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The Virtues Golf Club – Ohio’s Best Public Golf Course

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Arthur Hills left nothing on the drawing board when he designed The Virtues Golf Club in Newark, Ohio a mere 40 miles from downtown Columbus. Up until 2016, The Virtues was known as the Longaberger Golf Club; on your way odds are you’ll drive by the abandoned basket shape office building that was once home to the world-renowned basket company. The Virtues Golf Club is the top-ranked public course in Ohio and #73 in Golf Digest’s 2019-20 list of America’s Greatest Public Courses. In 1999 Virtues hosted Shell’s Wonderful World of Golf featuring Dottie Pepper and Karrie Webb; they also hosted the 2004 PGA Club Professional Championship.

The Virtues Golf Club offers golfers 5 sets of tees. The back tees play 7,243 yards with a course rating of 75.2 and a slope of 139. The average golfer will have a lot more fun from the White (6,180/70.2/127) or Gold (5,641/67.4/122) Tees. Ladies typically play from the Green Tee (4,985/67.9/115). Don’t bite off more than you can chew yardage wise and you’ll have a great time.

As you make your way around this magnificent layout, you’ll encounter a variety of holes. Many consider The Virtues a parkland layout, but I think it incorporates several styles. Holes lined with tall, thick fescue grasses are reminiscent of a link-style course while rising and dropping fairways coupled with blind shots are more like something you’d encounter in the mountains. You’ll play through meadows and rolling countryside, around tree-covered hills. The hitting surfaces are incredible: well-manicured Bentgrass tee boxes give way to Bentgrass fairways which lead to Bentgrass greens. The Virtues Golf Club is not without its share of hazards – there are over seventy strategically placed bunkers and water comes into play on 8 holes. Odds are that they will figure into your score by the end of the day. There isn’t a lot of level terrain out here and because of that and the elevation changes, The Virtues Golf club isn’t the kind of course you’ll enjoy walking unless you’re part mountain goat.

Virtues Golf Club is one memorable hole after another. Number 4 is a par 5 that plays 563 yards and is memorable not only because of its challenge but also for the views it provides.  There’s a significant change in elevation from the tee to the green and from the elevated tee box, you can see for miles. It also gives long ball hitters a chance to get home in two. Although the awaiting fairway is generous, finding the green can be an arduous task as it is narrow and angles back and to the right, bringing the water into play that much more. Shot selection on your layup shot is important as the water can come into play if you hit it too far. Big numbers are as easy to make as birdies!

Number 8, Par 4, 444 yards. There are two ways to play this downhill dogleg left par 4. As you look over your tee shot, you’ll see a large group of trees straight ahead with fairway on either side. Therein lies your decision: Do you play left or right of the trees? Playing left shortens the hole and if you can carry your tee shot at least 225, by all means, have a shot at it; you’ll be left with a short pitch shot into the green. A good drive right of the tree will leave a somewhat longer approach shot from a fairway that slopes right to left and can leave some awkward stances. Your approach shot plays downhill into a peninsular green with a large trap behind it. No matter which way you play it, par is a good score here.

Number 16, 527 yards.  Yet another risk-reward opportunity at The Virtues Golf Club.  The water down the entire right side of this dogleg right hole dares players into biting-off as much of the corner as possible. A good drive just right of the first set of fairway bunkers on the left, followed by a layup shot over the next fairway trap to the right will leave a short pitch shot into a large green that slopes down towards the water. As a rule, your approach shot plays half a club longer.

Number 18, 466 yards. If I were naming holes, this would be called “Uphill Journey.” This dogleg left par 4 plays uphill all the way and finding any of the five fairway bunkers at the corner of the dogleg makes par that much tougher. A draw shot off the tee that finds the short grass over the left side bunkers will leave a mid-iron approach shot uphill into the green. A back-right pin placement can be tricky because of the bunkering around the green. The view of the clubhouse in the background makes for a nice picture.

The Virtues also boasts some pretty impressive practice facilities. Before your round, warm up on their full-length driving range where you can hit every club in the bag. There is also a spacious short game area with a practice bunker and a large putting green nearby.

After your round, be sure to stop by the Overlook restaurant at The Virtues Golf Club. In addition to a wide selection of beers and a full liquor bar, the food is amazing and well presented. Appetizers include traditional clubhouse favorites such as Mozzarella Sticks, Quesadillas, and Chicken Wings. If salad is more your thing try the Nut and Berries Salad – tender baby spinach, mixed greens, spiced pecans, chevre cheese, and dried cranberry tossed in our house-made vinaigrette. They have some unique sandwiches and entrees as well such as The BBQ Meatloaf Sandwich, Lemon Broiled Salmon, and a Grilled Ribeye Steak.

Virtues Golf Club offers the best golf membership opportunity in the area, allowing you to play the State’s top-rated public course as often as you like.  They offer several different membership plans including Weekday Golf Memberships, Twilight Golf Memberships, Affiliate, and Junior Golf Memberships.  They also have flexible payment plans, with monthly payment options or you can pay it in one lump sum for an additional discount. Check out the website for more details.

Virtues Golf Club has partnered with several local hotels to create stay and play packages that allow you to play the course a few times rather than just one and done. Or, if you prefer, you can play a different course, Eaglesticks Golf Club in nearby Zanesville. Packages include overnight stays in comfortable guest rooms and access to dining and local attractions. Click on the 9 Stars of Golf icon on their website, fill out the form and they will get back to you quickly. Playing this course on back-to-back days is a golfer’s dream!

Planning a rehearsal dinner, bridal shower, or wedding reception? Virtue’s 60,000 square-foot clubhouse is a great location for your next golf outing or special event. In addition to the clubhouse, there are a variety of beautiful outdoor spaces including a lovely verandah that overlooks the golf course and has provided a picturesque setting for many wedding ceremonies, vow renewals, and alfresco luncheons.

Last Word: To me, this is the most beautiful and challenging Arthur Hills course I have played. Holes are routed such that wayward shots are penalized; miss the fairway off the tee and you’ll find your ball easy enough but it’s usually going to be in some tall grass or behind a tree.  With such forgiving and generous fairways off the tee, the emphasis is on approach shots into the greens. The green complexes are guarded with bunkers that are not too penal but will test your bunker play. Most greens have a lot of undulation and present some challenges; especially if you’re looking to recover from an errant approach. For more information or to book your next round, give them a call at (740) 763-1100 or visit them online at www.thevirtuesgolfclub.com.

Calvert Crossing Golf Club: A Family-Friendly Country Club Atmosphere

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Calvert Crossing Golf Club is a private golf club located in the Calvert Estates community of West Ouachita Parish, Louisiana, and is one of the best conditioned private golf courses west of Monroe. This 18-hole championship golf course was co-designed by the late Tim Zimmerebner and Jack Nicklaus protégé, John Floyd, and has been carved through the rolling hills of Calhoun. It is considered by members and visitors to offer not only a challenging round of golf but also a serene and pleasant walk in the woods.

From the back tees, Calvert Crossing plays 6.807 yards, with a course rating of 73.2 and a slope of 141. There are five sets of tees, with the Reds playing 4,856 (68.6/119). I found the Blue Tees (6,390/71.1/133) offered a great challenge and still allowed me to leave with a little bit of dignity!

The first hole at Calvert Crossing starts you off with a 548-yard par 5 which, for the average golfer, is not going to be reachable in two and for many golfers, it’s going to take driver out of your hands off the tee. There’s a reachable pond on the left side that comes out into the fairway and woods to the right, leaving only a thin sliver of the fairway past the water. If you’re playing the course for the first time as I was, you’ll find that the aforementioned pond creeps back into play in front of the green. Laying up short of the pond will leave about a 100-yard shot into a relatively flat green protected by a bunker on the right and a lot of mounding around it. Par is always a good way to start!

If you haven’t played here before, you’ll find the par 4, 4th hole rather interesting. Standing on the tee, it’s hard to tell if the hole goes right or left. I guessed right so naturally, it went left. Something less than a driver is a good idea off the tee as the hole plays only 339 yards. Find the fairway off the tee and you’ll have a short pitch shot into an elevated green protected by sand and water on the right and a lot of mounding on the left.

Stand on the 6th green and looking back towards the tee box and you’ll get a good idea of the elevation changes. The hole starts from an elevated tee box with a creek running across the fairway at the bottom of the hill. For most players, the creek won’t come into play. If it does, you may want to consult Head Golf Professional Stuart Martin in the pro shop and ask him how you can get more distance off the tee! A good drive will leave an uphill approach shot into the green protected on the left side by sand.

The back nine starts with a couple of risk/reward par 4s. Number 10 is a 342-yard  par 4 that plays considerably downhill. It’s a dogleg right and is drivable for many players and although there are woods on either side, the reward greatly outweighs the risk. General Manager and Superintendent Kevin LaFontaine’s favorite hole is Number 11, another drivable par 4 that’s a slight dogleg right with a deep gully in front of the green.

Number 12 is an interesting par 3 that plays from an elevated tee box to an elevated green. Your tee shot is over water to a long narrow green with a long narrow bunker on the left. We’ll call this hole “Long and Narrow,” it seems to fit the theme.

Number 13 may well be the most challenging par 4 on the course. It’s a short dogleg left and everything off the tee moves to the right and into the woods. It’s a tight driving hole so you may want to consider something less than driver off the tee, just to keep the ball in play. There’s a fairway bunker about 50 yards short of the green on the left side and a deep greenside bunker on the left side. End the hole with the same ball you started with and you have accomplished something.

Before your round, warm up on Calvert Crossing’s full-length driving range where you can hit every club in the bag. Stroke a few putts on the practice putting green before heading to the first tee.

The Clubhouse is the center of all things social at Calvert Crossing.  Inside you’ll find a fully-stocked golf pro shop, The Gathering Place, a pub-style grill room and bar, locker rooms, and a ballroom. The clubhouse is where everyone gathers for golf tournaments, family events, and themed dinner nights.

The Gathering Place is the Calvert Crossing’s warm and inviting pub-style restaurant. Here you can enjoy a full breakfast menu as well as innovative salads, freshly prepared burgers, and sandwiches that will satisfy everyone. When things get back to “normal” members can get back to enjoying Calvert Crossing’s fabulous Sunday Southern Buffet with an incredible array of southern favorites. At The Gathering Place, you’ll find a sense of camaraderie that can’t be found anywhere else.

The scenic views, rolling hills, manicured fairways, and shimmering creeks you’ll find at Calvert Crossing Golf Club make the perfect backdrop for weddings and special events. They can accommodate up to 200 guests, but it is also perfect for smaller more intimate gatherings and is the perfect venue for wedding receptions, rehearsal dinners, baby showers, or holiday parties. Calvert Crossing’s event team can help plan your event and select a menu that compliments your style and budget. They work with some of the best vendors in the area when it comes to flowers, wedding cakes, photography, music, and more.

As a member of Calvert Crossing, you’ll find a lot more to do than play a round on an exceptional golf experience. You’ll have access to the club’s hard surface tennis courts, the outdoor swimming facility, and unique social calendar. The Club’s swimming facility is the perfect place for a leisurely swim or spending time with the family. There’s an outdoor swimming pool, sunning deck, and changing area. The outdoor pool is open from Memorial Day through Labor Day.

Calvert Crossing is managed by Honours Golf which is part of Troon Golf, the #1 golf management company in the United States. As a member of a Troon-managed facility, you’ll have access to over 250 Troon-managed private clubs, resorts, and daily fee facilities around the world. No matter where you go within the Troon network, you’ll be treated like family with access to all amenities and discounts on things like entertainment and car rental. It’s the biggest upside of joining a Troon-managed facility. Some of the facilities within driving distance include Reunion Golf & Country Club in Madison, MS; Peninsula Golf & Racquet Club and Craft Farms in Gulf Shores, AL, and NorthRiver Yacht Club in Tuscaloosa, AL.

Calvert Crossing’s goal is to be the premier family-oriented private club in the West Ouachita Parish of Louisiana. They offer a variety of membership plans for families, couples, singles, young executives, seniors, and local businesses. For more information or to become a member, give them a call at 318-397-0064 or visit them online at www.calvertgolfclub.com.

Seminole Lake Country Club – A Tampa Bay Favorite Since 1962

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Seminole Lake Country Club has a long and storied history. Back in 1911, William Cunningham moved his family to the St Petersburg area from Fletcher, North Carolina. The Cunninghams opened a hardware and grocery store on Central Avenue that from all indications was very successful. In the early 1930’s William’s son Howard was able to purchase a 300-acre piece of property west of St. Petersburg with some of the profits from their successful business ventures.  The property was named Pine Ridge Farm and became a working cattle ranch with all of the family members contributing to its operation. Because it was a long way from their home in the city the family members used the farm as a getaway. What’s left of that old family cabin can be seen on the property just west of the current clubhouse.

Fast forward to the 1960s. The Cunningham brothers – Gene, Book, and Doc -are approached by a local real estate developer, who convinces them to convert the cattle ranch into a housing development and country club. In 1962, Seminole Lake Country Club Estates was born and within a short period of time, the Cunningham brothers regained control of the property.

As the community flourished, the club acquired a reputation as one of the premier country clubs in Florida. Membership had a waiting list and the members had an active social events calendar. The club hosted several of the premier events in the Tampa Bay area during this time and for over four decades the club remained a successful private club. Renovations followed; the clubhouse in 2002 and the golf course in 2007, including the resurfacing of all greens, refurbishing the bunkers, and the addition of a complete practice facility. Although these improvements were well received by the members, the economic downturn in 2008 led to a severe decline in membership.

In 2009, Seminole Lake Country Club became a semi-private club and to this day remains one of the favorites of golfers throughout the Tampa Bay area. Coincidentally, membership has grown due to the course’s consistently good conditioning, playability, and service level. The club is still owned by the Cunningham family and there’s still that same friendly feel as it was when the brothers opened the club in 1962.

Seminole Lake Country Club is located on the banks of Long Bayou and Cross Bayou and is one of only a handful of courses in Florida that features SeaDwarf Seashore Paspalum grass on the tees, fairways, and greens. Paspalum is one of the most versatile turfgrasses out there, it’s tolerant to various mower heights as well as salt. Its upright growth habit allows golf balls to sit up in the rough and fairways. It also produces a firm and fast putting surface that has a lot less grain than traditional Florida Bermuda greens. If I have a choice of what turf to play on, Paspalum is the clear winner!

The length at Seminole Lake is not going to overwhelm most players.  This par 71 golf course was designed by Chic Adams, and plays 6,501 yards from the back tees, with a course rating of 72.1 and a slope of 133. Five sets of tees provide an enjoyable experience for golfers of all abilities. They also have a great practice facility too, with a recently renovated driving range, a complete short game practice area with a bunker, and two large putting greens. The majority of the fairways are very wide and generous off the tee. The Paspalum greens are also large and receptive with great undulation and contouring.

The course has plenty of doglegs and like most Florida courses, plenty of water; each hole has its own unique character.  Bunkers are strategically placed throughout the course and water hazards come into play on nearly every hole. With the Gulf of Mexico nearby, birdlife is abundant and a family of bald eagles has claimed residency on the property. Look for them as you make your way around the course.

Seminole Lake has several holes that will stick in your memory for a while. My favorite par 3s are the two on the backside: Number 10 and Number 16. These two holes are very similar. They both play slightly uphill, feature a water hazard that needs to be carried off the tee, and are well protected by bunkers. They both play similar distances too – 175 and 173 yards from the Blue Tees, respectively.

My favorite par 4 is Number 6 which plays 337 yards from the White tees. It’s a tight driving hole, with water on both sides and a narrow landing area. Move back to the Black Tees (368 yards) and the tee shot is downright scary! Launch a long tee shot right and you’re most likely in the houses. Success off the tee on this dogleg right will leave a short iron or wedge into a relatively flat green, protected with sand on both sides. Take a par and run!

The Members’ favorite Par 5 is Number 12, a 485-yard slight dogleg left. It’s another interesting driving hole, especially if you’re long off the tee! Beware of the water down the left side and the creek that crosses the fairway about 295 yards from the tee. Playing your tee shot down the right side will leave the best angle into the green and give you the best chance to get on in two. The left side is a lot tougher as you will have to shape a long approach shot around an old oak tree that sits about 180 yards out from the green and over a pond in front of the left side of the green. If you decide to layup short of the green there is a trio of palm trees in the middle of the fairway 65 yards short of the green. A single bunker guards the right side of the green. Good scores can be had here!

Holes 17 and 18 are two of the best finishing holes in the area. Seventeen is a 404-yard par 4, dogleg right and requires a pretty good drive to reach the corner of the dogleg to have a clear shot into the green. The water on the right off the tee shouldn’t be a factor. Success off the tee will leave a mid to long-iron into a large, elevated green protected on the right side with a large bunker.

The finishing hole is a straight 352-yard par 4 with all kinds of trouble on the right side. The water on the right side starts about 76 yards from the tee and stretches for about 160 yards, plus there’s a bunker in the landing area about 200 yards off the tee on the right side as well. A good tee shot that favors the left side is best and will leave a short iron or wedge into the green, which is protected front right by a bunker. Par (or better) is always a great way to finish.

Seminole Lake Country Club offers several membership options including Full Memberships which entitle you to all of the club’s amenities (golf course, tennis courts, swimming pool, kayak launch, clubhouse, and member-only social functions), Golf Memberships, Tennis Memberships, Seasonal Memberships for both golf and tennis, and Social Memberships. Dues are quite reasonable.

Last Word: Pay attention to the yardages, a lot of the par 4 doglegs look longer than they are. Hitting something less than driver off the tee will prevent you from hitting it through the fairway and out of bounds and incurring penalty strokes. The course is a lot of fun to play and although the parking lot might be full when you arrive, play moves right along. We played on a Saturday afternoon in a little more than 4 hours. For more information on Seminole Lake Country Club or to book your next round, give them a call at (727) 391-6255 or visit them online at www.seminolelake.net.

New PUMA Golf Apparel To Get You Noticed On and Off the Course

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PUMA recently unveiled a new collection of golf apparel that is highlighted by their new CLOUDSPUN fabric and several new Volition pieces.

PUMA’s new CLOUDSPUN Taylor Golf Polo will help you stand out on the golf course. This trendy golf polo is designed for serious golfers that take pride in how they present themselves on the golf course. The Taylor Polo features a colorblock pattern in the midsection creating a golf spin on the traditional rugby shirt. The  CLOUDSPUN fabric has an ultra-soft feel and four-way stretch to move with you through your golf swing and its moisture-wicking properties keep you cool and dry through your entire round. You’ll find the CLOUDSPUN Taylor Golf Polo on a number of PUMA’s tour professionals. You can recognize it by the subtle “P” label on the hem and the iconic “cat” logo on the left sleeve. It’s available in sizes S – 3XL and in 11 PUMA colors.

PUMA’s Volition Allegiance 1/4 zip has an eye-catching, patriotic design with a bold stripe pattern in two patriotic colorways. This 1/4 zip will definitely keep you warm and comfortable and give you a sense of patriotism as you tee it up on course. It’s the perfect layering piece on those days where the temperature fluctuates. The Volition Allegiance 1/4 zip is part of the Volition America Golf Collection a proud supporter of the Folds of Honor Foundation. With the “cat” logo on the back of the neck, this 1/4 zip is available in sizes S – 3XL and in either Quiet Shade or the ultra-patriotic Dark Denim.

Another great CLOUDSPUN piece is PUMA’s CLOUDSPUN Crewneck which is destined to become one of your favorite golf sweaters. The circular knit, 4-way stretch,  and UV 40 SPF take golf performance apparel to the next level. It’s incredibly soft and inspires match-winning confidence in a stylish golf sweater. The cat logo on the chest identifies the brand. The CLOUDSPUN Golf Crewneck is available in sizes S – 3XL and in 7 colors. PUMA also offers a CLOUDSPUN Crew for the ladies. Their Colorblock Crew provides four-way stretch and warmth while maintaining the style and sophistication standards PUMA is known for. The Women’s CLOUDSPUN Colorblock Crew is available in XS – XXL and in Peachskin, Super Lemon, Thyme, or Peacoat. The iconic ‘Cat” logo can be found on the left hip.

Great tops deserve great bottoms; whether their shorts or pants depends on where you live. Guys will like the new PUMA Volition Pilot Short with an all-over fighter jet pattern in a red, white and blue colorway. They pair great with just about any Volition piece and let you show just how much you love this country. And golf. The Volition Pilot Short is available in waist sizes 28 – 40 and in either Dark Denim or High Rise Gray.

Ladies will quickly fall in love with PUMA’s PWRSHAPE Golf Pants. The PWRSHAPE waistband delivers a smooth silhouette and unmatched comfort. Golf Pants have never felt – or looked – so good. The DRYCELL moisture wicking technology will keep you cool and comfortable from the first tee to the 18th green. The PWRSHAPE Golf Pant is available in sizes 2XS – 2XL and in several colors: Bright White, Dark Denim, PUMA Black, and Peacoat.

This is just a small sample of PUMA’s latest golf apparel offerings. To see more, visit www.cobragol.com/pumagolf.

PUMA Pop Top Mini Bluetooth Speaker – Small Footprint. Big Sound.

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Music seems to be the latest trend in the golf industry; companies are popping up left and right with new Bluetooth speaker offerings. Not to be left out, PUMA has introduced their new Pop Top Mini Speaker, a small yet rich speaker with a few added features.

In creating the Pop Top Mini Speaker, PUMA partnered with Speaqua Sound Company. This compact, waterproof/ dustproof/ shockproof speaker also has a bottle opener and ball marker. The speaker delivers premium sound but can be set low enough that it’s only heard by your group, not the entire course. Multiple speakers can be paired together so that the entire group here’s the same music (or game). The 5-hour battery life should last long enough to get you around the course and at a mere $40, it’s a sound investment! PUMA has always been a trendsetter in the golf industry – the new Pop Top Mini Speaker just solidifies this. It’s available in either Black or White! See it on the Cobra/Puma website at https://www.cobragolf.com/pumagolf/poptop-mini.

Zoar Golf Club – A Central Ohio Favorite For Almost 50 Years

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In the early ’70s, Columbus Ohio native Jack Nicklaus was winning all of the major tournaments and the golf industry was on the verge of a boom. The Southern Stark County and Northern Tuscarawas in the Central Ohio area needed a high end, top quality public golf course to capitalize on the golf momentum.

In 1973, the Frank family envisioned what could be and took up the challenge. One of the Frank brothers was an experienced land surveyor with the government and identified a piece of land on the edge of Zoar Village. A second brother was in the finance industry and contacted the Small Business Association. It was determined that $100,000 was needed to proceed. One hundred shares were sold at $1000 a share with 65% going to the Frank family. With cash in hand, the next step was to purchase the land and hire an architect. Well-known Golf Course architect, Geoffrey Cornish agreed to take on this project.

Every member of the Frank family – from ages 8 to 70 – was involved in the building of the Zoar Golf Course. Whether the task involved welding, trenching, surveying, operating heavy equipment; or picking up thousands of stones so that the grass could be planted, everybody lent a hand. Construction of the clubhouse was completed in March of 1975, and on April 19, 1975, the course was open for business. The Frank family took great pride in their new golf facility, a trait that is evident to this day.

Zoar Golf Club has been a “must play” for Northeastern Ohio & Western Pennsylvania golfers for 44 years! Google Reviewers give Zoar Golf Club 4.6 Stars. The club plays host each year to the Gatorade Collegiate, The Yuengling Scramble Series, the Zoar Memorial, the Zoar Senior Amateur, and several other amateur events.

Zoar offers five sets of tees and plays 6733 yards from the back tees with a par of 72, a course rating of 71.4, and a slope of 12.  The Blue (6,329/68.5/116) and the White 5,750/67.4/115) tees also offer a good test for those of us who no longer hit the ball as far as we used to. Seniors will enjoy the Gold (5,223/69/111) tees while the ladies and juniors will find companionship in the Green (5,132/69/111) tees. No matter your level of ability, Zoar offers tees that will fit your game.

The course hasn’t changed much since being built. Check out their website and see the pictures from an original yardage book. If anything, holes have been lengthened to keep up with current equipment changes, Compare yardages with a current scorecard and you’ll see what I mean. I met someone who remembers playing the course back in the ‘70s. He said all of these now mature trees were just saplings and the course played a lot different back then. Of course it did. If a tree was in your way, you simply hit over it!

Most of the greens are surrounded by grass mounds and some of the greens can be very interesting. Several slope back to front while others have multiple levels and ridges running through them. Number 8 has one of the most interesting greens out here. From the middle of the green, it slopes severely to the left. There is also a mound in the middle of it. Left side pin placements will make three putts all too commonplace.

Number 2 is a par 5 that plays 501 yards. This double dogleg features trees on either side of the fairway as well as a bunker on the right side of the landing area that can come into play if you mishit your tee shot. Playing your layup down the right side takes the two greenside bunkers on the left out of play.

The 5th hole is a 352-yard par 4 and borrows characteristics from two of my favorite golf course designers Pete Dye and Donald Ross. It’s a straightaway par 4, with an elevated tee box and Dye-like pot bunkers in the landing area on the left. Your shot into the green features a Donald Ross type bunker that comes halfway across the fairway and guards the right side of the green. If your tee shot doesn’t make it across the valley, you’re looking at a long, blind approach shot and when the flag is on the right side, par will be that much tougher. Not the longest hole but a challenging one.

Number 10 is s 385-yard dogleg right par 4 that plays considerably longer due to the uphill fairway. It features a bunker at the corner of the dogleg on the right side so your tee shot is best played up the left side. It takes at least a 250-yard carry off the tee to clear the trap. Your approach shot will require an extra club to compensate for the slope. Par is a good way to start off the back nine.

It’s not often that a par 3 receives such a high handicap, but at 212 yards, Number 13 at Zoar Golf Club is handicapped #9. And for good reason. Trees and out of bounds make up the left side and grass mounds around the green can make for a difficult up and down should your tee shot not find the putting surface. There are no bunkers, just a lot of length!

Number 18 is a slight dogleg right par 4 of 366 yards and will take a driver out of the hands of many players because if you hit your tee shot too long, you may find the only water on the course. Land in either of the fairway bunkers off the tee and you’re facing a very tough approach shot. You will more than likely need to carry the water to get to the green as it guards the entire left side. It’s a fun ending to a fun round of golf.

Before your round warm-up on Zoar’s full-length driving range where you can hit every club in the bag. There’s a short game area with practice bunkers and a large practice putting green.

Eric Crone has been the Superintendent at Zoar Golf Club for more than 20 years and over has seen it all when it comes to the growth and maturation of the golf course. His biggest challenge he says is the weather and how unpredictable it can be. Fortunately, he says, the golf course is built on sand and gravel. “Last year when we had 9 inches of rain over a seven day period, other courses in the area were flooded. But because of the sand and gravel base of the golf course, we didn’t experience the same problems.” And, like every other superintendent I’ve ever spoken with, good labor can be hard to find. “He’s had several workers retire but has been able to find some high school kids that have worked out well.

Making a vacation out of your golf trip to Zoar Golf Club has never been easier. The Club has partnered with several nearby hotels and they will work with you to make your stay as rewarding as possible. Whether it’s a couples getaway an outing with the guys – or gals – you’ll enjoy all that Zoar has to offer. Check out the links on their website www.zoarvillagegolf.com for participating hotel information or call them at 330.874.4653.

Cypresswood Country Club – Once Again Central Florida’s Best Golf Value

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Back in 1974 when award-winning golf course designer Ron Garl built Cypresswood Country Club in Winter Haven, FL, not too far from his hometown of Lakeland, it was the talk of the town. Golfers from all over Florida would converge on the course to see what it was all about and during the winter months, tee times were at a premium.

The course has always been in good shape and didn’t require anything other than routine maintenance with no major changes other than a greens renovation in 2000. That was until last year when Operator Bob Schade – who started working at Cypresswood as a golf cart attendant in 1986 and has been a mainstay ever since – and the board of directors of the Community Association decided to give the course a makeover in 2017.  They started with an all-new irrigation system in 2018 and then a major facelift in the summer of 2020.

Sadler Site Work was chosen as the contractor and did all of the construction.   Schade and his team spent a lot of time on the shaping of the greens to make Cypresswood the most golfer friendly course in the area.  Ron Garl would occasionally show up at the course and give Schade and his team some advice and suggestions.

The pandemic that started last spring enabled them to get a lot of work done in a much shorter period of time since there was little to no play on the golf course. Nevertheless, operations were shut down in May.  All 18 greens were rebuilt and replanted with TifEagle grass, tee boxes were laser leveled, and bunkers were expanded and flattened; everything geared toward making the course a lot more player-friendly. The focus of this redesign is clear: Hit the shot that the architect intended. In November of 2020, Cypresswood Country Club had its grand reopening. In comparing the course then and now, it is night and day; the course is a lot greener and although the fairways are still growing, it’s a lot plusher than before.

If you’ve played here before, you’ve probably noticed some of the changes, like the coquina-shelled parking area left of the greenside bunker on #8 and the pathway that goes through it.

Number 12 has a completely new look from the White and Gold Tee boxes. The fairway bunker on the right has been greatly enlarged and should come into play more often especially for those trying to cut the corner of this dogleg right par 4. The fairway bunker on the left side was also enlarged.

To me, 17 and 18 are still two holes that can make or break your round. Number 17 is a slight dogleg left par 4 that plays 376 yards from the White tees. Push your tee shot too far right and you can easily find the road, there are fairway bunkers on either side that come into play more often than not. A good drive will leave a short iron or wedge into an elevated green that features a lot of undulation and is well protected by bunkers.

Number 18 is also a dogleg left that plays 402 yards. Hit your drive too far or push it right and you can easily find the water; the fairway bunker on the left has been known to ruin some good scores too. Hit your drive out over the bunkers and you’ll be left with an approach shot of about 150 yards into a relatively flat, long narrow green that is protected with bunkers on either side. The slope that was in the middle of the 18th green was flattened to create more pin placements.

Number 3 has always been one of my favorite holes. This dogleg right par 5 plays 531 yards from the White tees. Water can come into play on the right side off the tee. Trees line both sides of the fairway off the tee and on your layup shot, so hit something you can control. Your approach shot is into a relatively flat, slightly elevated green that falls off on the left side There’s a lot of mounding around the green and a large bunker on the right.

After your round, stop by the Cypresswood Pub. They have all of your favorite adult beverages including ice-cold draft beer, house wines, and mixed drinks, and some of the best clubhouse food in the area. The menu is pretty basic but let me tell you, they have some of the best chicken wings I have ever had and their burgers are second to none. It’s no wonder golfers and non-golfers alike can be found at the Pub for lunch and dinner enjoying some great food!.

Membership at Cypresswood is easy and affordable. There’s no initiation fee – which is surprising with all the money that has recently been put into the facility – and you don’t have to live within this gated community. Best of all, there aren’t a lot of choices, no social memberships, junior memberships out-of-state memberships, or senior memberships to choose from; you’re either a resident of the community or you’re not. Non-residents pay a flat fee of $300 per month for an individual ($450 for a family). Residents pay $250/$375. For that, you’ll receive unlimited cart fees, greens fees, and range balls. Plus you can make tee times up to 14 days in advance. If you prefer to use your own cart, you can do that without an added trail fee; just show proof of liability insurance. That’s it. No food and beverage minimum – although the food is terrific – no pro shop minimum, etc. It’s the best membership value in Central Florida!

There have been a lot of improvements to the golf course and the clubhouse at Cypresswood. The pro shop has a good selection of logoed golf apparel and equipment from PUMA and Cobra as well as several upcoming Cobra Demo Days on the range. And, as always, Bob Schade is available to help fix your swing or answer any questions you may have about the club. For more information, visit their website at www.cypresswoodcc.com.

Lacoste: Apparel for Multiple Sports Activities

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The fine folks at Lacoste recently sent us some of their “golf appropriate” apparel. While they do offer a complete line of men’s and women’s golf apparel, I use this phraseology because what we have found is that a lot of their apparel is appropriate for a variety of sports.

Lacoste got their start in the world of tennis. Tennis professional Rene Lacoste founded the company in 1933 and introduced a green crocodile as the brand’s logo. (his nickname was The Crocodile because of his ferocity on the tennis court). As you can imagine, much of their apparel is geared towards tennis. Which is a good thing. A lot of their apparel is suitable for both sports – tennis and golf. Let’s start with the Women’s SPORT Breathable Stretch Tennis Polo.  This collarless garment was inspired by the streamlined look of a wetsuit. It is ultra-breathable and is sewn from a stretch jersey fabric and features transparent ventilating mesh panels on the sleeves. The zipped banana collar has contrast piping and the smooth-glide zipper runs along the placket. There’s Lacoste branding in middle of back and a green crocodile transfer on chest. It’s available in Euro-sizes 32 – 46.

A new take on women’s golf apparel is Lacoste’s Striped Polo. The polo’s slim striping details outline the classic shape of this easy-fitting textured piqué polo. This textured pique garment is trimmed with contrasting ribbed finishes at the bottom of the sleeves and buttons that fasten down the back. The Women’s Striped Polo is available in Euro-sizes 32 – 46 and in Black/White and Red/White.

Another great ladies’ garment is the Women’s SPORT Ultra Dry Geometric Print Performance Polo, available in two stunning color combos: Navy Blue/Turquoise/Blue/White, or Orange/Purple/Red/White. It’s sewn in a breathable ultra-dry stretch jersey fabric with an open ribbed polo collar which adds a touch of femininity. The graphic print on the chest along with the green crocodile transfer identify the brand. It’s available in Euro-sizes 32 – 46.

Lacoste continues to be a trendsetter and the Women’s “Made in France” Cotton Pique Polo Dress leads the way when it comes to trendy golf apparel. This garment is a take on tie-dye which makes this straight-cut polo dress – sewn in cotton caviar piqué – irresistible. It features a ribbed polo collar and ribbed finishes at the end of each sleeve. The Cotton Pique Polo Dress has a recycled embroidered green crocodile and organic cotton crafting, making it environmentally-friendly. The “Made in France” Cotton Pique Polo Dress is available in euro-sizes S – XL and in Flashy Yellow/White, or Red/Pink/White, or Navy Blue/Blue/White.

When things cool down, you need something to keep you warm on the course and the Women’s SPORT V-neck Sweater is the answer. This elegant Lacoste Sport sweater is sewn in breathable stretch cotton so you’ll stay cool and comfortable under the pressure of the game thanks to Coolmax technology. The ribbed V-neck collar and ribbed finishes at bottom of garment and sleeve ends add a unique look and the green crocodile transfer on the chest let’s everyone know your favorite brand. It’s available in Euro-sizes 32 – 44 and in a brilliant orange color.

Another beautiful Women’s sweater is the Recycled Cashmere V-neck Golf Sweater. The raglan sleeves, striped ribbed V-neck, and ribbed finishes at the wristbands and bottom of the garment make this environmentally-friendly piece extremely functional, comfortable, and warm. Contrasting stripes at the bottom of this must-have complete the sporty chic look. It’s available in Euro-sizes 32 – 44 and in 2 color combos: Navy Blue/White/Red or White/Yellow/Green. You’ll look and feel great styling down the fairway with the embroidered green crocodile on the chest!

The Women’s Signature Wide Hooded Fleece Sweatshirt is a cotton blend fleece sweatshirt that hits its mark with the Lacoste signature in puff print on the chest. With a modern, loose fit, drawstring hood and kangaroo pocket, it’s a sportswear must for any wardrobe. It’s available in sizes XS – XL and only in White.

There’s a lot for guys too. Lacoste’s Men’s Motion Colorblock Crew Neck Sweatshirt delivers uncompromised comfort and style while delivering warmth. This thick cotton blend fleece features a tubular crew neck with raglan sleeves and ribbed wristbands at the bottom of the garment. The tri-color colorblock design with a contrasting single zippered pocket and silicone crocodile on the chest identify the brand. Look good and stay warm in the Colorblock Crew Neck Sweatshirt. It’s available in sizes S – 4XL and in 2 colors including Navy Blue/Grey/Navy Blue.

Imagine your favorite golf polo with long sleeves and a crocodile on the chest. Now it’s a reality: the Lacoste Men’s Long-Sleeve Classic Fit L.12.12 Polo. The recognizable thick cotton piqué material with ribbed collar and armbands brings a classic chic yet casual touch to your everyday outfits. The two-button placket, mother-of-pearl buttons, and the classic fit are pure Lacoste. And, as always, the crocodile logo on the chest lets everyone know your favorite brand. This new long-sleeve polo is available in sizes XXS – 4XL and in 6 colors: White, Black, Red, Blue, Green, and Bordeaux.

Another functional long-sleeve garment that’s great for the golf course is the Men’s SPORT Breathable Golf Polo Shirt. It features raglan sleeves and a breathable ultra-dry stretch jersey material. The three-button ribbed polo collar and contrasting placket give this well-crafted garment a classic look. The breathability make this a perfect choice for guys looking for a little extra sun protection. There’s an embroidered Croc logo on the chest. The SPORT Breathable Polo is available in sizes S – 4XL and in Black.

The Men’s SPORT Water-Resistant Hooded Zip-Up Jacket gets you ready for anything, no matter what the weather is outside. This sleek rain jacket comes in a diamond-patterned performance fabric with a hood, mesh lining and logo lettering encircling the sleeves. The diamond taffeta is a smooth, very light weaved fabric with a slightly shiny finish and it’s water-resistant. The ergonomic hem and elasticized finishes at the bottom of garment keep you warm and dry and the slant zip pockets and interior zip pocket do the same for your valuables. There’s a green crocodile logo emblazoned on the chest.

Every great top needs a bottom and Lacoste’s Sport Fleece Track Pants are perfect whether you’re an athlete in training or just lounging around the living room. They feature an elasticized waistband and leg bottoms and a drawstring closure. The cotton blend brushed fleece fabric will keep you warm and toasty and the crocodile logo on the right leg identifies the brand. The Sport Fleece Track Pants are available in sizes S – 4XL and in several colors.

This is just a small sample of what Lacoste has for golfers this year. See everything Lacoste has to offer at their website www.lacoste.com.

Swing Control – Looking Good on the Links

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Swing Control is a Canadian-based, women’s golf apparel company whose specialty is making women look. And, when you look better feel better.

The key to success is to do one thing and do it right. They only offer bottoms (skorts, shorts, pants, and crops) The company’s skilled designers have spent years turning “active wear” into “anytime” wear by combining slimming tummy control with unparalleled quality. Swing Control is golf wear that can be worn anywhere by any women for any occasion!

Over the years, Swing Control’s bread and butter has been the Masters Collection. All of their apparel is designed to flatten the tummy and create a slimming effect. The key is the double layer of printed polka dot, moisture control, power-knit tummy control hidden in the 4 1/4″ wraparound waistband, which helps to create a sleek silhouette. All garments feature a pull-on design with two front pockets and two back pockets. What separates these garments and sets them apart are the colors and patterns.

The Striped Masters Ankle Pant features a 28” inseam and is sewn from the company’s Printed Stretch Techno fabric which moves with you. This ankle pant is available in sizes 00 – 16 and in Stone with Navy/Red/Cream Tape. It’s also available in a Bright Paisley print that is sure to turn some heads.

The Masters Skort is also sewn from the Printed Stretch Techno fabric with an 18” length. It’s available in sizes 00 – 16 and in several solid colors including Black, White, Navy, Electric Blue, New Red, Baby Pink, Opal, African Violet, and a number of eye-catching prints.

With a 24” inseam, the Masters Crop is a little shorter than the ankle pant, but still has all of the fabrics and features of its longer cousin! Same great tummy control; same great fabric. It’s available in sizes 00 – 16 and in a plethora of colors and prints.

The Blue Trio Slim Pant is a little different. They’re a little bit longer – 30” inseam – and is sewn from a heavyweight stretch jacquard, so they’ll keep you warm when the weather cools down. There are two slanted front pockets. They too are available in sizes 00 – 16.

This is just a small sample of the new styles and patterns available from Swing Control. If you want to look your best and not compromise on comfort, check out what they’ve got to offer. Visit them online at www.swingcontrol.com.

 

SanSoleil Golf Apparel – Sun Protection and a Whole Lot More

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SanSoleil is best known for their sun protection golf apparel, particularly long sleeve polos and outerwear pieces. The biggest difference between SanSoleil’s sun protection and other companies is that SanSoleil’s UV 50+ protection is part of the fabric and will never wash away. Many of the pieces in the SanSoleil collection are available in a wide array of bright, vibrant colors and fun prints such as Americana, Golf Cart Blue, Carlyle Pink, Snow Leopard Capri,  Lady Luck Red, and Cosmos Blue just to name a few.

The technology that goes into SanSoleil’s golf apparel goes way past sun protection. Their SolStyle Cool Fabric is ultra-lightweight and most often found in women’s garments. It’s a high performance cooling fabric that reduces skin temperature by 3-5°.  SolStyle Cool is used in a number of SanSoleil garments including the SunGlow 13 Inch Skort. This lightweight, breathable skort features a pull on design with a stretch comfort waistband and built-in stretchy shorts. There’s 2 zippered front pockets, a back zippered pocket, and a side leg on-seam zip pocket. The Sunglow 13 Inch Skort is available in sizes XS – XL and in several eye-catching colors and prints.

On the Men’s side there’s SolSport Cool which reduces body temperature by up to 5%! The Men’s SolSport Button Print Polo is sewn from SanSoleil’s newest fabric. In addition to the cooling properties, this short sleeve polo also offers tremendous stretch and athletic mesh inserts. The garment is extraordinarily light and easy care. It’s available in sizes S – 2XL and in several colors and prints. It’s also available in long sleeves with a button or zipped collar.

Another SanSoleil cooling fabric is their SolTek ICE which is used in their Long Sleeve Mock Polo. It combines Super Cool Nylon with mesh inserts and quick cool technology to create the most comfortable golf fabric available! Since SolTek ICE has enhanced stretch for a more athletic fit, garments tend to run a half to full size smaller than other SanSoleil garments. The SolTek ICE Long Sleeve Mock Polo is available in sizes XS – XXL and in a number of colors.

The SolCool Sleeveless Mock offers moisture-wicking, quick-dry, and cooling ventilation along with UPF 50 Protection. The mock collar stand adds extra protection for the back of the neck. This sleeveless garment features a mock collar and zippered placket These sleeveless tops are great for sports that require fabrics that move and are lightweight for exertion in the sun’s heat. These SolCool Tops are available in sizes XS – XXL and in a number of colors and prints. The Americana print features an American Flag across the front.

When you want to relax away from the course, the SunGlow Relaxed Tee is the perfect garment for lounging around outdoors. The SunGlow fabric is soft, lightweight, and breathable with quick-dry properties; it’s naturally wrinkle-free and has a luxurious hand feel. SunGlow has a subtle sheen, is wonderfully rich and supple. It’s great for activities that require a fabric that moves with you and is lightweight for exertion in the sun’s heat. PS. It also looks great over a bathing suit. The SunGlow Relaxed Tee is available in sizes XS to XXL and in several colors.

This is just a small sample of what SanSoleil has to offer for the upcoming golf season. You can see the entire line at www.sansoleil.com.