laser attaches to the end of the player's club and tracks the swing path while JC Video swing-analysis software records the session from two separate angles, lest analysis be thrown off by only looking at the golfer's good side. Putting analysis employs Tomi technology to measure eight separate parameters of the putting stroke, from clubhead orientation at address to swing path and tempo. After swing and putting lessons, students may access the recordings on a password-protected website, so they can forward videos to friends or sports-documentary filmmakers.
In golf, it's important to choose the right club for each shot. It's equally important to choose the right educational approach for each student. Coach Marc intuitively understands this, which is why he helps golfers improve their swings with everything from one-on-one instruction to group clinics and on-course playing lessons.
Over the years, Marc has shared his wisdom with more than 1,000 students. Take a look at his playing résumé, and you'll see that he's uniquely qualified to do so. At age 16, when most kids are busy goofing off, he set a course record at the challenging Chi Chi Rodriguez Golf Course in Palm Harbor. He's also a two-time PGA Tour qualifier with three holes-in-one to his name. Today, Marc stays sharp by schooling new golfers at locations across Florida. To help him analyze what even his keen eye can't catch, he uses modern technology such as video analysis and balls that explode when you don't hit them correctly.