Tom Fazio has built a real gem in a very off beat location in Southwest Florida. Part of a 48-hole extrazaganza with the most elaborate practice and teaching area you have ever seen, this place is golfing nirvana. The driving range is a full 360 degree spoke facility. The practice green is about five acres of the most imaginative putting environs on the planet-even has a full terrarium in the center. Three hole practice/warm-up course. 9 hole par three. Two full championship caliber eighteens.
The Pine Barrens is clearly the better of the two-though I must say that Rolling Oaks is a fair complement. Pine Valley-esque without the 165 slope. Much like Pine Valley there are huge waste areas surrounding the holes in all directions, but the landing areas and greens are much less forboding. The course has a wonderfully consistent character with plenty of up and down to make it interesting. Cut out of the pines but plenty of room to move and maneuver.
The driving areas on most holes are very generous but do not be fooled there is an advantage place to drive on every hole so pay attention. The bunkers are all treated as waste areas-the advantage there is not so much that you can ground your club but that you can actually take a practice swipe and test out the sand-strongly advise you to keep that in mind. The greens are really what sets this apart from most of the top quality tracks you play-they are not just undulating they are severely sloped-I mean serious swerve with 10+ stimpy speed. This makes for real separation between your ball and the hole on pitches, chips, and long putts if you do not carefully consider the slope all the way to the hole. The complementing difficulty is that many of the greens have sharp shoulders so if they put a cup close to an edge like this rolling five feet past means you are chipping back. You cannot get this out of your mind when you are pitching at an edged pin location-makes you very defensive. If the pin location is 3 today it is a house of horrors so put your ego into storage if that is the case.
There are so many unusual and interesting holes on this course it would take a photo scrapbook to recount them properly. Just be extremely open minded when you plot your strategy on an individual hole or an individual shot because creativity will be rewarded and defensive thinking will be punished. The end result is that this is a round to savor over and over staring at your ceiling in the middle of the night.
If the meatball sub is on the menu for the daily special I highly recommend it-has the Atkins seal of approval. Chicken Fajita Wrap gets kudos as well.
Architect: Tom Fazio (1993)
Tee Par Rating Slope Yardage
Mens 71 71.4 123 6458
(Click to see complete Pine Barrens hole-by-hole descriptions)
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