Ridgewood Lakes Golf Club brandishes the design of renowned architect Ted McAnlis, including sparkling white-sand bunkers and stunning vistas that run throughout, especially on Ridgewood's signature 15th hole. Here, elevated tee boxes overlook a sloped green nestled between greenside bunkers. A pond also glistens along the left side, making it the most visually stunning hole on the course and most sought after signature in Ridgewood's yearbook. To prepare for such scenic, yet demanding challenges, players can also utilize Ridgewood's amenities, including a full driving range, chipping and putting areas, and a fully stocked pro shop.
Course at a Glance:
Golf Etc. Lakeland helps golfers through the entire process of upgrading their arsenal, from finding brand-name equipment to adjusting their current gear to fit their game. Brothers Luke and J.J. Miller—the latter of whom coaches golf at Southeastern University—run the shop and personally oversee the custom club-fitting process. In the hitting bay in the back of the store, visitors are likely to see Luke—who fits and maintains clubs for many local pros—analyzing a client's swing with technology that helps him prescribe the right club or zone in on any modifications, such as adjusting the length of the shaft or replacing the club head with a jai-alai basket. Golf Etc. also features an indoor putting green for golfers to test out prospective flatsticks, and J.J. and Luke regularly perform club re-gripping and repair services.
During a round of golf in this region, it’s not uncommon for players to see the occasional alligator sunning itself on the banks of a fairway pond. The same, however, cannot be said for miniature-golf courses, unless you’re playing at Congo River Golf, where the civilized sinking of putts coexists with the visceral carnage of live-alligator feedings. More than 25 alligators wait for patrons to feed them morsels of gator food in an exhibit beside the course. Though the course offers no chance for an encounter with the ancient, scaly species, it enchants players with waterfalls, safari-themed artifacts, and towering rock faces. In addition, Congo River Golf encompasses an indoor arcade and a gemstone-mining station, where guests dig through dirt for fossils, arrowheads, and Neanderthal’s kindergarten time capsules.
Golf Hall of Famer Gary Player and Karl Litten designed Kissimmee Oaks Golf Club's 18-hole, par 72 course, carving a 6,886-yard path through intersecting waterways and the century-old oak trees from which the club derives its name. Water hazards come into play on all but four holes, impeding golfers' passage while attracting wild turkey and thirsty golf carts. Golfers will need sound course management and accurate shotmaking to keep the ball in play on the sloping fairways and small greens that snake through the hazards. Before taking the course, players can warm up swings at a 20-stall driving range or at two separate greens for chipping and putting.
Course at Glance:
Bloomingdale Golfers Club's 18-hole course stretches 7,165 yards into immaculate fairways hemmed by scenic waterways and trees draped in spanish moss. The layout features four long and memorable par 5s, including the 564-yard fourth hole, which bends left, then fades to the right, then doubles back left in a dizzying snake pattern that defies orthodox shot-making and golf carts prone to motion sickness. Each fairway serves as an emerald runway to the course's majestic greens, which sprout champion dwarf bermuda grass, a putting surface favored by seven prestigious PGA Tour venues.
Golfers can warm up at the practice facilities, which include a two-tiered driving range, half-acre practice green, and a short game area with a practice bunker. Famed PGA Tour pros Lee Janzen, Steve Stricker, and Michael Bradley have all refined their swings at Bloomingdale Golfers Club.
After rounds, golfers can relax at The Legends Grille, which serves up ham and turkey sandwiches, barbecue pulled chicken, and other casual fare. As they dine, guests can watch sports on seven big-screen TVs or enjoy the gallery of golfer-heckling birds soaring above the outdoor patio.
Course at a Glance:
Designed by Charles Ankrom and built in 1970, Sabal Trace Golf and Country Club sends golfers swinging across 18 holes of undulating fairways, intersecting water hazards, and elevated greens. The course caps off the front nine with its longest hole, a 544-yard par-five with a canal that runs along the right side of the fairway and eventually jets across the fairway in front of the green. After finishing their round on the par-four 18th hole, players can recharge at the Tavern by the Green Restaurant, which serves breakfast and lunch daily.
Course at a Glance: