Sebring Municipal Golf Course, aka Sebring Golf Club, is definitely not your typical municipal golf course. My experience with municipal golf courses is that they tend to be neglected and for the most part run down. With local municipalities trying to do more with less, city run golf facilities tend to bear the brunt and as a result, playing conditions are typically less than stellar. Not so at Sebring Golf Club!
The golf course is in tremendous shape. Fairways are lush, bunkers are in great shape with lots of sand and the greens roll true. While they are a little slower than what I’m used to, the subtle breaks that you see and don’t see will keep you honest. Like a lot of munis, Sebring Municipal is an old course – it was built in 1928 – and is about as close to an “old Florida course” as you can get. Although the course plays a mere 6,204 yards from the back tees, it’s a fair test of golf, regardless of one’s abilities. From the Blue tees, the course rating is 79.2 with a slope of 116. Seasoned players will be challenged with Sebring’s small, elevated greens while beginners and casual players will enjoy the wide fairways and manicured rough. Four sets of tees set the stage for every level of golfer. Ladies will enjoy the Red Tees (4,800/67.3/110) while Seniors will have a challenging round from the Gold Tees (5,5512, 5,506/105).
As is true with the majority of courses in this part of the state, Sebring Municipal is relatively flat. In true Old Florida golf course fashion, the course has its fair share of water, sand and palm trees. The course is routed such that a couple of the par 4 holes take driver out of the hands of most players off the tee and force all players to think their way around the course rather than just bang away.
With the course being over 90 years old, the trees are mature and finding your way out when an errant shot puts you in amongst them can prove to be a challenge, especially when trying to right the ship.
According to Superintendent Mark Hopkins, the biggest challenge for him and his crew each year are the nematodes, tiny microscopic roundworms that feed on the roots of grass and can wreak havoc on a golf course. Hopkins says that the nematodes tend to be worse during the summer so getting down a base layer of chemicals and pre-emergent in the spring is important.
Course Notes (from the Blue Tees):
With the exception of the 534-yard 12th hole, the par 5s are reachable for decent players in two. On the first hole, a good drive down the left side that avoids the fairway bunker will leave a good look into an elevated green protected with sand on the left side. It’s definitely reachable!
At only 308 yards, the second hole plays considerably shorter thanks to the severe dogleg right. Longball hitters may be able to go for the green off the tee if they can hit the right kind of shot.
Number 5 is a long par 3, with a modest carry over water to a small, slightly elevated green.
The back nine starts with a long par 4 that plays 385 yards from the Blue tees. The hole doglegs slightly to the right with trees lining the right side. Out of bounds stakes on either side seem to create the feeling of a narrow hole however off the tee, there is a lot of room on the left side. This is the best side to attack the green, which is slightly elevated and protected in front by a bunker.
Number 18 is one of the nicest finishing holes in the area, a sweeping par 5, dogleg left with trees on either side off the tee. If a draw is in your shot repertoire, now is the time to use it. Once you clear the trees near the tee box, the fairway is wide open. Once you locate your tee shot, hit your layup as far as you can; just be aware of the lone bunker that guards the right side of the green. Par or better is always a great way to end your round!
Once you get back to the clubhouse, head over to the Caddyshack Bar and Grill. Although the restaurant is located adjacent to the pro shop in, it’s technically part of the golf club and under totally separate ownership. That being said, it is a favorite watering hole after a round of golf and is a very popular spot for lunch, dinner and happy hour among the locals. The décor is eclectic, with knickknacks and memorabilia throughout and the menu is about as diversified as any I’ve seen. Appetizers include everything from cheese sticks and wings to escargot, poutine (Canadians will recognize this one) and char-grilled octopus. For a main course try a burger, sandwich, steak or rack of lamb. At Caddyshack, there’s something for everyone.
The Sebring Golf Club has some very attractive membership rates. For $2,250 a year including trail fees, a family can join. College students can purchase a walking only membership for only $100 and pay a $5 cart fee each time they decide to ride. Memberships to the driving range are also available. Once you become a member you can join the Sebring Golf Association Men’s Club, the Sebring Women’s Golf Association and have access to features such as a handicapping service.
Sebring Municipal Golf Course is part of the Citrus Golf Trail in Sebring Florida, which is recognized as the Value Golf Capital of America. The Trail is a collection of six golf courses at five venues: Turtle Run and Deer Run at Sun ‘N Lake, River Greens Golf Course, the Donald Ross-designed Pinecrest Golf Club, Sebring International Golf Resort and Sebring Municipal Golf Course. The Citrus Golf Trail offers tremendously priced golf packages with food and lodging provided by the beautiful Inn on the Lakes. For more information or to book a round at any of the Citrus Golf Trail facilities, visit them online at www.citrusgolftrail.com. Be sure to request a free golf guide from their website.