The Big Cypress Golf Course in the Cypress Lakes Community in Lakeland, FL features two extraordinary courses, the 18-hole, par-72 South Championship course, and the 18-hole, par 60, North course. The courses opened in 1987.
The Big Cypress South Course spans an impressive 6,650-yards from the championship tees and was designed by Ron Garl. The course boasts a course rating of 72.7 with a slope of 136 on Bermuda grass. The South Course has been recognized by Golf Digest, Golf, Florida Golfer, and Senior Golfer magazines for its championship caliber. Both courses provide a good challenge for every level of golfer.
The onsite driving range and practice putting green provide a wonderful way to get warmed up before your round. It’s a full-length driving range, so you’ll be able to hit every club in your bag. The practice green is massive and accommodate any size outing.
Cypress Lakes’ two on-staff resident Golf pros provide individual lessons and group clinics for beginners as well as seasoned players. The knowledgeable pro shop staff can also arrange tournaments and leagues on a regular basis. From golf clubs to clothing, you’ll find everything you need to enjoy your game at the fully equipped and staffed pro shop.
Number 1: Par 4, 360 yards. Not the longest hole but a good start nonetheless. Favor the left side of the fairway off the tee and avoid the fairway trap on the right. From there you will have a short pitch shot to an elevated green. Hit it over the green and a big number is possible.
Number 3: Par 5, 507 yards. The trees on the right are definitely reachable off the tee. With that in mind, play down the left side of the fairway and then play your layup shot towards the right side. This will take the water left out of play for the most part. This hole is a good test of both control and accuracy.
Number 5: Par 3, 140 yards. A short par 3 protected in front by a large waste bunker and water behind the green which really shouldn’t be an issue. The green is small and you’ll need to hit a good tee shot to score well as the green can be a little tricky.
Number 9: Par 4, 384 yards. A very slight dogleg left; not much trouble if you keep your tee shot left. A good tee shot will leave a short iron approach shot slightly downhill to a fairly flat green.
Number 12: Par 5, 590 yards. This hole is just plain long; especially when most players won’t be able to hit driver off the tee. If you have great control of your driver it is possible to play down the right side although there is a risk of finding the woods to the right. Even with a good tee shot and a layup shot, you will still be faced with a fairly long approach shot into this elevated green which slopes back to front and is guarded front right by a large bunker.
Number 17: Par 4, 420 yards. A long, sweeping dogleg right that requires tremendous accuracy off the tee to avoid the woods that frame the hole. The water on the right will not come into play for most players. If you play the hole up the left side, the hole will play a little longer but you can take the water out of play on the right side on your approach shot. The green is slightly elevated and fairly flat.
Number 18: Par 4, 398 yards. If you can hit a draw whenever you want, now would be the time to do it. This hole is basically a mirror image of number 17, however this time the water is on the left and wraps around the green. An accurate approach shot is required with the water on the left and woods on the right side.
I have played a number of courses built in manufactured housing developments and for the most part they were just what I expected. Short, unkempt with shoddy greens and a maintenance and pro shop staff that seemed to be there just to collect a paycheck.
Not so with the courses at Cypress Lakes. This is one of the most active adult communities in Florida (outside of The Villages). There is always something going on in the clubhouse and both pools are very lively. The clubhouse is well decorated and the pro shop well stocked. Staff are friendly, attentive and knowledgeable.
The Big Cypress courses at Cypress Lakes are built on a swamp. That being said, I would have thought the layout would be perfectly flat. To compensate for this, a lot of dirt was brought in and mounding in a few of the fairways and on the periphery was created. It’s a nice addition and certainly adds a lot to the look and feel of the course. It also helps to shield a few holes from outside traffic on Route 98.
Many holes on the South course are tight and require a certain amount of driving accuracy off the tee. It may not be the longest course in the area, but if you don’t keep the ball in play, the length doesn’t matter.
Diamond Zoysia grass has been installed on a number of greens. This new variety of turf has an excellent tolerance to low light conditions and does well in salty soils and with high traffic. Depending upon how this test goes, a decision to convert the rest of the greens will be made in the near future.
If you’re in the Lakeland area, Big Cypress is worth checking out. Visit their website at www.cypresslakesfla.com or give them a call at (863) 859-6871.