Dade City has been compared to the great golf meccas by no one but it just may be time for that conversation to start happening.
When one of your favorite courses builds a second 18, how long should you wait to play it? Thirteen years apparently. That’s how long I waited. The South Course sits firmly in my top ten but I must admit that the “new” North Course has me smitten.
A resort style course in hills north of Tampa with significant elevation changes throughout. Let me repeat the latter part of the previous sentence, it has significant elevation changes throughout. This is unheard of in Florida. I lived in Florida for over a decade and never had an address 10ft above sea level. The North Course will have you clubbing up or down because of its dramatic changes.
Clubhouse/Pro Shop/Practice Facility
A large clubhouse surrounded by live oaks overlooking the 9th and 18th greens of the South Course. They have a fairly big dining room and a small bar that was great for a quick bite after the round. The Pro Shop was small but had all the expected supplies and clothing options. The range is big with lots of room for driver but don’t work on your distances here. The tee sits about 50 feet above the rest of the range so it’d be tough to dial it in. The putting green is also pretty big but it sits on the side of a hill. It’s quick and it’s nice but you either hit straight up or straight down the hill. Any other direction will have you practicing your 40 foot breaks.
A Kurt Sandness design from 2005 that plays long. At 7,226 from the tips, it feels a touch under 10,000. I would recommend couples counseling for you and your driver before coming here as it will be used and abused all day.
The true realization of length begins on the second tee as you realize you may not be completely warmed up. There you will find a 225 yard par 3 staring you in the face. I don’t want to regale you with every shot I hit that day or how terrific I am at golf but I did knock it to 10 ft and make the putt. But enough about me and the greatest birdie of all time, the North Course shows its true colors on Number 4. Par 3, 187 yards and plays about 50-60 feet downhill…over water. The greens are pretty big and undulating over the entire course. Hitting a GIR in no way means an easy par at Lake Jovita.
Getting back to the prodigious length needed off the tee, Nos. 10 and 11 require a 200+ yard carry over the shit, I mean wetland marshes or native areas. Number 12 angles to the right in such a way that a 250 yard tee ball to the left or right side of the fairway can leave about an 80 yard disparity in distance remaining to the pin so stay right. If you manage your way around the first 17 holes and still have a good score going, you may need a TV timeout before heading to 18 tee. A great American once said, “I pity the fool…that needs par on 18.” That may not actually be a quote but it is still true. The last is a 486 yard par 4 dogleg right with trees that will block you out if you are cavalier off the tee. If you don’t play the tips, the Blue tees are only 462 yards…what a break.
My driver and I are doing just fine, thank you, but it will forever remember the North. I found this course to be such a joy that I cannot wait to come back. How this place is unknown outside of Tampa astonishes me. It is a great course and priced well below its worth. It has made me a believer in Kurt Sandness and his design abilities. And how is the term ‘sandness’ not used to describe bunkering? The sandness on the North Course is quite striking, not to the level of sandness at Kingston Heath or Pine Valley but Sandness’ sandness holds its own out there.
CRUSADER RATING: 5 STARS
Last played in February 2018