Lake Jovita in Dade City Florida is home to two incredible, championship golf courses; the North Course and the South Course. Both are part of a lavish, master-planned community. The thirty thousand square foot clubhouse sits perched on a hilltop with a verandah that overlooks the ninth and eighteenth greens of the South Course. Inspired by Mediterranean architecture and infused with Key West style, the Lake Jovita clubhouse has played host to numerous celebrity weddings, banquets, and meetings.
Facilities within the clubhouse include wonderfully appointed men’s and women’s locker rooms complete with showers; and a well-stocked pro shop that has been recognized as one of the Top 100 in America by Golf Business World magazine. There is also a full service restaurant with lounge area, a 2,000 square foot state-of-the-art fitness center, a junior Olympic size swimming pool and four fast drying Har-Tru clay tennis courts.
The 263-acre North course was designed by golf course architect Kurt Sandness, and plays 7226 yards from the back tee for a par of 72, with a course rating of 74.8 and a slope of 139. Most golfers will find the white tees at 6299 yards (70.2/130) will give them all that they can handle.
Golf course amenities include a world-class practice facility with a practice chipping green, sand traps, a one-acre putting green and a separate practice area for lessons. Practice balls are complimentary and the snack bar and beverage cart services begin at 7AM.
Lake Jovita’s North course features some significant elevation changes for a Florida course and provides golfers with incredible views of this scenic, gated community. As a matter of fact, on a clear day you can see five or six miles to the northeast from the second tee box.
The North Course sits amidst rolling hills and undulating valleys; magnificent ancient oak trees and hardwood forests compliment the landscape as you make your way around the layout. It’s a little more “resort style” than the South course, meaning it is more player friendly and open.
Both of the Lake Jovita courses have received numerous accolades from Golfweek Magazine (#14 and 16 ranking in Best Florida Course You Can Play in 2006, 2011 among others), and 4 ½ stars by Golf Digest. Lake Jovita has also played host to several Florida State Golf Association championships.
Memorable Holes (All Yardage is From the Blue Tees)
Number 1: Par 5, 527 yards. Nothing like a long par 5 to start off your round – you can get away with a poor shot or two and still make a par or bogey! Hazards await off the tee in the form of houses and OB on the left and large fairway bunkers on either side. Long hitters can easily reach the green in two by hitting over the bunkers on the left side of the dogleg. Most players will need to avoid the fairway bunker on the left side of the fairway which will leave an easy pitch shot to this large, elevated green. Three bunkers will gobble up anything short right of the green as will one deep bunker short left.
Number 4: Par 3, 160 yards. For my money, this is the most scenic view on either course. The elevated tees make number 4 play shorter than the stated yardage. Checking the wind on this hole will also go a long way in choosing the right club to navigate over the water that protects the left side of this two-tiered green which features significant undulation and slopes back right to front left. A lone bunker in the front right protects the green and sees a lot of use from players trying to avoid the water.
Number 8: Par 4, 415 yards. There is a lot to navigate off the tee on this long par 4. The water on the left shouldn’t be too hard for most golfers to get over; the real trick is to avoid the cluster of fairway bunkers on either side of the fairway in the landing area. You will find a lot of undulation in the fairway; more so than most Florida courses. Your approach shot is downhill and may require one less club. A good sized bunker protects the front left side of a fairly large, undulating green.
Number 10: Par 5, 517 yards.The best advice on this moderate length par 5 is to keep it in the short grass. The best play is down the left side of the fairway; this takes the trees on the right out of play. Going for the green in two will depend on the shot you have to hit to get past the big oak tree in the middle of the fairway, right in the landing area of your layup. This small green is well protected by sand on both sides and short.
Number 11: Par 4, 394 yards. All of a sudden it seems someone has decided that the middle of the fairway is a good place for large oak trees! This one sits about 250 yards from the blue tees so for most players hitting over it is not an option. Playing right of it is probably your best bet. Hit a good tee shot and you’ll be left with less than 150 yards and an unobstructed path into the green. Although there are no bunkers around the small green, there is a small pond on the right side. Par is a good score here.
Number 18: Par 4, 462 yards.At 462 yards, this will give you somewhat of an idea what the PGA pros deal with every weekend; most of us have played par 5s that were shorter! Thankfully the hole plays downhill off the tee. Your best bet is to play out towards the middle bunker on the left side of the dogleg; anything down the right side and your approach shot will likely be blocked out by the trees. Even one of your best drives will still leave a long approach shot down hill into a small green protected by three bunkers. If you have to layup, it’s best to be on the left side of the fairway. Par is a great score on this finishing hole.
Last Word: Although the North Course at Lake Jovita only opened in 2002, the Spanish moss-draped grandfather oak trees you encounter make you think the course has been here for decades. The North Course at Lake Jovita is a little more wide open than the South Course and generally more enjoyable for the majority of players. The front nine is fairly wide open, while the back side is more wooded, especially the first four holes and the finishing hole.
Both sides offer considerable elevation changes which you are more likely to find in North Carolina then in Florida. There is also a considerable amount of mounding in the fairways and along the sides; something you don’t often see in these parts either. Water comes into play on 13 holes in the form of lakes and ponds or marsh areas. Although many of these hazards are located along the perimeters, they can easily catch errant shots and wreak havoc on a scorecard. There are no overly long carries off any tee.
There is an abundance of par 4 holes playing over 400 yards and some decent length par 3 holes. This gives way to par 5s that are reachable in two with a good tee shot, although knowing where to place the ball helps a lot. An example of this is the first hole. Hitting a good tee shot over the easily carried bunker on the left, dramatically shortens your distance to the green.
Choosing the set of tees best suited for your game goes a long way in establishing how much enjoyment you will have on the North Course.; there is a difference of over 550 yards between the blue and white tees so best to stick with the handicap guidelines on the scorecard. The course is always in great shape and the staff is there to make sure you have an enjoyable experience. And be sure to check out the home to the left of the 18th green; it’s absolutely gorgeous!
For more information or to book your next round, gave them a call at (352) 481-2652 or visit the Lake Jovita website at www.lakejovita.com.