PGA Merchandise Show Week
By mustang6560 on 1/23/12
Hello from beautiful Orlando, Florida!
While the 2012 PGA Merchandise Show doesn’t officially start until Wednesday at Demo Day, I thought I’d come down a little early to “scout” the place out. Yesterday, I played golf at a track called Sanctuary Ridge in Clermont, which is about 20 miles north-northwest of Orlando. I didn’t realize how close I was to Windemere, Tiger Woods’ old stomping grounds, until I googled directions to Sanctuary Ridge. I briefly thought about taking a detour to visit the site of the fateful “Thanksgiving day accident” but decided against it since neither Tiger nor his ex-wife, Elin Nordegren, live there anymore. Plus, I figured the security guards wouldn’t let me in anyway.
Sanctuary Ridge was recommended to me by a contact in the industry because it’s the only mountain course experience in Central Florida. Seeing as how I’ve never played a mountain style golf course, I decided to take his advice and book a tee time. And I’m glad I did! With its numerous waste bunkers and random sandy spots, Sanctuary Ridge definitely feels like a typical Floridian golf course. However, you’ll soon forget you’re in the sunshine state as several of the holes feature greens that feel like they are 100 feet below the tee box.
The difficulty of Sanctuary Ridge, which I’m sure is true of all mountain style courses, is gauging your distances. Starring up at a green that is elevated 30 feet is an intimidating thing, especially when the wind is blowing. I remember one shot in particular on the par 4 ninth where this came into play. I was 138 yards out and the green was elevated about 30 feet from the landing area. I couldn’t decide between my 7- or 8-iron, but I settled on my 7-iron just to be safe because you definitely did not want to come up short, hit the slope and roll all the way back into the fairway – or worse! I picked the right line but ended up over the green by a few feet. I managed to save par with a solid lag putt, however, had I hit an 8-iron, I might of finished the front nine with a birdie!
I would highly recommend Sanctuary Ridge to anyone who is looking for a unique golfing experience in Central Florida. The course was challenging, but fair, and outside of two holes, I managed to put together a pretty good round of golf (view scorecard here). And the staff at Sanctuary Ridge was very friendly. We were treated well from the moment Lance, the head golf professional, greeted us with a firm handshake to the moment we threw in the napkin after our post round meal in clubhouse.
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Sigh. I can only dream of warm, sunny weather and playing golf right now. Not to mention getting paid to play! Looking forward to your reports from the PGA Merchandise show.
Courses in the area must be jammed this week, huh? I know the Orlando area has lots of great courses, but even so, when all these golf folks come in to town at the same time, how easy is it to get a tee time? Just curious.
Surprisingly, the course was fairly empty. In fact, we only saw one person on the course while we were playing. I think the majority of people attending the show play golf the weekend after the show versus the weekend before like I did.
Looks like other than two nightmares our kid had a pretty solid round. Nine pars and a bird, on a 130 slope, first go around on a new course--good job. It's a nice feeling when you take your game to some strange new place and manage to get your ball around decent.
Probably shouldn't have hit driver on the third hole eh?
The funniest part about that drive was I read the in cart yardage book and it said something along the lines of "the landing area on hole 3 is wide open so don't be afraid to let'er rip". So I did.
Let me give you another course to play, go play Southern Dunes in Haines City, go I-4 West towards Tampa, but not that far. DougE played it a few months ago, also.
....And really liked it!
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