The Lutz Executive Golf Center helps sharpen short games with a challenging par 3 course alongside six practice areas comprising two ranges, greens, bunkers, and a chipping area. Before taking the course, golfers can warm up irons on the lower range or stroll up to the larger, upper practice range to unsheathe woods and target the 275-yard mark as caddies vigilantly measure each shot and avoid becoming target practice. Should golfers prefer to take practice after dark, the upper range is outfitted with in-ground lighting that stands in for the sun by illuminating the grass and giving children something to not stare at.
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
Featuring more than 6,000 yards of immaculately manicured landscapes, The Claw at USF is a par-71 course that challenges club clenchers with narrow fairways lined by towering trunks of oak, cypress, and pine. The USF men's golf team and USF women's golf team call The Claw home, sharing it bunk-bed style with a population of alligators, deer, and spoonbills. Prepare for your 18 holes of terrain domination by taking to the grass-tee driving range ($5 for small bucket) or navigate your clubs to the putting and chipping green, where you can practice your precision stroke and pendulum swing.
With a history of producing accomplished and successful graduates, Gibson Golf Academy educates intrepid golfers in swing mechanics and total game preparation. Held over the course of six consecutive weeks, Gibson's all-women's golf clinic is taught by PGA pro Jeff Gibson and allows lady linksters to shave points off their handicaps in a supportive and focused group setting. Slated to be Tuesdays and Thursdays at 6 p.m., the class schedule can be altered depending on offer responses. Accommodating up to 12 female fore callers, Gibson's clinic will help teach sound mechanics, a supple short game, and one-liners for soothing angry sand traps. Using V1 video software, Gibson's instructor will capture and analyze your swing over the course of a one-hour video lesson with slow motion frame-by-frame views to replay each swing's dimple-denting fore check. Gibson's golf mavens will also send swing video to phones or home computers, as well as email drills and practice techniques to its swing-correcting students.
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.