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|The many waste areas add both character and color to the Deltona Club. (Tim McDonald/WorldGolf.com)|
Golf course designer Bobby Weed totally re-did the Deltona Club, formerly known as the Deltona Hills Golf and Country Club, adding new grass to tees, fairways and greens and installing ubiquitous waste areas.
DELTONA, Fla. - The parking lot is dirt. There is no driving range or practice area yet, nor is there really a clubhouse.
But, if you enjoy playing graceful Florida golf courses with atypical elevation and rolling fairways, you should make plans for playing the Deltona Club in the city of Deltona, a planned community formed by a family of developers that serves as a sort of bedroom community for Orlando commuters.
It's definitely a recommended stop off Interstate-4 on your way to or from Orlando.
The course had a "soft" opening in February to show off its completely new look, the result of a total renovation by designer Bobby Weed, who has done some impressive renovation work in Florida, in places like Ponte Vedra Beach, Ormond Beach and New Smyrna.
Deltona, formerly known as the Deltona Golf and Country Club, has been around for 40 years and has seen its share of ups and downs, as most courses that age have. In Florida, of course, that includes weathering hurricanes. The Deltona Club needed a facelift, by all accounts.
Weed re-grassed tees, fairways and all 18 greens, and lengthened the course, which is now over 7,000 yards from the "permission only" back tees. He planted more than 250 trees, installed a new irrigation system and drew up plans to move and expand the driving range.
But the biggest change evident to the golfer, and the one that adds the most obvious character, is the addition of the ubiquitous waste areas. Don't call them bunkers. There aren't any bunkers on the course, just the waste areas - or "sand blowouts" as Head Professional Nathan Wilson calls them - you can ground your club in.
The new, artful waste areas, combined with the elevation and strategic changes to some vital holes, have made this one of the better courses in the area. It's similar in look and strategy to nearby Victoria Hills Golf Club, one of the I-4 corridor's better-known layouts.
"I'm floored by what they've done out here," Wilson said.
Those who played the old course and the new one are just as impressed.
"They've definitely kicked it up a few notches," said golfer Tom Vanhoose. "It's always had potential."
The original routing has pretty much stayed the same, but Weed did change several holes, like No. 11, which went from being a 190-yard par 3 to a 245-yard par 3. Permission-only, indeed. No. 7, formerly a par 3, is now a par 5. No. 9 used to be a long, dogleg left; now it's a par 3.
Aside from the improved aesthetics, the Deltona Club throws a varied playbook at you; after No. 2, you don't find any consecutive pars - no repetitive par 4s or par 5s. It has a few blind shots, owing to the elevation, and some tricky risk-reward options.
It's a nice blend of power and strategy.
"It's a step-up-and-bang-it course," Wilson said. "At the same time, there are some holes out there where if you're not hitting the ball well, it'll pack your lunch and eat it for you."
The greens are medium to large and Weed added some nice contours. Some are open in front but mostly you'll be coming in via air mail; with the large surrounds, you can get downright imaginative with your short game here. In February, they were in good shape, though a few had some bare patches that should grow in by spring.
Green fees are in the $65-$85 range with special rates for juniors. Membership rates are $3,000-$4,000.
A 300-unit condo complex is planned to help offset the renovation expenses.
Being a bedroom community, Deltona has mostly mid-level accommodations, and all the usual chain motels, like the Holiday Inn Express Hotel and Suites in nearby Orange City, Hampton Inn and Comfort Inn. For a little more sophistication, try the Palms Island Resort and Marina in nearby Sanford.
May 14, 2008
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.
The Alisal Guest Ranch and Resort in Solvang is a romantic, classic Western-style getaway amid the wine lovers' setting of California's central coast. And there's some great golf, too, with 36 holes of diverse play on site for both the public and resort guests.
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