Ron Garl is the course designer of this 18-hole championship golf course in Lakeland Florida. Schalamar Creek is challenging for both the most experienced golfer as well as someone new to the game. Schalamar Creek is not the longest course in the area; however the 6,399 yards the course plays from the back tees will provide quite the test.
The course rating is 70.7 and it has a slope rating of 129 on Bermuda grass. It’s no wonder Schalamar Creek has served as the host site for the 2010 LPGA Futures Tour Qualifier. Players such as Paula Creamer, Brittany Lincicome and Vicky Hurst have visited and played Schalamar Creek.
This championship course has recently seen some exciting new changes. Tee boxes have been enlarged to accommodate every level of player. Fairways have been defined and expanded landing areas have been added to offer a more defined area of fairway and rough. Course bridges have been totally rebuilt and cart paths have been repaved. A 90-degree rule has been implemented. The practice tee has been completely renovated to accommodate more players and an improved playing surface.
The course isn’t the only thing that has changed of late; the course management has change as well. Schalamar Creek is now under the management of TMW Golf, LLC; a Florida-based golf firm that was retained to improve the overall golf experience. Tom Wheary, President of TMW Golf has assumed the role of Director of Golf Operations. Tom will ensure operations are at an optimum level and the members and guests are treated to a first-class experience. Wheary has more than 20 years of experience as a PGA Class A professional and a proven track record of successfully performing golf operations.
Schalamar Creek is located beside the 750-acre Saddle Creek Park, a protected bird sanctuary. During a round, players may see spotted herons, ibis, egrets, limpkins, loons, anhinga’s, cormorants, osprey, hawks, eagles, and other species that require a manual to recognize.
Memorable Holes (Yardage is from the Gold Tees)
Number 1: Par 4, 346 yards. A good drive on the opening hole can go a long way in setting up a good round. A well-struck drive down the left center of the fairway of this dogleg right will leave a short pitch. Be careful with your approach as a large bunker guards the right side and can easily come into play on what you may think is a well struck shot.
Number 2: Par 5, 509 yards. Because of the modest double-dogleg design of this hole, reaching the green in two is doable. Aim your tee shot at the woods down the left side. Don’t worry about the woods; hit it too far and you you are most likely going to find the water, not the woods. A well-played tee shot will leave a long fairway wood or hybrid into a small, slightly elevated green that is well protected on the left side.
Number 5: Par 5, 434 yards. On most championship courses, this is just a long par 4. However the creek that traverses the fairway makes club selection off the tee very important and for many makes this a legitimate three-shot hole. If you have the length to carry the creek off the tee – problem solved. A front pin placement on this two-tiered green can make the hole especially interesting.
Number 11: Par 4, 389 yards. Avoid the large, long fairway bunker on the right side of the fairway and the hole gets easy; unless you push your approach shot right! The preferred tee shot is up the left side which leaves a wide open approach to an otherwise unprotected green.
Number 13: Par 3, 127 yards. This island-hole par 3 is the centerpiece – and highlight to the round at Schalamar Creek. It is 127 yards of pure carry over water with no real bail out area. Its two-tiered green will challenge even the most seasoned player.
Number 18: Par 4, 377 yards. The water that crosses the fairway really shouldn’t come into play, however the water on the right that makes this a slight dogleg right can easily steal your ball. Hit a fairway wood or hybrid off the tee to leave a mid-iron approach into a slightly elevated green protected on the right with water.
Last Word: Schalamar Creek’s rolling greens, beautiful lakes, strategically placed bunkers and tree-lined fairways make for an exciting day of golf. The course weaves and cuts through numerous wetlands which make for some exciting and challenging golf shots. The complexion of the golf course seems to change on each hole; some holes have narrow fairways that require extreme accuracy off the tee while others offer easy placement off the tee but place a premium on a well-struck approach. The greens are fairly slow but have a lot of undulation; speeding them up would make Schalamar Creek very challenging. Four sets of tees provide for a very enjoyable round of golf for any caliber of golfer.
For more information you can visit them online at www.schalamar.com or call the pro shop at (863) 666-1623