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Bardmoor Golf and Tennis Club outside Tampa Bay is a locals' favorite

Tim McDonaldBy Tim McDonald,
Bardmoor Golf and Tennis Club - Elevation
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Bardmoor's greens have differing levels of elevation. (Tim McDonald/GolfPublisher.com)

Bardmoor Golf and Tennis Club outside Tampa Bay is close to Florida beaches and has been voted as one of the most popular golf courses in Pinellas County. Bardmoor has enough challenging holes to merit the green fees.

LARGO, Fla. - The Bardmoor Golf and Tennis Club may not be the best golf course in the Tampa Bay area, but it has one strong advantage that makes it one of the most popular in Pinellas County.

The beaches. As in, it's close to them. The beaches on this part of west, coastal Florida are one of the area's main tourist attractions, and one locals love as well.

Locals here like go to the beach, hang out and get a little sun, then stop back by Bardmoor to get in 18. Or vice-versa.

They also don't mind the discount the club gives locals, as opposed to the "rack rate." Locals pay $35-$49 in green fees with twilight options available, while outsiders pay $50-$60 with twilight rates also available.

There is also a form at the course's Web site that you can fill in for a free green fees, though you'll pay $25 for a cart.

The golf course has been voted Tampa Bay's favorite public golf course by readers of the St. Petersburg Times.

Bardmoor was originally designed by William Diddle and was for many years a private course. It opened for public play in 1990, and was completely renovated in 2001, the re-design done by former PGA Tour pro Gary Koch, collaborating with a local architect.

The club has a lot of history. It opened in 1974 and the PGA/LPGA JC Penny Classic was held here for 13 straight years.

It also has tennis history. The legendary tennis teacher Harry Hopman, whose clients included Rod Laver, Ken Rosewall and John McEnroe, trained many of them here.

The course itself is 7,000 yards from the back tees, with a slope of 131, a fairly easy rating if you can avoid the water that is interspersed throughout the layout; though most of it is lateral, some golfers have described it as "unforgiving."

No. 3 is a good par-3, with one of the more challenging greens and the par-4 fourth can be a bear if the wind is blowing; your tee shot must avoid the large fairway bunkers and water.

A little, reachable creek cuts across the 10th fairway and the 376-yard 14th is a good risk/reward hole where a birdie or bogey is possible. It wraps around a lake to the left and your approach is over water to an elevated green.

The par-5 16th also has a reachable creek, with an elevated, well-bunkered green.

Bardmoor Golf and Tennis Club: The Verdict

Bardmoor has enough challenging holes to merit the green fees.

There are quite a few homes and condos alongside the course, so it isn't exactly a pastoral experience, but it is well-kept and some of the elevated greens are interesting.

Bardmmor has a Tom Fazio-designed practice facility, renovated in 2007.

A private course, the Bayou Club, is across the street.

Tampa Bay resorts

The Emerald Greens Private Resort is 15 minutes from Tampa International Airport, and in addition to the villas, has restaurants, tennis and aquatic centers, and officials are building a luxury spa, the Oasis Day Spa.

The villas start at $380,000, and owners have the option of using them for themselves or renting them out. They have fully-equipped kitchens and all the modern amenities, including big-screen, flat-panel televisions.

The resort has been designated a "green" resort by the Florida Department of Environmental Protection.

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Bardmoor Golf and Tennis Club - WaterBardmoor Golf and Tennis Club

Veteran golf writer Tim McDonald keeps one eye on the PGA Tour and another watching golf vacation hotspots and letting travelers in on the best place to vacation.

Any opinions expressed above are those of the writer and do not necessarily represent the views of the management.

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