In the late 1970s, Ron Garl designed a golf course that stayed true to the natural beauty of what it once was, a dairy operation, While Northdale has undergone a few changes over the years that have brought it up to USGA standards, Mr. Garl’s original intention of a course that would “sit softly on the land” remains intact.
This 18-hole par 72 course sits on 180 acres of land in the heart of Northdale, about 10 miles north of Raymond James Stadium. The course features stately cypress trees and sparkling, natural lakes both of which come into play on many holes.
With four sets of tees and playing over 6800 yards from the back tees, this course appeals to both the long ball hitters and novices. The only downside I could find to Northdale is that there is no driving range however, there are plans to install a few driving nets so that players can loosen up and get a few swings in before they tee off.
Every bit as popular as golf at Northdale is tennis; the courts are enjoyed by young and old alike. Both golf and tennis memberships are available.
Number 2: Par 4, 402 yards. This challenging par 4 requires a straight tee shot to avoid out of bounds on the right and water on the left. Your second shot will be about 125 – 150 yards over water to a green that is guarded not only by the water but also by a large bunker on the right side. It’s no wonder this is the number 1 handicap!
Number 7: Par 4, 366 yards. Although not all that long of a hole, you could discover that what you thought was your best drive of the day; long and straight down the middle; actually found the water! Long ball hitters can clear the grove of pine trees on the left of the fairway and leave themselves a short pitch to the green. Weather you hit the ball a long way or not, the key to your drive on this hole is to hit it past the large pine tree that sticks out on the left side of the fairway, right at the turn of the dogleg. The green is large and has a lot of undulation.
Number 9: Par 5, 535 yards. My advice on this hole is to pick a tree on the left side of the fairway and aim for it. Anything on the right and you are not only flirting with the creek that runs all the way up the right side, you are making your second shot a lot more difficult. Keep your 2nd shot right of the fairway bunker on the left side to leave yourself about 130 yards to a green that is guarded by a creek in front.
Number 16: Par 5, 570 yards. Long ball hitters take note; keep your tee shot right and you can significantly shorten this hole. You will be able to carry the water and get on in two. The rest of us will just have to play this as a routine par 5. However, there is nothing routine about this hole. For most of us, the water straight away doesn’t come into play off the tee; the water on the left and the woods is another story. Your second shot is somewhat of a risk reward scenario; bite off enough of the lake to leave yourself between 100 – 140 yards to the elevated green.
A lot of the greens look like they slope back to front, however when you get up to them you will find that this is not the case. Many of the greens are elevated; something to consider when you are choosing you approach iron.
You will find the staff at Northdale very friendly and the beer in the clubhouse ice cold, and affordable, just one more reason to keep you coming back.