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Savannah Lakes Village – Live Here, Play Here.

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Savannah Lakes Village is a 4,000-acre master-planned private lakefront community located on over 20 miles of shoreline on Lake Thurmond. It’s a common-interest community where property owners pay assessments that help keep the common amenities up and running. They also pay nominal usage fees for amenities such as golf, clubhouse restaurants, recreation center, and community docks. This a la carte approach allows members to build the lifestyle they want and, if you’re an avid golfer, play as much golf as you want.

The Community has received numerous awards including one of “America’s 100 Best Planned Communities” by Ideal-LIVING Magazine, “Best Overall Active Adult Community” by National Active Retirement Association, and America’s “100 Best Master Planned Communities,” by Where to Retire. They’ve also been recognized as a “50 Top Golf Community,” by Retirement Lifestyles. Savannah Lakes Village was also South Carolina’s first “Firewise” community.

For residents, there’s plenty to do; it’s a community practically built around recreation. In addition to watersports on and around the lake, Savannah Lakes Village boasts two championship lakefront golf courses on the property. Within the community’s 23,000 square foot Recreation Center you’ll find 2 pools, tennis and pickleball courts, and a bowling alley. For the outdoor lover, there are literally hundreds of miles of land and water trails to explore. The community also has over 30 sanctioned clubs and groups with something for everyone from birdwatching to golf to shooting sports.

Savannah Lakes is home to two of the best golf courses in the area if not the state. Each course has excellent practice facilities including spacious driving ranges where you can hit every club in the bag, putting greens, practice bunkers, and pitching greens. These award-winning golf courses were designed by golf course architect Tom Clark and are seamlessly carved from the rolling landscape that wraps around Lake Thurmond. Watch bald eagles soar overhead as you putt and enjoy unique challenges, breathtaking vistas, and an exciting round of golf. In addition to great views, you’ll find some of the most scenic, challenging, and inspiring golf holes in the state.

The Tara Golf Course plays 7,002 yards from the black tees with a course rating of 72 and a slope of 140. The average golfer will find the white tees at 6,091 yards enjoyable and challenging. Ladies typically play from the red tees at 5,375. Pick the set of tees that best match your game and you’ll have a great time.

The Tara Golf Course winds its way through the community and meanders along the naturally rugged terrain of the Sumter National Forest and around Lake Thurmond. The rolling topography of the land shows itself in several places throughout your round, while stately oaks and pristine pines frame each hole.

Tara has several memorable holes but the stretch from 8 to 10 can make or break a good round. Number 8 is a par 5 that plays 486 yards from the white tees and for the majority of golfers is going to be a 3-shot hole. Try and play down the left side or cut the corner of the dogleg and you can make it really rough on yourself. A good idea may be something less than a driver off the tee in hopes of finding the fairway. Playing your layup shot down the right side will give a better angle into the green, which is an odd shape and heavily protected by sand. Number 9 is a unique and fun hole. At 317 yards, it’s not real long and it plays downhill so it’s somewhat shorter still. Whatever you hit off the tee. Make sure it’s short of the water in front of the green. Number 10 is another dogleg left par 4, playing 397 yards. Favor the right side off the tee and leave yourself a long to mid-iron slightly uphill into another well-guarded green. Make it through these holes at par or better and odds are you’ll have a great round.

The Monticello Course seems to be the more popular of the two. At 7,032 yards it’s only slightly longer and the course rating of 74 and slope of 142 suggest that plays a little tougher. Monticello is best classified as a modern links course as it follows the natural contours of the forested coastline and brings water into play on at least 9 holes. The course features Bermuda fairways and rough, Zoysia collars, and MiniVerde Bermuda greens. I found the white tees at 6,112 yards provided a good challenge and had me hitting every club in the bag.

The most stunning holes on the golf course are 3, 4, and 5 which play out on a lakefront peninsula and bring the water into play. Number 3 is a 469-yard par 5 with water all down the left side and bunkers that come into play in the landing area on both your tee shot and layup. The boomerang-shaped green is protected on the left by sand and water. The 4th is a short par 3, playing 139 yards into a green with water that must be carried off the tee and sand and mounding surrounding it.

Number 5 is a 346-yard par 4 with that pesky lake down the left side again. The hole has been named as one of the “18 Most Spectacular” holes in the Carolinas by Carolina Living Magazine. Favoring the right side helps to take the water out of play but watch out for the fairway bunker. A tee shot that finds the fairway will leave an approach shot over water into a well undulated green protected by sand and water on the left.

The clubhouses offer golfers full beverage service plus bar sandwiches and other snacks perfect for a quick bite at the turn. Both clubhouses are equipped with multiple televisions, and the covered patio at Monti’s is a wonderful place to enjoy drinks when the weather is comfortable. New for 2022, River Grille at Tara is christening The Overlook, an outdoor patio with a panoramic vista spanning the #1 tee, the shared #9/#18 green, and the shores of Lake Thurmond.

If you’re considering retirement to a warm-weather golf community, take a serious look at Savannah Lakes Village. The Upcountry of South Carolina is beautiful and offers plenty to do. You’re bound to meet friends and neighbors that share your interests. There are six different neighborhoods within Savannah Lakes offering lake, golf, and interior-wooded homesites ranging in price from the $200s to well over $1M. No matter where you live, as a resident of Savannah Lakes Village you’ll have full access to the golf courses and the lake via the community docks and local area boat ramps. For more information, visit their website, www.SavannahLakes.com.

Silver Dollar Golf and Trap Club: Not Exactly What You’d Expect

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At first glance, Silver Dollar Golf and Trap Club in Odessa, FL is not your typical golf club. For starters, there’s a skeet shooting range directly across the street, hence the Trap part of the name. It’s not uncommon to be teeing off or putting to the sound of gunfire, but you get used to it after a few holes.

Secondly, the course sits in the back of a manufactured housing community/RV Park. Back in the day, it was rumored that more than 20 multimillionaires would park their formidable RVs at Silver Dollar for the season and enjoy both trap shooting and golf. A lesser-known fact is that several well-known professional wrestlers used to play at the course regularly. Names like (Flyin’) Brian Pillman, Brian (Crush) Adams, (Dangerous) Dan Spivey, Paul (Big Show) Wight, and Mark (Undertaker) Calaway could often be found playing in weekly games or creating games of their own.

There are three 9-hole layouts at Silver Dollar meaning there are three unique 18-hole combinations. The Gator/Panther combination is the one most played however, throw in the Bobcat nine and you can have all kinds of fun and challenging golf. As you make your way around each of the three nines you’ll encounter the usual golf hazards with trees, bunkers, and water features that will test and entertain you. Narrow, tree-lined fairways are often complemented with generous landing areas which are great for beginners. Some sparkling lakes and ponds come into play on a few holes and strategically placed bunkers are situated around many greens. Paspalum greens provide excellent rolling putting surfaces!

The Gator nine plays 3,003 yards from the White Tees with a par of 37. Water is present on at least 7 holes but only comes into play on about 3 or 4 of them. Gator starts with a relatively short 319-yard par 4, dogleg left. The green sits directly beyond the large evergreen trees and just past the retention pond on the left side. With a good drive, it is reachable if you know where the right line is. Otherwise, hit your tee shot down the left side of the fairway past the dogleg and you’ll have a short pitch shot into a small, elevated green. Bunkers guard each side of the green and there’s a small pond right of the cart path. Par or better can be had and get your round off to a great start.

The 3rd and 4th holes are short par 5s and if played correctly can help you pick up a couple of shots. Number 3 is a short 415-yard par 5 dogleg left; a good drive past the dogleg will allow you to go for the green in two. You’ll need to navigate over the small pond that fronts the green, which slopes gently from back to front. Number 4 is a 421-yard par 5 that plays to the left around a large lake. The more of the lake you can carry, the shorter your approach shot. Clear the corner of the lake off the tee and you’ll only have a mid-iron into the green.

Number 8 is a legitimate 500-yard par 5 with a double dogleg. Unless you’re a longball hitter off the tee, don’t even try to cut the dogleg left. There’s a small pond just beyond the palm trees that have claimed its fair share of tee balls. A good drive followed by a successful layup shot around the second dogleg will leave a short chip shot into the green which slopes gently from back to front.

The Panther nine plays 2,974 yards from the White Tees and plays to a par of 35. This layout places more of a premium on accuracy than on length. The last three holes can make or break your round. Sixteen (7) is the shorter of these back-to-back par 5s, but because of the way it’s laid out, it’s going to be a three-shot hole for most players. The tee shot is wide open, but you need to be careful with your layup shot. Hit it too far and you’ll find the water that guards the front of the green, A good layup short of the ponds will leave a short pitch into the green of a little more than 100 yards. The green is a lot wider than it is deep.

Number 17 (8) is the longest hole on the entire property, playing 577 yards from the White Tees. The pond that comes into play off the tee requires a drive of at least 290 to clear so most players will be laying up. A good drive followed by a well-struck layup shot will still leave a short or mid-iron into a relatively flat green with bunkers fronting either side. Par is a good score here.

Number 18 is a 171-yard par 3 that requires a carry over water off the tee into a small green. A good tee shot can set up a great end to a wonderful round of golf.

For some reason, the Bobcat layout seems to be the forgotten nine, but we found it quite challenging. The first hole is one of the property’s most interesting, a short par 5 that wraps around the driving range on the right with a chain-link fence down the right side. It’s a great risk-reward hole because you can go over as much of the driving range as you want and shorten your approach shot. Take the driving range out of play and play down the left side, and it’s a definite three-shot hole. Live oaks on either side of the fairway as you approach the green seem to shrink the fairway. The green is large and fairly flat. Another opportunity to make up a stroke or get started on the right foot.

Number 3 is the closest I’ve ever come to making a hole-in-one on a par 4. The hole plays 246 yards from the White Tees which requires about a 200-yard carry to clear the pond. There is no sand around the green, just the pond.

Unless you know it’s there, the pond that fronts the green on the 306-yard, par 4, 5th hole can be an unwelcome surprise. From the White Tees, you only need to hit it about 180 yards, which will leave a short pitch shot into the green.

Silver Dollar Golf Club has some of the best practice facilities in the area. For starters, there’s a full-length driving range where you can hit every club in the bag. Then, there is a putting and chipping green complete with sand trap, two putting greens, and to top it off, 3 practice holes. For $6, you can play the three practice holes as many times as you like! There’s no reason not to be ready when you hit the first tee.

With an in-season rate of just $38 for greens fees and cart, Silver Dollar is affordable by anyone’s standards. Other courses in the area are charging twice that rate. If you’re competitive and looking to get in a game at Silver Dollar, you’ll find them just about every day of the week. I used to live in the area about 20 years ago and played a money game every Friday afternoon. Head Golf Professional Ron Hoffman who returned to Silver Dollar a few years ago, has been able to keep that game going all this time.

As you would expect during the peak golf season in Florida, the course was very busy. We spoke with golfers from all over the Midwest who make Silver Dollar Golf Club a regular visit on their snowbird migration. Everyone we spoke with raved about what a great value the course is. Ladies seemed to favor the Panther 9 because it has three par 3s and Thursdays. After all, that’s Lady’s Day. Another common denominator between those we spoke with was the food. Not only is it delicious, but it’s also priced right too! Hamburgers seemed to be the favorite, however, it was Lady’s Day and we saw a lot of salads!

For more information or to book your next round at Silver Dollar, call them at (813) 920-3884 or visit them online at www.silverdollargolf.com.

Pine Ridge Golf Club – Restoring Glory To This Once Great Club

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Big changes will soon be coming to The Pine Ridge Golf Club in Beverly Hills, Florida. As you will see when you visit, Pine Rudge is still a work in process. This Citrus County golf course is situated in the middle of the 4800-acre Pine Ridge Equestrian and Golf community, in Citrus County, Florida. The course sits 161-feet above sea level, which explains the elevation changes and gently rolling hills, a welcome change from the flat, mundane terrain of most Florida golf courses. Pine Ridge was designed by Brian Almony and originally opened for play in 1982. In the early days, Pine Ridge offered its members an all-encompassing golf facility with a full-length driving range, a short game area, and a practice putting green. In addition to the par 72 championship layout, there was a par 3 executive course, Little Pines.

Pine Ridge still has some fair practice facilities. There’s a generous sized putting green, a driving range, and a short game area. The chipping and putting areas are the perfect place to improve your short game. The driving range at Pine Ridge is only about 200 yards long and is the perfect place to warm up your iron game. The practice green is great for getting to know the speed of the greens before heading to the first tee.

As you make your way around the layout, you’ll encounter a variety of hole styles; woodland framed holes with rolling fairways, wide-open holes that let you bomb away off the tee, blind tee shots, and challenging greens. Although the course winds its way through a golf community, the course is not crowded with home sites; in fact, the houses that you do see sit well back from the fairways.

While the current conditioning of the course is nothing to write home about, Pine Ridge Golf Club is a great place to tune up your game. Narrow fairways require accuracy to keep your tee shot in play. The greens are small – probably from the years of neglected maintenance – which can test your accuracy and shot-making ability. Many greenside bunkers sit about 10 yards back from the green, meaning you’ll need to be able to hit longer bunker shots with some spin.

For me, the par 5, 8th hole is the most memorable on the course and at only 464 yards from the White tees, it’s not going to overpower anybody. A good drive to the top of the hill sets up a risk/reward opportunity if you want to go for the green in two. Once you get to the top of the hill, you’ll find that the hole plays downhill and doglegs to the right. Fronting the right side of the green is the only water hazard on the course and the small, narrow green only adds to the difficulty of the hole and requires a very accurate approach shot to score well.

Number 1 is my favorite par 4. The first hole at Pine Ridge Golf Club plays 383 yards from the White tees and starts with a blind, slightly uphill tee shot. Once you get to the top of the hill and can see your approach shot, you’ll realize just how picturesque the hole is. A good drive will leave a short approach shot into a small green fronted by a bunker on the left and another on the right.

The course’s best par 4 is followed by my favorite par 3. The 161-yard second hole requires a well-struck, accurate tee shot into a long, narrow green protected in front by bunkers on either side and another on the right side.

After your round, grab a bite to eat or your favorite adult beverage at The Pub at Pine Ridge. They offer a fully stocked bar and a casual atmosphere where you can relax and enjoy the natural surroundings. The food is great, from tasty buffalo chicken wings to mouth-watering burgers to some of the best flatbread pizza I’ve ever had. The bar & grill is open daily.

Pine Ridge offers a variety of memberships. All memberships include unlimited greens fees and cart fees, range balls, and preferred tee times. Single and family memberships are available and are payable on a monthly basis. Check out the website for more information.

In addition to having an active membership, Pine Ridge is a great place to host family get-togethers, prom nights, anniversaries, or other special occasions. Whatever you have in mind, the professional staff at Pine Ridge is committed to helping you make your event a success. They offer a variety of hassle-free event packages to choose from or they can customize one to fit your specific needs.

Tournament hosting is another thing Pine Ridge does well. They will work with you to customize your event based on the size and menu you want. Their ‘Standard Outing Package’ includes green fees, carts, and range balls. For more information visit their website at www.prgcfl.com or give them a call at (352) 746-6177.

Heritage Harbour Golf Club: Cracking the Code on Seasonal Residence and Golf Club Membership

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The Heritage Harbour golf course in Bradenton Florida has been a favorite of both locals and snowbirds for many years. The course opened in 2001 as Stoneybrook Golf Club at Heritage Harbour and changed to its current name in 2018. Since its inception, it has been operated as a public course and a semi-private club.

In the years after the 2008 financial crisis, the condition of the course continued to deteriorate. Different golf course management companies were brought in to make improvements and turn things around, but conditions didn’t improve and the golf course was put up for sale, something that worried residents who had once upon a time purchased golf course homes.

Local PGA golf professional turned publisher turned real estate broker Mark Bruce put together an investment group and purchased the distressed property, thus adding the title of Golf Course Owner/General Manager to an already crowded business card. His knowledge and expertise in each area have melded together nicely as everything he foresaw for Heritage Harbour is coming to fruition.

By his admission, Bruce says the course was desperately in need of repairs. Bruce and a group of investors purchased the club about 4 years ago.  Florida weather, especially summer heat and torrential afternoon rains is hard on golf courses.  “The lifespan of core elements like greens, bunkers, and turfgrass is only about 12 to 15 years, so now, after 21 years, it was time for us to do some heavy lifting”, says Bruce.  As one of his partners told me, “I came down to visit the property shortly after agreeing to become an investor. As Mark was touring me around the property I stopped him and asked, “what have you gotten me into?”

Mark Bruce knew exactly what he was doing. After doing his due diligence, he put together a business model that will ultimately pay for the course renovation, clubhouse improvements, and ongoing maintenance of the golf course. Bruce has partnered with ResClub, whose business model brings quality traffic to vacation rental property resorts. Visitors that are in golf vacation mode will provide additional revenue streams for the resort developer. With this new business model, the shift to frame the property as a micro destination golf resort makes perfect sense and will generate sufficient revenue for years to come to properly care for the course and make it a “must play” in Southwest Florida.

The uniqueness of what Bruce and ResClub’s CEO Craig Williamson have created is unparalleled. You can be a visiting vacationer for a short or extended stay, a member that comes every year for two to four weeks, or a seasonal owner that lives in a Villa for up to six months a year. Here’s how membership works. A $99,000 membership will get you four weeks of use for a 30-year term on a vacation home at Heritage Harbour in Bradenton, FL or you can choose from more than 4,500 resort locations and 600,000 hotels in more than 100 countries within an extensive travel exchange network. The biggest difference between this type of ownership and timeshare is that with a timeshare, you still pay maintenance and resort fees. The ResClub membership model has no closing costs, HOA, property management fees, or ongoing utility expenses either. With this type of membership, there is a fixed annual return – they pay you back between 5 – 8% each year. Use your new vacation home for 4 weeks during the year and you’ll get 5% of your investment back; don’t use it at all and you’ll get 8%. So instead of forking out $3 – 5,000 in fees, you are getting a check for $5,000 – $8,000 each year. Looking for a seasonal place to call home? Whole ownership of a villa is available and owners can use it for up to 179 days a year as a “seasonal home” or keep their use limited to four weeks and deploy the villa into the resort rental platform to create income.  The whole goal is to create an experience for Members and Owners that creates a net-zero cost of ownership and gives them amazing lifestyle and personal use benefits.

Ultimately, the new Heritage Harbour Golf Resort will include 74 villas and a 100-suite golf lodge and will be the only full-service golf resort in Manatee County. It will include a resort-style pool, fishing excursions in the nearby Manatee River or Gulf of Mexico, corporate meeting and event spaces, and various other amenities.

The Heritage Harbour Golf Club was designed by Arthur Hills, one of America’s foremost golf course designers who was best known for building courses that are fun to play, beautiful, challenging, and require a strategy. He has designed many of the country’s finest courses – over 200 throughout the nation – and renovated just as many. I’ve often commented on how mundane Florida golf can be; after all, there’s only so much you can do with water, sand, and palm trees. Arthur Hills has taken those three aspects of Florida golf and created a Sunshine State masterpiece. As far as the layout goes. It’s incredible, winding its way through ponds, lakes, wooded areas, and wetland preserves. By successfully playing the angles Hills gives you, you are rewarded with manageable approach shots and opportunities for birdie.

Unfortunately, Arthur Hills passed away in May 2021, so we will never know what changes he would have made to his original design. Instead, Bruce and his partners have turned the redesign efforts over to someone they feel is an up-and-coming course architect, Nick Campanelli. Campanelli is just 38 and is a graduate of Penn State University. He is a Partner in the highly successful boutique landscape architecture firm M-D-L-A, whose presence is mostly in the Northeast US. In 2010, he submitted the winning entry into Golf Digest’s “Dream Hole” Armchair Architect Contest. His risk/reward par 4 hole was judged by fellow course architects Gil Hanse, Jeff Mingay, Tripp Davis, and Todd Eckenrode. As the contest winner, Campanelli was awarded probably the most inspiring life experience he will ever have; a four-week micro-internship with Pete Dye in French Lick, Indiana.

The full renovation will take place in the summer of 2022 and will include new turfgrass for the tees, fairways, and greens complexes, rebuilt bunkers, and upgrades and technological improvements to the irrigation system. Although the majority of the course will remain unchanged, The first and second holes will be replaced with the Lodge and two groups of villas that border a fifty-eight-acre wetland and beautiful bodies of water. Two new holes will be added to the existing course.  Several other holes will be rerouted and redesigned. I’ve seen the renderings and they are quite impressive.

Several aspects of the current club will not change; at least it’s not in the current plans. The Heritage Harbour practice facilities will still include an aqua practice range, two putting greens, a short game area, and a fully stocked pro shop.

The clubhouse currently has a very active Bar & Grill.  They’re open for lunch every day with happy hour from 4 – 6 pm. Wednesday’s is Cornhole Night with a special sports menu and Thursday’s is Burger Night with special prices on half-pound burgers served with your choice of fixings. There are all kinds of ice-cold beverages and adult libations. Be sure to check out their online calendar for other special events.

These days it’s hard to find a vacation destination with something for everyone, but Heritage Harbour and the Bradenton area will soon be changing that. The area offers great golf, both fresh water and deep-sea fishing, world-class beaches, exquisite culinary offerings, and luxury shopping. The Resort is just minutes away from I-75 and is destined to become one of Florida’s premier all-purpose resorts. For more information about all that is going on with Heritage Harbour or to make an appointment to visit and purchase a vacation home, you can give them a call at (941) 746-2696 or visit them online at www.heritageharbourgolfclub.com.

The Landings Club – A Golf Community That You Can Call Home

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The Landings Club on Skidaway Island is much more than a private country club; it’s a community. A 6,300-acre gated community that includes six championship golf courses designed by such world-class architects: Arnold Palmer, Tom Fazio, Arthur Hills, and Willard Byrd. A community that includes 31 tennis courts, 11 pickleball courts, and eight bocce courts. A community that includes a 52,000 sq. ft. “wellness” facility with 105 pieces of exercise equipment and five large pools. A community that includes seven restaurants each with its own unique, hand-crafted culinary creations. And one of them is arguably the area’s best fine dining steakhouse, named after the King himself, Arnold Palmer.

You get the picture. The Landings Club is the perfect place for golfers, court sports lovers, and foodies. They pride themselves on providing an exclusive country club atmosphere, which allows members to enjoy a fun, fulfilling, and personally rewarding lifestyle. It’s the perfect community for an active family that can take full advantage of everything they have to offer.

Each of the six golf courses at The Landings Club is unique in its own right, but one attribute they all share is showcasing the natural beauty of what Skidaway Island has to offer. Whether it’s playing through a backdrop of hardwood forests, saltwater marshes, or tidal creeks, each course shows the philosophy and the distinctive mark of its designer. Between the ‘go for broke’ style of an Arnold Palmer design or the functional beauty of Tom Fazio, each course at The Landings Club will create fond memories. All six courses have been designated “Audubon Cooperative Sanctuaries” and offer challenging play for golfers of all skill levels.

Every spring, the Korn Ferry Tour makes a stop at The Landings Club for the Club Car Championship which is played on the Tom Fazio-designed Deer Creek Course. Last year, the Korn Ferry Tour Final Stage of Q-School had the privilege of being the first to play on the newly renovated Magnolia Course, redesigned by Brandon Johnson, VP and Senior architect of Arnold Palmer Golf Design. Johnson has done a masterful job of recreating and redesigning holes, greens, and bunkers. Many of these new bunkers are penal; all are aesthetically beautiful.

As with all courses over time, the bunkers changed in shape and size and greens had shrunk significantly. There was no longer any correlation between the two. According to Johnson, “The focus became a redesign of bunkers and greens to improve their playability, aesthetics, and ease of maintenance. The new greens now provide a variety of pin locations, while the redesigned bunkers have led to wider fairways within the mature oak playing corridors. The course now feels slightly more generous off the tees and many of the approaches and green surrounds allow for a wider variety of approach and recovery shots.”

“Member feedback on Magnolia has been nothing but positive. Our membership asked for something unique. The new green and bunker complexes provide a challenge that does not exist on any other course located at The Landings Club,” said Scott Justman, Director of Golf Operations. From the Club tees, Magnolia plays 6,174 yards with a course rating of 71.5 and a slope of 129. The scorecard gives an assortment of blended distances and yardages – 12 for men and 7 for women – each with a course and slope rating all its own. You can make this course as easy – or as hard – as you want. A couple of newly renovated holes have stuck in my mind. Number 8 is a medium-length par 3 that plays 157 yards from the Club tees. It’s a challenging par 3 with a pond on the left side that wraps around behind the green and mature, moss-draped oak trees lining the right. The asphalt cart path has been replaced with crushed coquina shells creating a more natural look. The green has been greatly enlarged and now features two tiers. The top right tier is guarded by a large bunker while the lower-left tier juts out into the water.

The par 5, 301-yard 11th is another hole that was given a lot of attention. The tee shot was made a little easier by widening the fairway. The original fairway bunkers on the left side were eliminated and replaced by two new eye-catching bunkers that were pushed down the fairway and moved slightly back, creating a wider landing area. The far-right bunker was also moved so that it is more in play. The landing area of your layup shot has been widened. The green was moved slightly which brings the lake on the right side into play. It’s another beautiful golf hole.

In June of 2020, the Marshwood Clubhouse underwent a complete renovation as part of its member-approved capital plan. The new 22,500 square foot clubhouse overlooks the two Arnold Palmer-designed golf courses and boasts a resort-style pool complex, top-of-the-line golf shop, event lawn, and Cabana Bar. Marshwood also has two new dining options — Arnie’s Tavern and Palmer’s Steakhouse. Both pay tribute to the golf legend and the influence he has had on the development of The Landings Club. Palmer’s Steakhouse is a premier dining facility by anyone’s standards and features a modern twist on typical steakhouse fare, including a few favorites from the original Marshwood menu. Arnie’s Tavern captures the fun-loving spirit of its members and offers classic, casual fare, craft cocktails, and unique brews.

Another new dining venue at The Landings Club is The Deck at Franklin Creek. It’s a fast, casual dining facility that is located by the Franklin Creek Sports Complex, besides their resort-style pool complex which includes a splash pad and zero-entry pool. The Deck offers the best cup of coffee in town, as well as bagels, pastries, and parfaits for breakfast and a variety of salads, wraps, sandwiches, paninis, and hand-tossed pizzas for lunch or dinner. The Deck is the perfect place to gather with friends and enjoy The Landings Club’s lifestyle.

Over the past decade, The Landings Club has invested more than $62 million in projects and renovations large and small; very few amenities have gone untouched. Come out and see for yourself everything The Landings Club has to offer. Visit them online at www.landingsclub.com.

Albemarle Plantation – Redefining What A Golf Community Is All About

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The Albemarle Sound has been a prized locale for centuries; time and Mother Nature have made it the beautiful destination that you now see; rugged shoreline and endless seas.

Albemarle Plantation is an authentic coastal community and occupies a special place in the hearts of all who call it home. Although it’s home to one of the area’s most spectacular golf courses, the Sound brings life and energy to a community with unlimited ways to enjoy it. In fact, the attraction to the water may be bigger than the attraction to golf at Albemarle Plantation, as can be seen by the beautiful assortment of boats docked at the marina.

A lot of the success of the community has to do with the harmony that seems to exist within the gates; neighbors genuinely like each other and people just seem to get along. In 2012, this community of friends took it one step further; they decided to buy the place. Everything. Golf club, marina, pool, tennis facilities, walking trails, restaurants — all of it. Residents saw it as an opportunity to control the future of the community, and to keep membership costs low and property values high. So far, it has paid huge dividends!

Albemarle Plantation is not a collection of over-priced waterfront and golf course homes. The few that are for sale are priced right and come with a bevy of recreational amenities.  The marina is one of the largest private marinas on the east coast. It even has its own dining venue that caters more to boaters but is thoroughly enjoyed by all. The Dockside Café is a special place, with its large,1,700 square foot deck and both screened-in and open dining areas. The fare is a lot more casual with salads, burgers, sandwiches, wood-fired pizzas as well as beer and the well-stocked Albemarle Plantation Wine Store.

The clubhouse at Albemarle Plantation exudes Southern charm. It overlooks both the Sound and the 18th green with a formal hedge garden and well-manicured lawn creating a picturesque backdrop that is popular for weddings and special events.

Inside you’ll find an intimate full-service bar in the casual Grille Room; walk a little further and you’ll come to the formal dining room which also offers a spectacular view of the Sound. In either dining area, you can enjoy both lunch and dinner or choose to dine al fresco on the verandah and take in a beautiful sunset. They also serve a fantastic Sunday Brunch. Dinner entrees include a variety of steak and seafood selections including Shrimp and Grits, Lobster Risotto, and cornmeal fried oysters.

The Sound Golf Links at Albemarle Plantation is an incredible, nationally acclaimed Dan Maples design that opened for play in the fall of 1990. In planning this masterpiece, Maples made the most out of the woodlands and unique waterways and created a course that has something for everyone, regardless of how good or bad your game is. Several members have described the layout as very peaceful; it’s as if you are playing a new course every time you’re out there.

From the White Tees, The Sound plays 5,794 yards, which seems short, But throw in a course rating of 69.6 and a slope of 124 for the men and you’ll find it’s a challenge.

The Sound Links at Albemarle Plantation is full of memorable golf holes. Number 8 is a fun and challenging Par 4 that is a genuine risk vs reward hole. At 256 yards from the White tees, the hole screams “Go for it!” Brains over brawn is the key here as driving the green requires pinpoint accuracy. The marsh pinches in on both sides and anything but a straight tee shot usually means hitting your next shot from the drop area. The smart play – which is not my strong suit – is to hit a club much less than driver off the tee and leave a manageable shot into the green.

The three finishing holes will likely become etched into your memory. Number 16 is a relatively short par 4 at 253 yards and is the first of the three holes that features a stunning view of the Sound. This short dogleg left requires a well-placed tee shot; if you try to cut the corner, you’re flirting with the trees and OB. A well-played approach shot may well lead to a birdie opportunity.

Albemarle Sound dictates the shape of the par 5, 17th hole. Seventeen plays 468 yards from the White Tees and you’ll need a long drive if you want to put up a good score. Should you decide to go for the green in two, you’ll need tremendous accuracy as the green is guarded on all four sides by bunkers and marshlands.

Number 18 is a powerful finishing hole. Although it’s not the longest, it has proven to be the difference between victory and defeat for many golfers. Albemarle Sound runs down the entire right side of this dogleg right par 4, with a 150-yard sand bunker situated between the fairway and the Sound. Hit anything through the left side of the fairway off the tee and you’ll most likely find it in a bunker. Find the fairway off the tee and you’ll be looking at a short chip shot into an uphill green. Don’t be afraid to leave your drive in the bag.

Don’t be surprised if you hear some cheers and jeers from the clubhouse verandah as you’re finishing up. Even if you’re not at the top of your game, the unrelenting beauty of the natural surroundings will keep you coming back round after round.

If neither golf nor boating tickles your fancy, there are plenty of other social, fitness, artistic and educational activities to keep you busy. There are two tennis/pickleball courts, three bocce ball courts, almost 1,000 square feet of the latest cardio and strength equipment, and a community garden area with garden plots available for residents.

The residents of this member-owned golf community take ownership to a new level. It’s not uncommon to find residents who live on the course out on the hole behind their residence fixing pitch marks and filling divots. Their passion is evident and their efforts shine through as they do their part to keep this an incredibly well-maintained facility.

Whether you’re looking to retire or relocate to the Carolinas, Albemarle Plantation is well worth your consideration, you’ll never run out of things to do. For more information on becoming a member or resident of Albemarle Plantation, give them a call at (800)523-5958 or visit them online at www.albemarleplantation.com.

The Club at Ibis – Dedicated to Helping Members Improve with the Latest Golf Technology

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When Annika Sorenstam shows up for the grand opening of your driving range, you know your golf operations are on the right track. This is how it was last October at The Club at Ibis in West Palm Beach, FL when this mandatory membership golf community of 54 Nicklaus-designed holes introduced the latest and greatest in TopTracer driving range technology. In doing so, Ibis became the first private club in the state of Florida to install TopTracer technology on its range; technology that has become a staple on the PGA Tour is available to golfers of all abilities at Ibis.

The Club at Ibis in West Palm Beach Florida is doing all it can to take this golf community to a whole new level. Behind the security gates of this mandatory-membership community are three Nicklaus golf courses. The Legend Course was designed by the Golden Bear himself, while the Heritage Course was designed by Jack Nicklaus II and the Tradition Course was designed by son Steve.

The Legend Course opened for play in 1991 and underwent a major renovation in 2017; it has been described by Jack himself as a “masterpiece.” Golfweek Magazine has named the Legend Course one of the country’s “Most Distinctive Courses.” The course winds its way through the community and provides many scenic views of what a golf community is meant to be. As Jack Nicklaus courses go, it is somewhat player friendly and at the same time offers a stern test of golf. When the Legend Course was renovated back in 2017, plans were made to upgrade the practice area next. Good things come to those who wait!

When Jack Nicklaus II designed the Heritage Course, he was probably thinking “fun and friendly,” and built the course to give you a fair test of your golf skills, no matter what caliber of player you are. When it opened in the fall of 1991, Golf Digest named the Heritage Course one of the “Top 20 New Private Courses in America.” It’s also a favorite among the ladies and has been named the “Most Women-Friendly Course in America” by Golf for Women Magazine. It’s the go-to course in the community and the course of choice for many Club tournaments.

The Tradition Course was designed by son Steve and was completed in 2001. The design team took ideas and concepts from many of golf’s original layouts when designing the Tradition Course; as a result, you’ll find smaller greens and wide-open fairways. And, in true UK golf course style, the outward – (AKA front) – nine doesn’t take you back to the clubhouse! The Tradition Course has a lot of Florida vegetation too, so you’ll have to execute your tee shots and approaches into some very undulated greens if you want to score well.

The original practice area was very flat and drained poorly. In creating this new facility, Ibis brought in over 20,000 cubic yards of material to raise the range and create five new target green complexes, which were surfaced with artificial turf. An X-shaped fairway pattern – defined by a small ledge – was created between the target greens to allow players to practice a variety of shots.

The new range is almost 15 acres in area. The practice tee area now exceeds 125,000 square feet. The renovation of the practice area also included a new 10,000 square-foot putting green and five new short game greens spread between two different practice locations. The range is symmetrical from both ends which allow golfers to spread out and enjoy the same experience from either end. The north end is used more for short warm-ups before a round, while the south is focused more on longer practice sessions and features the all-new TopTracer technology across the entire length of the tee.

TopTracer technology allows players to track their shots along with all major swing data including swing speed, ball speed, and curvature. Members can also compete against each other in various fun competitions sync the results with their smartphones.

This state-of-the-art facility includes synthetic turf target greens, more than a dozen targets, and two new USGA-spec chipping greens. Every shot will react the same way it does on the golf course, which allows members to hit any type of shot they think they will encounter while out there.

“If we can use technology to make golfers better, become more interactive, and have more fun, it will take golf to a whole new level,” Sorenstam said.  “I’ve never seen anything like this. It’s massive with lots of different targets and tees. Getting instant feedback is so important to improving your game.”

One cost-savings measure that the new facility implemented was the use of Echo robots to harvest range balls and mow the turf at the same time. This has not only reduced labor costs but kept the range looking its absolute best.

The Club at Ibis is a mandatory membership community which means new residents must purchase at minimum a social membership, but when you move into a community with three Nicklaus-designed courses why would you consider anything less than a golf membership?

For more information on Ibis’ new TopTracer range or any of their golf courses, or to check out homes that are available, visit their website at www.clubatibis.com.

GGBlue’s Primm and Proper Collection for Spring 2022

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GG Blue’s new Primm and Proper collection takes the Red, White and Black color combination to a whole new level. You’ve never looked so good! When it comes to tops, GGblue gives you plenty of choices. Whether your preference is short sleeve or sleeveless, GGblue has a polo to compliment your style. The Sonia is a sleeveless collared polo with a 4-button placket. With UPF 30+ sun protection, anti-microbial and moisture wicking properties you’ll keep cool, dry fresh smelling and protected from the sun’s harmful rays. The front chest panel features a Red, White and Black color block design. It’s available in sizes XS – XXL.

The Harper Polo is unique to GGblue because of its eye catching design. The polo collar and 4-button placket may be standard casual golf attire but when you add short flutter sleeves, you’re bound to turn some heads. It too has a UPF 30+ finish for sun protection as well as anti-microbial and moisture wicking properties. The Harper Polo is available in sizes XS – XXXL and in 9 vibrant colors including Crimson, Puya, Egret, and Sky.

The Katy is another classic sleeveless polo with an 8” zippered placket, UPF 50+ sun protection and great moisture wicking and anti-microbial properties. It’s available in sizes XS – XXXL and in 7 colors including Rose, Fern, Mykonos, and Heather.

GGblue offers a wide array of pants, skorts and shorts for ladies of all shapes and sizes .The Primm and Proper Anke Pant is sewn from a Rayon/Nylon/Spandex fabric with terrific anti-microbial and moisture wicking properties to ensure you stay cool and dry. This classic woven ankle pant features a hidden button closure, front side pockets & two back welt pockets. It’s available in waist sizes 0 – 20 and in a Mod Gingham print.

The Essex is a mid-rise skort sewn from a form fitting fabric that is made to stretch and move with your body. The tummy control waistband adds comfort, support and a slimming effect.  The two front zipper pockets and one back welt pocket provide ample storage for your golf necessities. The stripes on each side contribute to the sporty look of this classic golf skort and the same-color zippers are a nice touch. The Essex Skort is available in sizes XS – XXXL and in either Black/Crimson or Navy/Cobalt.

There’s nothing worse than being cold on the golf course; your thoughts start to wander and you tend to play worse. GGblue has a couple of options for the ladies that will not only keep you toasty warm during your round but will have you stylin’ and profilin’ down the fairway. The Pasha Sweater is a longsleeve crewneck sweater with ribbed hem and cuffs and is cozy and warm. The Red, White, and Black color blocking design and striped cuffs are stunning. It’s available in sizes XS -XXXL

The Halley Jacket is a medium weight quilted jacket that is water Resistant, anti-microbial and moisture wicking, so you’ll keep you cool and dry on the course. There are knit panels on the sides & sleeves for easy movement and two front zipper pockets with plenty of storage space. The Halley Jacket is available in sizes XS – XXXL and in Crimson Red, Fern, or White with Black. It could easily become your go-to jacket in cool weather.

The Hampton Skort is a classic skirt that is not only elegant but practical as well, This Gingham plaid gem is perfect for a sunny day on the golf course. The Polyester/Spandex fabric has a little extra stretch and the slit in back adds to your range of motion while the anti-microbial and moisture wicking properties keep you cool and dry. Knit undershorts add a level of modesty and the four pockets provide plenty of room for all your winnings. The fabric has a UPF 30+ finish to protect you from the sun. The Hampton Skort pairs well with the many bright colored polos GGblue offers.

This is just a brief glimpse into GGblue’s new Primm and Proper Collection for 2022. To see the entire lineup, visit their website at www.GGblue and treat yourself to something new and colorful.

KINONA – New Styles and Colors for 2022

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KINONA is one of the golf apparel industry’s newer companies and has certainly made a name for itself over the past few years. They offer golf apparel made by women golfers, for women golfers. KINONA is committed to making golf more accessible and fun for all women by bringing chic, contemporary, and functional fashion to the fairway. All of KINONA’s fun, course-tested styles use several apparel technologies as well as a few unique signature features like tee holders and back pockets. Their exclusive Italian fabrics are a combination of ECONYL high quality regenerated nylon and lycra, resulting in superior fit, feel and performance.

Their 2022 Spring Apparel line introduces several new designs and colors. The Snappy Golf Trouser Pant is KINONA’s newest golf pant and is perfect for ladies that want a slightly longer length with all the great details you’ve come to expect from KINONA. This tailored pant pulls on easily and the higher waist features slight compression for tummy control. The snaps at the bottom help keep your ankles nice and warm. is available in Navy Blue.

If you’re looking for a classic style sports shirt with a button front placket, 4-way stretch for maximum flexibility, made from a Italian fabric with light compression, then look no further than KINONA’S latest short sleeve shirt. With moisture wicking and anti-microbial properties to keep you dry and comfortable on those warmer days, this shirt is so versatile, it can be worn tucked in or out. The Button Up Beauty Golf Top is available in Kelly Green and Mod Dot.

If sleeveless is more your style, KINONA’s Keep It Covered Sleeveless Top is the perfect top for those 80+ degree days with its 50+ UPF protection. The slightly lighter weight Italian fabric and princess seams create the illusion of curves in all the right places. The Keep It Covered Sleeveless Top is available in their new spring collection color, Dot Matrix as well as a variety of other colors including White, Black, and Navy Blue.

Another member of the Keep it Covered family is the Smooth Your Waist Crop Pant. They are KINONA’s best-selling women’s golf crop pants and provide a flattering fit without the seaming panel down the side. Instead, the wide waist provides great shaping and the Italian fabric has a touch of compression which provides a gentle “hug” without being uncomfortable. These sporty pants are as fun to wear après golf as they are during your round. They also travel well; you can get off that 4-hour flight and still look and feel great! The Smooth Your Waist Crop Pant is available in their new spring collection color, Mod Dot, as well as Black and Navy Blue.

For ladies who crave extra protection from the sun’s harmful rays, the Under Over Longsleeve Golf Top is a great longsleeve top with a sporty look. It features a low mock neck and 1/4 zip opening, making it very versatile. The Italian compression fabric and UPF 50+ protection gives you added confidence to play your best, while the raglan sleeve and sporty stripe makes this the perfect top to layer under your favorite golf vest or jacket on those cooler days. The Under Over Longsleeve Golf Top is available in either Mod Dot, or Navy Blue.

Golf dresses are making a comeback and the KINONA’s Selection is leading the way. Their Match Play All Day Sleeveless Dress is KINONA’s newest sleeveless model and sports a 1/4 zip that can be worn zipped up or open. The 4-way stretch Italian fabric and UPF 50+ sun protection provides added confidence for looking your best and staying safe on bright sunny days. Two on seam zip pockets provide ample storage, plenty for all your winnings! All KINONA golf dresses come with a mesh shorties that have a ball pocket and elastic around the legs to keep them from riding up. The new Match Play All Day Sleeveless Dress is available in Navy Blue and Dot Matrix.

KINONA’s new Classy and Sassy Golf Skort has a slight A line shape and a great classic fit. The higher waist and snap side detail allow you to take long strides down the fairway. KINONA’s signature mesh under shorties with a built in ball pocket provide an extra level of modesty and the Italian fabric with 4-way stretch gives you great flexibility while still looking neat and tidy. The Classy and Sassy Golf Skort is available in Dot Matrix and Azure Blue.

Another stylish short sleeve shirt is the Tee it Up Golf Shirt. It’s KINONA’s answer to a basic tee when you just want something simple to pair with a cute skort. It features KINONA’s Italian 4-way stretch fabric and is sure to become your go-to for both on and off the golf course.  The Tee It Up Golf Shirt is available in Black, White, and Navy Blue.

This is just a small snapshot of what KINONA has in store for the 2022 season. To see it all visit their website at www.kinonasport.com.

Cape Royal Golf Club – Arguably Cape Coral’s Best Golf Course

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Water, sand, and palm trees. That pretty much sums up every golf course in Florida. The Cape Royal Golf Club in Cape Coral, Florida is no exception, with an added emphasis on the water!

Cape Royal features 27 holes of championship golf and was designed by golf course architect Gordon Lewis, who has designed more than 80 courses in the Sunshine State. This unique facility features five sets of tees, so there’s sure to be one that can be enjoyed by players of all skill levels.

As you make your way around this layout you’ll find 180 acres of sparkling lakes, natural wetlands, and all kinds of Florida wildlife including wood storks, ibis, egrets, and herons, both on the fairways and in the community’s preserves. You might even catch the two otters frolicking about in the pond just off the 3rd tee on the Queen Course.

Water comes into play on at least 22 of the 27 holes, possibly more if you spray it off the tee. As Malcolm, the Starter warned us: “If you see a palm tree or a group of palm trees, it’s a pretty good bet that there’s water nearby!” The greens roll true and have a considerable amount of undulation. They can be tough to read but are more than fair. Sand and coquina-shelled bunkers are well maintained with plenty of sand.

After speaking with several Cape Royal Golf Club members, the consensus is that the favorite 9-hole layout is the Queen Course. The main reason is that there are a wider variety of holes – although no two holes on the entire layout are the same. But I get their point, particularly the 6th and 8th holes, which are more or less target golf holes.

The Queen Nine plays 2,966 yards from the Blue tees with a good mix of par 3s, 4s, and 5s. Ladies typically play from 2,230 yards, while the Blue Tees will challenge the average golfer at 2,966 yards.

Number 6 is a 359-yard par 4 that requires a tee shot of no more than 190 yards (from the Blue tees). Anything longer and you’re not likely to ever see that ball again. Slightly left of the bridge is ideal. Success off the tee will leave you with an approach shot of between 160 – 175 yards, over wetlands into an elevated green protected with a bunker back left.

The 8th hole is pretty much a carbon copy of 6,359 yards with a tee shot to an island fairway and then an approach shot of 170 yards into a slightly elevated green. You probably won’t be hitting the driver off the tee and may well use almost every club in the bag just on this 9-hole layout. Number 9 is the #1 handicap hole, a 507-yard par 5 slight dogleg left with water all down the left side.

The King Course plays 3,057 yards from the Blue tees and features a couple of back-to-back holes that will stick in your memory for a while. The 3rd hole is the layout’s #1 handicap, a 387-yard par 4 with a slight dogleg left with sand and water on the right side and out of bounds/houses on the left. Most players will not be able to carry the water off the tees and a good drive will still leave an approach shot of around 180 yards into a slightly elevated green with water off to the left if you push your shot.

The 4th hole is handicapped #3 and is a 529-yard par 5 that requires a tee shot between two lakes, which sounds a lot more dramatic than it is. Houses and out-of-bounds form the right side. Bunkers protect both sides of the green which is a lot wider than it is deep.

The first hole on the Prince Course is a 343-yard par 4 with a slight dogleg left. Favoring the right side of the fairway will leave the best angle into the slightly elevated green. There’s a small lake about 50 yards short of the green on the left side that is barely visible until you’re upon it. The 5th hole is a short, scenic par 3 that plays 132 yards over water with an attractive rock retaining wall. The green is large and slopes back to front with two large bunkers on the right and one in the back.

Cape Royal Golf Club is an easy course to walk and to make it even easier, they have several of the new Tempo Walk carts from Club Car. Tempo Walk is an autonomous caddie that offers carries bags, coolers, and other accessories and has a built-in GPS tablet to give you yardages. There’s even an auxiliary USB port so you can play your tunes or plug-in other gadgets! Be sure to ask about using one when you book your next round.

As clubhouse restaurants go, Cape Royal’s Caloosa Club sets a new standard. They offer casual dining in a laid-back atmosphere that includes a wide variety of food not typically found at a golf course. Chef Andrew and his culinary staff have created a menu of unique and tasty appetizers and dishes including Duck Fat Popcorn, Buffalo Cauliflower, and their signature dish, Taste of Florida Grouper,  a large piece of fresh Florida Grouper served over sauteed greens and charred corn puree and topped with a citrus corn salsa. Trust me, this is not your typical golf clubhouse menu!

When it comes to memberships, Cape Royal Golf Club offers something for everyone, whether you live locally or are only in the area for a short time. Choose from 3, 6, or 12-month memberships with discounts for Cape Royal HOA members. As a member, you’ll receive unlimited greens fees as well as full use of all club facilities, advance tee time bookings, discounts on merchandise, food and beverage and special rates on cart and range passes. And, as a member of a Troon facility, you’ll be a part of Troon Advantage, which allows you and up to 3 guests to take advantage of preferred rates at Troon resorts and daily fee facilities worldwide. Tee time requests can be made up to sixty 60 days in advance (subject to availability).

For more information or to find out about becoming a member, give them a call at (239) 283-5522 or visit them online at www.caperoyalgolfclub.com.