(January 2009) Pebble Creek is yet another country club located in the New Tampa area; however it would be hard to mistake this club for either of its neighbors, Tampa Palms or Hunter’s Green. First of all the development that surrounds it is much older than either of the other two; secondly, it is a semi-private club meaning that the public has access to it.
Pebble Creek Country Club opened in 1968, way before either of the other courses and developments were even a thought. In 2006 over $1.5 million was spent on renovations including champion Bermuda grass for the greens and Australian Celebration grass for the tees. Ownership also added Mulligan’s Irish Pub. This family style restaurant offers more than your traditional clubhouse fare, there are also Irish dishes such as Shepherd’s Pie and Fish ‘n Chips (I realize the latter is English but it’s still the UK).
This course is not for long ball hitters; in fact you can leave the driver in the bag on most holes except the par 5s. I discovered that there was somewhat of a discrepancy from what the card and tee markers read (they are in agreement) and the GPS system on the cart. For example, hole number 3 is 400 yards according to the scorecard and tee markers yet the GPS registered 370. The same was true on a few other holes. According to Shawn Gordon the PGA pro at Pebble Creek, the score cards and tee markers are correct and they are in the process of having the GPS system adjusted so it is in agreement with the card.
The score card shows water on just about every hole. Unfortunately, as will happen in Florida during the dry season a lot (if not all) of the creeks that cross the fairways have dried up leaving a mud basin. Look around a little, you might find a few extra balls!
Number 5: Par 4, 380 yards. Lots of danger on this hole; you have out of bounds to the right; any slight slices or misaligned tee shots and you might as well tee up your 3rd shot. Your approach shot will be between 120 – 160 yards, over water that abuts the green. If you’re not feeling up to it, you can bail out to the right of the green.
Number 13: Par 5, 509 yards. This hole is straightaway; grip it and rip it. Keep your drive left to avoid trees that come into play on the right. Your 2nd shot is most likely a layup shot to avoid the large lake in front of the green. Your 3rd shot will be about 100 yards to a large elevated green.
Number 15: Par 3, 181 yards. This long par 3 has water left and water right. With the elevated green, this hole plays longer than it looks.
Number 18: Even with a dried up Pebble Creek that usually guards the front of the green and catches many approach shots by surprise, this is still an enjoyable finishing hole. You need to keep you ball left of center off the tee otherwise you will most likely be blocked out on your approach shot. Your 2nd shot is to a well elevated green that typically plays a club longer than what you would think.
As far as bargain golf goes in the Tampa area, Pebble Creek is near the top. You can find coupons for Pebble Creek in Tampa area newspapers; you can even get discount coupons right off their website. There were two downsides to Pebble Creek. The first knock is that the practice green is very small. This would not work well for an outing. Secondly – and this is applies to most public courses in Florida this time of year – is the pace of play. It took us over 5 ½ hours to play on a Saturday morning.