Designed by renowned course architect Pete Dye in 1995, Black Bear Golf Club's 18-hole, par 72 layout showcases all the calling cards of a masterfully crafted golf course. With mounded fairways, tight landing zones, and more than 120 natural sand traps, the course—which stretches more than 7,000 yards from the tips—presents a traditional links-style layout with the favorable climate and alligator forecaddies native to Central Florida. Dye's affinity for dramatic finishing holes comes into play throughout the course. A well-bunkered, tree-lined par 4, the 9th hole is the course's second-hardest, and the 18th hole is the course's most difficult, demanding that golfers finish strong by overcoming an obscured tee shot on their way to a green guarded by a pond. A challenge for golfers of all skill levels, Black Bear has hosted multiple U.S. Amateur and Canadian Tour events.
Fostering practice as well as on-course play, Black Bear boasts a grass tee, a double-ended driving range, and a 40,000-square-foot short-game-practice area. With a menu of casual grill fare, The Bear's Den invites golfers to unwind after their days at the links and test out their divot tools' utility as fill-ins for forks.
Deer Island Country Club's 18-hole course is covered in course architect Joe Lee's fingerprints?or, more accurately, his finger-style bunkers. The renowned designer's signature sandtraps?known for their sinuous shapes that spread into multiple "fingers"?are showcased throughout the course, clutching the edges of fairways and greens, ready to ensnare golfers' misfires or speeding golf carts.
Sometimes, however, finding a sandtrap is a blessing in disguise, as many bunkers serve as a final collection area between dry land and the lakes and wetlands that come into play on nearly every hole. Though hazardous to golfers or caddies without life jackets, the wetlands sustain a bustling ecosystem that includes alligators, bobcats, and even a family of six bald eagles, which dwells in the pine trees that line the 18th hole.
Course at a Glance: * 18-hole, par 72 course designed by Joe Lee * Length of 6,852 yards from the tips * Course rating of 73.8 from the tips * Slope rating of 133 from the tips * Six tee options * Scorecard
Sweetwater Golf & Country Club's 18-hole Highlands Course weaves over 6,771 yards of fairways and greens stitched by mature oaks. The player-friendly, par 72 course puts clubbers face to face with the Loch Ness Monster—which is the name bestowed upon the course's signature hole, a 625-yard par five that double-doglegs around a lake. Golfers can prepare for their round with a stint at the club's driving range, where practice balls await to be launched in the stratosphere while commenting on the tense relationship between golf balls and sheets of glass. The club fosters more competitive fun at its tennis complex, which boasts eight lighted, outdoor Har-Tru—green clay—tennis courts.
After a day spent reading putts or thrashing forehands, guests can unwind at one of the club's three dining facilities. The relaxed vibes of the Fife & Drum Pub and the Carnoustie Café welcome casually-clad guests fresh off the course, and the more formal, chandelier-lit confines of the Highlands Dining Room provides an apropos backdrop for dinner parties or a romantic setting for date night for golfers and their caddy.
When picking the location for the championship course at Zellwood Station Golf Club, architect George Maddox discovered hilly terrain not often seen at Floridian links. He made the most of this undulating ground as he designed four doglegs that loop around a dry lake, nicknamed Crater Junction, and also devised a treacherous ninth hole. Known as the Train Wreck, this obstacle is infamous for its long fairway and sharp dogleg left. Today, head golf professional Christopher C. Tyler presides over the course?s bermuda-grass fairways and its expansive greens, which putt fast and true. Before facing down the landscape, golfers can figure out which of their balls are afraid of heights by sending them flying from one of a dozen hitting stations at the driving range.
Despite its impressive course and welcoming clubhouse, Zellwood Station Golf Club isn?t resting on its laurels; the club has plans to debut four new holes, a 10,000-square-foot practice chipping-and-putting facility, and a new driving range before the end of 2012.
A golf swing incorporates many motions into a very short time frame, so it can be challenging even for experts to assess a swing in real time. Transition Golf Academy meets this challenge head on by using the latest swing analysis technology, equipment, and video tools to make sure that no swing characteristic goes unnoticed as instructors assess players' form. In lessons led by founder Matt Higginbotham or one of the other instructors, pupils may watch as TrackMan software analyzes their ball flight, Advanced Motion Measurement video tracks their kinematic sequencing, or V1 video analysis reveals any flaws in their grip, posture, or sideburn symmetry. This exhaustive approach helps players gain insight to their swing as instructors place the data in context and offer advice for improvement in private lessons, club-fitting sessions, or the six-week Par Saver Program, the Academy's signature training regimen.
Tree Tops Golf curates competitive fun and practice at a sprawling facility that encompasses a driving range, a miniature golf course, and batting cages. Airborne golf shots take flight at the driving range, where grass tees appeal to those who prefer a natural feel and artificial hitting mats cater to prima donna pitching wedges that demand a perfect lie every time.
A canopy of vibrant palms forms cool shadows over the 18-hole mini-golf course as putters tap orbs across a winding circuit of artificial turf lined with brick rails and rocky outcrops. Two Iron Mike pitching machines lob high-arching, slow-pitch softballs in two batting cages, helping batters to prepare for their next opportunity to ruin a water-balloon-toss competition.