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Lake Jovita – South Course: Getting Off to a Good Start is Important

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Lakeland Golf Courses1The South course at Lake Jovita sits on 220-acres and was designed by golf course architect Kurt Sandness and Tom Lehman. The strategy behind this course was simple: to take full advantage of the hilly terrain and create a golf course that is professional tour quality in every sense. The Par 5, 11th hole shows that they stayed true to their word. It features a 94-foot drop from tee to green – the largest natural elevation change of any course in the state of Florida. The generous fairways, velvet like greens, and immaculate course conditions provide players of all skill levels with an enjoyable and challenging day of golf.

Most Memorable Hole: Number 1, Par 4, 387 Yards (White Tees). This is arguably the toughest starting hole at any course in Florida. And for most players, the wetlands at the bottom of the hill in the landing area takes driver out of your hand off the tee. You need to hit your tee shot past the strand of live oaks on the right side; anything left of center will most likely leave you blocked out from having a clear shot to the green. Hitting it short of the creek will still leave a mid-iron or hybrid approach shot uphill to a green that slopes from back to front, is well undulating and protected on either side by sand. Par is a good score with a decent tee shot.

Lakeland Golf Courses2Favorite Par 3: Number 4, 163 yards (White Tees). Number 4 plays at least a club longer than the posted yardage, so be sure to take enough club. It’s a good carry over water and a front pin placement also brings the sand on either side into play. The green slopes back to front and has some incredible undulation in it as well. Par is a good score here.

Favorite Par 4: Number 17, 320 Yards (White Tees). You probably want to consider leaving driver in the bag here. It may be a short hole but 11 sand traps can add strokes to your score in a hurry. A good line is over the tree on the right side off the tee with a fairway wood or hybrid. A successful shot cuts the dogleg off and leaves an approach of 60-80 yards depending on pin placement. The green is well protected and offers a good chance at birdie.

Lakeland Golf Courses3Favorite Par 5: Number 11, 511 Yards (White Tees). This hole dispels any notion that Florida is a flat piece of land. Your tee shot is slightly uphill and somewhat blind in that if you hit it well, you may not see it land. Play down the left side of the fairway and take the cluster of fairway bunkers on the right side out of play. The next shot provides the most spectacular view on the golf course looking down about 100 feet to the green. Although it looks reachable, odds are, it’s not. Be sure to keep your layup shot away from the right side as you can easily find trees in the way of your approach shot. A layup down the left side opens the green up to the senior-friendly bump-and-run. A back right pin placement can easily bring the water into play. This is a great hole to put up a low number.

Last Word: Both the South Course and the North Course have a lot to offer golfers. They’ll test your length and your accuracy. The South Course boasts arguably the toughest starting hole anywhere in Florida and a good score here can set the tone for a great round. A couple of the short par 4s will have long ball hitters licking their chops and with good tee shots, the par 5s are reachable in two from the white tees. There’s a good deal of elevation change (for Florida) and the fairways and tees are always in tremendous shape.

Like most courses in Florida that use the summer as a rebuilding period and Lake Jovita is no exception. Be sure to call ahead and find out the condition of the greens. During the season, Lake Jovita is home to some of the best greens in the Tampa area. For more information, give them a call at (352) 588-9200 or visit them online at www.lakejovita.com.

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