Pinecrest Golf Club

Pinecrest Golf Club

pinecrest golf club

I’m a huge fan of Donald Ross-designed golf courses. Many people associate Donald Ross with ultra- challenging courses that feature small domed greens a la Pinehurst #2, but if you study Donald Ross, you’ll find that nothing could be further from the truth. His greens typically have a lot of undulation, but domed greens were definitely not his calling card.

Pinecrest Golf Club in Avon Park, FL is a course that was originally designed by Ross and conveys what I’m talking about. The history of Pinecrest Golf Club is a story all its own. As the story goes, Ross visited Avon Park in 1926 and oversaw the design of Pinecrest Lakes Golf Club, taking full advantage of the topography in the area. As a result, not much earth had to be moved, which in those days was a slow, arduous process done with horses. Once completed, Pinecrest was the perfect amenity for the Pinecrest Hotel and Resort on Lake Lotela.

The clientele of both the golf course and hotel were not exactly strapped for cash; the resort was a desirable destination for the rich and famous of the Chicagoland elite. Among those to grace the grounds of Pinecrest were Babe Ruth, Lou Gehrig, Burns & Allen, Grover Cleveland and FDR. In fact, rumor has it that Al Capone frequented the resort to work on both his tan and his golf game. I wonder if he was a gracious loser?

 

pinecrest golf club fairway

Professional golfers discovered Pinecrest In the late 1950s, and Pinecrest hosted the first televised PGA TOUR event: The World Championship of Golf, which was won Dr. Cary Middlecoff. Over the years, a number of A-list touring professionals have tried their luck here as well; names like Arnold Palmer, Sam Snead, Julius Boros and Kathy Whitworth.

These days, the hotel is nothing but a distant memory and the course was recently sold in July 2018. Pinecrest still remains a semi-private club and is open to guest play year-round. The course has been around for over 90 years and during that time has seen its fair share of renovations. Many of the bunkers have been restored and the greens are overseeded with bent grass. They are the fastest and truest rolling greens in the area.

The wide fairways and straight holes that lead to eighteen, elevated greens give away the fact that this is a Donald Ross design. Many holes feature false fronts and fall off on all sides. In true Ross fashion, a couple of the tee boxes don’t point towards where you need to hit the ball off the tee.

Pinecrest offers golfers 5 sets of tees, making it enjoyable for any level of golfer. From the back tees, Pinecrest plays 6,770 yards with a rating of 71.4 and a slope of 120. Most golfers will find that the Green Tees (6,360/69.4/116) offer an enjoyable distance that will still allow them to leave with some dignity. Seniors have a couple of options: the White Tees (5,830/66.1/111) or the Gold Tees (5,316/64.9/109). Ladies will be challenged from the Reds (4,930/67.2/112). Select the right set of tees and a good time is guaranteed for all!

pinecrest golf club #2

The course may not be pristine by today’s standards, but it is after all, a Donald Ross course, and that carries a lot of weight. The course is located amidst beautiful orange groves; in fact, the 6th hole is a short, tight par 5 that maxes out at 478 yards and plays between two orange groves. By the way, golf balls are fairly easy to find in the orange grove, trust me!

Pinecrest has an impressive practice facility, featuring a full-length driving range and a short game area complete with sand trap. There is also a large practice putting green to get the speed down before you head out on the course.

After your round, stop by the Pinecrest Restaurant and Pub for what are surely the best hamburgers in Highlands County. The restaurant also features made-to-order sandwiches, wraps and salads; the homemade soups and chili are also very popular menu items, but the restaurant’s best seller of all time is the ¼ lb. all beef hot dog, served with your choice of toppings. Be sure to check out the daily specials while you’re there too, you never know what you’ll find. The Pub serves up all of your favorite adult beverages and libations.

pinecrest golf club #6

Pinecrest Golf Club is located about an hour south of the Disney theme parks; The course is easy to get to but difficult to leave. They have a fully stocked pro shop and a friendly staff that is there to help. In addition to a great golf value, Pinecrest offers affordable memberships and is a great place for outings. They offer a 10-play pass which is very popular among locals and snowbirds visiting for the winter.

It doesn’t matter whether you’re a subzero handicap or just learning the game, Pinecrest Golf Club offers players a fun, fair course that is, after all, a Donald Ross design. Big drives can pay big dividends on the par 5s on the front, giving you an opportunity to get on in two. It’s not your typical Florida course either, it’s a traditional course bordered by huge orange groves and naturally wooded area. No fairways lined with homes; just you, Donald Ross and that little white ball!

Whether you're a scratch golfer or a 36-handicapper, you'll enjoy Pinecrest Golf Club. The five sets of tees allow you to select a course length that can either challenge you or just be friendly and fun. For more information or to schedule your next round or group outing, give them a call at (863) 453-7555. They can be reached online at www.golfpinecrest.com.

DAVID THEORET

THE GOLFIN’ GUY

Deer Run Golf Course

Deer Run Golf Course

deer run golf course #1

The Sun ‘N Lake of Sebring Improvement District was created by Highlands County in 1974. It occupies about 12 square miles in an area just north of Sebring on Route 27 and has grown from what was wilderness 30 years ago to around 5,000 residents. Although the development was once considered a retirement community, it has evolved into a melting pot of both older adults and younger families. And according to the master plan, there is still plenty of room for growth.

Sun ‘n Lake is home to two championship golf courses: Deer Run and Turtle Run. Deer Run is considered the tougher of the two. The par 72 Deer Run Golf Course at Sun 'N Lake Golf Club was designed by Don Dyer and opened for play in 1976; in 2003 architect Ron Garl redesigned the course, including the conversion of Number 18 to a par three with an island green. Each year this championship layout plays host to qualifiers for the Web.com Tour, the Latin America Tour and the Canadian Tour.

The Deer Run Course has 6 sets of tees with yardages to fit every level of golfer. From the Black Tees, the course plays 6,919 yards with slope 134 and a course rating of 73.7. Ladies can play a manageable 4,446 yards or challenge themselves at 4,992 yards. Most members play from the White Tees which measure 6,170 yards with a slope of 128 and a course rating of 70. A seventh set of tees adorns the scorecard and combines the White and Gold Tees for a distance of 5,847 yards (68.5/118). Out here, there’s something for every golfer.

At 364 yards, Number 1 is a fairly easy driving hole; hit a decent shot off the tee and none of the trees on either side should come into play. The green is elevated and holds well hit approach shots nicely. Finding the bunker that sits on the front left could prove to be a costly start. Number 2 is a medium length par 3 with another elevated green. Miss the green on either side and you’ll be facing a tough up and down. Number 3 is another straight forward par 4 that plays 385 yards from the White Tees. The water on the right shouldn’t come into play off the tee, however the bunker that guards the left side of the green seems to attract errant approach shots.

 

deer run golf course #3

Number 4 is a dogleg left par 5 that is reachable in two if you can hit your tee shot past the large oak tree that juts out into the fairway on the left side. If you need to lay up, try and set up so your approach shot is from the right side of the fairway. This takes most of the large bunker on the front left out of play. The 5th is all about accuracy and distance control off the tee. Many will choose to hit less than driver as a large lake comes into play at about 240 yards off the tee. Water and a bunker guard another elevated green. Favor the right side off the tee. Keeping right seems to be the theme thus far as water guards the left side of the fairway on Number 6 as well. The fairway is fairly narrow, so accuracy is a must if you want to hit an approach shot from the short grass. The green is elevated and smaller than usual and guarded on both sides by bunkers.

The 7th hole is a short par 4 that plays 333 from the White Tees. Keep right to avoid the large waste bunker. The green is long and narrow and guarded on the right by sand. Number 8 is a straightforward par 3 that plays 183 from the Whites with no trouble to speak of. Number 9 is a long par 5 dogleg right, 554 from the White Tees, over 600 yards from the back. Large oak trees protect the right side with one in particular that keeps you honest right at the bend of the dogleg. Favoring the left side off the tee and on your layup shot will go a long way in scoring well on this hole. The green is one of the smallest on the course and guarded by a small pot bunker on the left.

The back nine starts off with an innocent looking short par 4 that plays 316 yards from the White Tees. You may need to hit something less than driver to stay short of the pond straight away. Approach shots can be tricky into this small, elevated green. Miss your tee shot wild left and you may be surprised that you still have a shot into the green. Number 11 is a par 5 dogleg left with a large oak tree sitting on the left side of the landing area and sand to the right, so you’ll need to decide to hit short or go over. Getting past the tree and sand gives you a chance to go for the green in two. The green is well protected on either side and for most, risk outweighs reward. Number 12 is a 377-yard par 4 dogleg left that is best played down the right side and takes many of the hazards out of play.

deer run golf course tee box

Thirteen is a medium length par 3 at 148 yards with sand guarding the front left of this elevated green. A well struck tee shot can help you quickly make up a shot or two on your partners. Number 14 is one of the prettiest golf holes out here. It’s a long sweeping dogleg to the right with trees dotting both sides of the wide fairway. At only 496 yards from the White Tees, it’s tempting to go for in two, however water and four bunkers guard the green. Best to layup and take your chance with a short pitch shot. Number 15 is a narrow par 4 with trees infringing on the fairway on either side. This hole is all about control. The green is small with a little bit of room on the left to bail out if need be.

That bring us to the make or break part of the course; the last three holes. Number 16 is a dogleg right that plays 348 yards from the white tees and requires you to at least make it to the corner. Favoring the left side takes many of the trees out of play and gives you a good look into the green. Be careful of the water and sand that guard the green. Number 17 is the toughest hole on the inward nine and with good reason. From the White tees it plays 389 yards with a pond in the middle of the fairway. Most golfers can hit driver off the tee and should favor the left side off the tee or risk being blocked out by trees. A good drive is still going to leave a long to medium iron into an elevated green protected on either side by sand.

Number 18 is truly a unique hole to end your round; after all, how many courses end with a par 3? From the white tees, the hole plays 145 yards to an island green. Choose your club wisely, hit a good shot and success can be yours. Or else, you’re just another statistic!

deer run golf course #18

Last Word: The Deer Run Course at Sun ‘N Lake in Sebring FL will challenge golfers of all abilities. For the weekend, casual golfer, there is a lot of room off the tees on many holes. For the skilled golfer, it takes accuracy and precision to hit and hold the elevated greens. Many of them are small and have a good deal of undulation. Finishing the round with an island par 3 is truly a memorable event.

Sun n Lake Golf Club is a proud member of the Citrus Golf Trail, who have done a wonderful job of making the Sebring area a golf vacation destination. The Citrus Golf Trail offers stay and play golf packages that include rounds at a number of local courses and accommodations at The Inn on the Lakes. For more information on any of the members of the Citrus Golf Trail or to book your next stay and play package, visit their website at www.visitsebring.com/citrus-golf-trail/.

THE GOLFIN’ GUY

DAVID THEORET

Rahm Wins Hero World Challenge

Rahm Wins Hero World Challenge

hero world challenge jon rahm

Nassau, Bahamas – Jon Rahm turned a potential final round shootout into a four stroke drubbing of the field after his final round 65 (20 under par total) at Albany Golf Club for the Hero World Challenge.

Starting Sunday’s final round tied with Tony Finau and Henrik Stenson, Rahm continued his domination on the par-5’s, making birdie on all five at the Hero World Challenge (he finished 13 under par for the week on the par-5’s alone). The biggest momentum shift of the final round came at the 291 yard drivable par-4 fourteenth. Finau pulled his 3 wood tee shot into the sand, making a mess of a very get-able hole (double-bogey), meanwhile Rahm capitalized, making birdie for a three-stroke swing. He never looked back, it was Rahm’s 3rd career PGA Tour win and his sixth global victory.

After a sloppy front nine 40, Hero World Challenge host Tiger Woods righted the ship slightly to shoot a final round 73 (finishing in 17th, one shot ahead of last place finisher Hideki Matsuyama).

When Tony Finau’s birdie putt at the last dropped to reach -16, it kept Justin Rose from finishing tied for 2nd (and re-capturing the No.1 ranking) after his 65 tied Rahm for the low round of the day.

Scores: https://www.pga.com/news/golf-leaderboard/pga-tour-leaderboard


Jason  Bruno
GolfLife Tour Coverage

Charles Howell III Wins RSM

Charles Howell III Wins RSM

Charles Howell III

St.Simons Island, Georgia – Charles Howell III began Sunday with a one stroke lead heading into the final round. It was Howell’s sixth time holding the 54 hole lead, where he was 0 for 5 in the previous attempts to close the deal. It looked as if Sunday at the RSM McGladrey on Sea Island would end the same way after Howell rinsed his tee shot right on the 458 yard par 4 – second hole. He stood 3 back on the third tee (after just making double-bogey 6) and wondered if he’d blown another chance to close on the PGA Tour.

Then Charles Howell III birdied the fifth and sixth holes, followed by another at the tenth. Howell got another on the par 5 fifteenth, followed by a lengthy 18 foot putt on the next. A stiff tee shot on the par 3 seventeenth yielded yet another. The putt to reach 20 under par and the outright win on the 72nd hole barely missed (finishing with a 3 under par 67 – 261 total) sending him into a playoff with Patrick Rodgers who also finished at 19 under par (after firing a final round 8 under par 62). After both players missed their birdie chances on the first playoff hole, Howell made a 15 footer on the second sudden death hole to win again. It was Charles Howell III’s first triumph in over a decade, and to say he was both elated and relieved would be an understatement. “Quite honestly, I didn’t know if I would ever win again,” Howell said. “I had come up short so many times.”

After 529 PGA Tour events and 16 runner-up finishes Charles Howell III has won for third time in his career. With the victory, Howell jumped 61 spots into the lead in the Fedex Cup Standings.

Webb Simpson finished solo third at 18 under par after a Sunday 65 left him one shot out of the playoff.

Scores:  https://www.pgatour.com/leaderboard.html


Jason  Bruno
GolfLife Tour Coverage

 

Kuchar – Mayakoba Golf Classic

Kuchar – Mayakoba Golf Classic

Playa Del Carmen, Mexico – It had been a long drought for Matt Kuchar, in fact his last victory came at the RBC Heritage at Harbour Town on April 20th, 2014. Four and a half years of near misses and close calls – none bigger than the 2017 Open Championship where Kuchar was clipped by a vintage Jordan Spieth performance at Royal Birkdale. 2018 was declared a disappointment after Kuchar narrowly missed on qualifying for the Tour Championship and the Ryder Cup in Paris. But after he rattled in his 3 ft putt on the 18th Sunday (for a final round 69) some relief and redemption was felt by the 40 year-old tour veteran at the Mayakoba Golf Classic. “It feels extra sweet having to kind of had to suffer through a year of not playing great in 2018,” Kuchar said. “Being four years removed since my last victory, I realize how difficult it is to win on the PGA Tour.”

Starting the final day at the Mayakoba Golf Classic with a four-shot lead was essential, since closing the deal proved tougher than Kuchar expected. After making bogey on holes 14 & 15 Kuchar made three straight pars to finish at 22 under par, one better than Danny Lee who shot a final round 65 to finish a shot back.

Kuchar opened with rounds of 64-64-65 with local club caddie David “Toucan” Ortiz on the bag (John Wood, Kuchar’s regular tour looper was attending a reunion). For Ortiz, who caddies regularly at El Camaleon Golf Club, it was a dream come true – he was in tears as he was being inundated with congratulations beside the 18th green as Kuchar signed the flag that will commemorate their victorious week together.

The win gets Kuchar back to Kapalua in January for the Sentry Tournament of Champions. The Tour heads east to Kuchar’s neighborhood at Sea Island this week for the RSM McGladdery Classic.

Scores: https://www.pgatour.com/leaderboard.html


Jason  Bruno
GolfLife Tour Coverage

 

DeChambeau Wins Shriners Open

DeChambeau Wins Shriners Open

Las Vegas – Saturday night holding a share of the 54 hole lead at the Shriners for Children Open, Bryson DeChambeau was rooting on the Las Vegas Knights hockey team, cranking up their famous air horn – whipping the crowd into a frenzy. By Sunday evening, it was the same Vegas faithful that cheered on DeChambeau’s victory. The win was his fifth career title and his third in five starts on the PGA Tour (it was his fourth since June when he captured Jack Nicklaus’ Memorial at Muirfield Village).

Dealing with a blister that tore open Saturday night, DeChambeau locked in his focus (after having the training staff tape it up before the final round). His final round 66 included an eagle on the pivotal par 5 sixteenth propelling him to -21, winning by a single stroke over defending champion Patrick Cantlay.

For those still doubting his unorthodox methods, DeChambeau offered this: “Everybody is unique. Everybody does it in a different way. I believe I found a way that works really, really well for me and it allows me to be super consistent week in and week out.”

Sam Ryder finished solo third (-19) after a final round 62. Rickie Fowler finished four shots back after firing a Sunday 63 to finish in a tie for fourth with Abraham Ancer and Robert Streb.

Scores: https://www.pgatour.com/leaderboard.html


Jason  Bruno
GolfLife Tour Coverage

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