A year after Mike Warobick, PGA opened U.S. 1 Golf Center in 1988, he married his wife, Ruth, right there on the range. U.S. 1 Golf Center has been a family business since its inception, so it's only fitting that much of its patronage consists of families, too. Throughout the year, golfers young and old wallop shots from 18 lighted tee stations and a large natural-grass tee line, and develop their short game on the natural-grass chipping area and putting green. Mike and his staff, meanwhile, conduct lessons, including junior golf clinics every Saturday. They also provide custom club fitting so customers don't have to build a shrink ray to have clubs that fit their unique golf swing.
Walkabout Golf Club's 18-hole, par 72 course unfurls an emerald tapestry of immaculate fairways, dazzling greens, and cerulean waters fit for club-toting artistes of all abilities. Once demystified by former world Top 10 golfer Chris DiMarco—who set the course record with a blistering round of 64—the relatively difficult course can flummox golfers with its tight fairways, fast greens, and landing areas consistently flanked by water, which comes into play on 13 holes and houses a cabal of head-cover-eating waterfowl. Duffers acquaint themselves with the course's obstacles immediately, as the first hole—a par 4 measuring 435 yards from the back tees—features a dramatic dogleg right where any attempt to cut the corner must contend with a serpentine pond and an expansive bunker, perplexing golfers with the first of many risk-reward scenarios characteristic of the course. Five tee options temper the course's lengthy and challenging nature, making it enjoyable for those yet to fully develop their orb-mashing fortitude or players mistakenly wielding a throw pillow for a club head.
The Airpark Golf Academy transforms wobbly swings into ball-smashing swings with personalized lessons and instructional camps. During the 50-minute individual lesson, students get personalized instruction to help them improve club grip, posture, and footwork during post-swing celebratory dances. Using your own set of clubs or a loaner set from the academy, attack driving-range balls (included in the deal) under the tutelage of academy-owner Joe Luthe. More than 150 players of all skill levels and hairstyles have worked with Joe to lower their handicaps and improve their swings.
Towering palm trees rise above the ivory clubhouse at La Cita Country Club, their leaves like natural sentries watching over a realm of genteel social gatherings and athletic recreation. Golfers circle the clubhouse as they hunt pars across the Club’s scenic 18-hole golf course, where water comes into play on all but four holes and attracts white egrets, hawks, eagles, and golf carts longing to see their own reflection. Metronomic rhythms of serves and backhands resonate from the La Cita Racquet Club, which houses six lighted, outdoor Har-Tru—green clay—tennis courts and two air-conditioned racquetball courts.
The Club also encompasses an outdoor pool, where guests can swim laps, work up a sweat in group fitness classes, or run a black market for swimming goggles in the shadows cast by white parasols. Those who prefer to stay dry during a workout can head to the health club, which fosters fitter lifestyles with treadmills, weight machines, and stairmasters.
Even tour pros would think twice about some of the shots at The Majors Golf Club. Take the tee shot at the 456-yard first hole, for example: the beefy yardage leaves no choice but to hit driver into a stiff cross-wind, and any miss to the left will likely stray out of bounds. The same tee shot anxiety returns at the 15th hole, a par-three with a genuine island green that requires a rock-solid 180-yard approach. The stylish course design should be no surprise, as it's the grassy brainchild of golf legend Arnold Palmer. Palmer also had a great collaborator in Mother Nature, as the grounds boast Carolina-style pine trees, sugary white sands, and natural contours that contribute to its visual drama. Before rounds, golfers can fine tune their swings at a natural-grass driving range or lick the greenside rough at a short-game area.
Course at a Glance:
In 1917, toward the end of WWI, the greens of Winter Park Country Club’s golf course echoed with baaing and bleating. In response to the wartime meat shortage, golfer cleats had given way to hooves: the course’s links, designed by John Dunn of Scotland just 17 years earlier, became grazing pastures for sheep and goats.
This was just one of many course reinventions during its more than 100 years of history, which has seen Winter Park’s fairways expand from 9 to 27 and shrink back to 9 again. Perhaps the course's greatest claim to fame has been the legendary figures who have graced its narrow, tree-hampered fairways, including players with surnames such as Hogan, Snead, and Sarazen.
Players of all stripes, from greenhorns to green-jacket holders, must deal with difficult design and terrain, as showcased on the course’s signature fourth hole, whose dogleg left and tight out-of-bounds areas lead a troubling path to a green situated behind two large bunkers and a massive oak tree. The biggest challenge, however, may reside on the par 3 seventh hole, whose deceptively simple 165-yard length leads into a hard-to-read green with a shape-shifting flagstick.
Course at a Glance:
Nine-hole, par 35 course
Length of 2,470 yards
Course rating of 31.8
Slope rating of 102 on bermuda grass
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