Ridgewood Lakes Golf and Country Club in Davenport, Florida opened in 1994 as a semi-private course. That year, this Ted McAnlis designed layout was voted by Golf Digest as “Best New Course” as well as being voted among the “Top 30 Courses in Florida” by The Florida Golfer in 1999-2003. The course plays 7031 yards from the back (black) tees with a course rating of 74.4 and a slope of 137. During the last renovation, new Champions Turf greens were installed along with several new bunkers and some well-planned landscaping. Five sets of tees make this course enjoyable for golfers of all levels. The course is well-maintained all year round.
Ridgewood Lakes offers a 5,000 square foot clubhouse which includes a full bar, pro shop and restaurant. The clubhouse is currently undergoing some major renovations and is offering some great deals. The practice facility at Ridgewood Lakes consists of a full-length driving range, putting green, and chipping area. Ridgewood Lakes specializes in events for groups of up to 150 players and can tailor an outings package for every need.
At Ridgewood Lakes, you will find rolling fairways, strategically paced bunkers and water hazards and eighteen of the lushest greens in the Orlando area. For the most part, the par 4 and par 5 holes offer generous landing areas off the tee and the course is very player friendly for ladies and seniors alike with only one forced carry of any significance. There are no gimmicks or hidden trouble here – if you don’t see it, it’s probably not there! Every other hole offers the opportunity to play the seniors’ favorite shot – the bump and run onto the green from the fairway. Water does come into play in one form or another on every hole.
Memorable Holes (all yardage is from the blue tees)
Number 1: Par 4, 361 yards. If a draw is in your shot repertoire off the tee, this would be a good place to use it. Many golfers will choose to leave driver in the bag to take the bunkers and out-of-bounds on the right side out of play. You can’t go left on this dogleg left around water and there really isn’t much advantage to trying to go over the water either as there is more trouble through the fairway. The position of the tee shot is everything and ideally you will have only a short iron to a fairly small green that slopes back to front and is guarded on both sides by bunkers.
Number 2: Par 5, 561 yards. For most players, this is a three-shot hole. Calling it a dogleg right just doesn’t do the hole justice. It’s more like a right turn! What’s interesting about the tee box is that the three rear sets of tees are situated on a unique island tee in the middle of a large lake. You hit back into the fairway and have water all the way down the right side. There is plenty of room off the tee however the fairway narrows considerably in the second shot landing. To make matters worse, the fairway slopes towards the pond. The fairway is fairly straight for about 400 yards or so however situated right at the end of the fairway is an enormous bunker which serves as a good aiming point for your second shot. That should leave a wedge to the green. Balls hit over the back of the green do not lend themselves to low scores as they are fed into a collection area where it can be difficult to get up and down. Hit your third shot close and many a low score can be had.
Number 3: Par 3, 184 yards. Your success (and club selection) on this hole can have a lot to do with which way the wind is blowing. In the winter months this hole tends to play downwind the rest of the year it plays into the wind. Number 3 requires a fairly long carry over water The tee shot is over water to a large, elevated putting surface with subtle contours that is protected on the right side with a bunker. Par is a good score here.
Number 9: Par 5, 537 yards. Number 9 is a great example of a true risk/reward hole at Ridgewood Lakes. Bite off as much of the lake as you dare on this long dogleg left, but don’t bail out too far right as a series of bunkers await errant tee shots. Most golfers will make this a three shot hole so the smart play on your layup shot is to hit a club that will leave a comfortable yardage for the approach shot to this two-tiered putting surface. Be careful with your layup shot as the fairway tends to slope harder to the water the closer you get to the green. The ninth green is always hard to read especially if you are putting from one tier to the other.
Number 13: Par 5, 491 yards. At 491 yards, number 13 has the distinction of being the shortest par 5 on the course – not short by most standards. That being said, there are several ways to make a good score here. Most golfers will favor the left off the tee, figuring to take the pond on the right out of play. This is a good idea if you can manage to avoid the fairway bunkers opposite the water. Most will then play a layup short of the creek that runs in front of the green for their second shot. This will leave a short approach shot so be sure to choose the club that will give you a good short iron yardage. Long ballers may have the opportunity to go for the green in two, however it’s all carry and few players make it. The green is mounded in the rear, and slopes from back to front and is receptive to a well struck shot. There’s a real chance to knock your approach close and make the birdie putt. Thirteen is a straight forward par 5 with a good possibility of birdie
Number 15: Par 3, 165 yards. This slightly downhill, medium length par three is not only the signature hole at Ridgewood Lakes, it is also the most often photographed. The view from the elevated tee box is quite scenic; a well sloped green flanked a large pond to the left and bunkers. The bunkers get a lot of play from golfers who don’t take enough club. Tee shots are often affected by the prevailing winds which usually work against you. If the pin location is on the left – be thankful; it’s the easiest
Number 18: Par 4, 394 yards. More often than not, number 18 is going to play into the wind. Aim your tee shot up the gentle rise between the left and right bunkers. This will prevent your ball from bouncing into the creek that runs the entire length of the hole. Long ball hitters need to be wary of the wetland hazard on the left just past the 150-yard stake; the fairway is tilted towards the hazard. The bunkers around front and right of the green along with the surrounding rough prevent a good number of approach shots from running onto the putting surface; the front bunker in particular tends to get a lot of play. There are several tough pin locations on number 18 especially a left rear pin placement.
Last Word: The first four holes (par 4, par 5, par 3 and par 4) are perhaps the best four starting holes of any course I have played in Florida. You need good control of your driver off the tee on number one and number 2, maybe even hit a fairway wood or hybrid off the tee on one if playing from the blues and especially the whites. Number 3, the par 3 over water requires a good tee shot from either of the back two tee boxes; hit it short and you’re wet, hit it right or long left and you’re in the sand. Number 4 is handicapped number one mainly because of its 400+ yards in distance. Four holes that can easily make or break your round!
What you see is what you get – generous landing areas and no hidden tricks off the tee or up near the green. Water comes into play on every hole here, many times is it is off in the peripheries, however if you hit an errant shot, you’ll know it’s there. All holes except for one require no forced carry over the wet stuff; the hole that requires you to hit over water isn’t all that demanding. Just keep you head down and swing away!
Ridgewood Lakes is currently a work in progress and is undergoing some changes. A redecorating and redesign of the clubhouse is in full swing; changes should be complete by the end of June at the latest. It’s not the largest clubhouse in the area however the friendly and attentive staff makes you feel like you belong there. Ridgewood Lakes has a full liquor bar as well as some of the best clubhouse food around. Like I say, nothing fancy, just a cozy little place to rest and indulge after a good day on a great course.
The tee boxes are in the process of being redone as well. Once the current work is done, Ridgewood Lakes will be in top shape once again. As far as golf value I don’t think you can find a better one in the Orlando area. Good practice facilities too – this is a course to keep coming back to time and time again.
Should you like more information on Ridgewood Lakes or are looking for tee times, call 863-424-8688 or visit them online at www.ridgewoodlakesgolf.com.