Category: Florida

Sharks Tooth, All Pearly White

Sharks Tooth, All Pearly White

On paper, Shark’s Tooth Golf Club has the ingredients that can combine to make a great course. Located just off the breezy Gulf of Mexico west of Panama City Beach in Florida’s Panhandle, the holes sit on sandy soil, cut through a backdrop haunted by dense hardwoods and ominous undergrowth. The course stretches over some nice, gentle…

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Swimming in Circles with Tiburon

Swimming in Circles with Tiburon

Sod-wall bunkers with crisp upper lips. Wall to wall fairways. Sandy areas bleeding into the underbrush. Greens that bubble out like last gasps of the fairways. When this describes a course in Australia, our mouths water thinking of clubs like Commonwealth, Victoria or Metropolitan. When they describe a golf course in Naples you start thinking “gimmick.” I suppose there’s no…

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Turnberry Isle–A Tale of Two Resorts

Turnberry Isle–A Tale of Two Resorts

Turnberry Isle in North Miami is a tale of two resorts. The first was a swinging 70’s-era “Love Boat” style romper frequented by Hollywood luminaries (according to photos — I wasn’t there) like Jack Nicholson, James Caan, Elizabeth Taylor, O.J. Simpson, Burt Reynolds and an international cadre of sheiks and princes. It was a place where personalities made the accommodations irrelevant — they were the…

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Silky Smooth Raptor Bay

Silky Smooth Raptor Bay

Raptor Bay, near Naples, begins with an interesting idea: there will be no bunkers. That’s the most notable thing about the course — and also its biggest flaw. Even that premise isn’t completely fulfilled. In lieu of formal bunkers are large sandy beaches running alongside fairways and greens, so there’s still sand, even if you’re allowed to…

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Another Shade of Green: Kelly Plantation

Another Shade of Green: Kelly Plantation

The Destin drive-in market isn’t known for great golf sites or great golf courses. Real estate is king here, and the only reason golf courses exist at all is to help sell homes. Even though Kelly Plantation is one of the more sophisticated planned developments in the area, that’s barely saving grace. I usually respect what architect Gene…

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Crooked Cat — No Second Fiddle at Orange County National

Crooked Cat — No Second Fiddle at Orange County National

Of the two courses at Orange Country National, Crooked Cat has more appeal to me than Panther Lake. Both courses are built in former citrus groves west of Orlando over nice natural topography and very little tree cover. The soil is arid and sandy with no development anywhere near, and it lends a rustic, country aura to the entire establishment. Crooked…

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Panther Lake, Prowling Orange County National

Panther Lake, Prowling Orange County National

Panther Lake has always been considered the marquee course between the two at Orange County National. It’s an engaging design with strong personality and fine individual holes, and you’ll like them even better if you’re a low-handicap player who can fly the ball high into elevated greens with bunkers and other dangers guarding their fronts. My choice, however, is the other…

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The Raven at Sandestin — Nevermore, Though Never Less

The Raven at Sandestin — Nevermore, Though Never Less

When The Raven course at this mega-resort opened in the late 1990’s it was meant to signal that northwest Florida finally had the major, marquee destination course the region had always lacked. Turns out $12 million can get you a pretty good and pretty interesting golf course, but it’s not enough to swing golf’s spotlight all the way…

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