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Wednesday, January 05, 2005

TOUR JOURNAL Vol. 1 - Great Fla trips and Fla Top 10

Great Florida Trips

Jacksonville Area

(four or five days): Sawgrass (five stars value, 12/12 Excitement Level, 12/12 Design), Ocean Hammock, (four stars value, 9/12 Excitement Value, 10/12 design) Amelia Island Plantation. (four stars value, 7/12 Excitement Value, 7/12 design)

Day 1: Fly into Jax, play Ocean Hammock, stay at the Palm Coast Resort.
Day 2: Drive to Sawgrass, Play Sawgrass, stay Sawgrass marriott
Day 3 Play Sawgrass, drive to Amelia Island Plantation, stay AIP
Day 4 Play Long Cove or Ocean course, stay AIP
Day 5 Play Long Cove or Ocean Cse. To Jax, Fly home.

Notes:

Ocean Hammock and sawgrass are over $200. Of the two, Sawgrass is utterly indispensible. For those pressed for time, OH is prettier and a better design, but Amelia has better value and a more charming, well rounded resort. Plus its far more secluded and bucolic. The Sawgrass Marriott is the weak sister for lodging, but does have jacuzzi, gym and basic amenities. Palm Coast is well-stocked. Amelia Isl is gorgeous...a true idyllic playground and a charming town. Ocean Hammock is just like Nicklaus' Reflection Bay in Vegas (several holes are identical and the routing is roughly identical in places). AIP is Florida golf among ancient Spanish moss covered oaks.

Tampa Area

One to Three days - World Woods. 'Nuff said. Stay at the Plantation Inn. $144 - $160 for stay and play 36 holes. World Class golf for a song and peace and quiet to boot. There are few chain hotels and no other resorts that stand out over the Plantation.

Three to five days - Two days at WW, two nights at Plantation inn. Two courses within two hours drive are Victoria Hills (Deland, Fl, value, four stars, Excitement 7/12, design 9/12) and Southern Dunes (Haines City, Fl, value three and 1/2 stars, excitement 6/12, design 7/12) You have seen both types of course before if you play in the eastern seaboard...rolling fairways, inkblot bunkers. Vic Hills is prettier with more varied holes. VH = $85, SD = $75. Pricey in general, but very good for Florida.

TPC Tampa Bay - expensive but well designed and conditioned. Value three and 1/2 stars, excitement 8/12, design 9/12) add to World Woods or Port St Lucie trip for one day (see below).

Port St. Lucie

One to three days - PGA Golf Club (long form review coming soon!) Thre courses. The Dye is the premier layout, but visually intimidating so Fazio's "South" course is the fan fave. Both are beatuful, feature great varoied shot values and have stunning settings. At $45-$89, they are a steal. There is a PGA Learning Center and PGA Village in which to stay over night. (Value 4-1/2 stars, Excitement 8/12, design 9/12)

Mix and match -

Five days - World Woods and PGA CLub (four hour drive with two or three courses in between to choose from for an overnight. Chain hotels are all thats available and they are in Davenport, FL. They have full amenities.

or PGA Club and Sawgrass or Palm Coast (5-6 hours driving. Add one hour for AIP)

or WW and Sawgrass or Palm Coast (5-6 hr. drive, add one hour for AIP)

AWITP Florida Top 10

1. TPC Sawgrass (Stadium)
2. World Woods (Pine Barrens)
3. PGA Dye Course
4. World Woods (Rolling Oaks)
5. Ocean Hammock
6. Victoria Hills
7. Osprey Ridge
8. TPC Tampa Bay
9. TPC Sawgrass (Valley Course)
10. (tie) Amelia Island Plantation and Southern Dunes

3 Comments:

Blogger Robert Thompson said...

Nice trip, Jay. Hope the weather is good. I've played a lot in FLA and you're still missing a few -- including Bay Hill, which is great fun and a pretty strong golf course, regardless of what anyone says.
I also am fond of Panther Run and Crooked Cat just south of Orlando.
But you are so right about World Woods -- hard to go wrong. I've loved it both times I've visited and it has got to be one of the great deals in golf.
You're still missing the best course in Florida -- Seminole -- but hardly fits the bill of your aim to play the best public tracks.
Oh yeah, Sawgrass is one of the design marvels of modern golf architecture. Considering the property it was built on, it is quite remarkable.

5:52 PM  
Blogger A WALK IN THE PARK said...

You are right Robert, Bay Hill is a great track, just $300 bones or more...not a great value compared to very nearby WW and sawgrass. Many Orlando courses fall short of making WITP's "short list" of places to REALLY play due to the high cost. They have a remarkably low value rating, especially compared to WW, PGA and Victoria Hills. Osprey Ridge is the notable exception. Also I must plug the SOUTH course at PGA Village - it should be in the top 10. I will try the two "big cat" courses you list next time along with Sandestin.

9:40 AM  
Blogger BB said...

How can you not include El Diablo in Citrus Springs?

1:34 AM  

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