Boasting an 18-hole championship-style golf course and a golf school helmed by experienced professionals, Country Club of Orange Park helps duffers hone swings on and off the course. Cure chronic slices or the putting yips with the help of former PGA Tour pro Charles Raulerson and assistant instructor David Ven Vertloh. During small-group lessons of less than 10 students, Charles focuses on the simplistic but crucial elements of posture, alignment, and technique to help pupils on their path to mastering the subtle art-science of the golf swing. Charles also draws from a professional career that included three PGA Championship berths, several International Tour victories, and earning global renown for matching plaid with argyle.
The 27 holes that comprise Magnolia Point Golf & Country Club sweep across a 1,000-acre tract of Clay County rife with wildlife and picturesque forests of oak, pine, and magnolia. The three par-36 sides feature no parallel fairways, meaning golfers seldom worry about hitting other groups or face the temptation to joust with oncoming carts on adjacent fairways. As golfers tick off strokes, they may spot local wildlife such as deer, alligators, and waterfowl frolicking about in their natural domain. In 2006, the USGA elected to hold its final qualifying tournament for the U.S. Amateur at Magnolia Point, drawn to its scenic layout, challenging play, and abundance of bird informants who keep an eye out for unwarranted mulligans. Course at a Glance: * Three nine-hole sides * Maximum 18-hole length of 6,796 yards * Five sets of tees per hole * See the scorecard
Nestled in the scenic shadows of the Smoky Mountains, Bent Creek Golf Course's 18-hole layout stretches across 6,182 yards of fairways that rise and fall among rolling foothills and pristine valleys. Golf legend and course designer Gary Player made deft use of a babbling mountain stream by running it through the course and seamlessly uniting two distinct nines: a front nine that sprawls across the valley floor and a back nine that roams the hilly mountainside like a forlorn sasquatch. The overall effect is a course that does justice to both the sheer scope of the rising peaks with bottom-up views and the panoramic splendor of Great Smoky Mountains National Park when seen from the cresting hilltops of the back-nine. The inventive layout is perhaps best characterized by the 11th hole, a 362-yard par 4 where a 90-degree dogleg-left plays into a green completely surrounded by the creek's rippling waters. A blend of bent and bermuda grasses grows resiliently for golfers striving to play all year-round, and fragrant wildflowers blossom at every tee to warm the hearts of world-weary nine-irons.
Bent Creek bolsters the pin-hunting prowess of its golfers with a staff of PGA-certified instructors that conducts lessons and presides over the domain of their full-service pro shop. A practice putting green helps players trim their score by reading dicey slopes, and the Creek Side Grill hosts postround revelry and community gatherings to decry the historical hardships of the mashie niblick.:m]]
Course at a Glance:
At the tee box on Cimarrone Golf Club's 12th hole, golfers face a dilemma: play a drive safely out to the right—where, at worst, the ball may stray into the rough—or attempt an aggressive shot over the water on the hole's left side, cutting off much of the dogleg and setting up a closer approach. With multiple bending fairways, deep bunkers, and a water hazard or marsh feature on every hole, the 18-hole, 6,891-yard course presents high-risk, high-reward scenarios at nearly every turn, delighting golfers who like to live dangerously and favoring those whose sand wedge moonlights as an actuary.
Before rounds, golfers can warm up swings at the club's driving range, a much-needed confidence booster before taking to the water-laden course or betting that they can outdrive the staff's resident T-shirt cannon.
Course at a Glance:
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.
The needles of pine trees brush together softly in the forests that line St. Johns Golf & Country Club, mimicking the bated breath of golfers as they wait for a ball to fall on the bunker-speckled 18th hole. The undulating green caps the 7,250-yard Clyde Johnston-designed course, where golfers unleash their swings from one of five tee distances. The course has served as host of the PGA Tour Q-School for five consecutive years, and a practice facility with a 10,000-square-foot putting green and double-sided driving range allows golfers to work on their grip or stop yelling a childhood secret every time they swing the club. Chatter and the sound of clicking margarita glasses drift down to the course from a restaurant with views of the 9th and 18th holes, and a banquet hall hosts wedding receptions and other gatherings.
Placed in the top 10 among the nation's new golf courses by Golfweek and Travel + Leisure Golf, Sugarloaf Mountain sends golfers up and down elevation changes of more than 250 feet. The design by Coore & Crenshaw—Crenshaw, as in 1984 Masters winner Ben Crenshaw—takes advantage of the site's natural characteristics, wandering through verdant oak forests and at one point reaching the highest point in the state. The designers were so loyal to the landscape that they even decided to use native sand in the bunkers rather than trucking in moon dust.
Course at a Glance: * 18-hole, par 72 course * Total length of 7,076 yards from the back tees * Course rating of 74.3 from the back tees * Course slope of 133 from the back tees * Four sets of tees per hole * Scorecard