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|Ridgewood Lakes Golf and Country Club has water on all 18 holes. (Tim McDonald/GolfPublisher.com)|
Orlando golf courses usually run to the upscale. Enter popular Ridgewood Lakes Golf and Country Club in nearby Davenport, a good alternative that offers a real bargain in Florida golf: greens fees between $25-$45.
In fact, on his last visit he made it a point three times.
"I love it," Ebbin said of this Orlando-area golf course. "It's the first course I've played with water on all 18 holes. I played the International course at Champions Gate and I like this course better, and it's about half the price.
"I saw something else I've never seen - an alligator walking across the green."
Don't let the alligator scare you off, or the water. Most of it is lateral, with only one real forced water carry to the green. Still, you are always aware of all that agua lurking off to the side of the fairways and sometimes beside and back of the greens.
There are also 60 bunkers on Ridgewood Lakes (some built with coquina shells, which spices up the layout), and quite a few homes close enough to be identified as hazards.
Nonetheless, this is a very player-friendly course, accessible to women, juniors and seniors, with generous fairways and four sets of tees running down to 5,217 yards.
The Ted McAnlis design is fairly open, with only a few holes where trees dramatically affect your play - No. 7 comes to mind, with its big oaks on both sides of the fairway.
Even from the back tees (7,016 yards with a 135 slope rating), one of the biggest challenges of this layout is sublimating your testosterone off the tee and stowing the driver. Many of the fairways run out of room if you don't shape your first shot.
No. 1, for example, is a 372-yard dogleg left around a lake that should be played with a fairway wood if you can't hit a draw; there's unseen water at the end of the fairway.
The par-5 second also has water on the right, reachable off the tee. (This reviewer found it on both holes just to be able to warn you, dear reader.)
No. 11 should be played with a fairway wood, and No. 14 has a waste area to contend with off the tee, which, incidentally, your reviewer also found. That's when the driver was stowed away for good.
With green fees running from $25 to $45, Ridgewood Lakes is an excellent bargain and a fine alternative in generally upscale Orlando golf. Locals and visitors alike know the score - the semi-private club hosts almost 50,000 rounds a year.
There is a good practice area with a driving range, large bunker and chipping area and a practice putting green. Conditioning and service won't make you forget, say, the Marriott courses, but both are fine.
August 1, 2007
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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