Pine Barrens Earns Its Worthy Ranking:Kevin Kenny Golf Retired Insider A native Floridian, Kevin has been a Class A PGA Professional since 1994. Currently the Director of Instruction for Tampa Palms and Hunters Green in New Tampa, Kevin teaches players of all abilities from beginners to PGA Tour players. October 19, 2008
I had the chance to play Pine Valley last week. Yes, that Pine Valley -- one of the the top-ranked courses in the world.
For a golf course changed very little since it's inception in 1918, this was one stern test. The routing of the course over the rolling sand hills had me playing in varying wind conditions on every hole. The natural sand waste areas are played as hazards with no rakes anywhere on the course. This really makes the bunkers hazards to avoid. And the green complexes varied in size depending on the holes length.
While you may never get the invitation to play there, you can come close right here in Florida at World Woods Pine Barrens in Brooksville.
Tom Fazio, a Pine Valley member, did a wonderful job of of routing Pine Barrens through the sand hills of Brooksville. Although the vast sandy waste areas defining many of the holes are not played as a hazard, you still want to avoid them at all times.
Another feature I like of both courses -- the lack of water hazards that can lead to too many lost balls and long rounds. Pine Valley has one lake that comes into play on holes 14, 15 and 16. Pine Barrens has water on the short par-3 third hole and, depending on recent rainfall, some easily avoided water on hole 15.
Make sure to allow ample time for warming up. Check out the 3-hole practice course for a better alternative to hitting balls prior to your round. (Although, the driving range at World Woods is world class.)