Florida Golf Course Reviews
The following golf course review is rewritten with the permission of The Sports Network (TSN)
By Phil Sokol - Director of Operations (TSN)
HISTORY: In 1991, the World Woods Corporation purchased 2,100 acres of pristine land in the middle of the Sunshine State in an effort to build a world-class facility. Internationally acclaimed course designer Tom Fazio was brought in to carve out a pair of unique style courses in central Florida, that are just the opposite of what you might expect for this region. Two years later, both courses opened with national acclaim and the Pine Barrens course has already reached the lofty status of top-100 courses in America as ranked by Golf Digest. Not only does World Woods have two outstanding golf courses, but the practice facility is second to none. The 22-acre practice park includes a range set up in the shape of a square, with multiple teeing stations on each side with a wide variety of target greens and fairways with numerous practice bunkers. Also included is a 36-hole, 2-acre putting course which is meticulously groomed. There's more!!! How about a 9-hole short course, which combines styles of both the main courses with seven par 3's and two par 4's. There's even three complete warm-up holes, a par 5, par 4 and par 3 to tune you up as you prepare for your journey around World Woods. Plans for a third 18-Hole championship golf course and on-site accommodations and corporate meetings rooms that compliment the current facility are in the works.
GOLF COURSE REVIEW: The Pine Barrens course, the focal point of this great venue, has many, not just one or two signature holes. The first two that come to mind are holes three and four. The third is a short par-3 of just 157 yards, however water guards the entire left side through the green and with a left pin placement, this hole can tear your heart out. The fourth is a risk-reward type par-5. Only 494 from the tips, the player has a couple of options as he stands on the tee. The hole swings from left to right with a waste area bunker beginning at the tee on the right and ending at the front of the green. Play left with a three-metal and play conventionally, or bombs away down the right side and you'll have a shot at reaching the surface in two. Another outstanding hole on the front side is the par-4 eighth at 402 yards. Although not long, the eighth requires an accurate tee ball, as trees left and much sand right come into play. The green, 34-feet deep, is once again fronted by sand, making club selection a key. On the back side, the 12th ranks as the hardest hole on the course. At 470 yards, this monster requires a long tee shot and depending on which green is being used, an equally difficult approachshot. The left green is long and narrow with no sand coming into play, while the right putting surface is only 20 yards deep and plays uphill with sand and scrub guarding the entrance. Making par on this hole could save your round. The final five holes could be the toughest stretch in the South. The 14th is a difficult, dogleg left par-5 of 547 yards. Teeing off out of a shoot of trees, your first shot must favor the left side of the fairway, as a huge oak on the right will block your approach shot. Going for this green in two not only requires a huge tee shot, but an even longer second which must thread sand left and right of the long narrow and undulating green. Laying up right is the prudent play, leaving a sand wedge to the surface and possibly setting up a birdie try. If you failed for birdie at 14, the 15th gives you another shot. This hole also gives the golfer a pair of options with a split fairway. Just 330 yards, the player can go left with a medium to long iron to an elevated plateau, leaving a simple pitch to a relatively easy green. Your other choice is to go for the green with driver. But beware, sand once again can play havoc as the right fairway is guarded by a large waste area of the white stuff. The most difficult par-3 on the course is the 16th. Out of a shoot of trees, the 16th requires a long iron or fairway wood from the tee. This one shotter features a 38-foot long green that slopes from left to right towards a trio of bunkers, so hitting this surface does not guaranty par.
Talk about a difficult green, the 17th has just that as it slopes away on all sides. To make matters worse, getting to the green is just as difficult. Your tee shot must favor the right side, as stately oak trees guard the left and will come into play depending upon pin placement. Sand once again is the main obstacle, as your tee shot must carry well over 200 yards to safety. Your not done as you reach the 18th tee as you'll need to take a deep breath before striking your final tee ball. The 446-yard finisher is a dogleg left with a long sand bunker guarding the corner 100-yards in length. Cutting the corner is risky with stands of trees and sand, however its a must or else you'll have 200 plus to the green. The putting surface is wide and deep but very undulating and is guarded by, you guessed it, more sand. Par is great, but bogey is not a crime.
In complete contrast to Pine Barrens, the Rolling Oaks course is a traditional venue featuring rolling hills and majestic Oak trees with Spanish moss draping the limbs. The third hole is a beauty of a par-5 stretching 542 from the black tees as it bends to the right.
Four of the five fairway bunkers guard the right side while stands of trees flank the left. Ample area awaits your layup shot, however the closer you get to the green, the narrow your target gets. The putting surface is long (40 yards) and slopes from back to front, making approach putting very difficult. One of the most picturesque holes on the course is the par-3 eighth. This downhill one shotter of 174 yards requires pinpoint accuracy, as the putting surface is guarded by a pond in the front and a stream to the left. Club selection will be key depending upon flag placement. The green is 44 yards deep and slopes from back to front and to the right. The front nine closes out with an outstanding four-par at 458 yards. The tee shot must carry a lake on the left side as well as a bunker some 240 yards from the tee. Your left with an intimidating medium length iron uphill approach to a long sloping green.The par-3 13th is another hole that exemplifies this course. Completely surrounded from tee to green by large Dogwoods, Magnolias and Oaks, this hole requires a long iron to a relatively small target with a grass bunker and rocks fronting the putting surface. The hardest hole on the course is the par-4 15th. As with most holes on this course its carved out from the trees and requires extreme accuracy off the tee. Length is also an issue as a bomb off the box is needed. To make matters worse, the hole usually plays into the wind and features an uphill second shot to a back-to-front sloping green. Be thankful if you make bogey or better.
The 18th hole is an outstanding finishing hole at 503 yards. Don't get fooled by the distance thinking that this hole can be easily reached. Your second and third shots will be uphill to a narrow landing area and a small plateaued green. Birdies can be had depending upon pin placement.
OVERALL: Your experience at World Woods Golf Club is not to be believed, it must be experienced. Most people don't have the time to practice when they come to the course, it's just rock and roll, however that's a mistake at World Woods. The practice park is the best in the country, maybe the world with every possible option afforded to the golfer, including multiple greens for chipping and pitching along with three full length practice holes. After tuning up, you have two courses to choose from, so why not play both, make it a day or two.There's not doubt that the Pine Barrens course is the creme de la creme. The signature course is a venue reminiscent of Pinehurst #2 and Pine Valley with rolling fairways, tall pines, barren waste areas and sandy scrub. Fazio utilized the natural lay of the region to enhance the beauty of the land. No wonder why he called this "my best work." Although very difficult, the Pine Barrens course offers four sets of tees, from 5,300 yards to 6,900 yards, so choose wisely to enjoy one of Fazio's masterpieces. "We did not start by designing golf holes. We began by viewing the big picture, the overall land mass, the scale and the concept. We allowed the land to tell us what to do."
Rolling Oaks is a fine compliment to Pine Barrens. The course has some dramatic elevation changes with stands of Oak trees from years gone by with beautiful flowering vegetation. It boasts large, tiered greens and deep bunkers as it traverses through Florida's rolling hills. Directions to the course are simple from Orlando, Tampa and Clearwater, although it might take as much as $4.25 in tolls each way on Veterans Memorial Expressway or two hours in time from Disney. Whatever it takes, whatever you have to do, World Woods Golf Club is a must for any golfer, not just the serious player.
Current Golf Course Reviews/Golfer Comments
"Last week I flew in from Chicago with three friends and we had a two-day 72-hole golf marathon. I had played the courses before and knew the quality of the World Woods Golf Club. My biggest thrill was seeing my friends have a fantastic golf outing. Suffice it to say they have elected me to plan all future golf trips. The only problem is I know of no place better to take them."
C. Davis Naperville, Illinois
"My three buddies and I played Pine Barrens. It was great for me to stand on the tee again and see the faces of my friends seeing it for the first time. I can't believe how simply beautiful it is. I love World Woods - I love all 36 holes. I love the Practice Course, the Short Course and the putting green."
Arnold Langer New York, New York
"Okay, listen to me and listen good. World Woods is an amazing place, a true golfing mecca. There are two Tom Fazio course, Rolling Oaks and Pine Barren. When you go, make time to play both courses. Rolling Oaks is a Fazio tribute to Augusta and Pine Barren is his tribute to Pine Valley. Rolling Oaks has sprawling fiarways and large greens and is allway in perfect condition. Pine Barren is really the gem, it is an incredible course that is difficult to decribe. When in central Florida...either Orlando or the Tampa Bay area... this is the golfing experience you should not miss."
Steve, Shoot in the 90s, from Palm Harbor
Sep 23, 2008 de golf extraordinaire
Peut-être parce que c'est à cet endroit que j'ai réalisé mon seul trou d'un coup ( sur le Pine barrens ) mais je trouve ce resort de golf extraordinaire. Je dirais que c'est une coche de plus que le PGA village. J'ai eu l'occasion de jouer au Texas, Arizona, Myrtle etc... et je reviens encore cette année à cet endroit. Le terrain est en excellente condition ( informez-vous à quel moment les greens sont spikés ), l'air de pratique est parfait et les tarifs raisonnables. cette année, nous jouons 36 trous par jour pendant 3 jours su place et 36 trous au Lake Jovita ( 30 minutes de route ). Un des trois plus beaux terrains de golf aux USA selon moi. Lake Jovita est à ne pas manquer du tout! Bon golf!
"Great off season rates (incl Nov). The best. Amenites outstanding-360 deg driving range, 2 acre putting green, 3 hole "warmup" course, 9 hole exec course that is walkable and costs $10 (extra if U ride). Worth going out of your way to get to." mrlogo - 09/16/07
"Wonderful layout. Great condition." Cliff (Fort Myers, FL) - 07/09/2007
"Would love to play both courses. Outstanding facility and a great value." Wayne (Loveland, OH) - 05/14/2007
"Super course.... had practice holes not just a driving range." Daniel (Monroe, OH) - 05/11/2007
"Excellent layout and in great condition. One of the best I've played." Larry (Chicago, IL) - 05/01/2007
"This course was a treat to play!" Scott (Des Plaines, IL) - 04/30/2007
"We should have played here 4 days instead of 2. Great golf and fun days." William (Ypsilanti, MI) - 04/23/2007
"Great course, just be prepared to drive if you're staying in Tampa." Jeffrey (Princeton, NJ) - 04/10/2007
"WOW Well worth the drive from Orlando." Jim (Powell, OH) - 04/10/2007
"Best courses we played. Excellent." Robert (Annandale, NJ) - 04/09/2007
"No question why this is a world renowned course. GREAT GOLF at a fair price!" Gene (Mohrsville, PA) - 04/02/2007
"Interesting and challenging. Tough greens and pin positions." Stephen (Evanston, IL) - 04/02/2007
"Just like TPC--well run and in great shape." Vince (Aurora, OH) - 03/19/2007
"Couldn't believe how nice this course was being out in middle of no where. Fun Course to play." Chris (Ft. Wayne, IN) - 02/26/2007
"This was a great course...great shape and not as intimidating as I anticipated." Paul (Green Lake, WI) - 02/19/2007
"Unbelievable layout and risk/reward holes. Finally a course that puts its money into the course and not the proshop--let course speak for itself." Pete (Union, KY) - 02/19/2007
"What a course best I have ever played speed." 17f - Feb 14 2007
"If you are not commited to Orlando consider World Woods in Brooksville. About a 45-60 minute drive from Tampa International depending on traffic. Probably the best golf facility in Florida. The Pine Barrens course is outstanding, and the other course, Rolling Oaks, is no slouch." mspencerod - Feb 19 2006
"Only had a chance to play the Pine Barans course - great layout. It is strange to see a course in Central FL with elevation changes. A truly great and fair track for anyone. Well worth the drive, about $50 less than the TPC of Tampa and twice the quality. Can't wait to play the other 18.Customer Service: Great, friendly staff."
Eric, Shoot in the 90s, from Buffalo, NY
"Please add my name to your mailing list. I played Pine Barrens for the first time yesterday November 10, 2004 and finally found a golf course that lives up to the hype. Outstanding layout."
James D. - Ocala Fl
"I had a truly wonderful and memorable day playing the Pine Barrens course at World Woods in early April 2003. First, you should be proud of your whole staff. From the welcome and attitude of the guys at the bag drop through the catering staff and the pro shop staff, the overriding feeling is that everyone wants you to enjoy your day.
The practice facilities were outstanding. The Pine Barrens Course was the best I've every played on and that is no small statement as I have played all over the world. None of the courses I have played come near the "World Woods Experience". Every single hole would the "the feature hole" on another golf course somewhere else. The beauty of several of the holes is completely breathtaking.
I cannot possibly put adequately into words the thrill that I experienced that whole day. All I know is that I will be returning as many times as I possible can.I cannot close without mentioning your grounds staff. Whoever it is that prepares those tees, greens and fairways, they are indeed true craftsmen.Congratulations and thank you to all your staff."
Gerry Lynch Peterborough, England
"Our golf group has been coming to World Woods for ten years (when the Pro Shop was a trailer). Twelve of us played on November 22 and 23, 2003. The Rolling Oaks greens needed a little help but the Pine Barrens course and greens were in great shape. Needless to say, we had a ball. The World Woods staff - from the bag staff that greet you to the pro shop, restaurant, cart girl and starter were friendly and helpful. We will be back for our 11th year and many more." Peter DeMauro - Sarasota, Florida
"Just played both courses, 36 holes/day, two days in a row. Great courses, great conditioning, and the added bonus was that we never had longer than a 4 hour round, even on a busy weekend."
Kent Hembree - Boise