At first glance, Silver Dollar Golf and Trap Club in Odessa, FL is not your typical golf club. For starters, there’s a skeet shooting range directly across the street, hence the Trap part of the name. It’s not uncommon to be teeing off or putting to the sound of gunfire, but you get used to it after a few holes.
Secondly, the course sits in the back of a manufactured housing community/RV Park. Back in the day, it was rumored that more than 20 multimillionaires would park their formidable RVs at Silver Dollar for the season and enjoy both trap shooting and golf. A lesser-known fact is that several well-known professional wrestlers used to play at the course regularly. Names like (Flyin’) Brian Pillman, Brian (Crush) Adams, (Dangerous) Dan Spivey, Paul (Big Show) Wight, and Mark (Undertaker) Calaway could often be found playing in weekly games or creating games of their own.
There are three 9-hole layouts at Silver Dollar meaning there are three unique 18-hole combinations. The Gator/Panther combination is the one most played however, throw in the Bobcat nine and you can have all kinds of fun and challenging golf. As you make your way around each of the three nines you’ll encounter the usual golf hazards with trees, bunkers, and water features that will test and entertain you. Narrow, tree-lined fairways are often complemented with generous landing areas which are great for beginners. Some sparkling lakes and ponds come into play on a few holes and strategically placed bunkers are situated around many greens. Paspalum greens provide excellent rolling putting surfaces!
The Gator nine plays 3,003 yards from the White Tees with a par of 37. Water is present on at least 7 holes but only comes into play on about 3 or 4 of them. Gator starts with a relatively short 319-yard par 4, dogleg left. The green sits directly beyond the large evergreen trees and just past the retention pond on the left side. With a good drive, it is reachable if you know where the right line is. Otherwise, hit your tee shot down the left side of the fairway past the dogleg and you’ll have a short pitch shot into a small, elevated green. Bunkers guard each side of the green and there’s a small pond right of the cart path. Par or better can be had and get your round off to a great start.
The 3rd and 4th holes are short par 5s and if played correctly can help you pick up a couple of shots. Number 3 is a short 415-yard par 5 dogleg left; a good drive past the dogleg will allow you to go for the green in two. You’ll need to navigate over the small pond that fronts the green, which slopes gently from back to front. Number 4 is a 421-yard par 5 that plays to the left around a large lake. The more of the lake you can carry, the shorter your approach shot. Clear the corner of the lake off the tee and you’ll only have a mid-iron into the green.
Number 8 is a legitimate 500-yard par 5 with a double dogleg. Unless you’re a longball hitter off the tee, don’t even try to cut the dogleg left. There’s a small pond just beyond the palm trees that have claimed its fair share of tee balls. A good drive followed by a successful layup shot around the second dogleg will leave a short chip shot into the green which slopes gently from back to front.
The Panther nine plays 2,974 yards from the White Tees and plays to a par of 35. This layout places more of a premium on accuracy than on length. The last three holes can make or break your round. Sixteen (7) is the shorter of these back-to-back par 5s, but because of the way it’s laid out, it’s going to be a three-shot hole for most players. The tee shot is wide open, but you need to be careful with your layup shot. Hit it too far and you’ll find the water that guards the front of the green, A good layup short of the ponds will leave a short pitch into the green of a little more than 100 yards. The green is a lot wider than it is deep.
Number 17 (8) is the longest hole on the entire property, playing 577 yards from the White Tees. The pond that comes into play off the tee requires a drive of at least 290 to clear so most players will be laying up. A good drive followed by a well-struck layup shot will still leave a short or mid-iron into a relatively flat green with bunkers fronting either side. Par is a good score here.
Number 18 is a 171-yard par 3 that requires a carry over water off the tee into a small green. A good tee shot can set up a great end to a wonderful round of golf.
For some reason, the Bobcat layout seems to be the forgotten nine, but we found it quite challenging. The first hole is one of the property’s most interesting, a short par 5 that wraps around the driving range on the right with a chain-link fence down the right side. It’s a great risk-reward hole because you can go over as much of the driving range as you want and shorten your approach shot. Take the driving range out of play and play down the left side, and it’s a definite three-shot hole. Live oaks on either side of the fairway as you approach the green seem to shrink the fairway. The green is large and fairly flat. Another opportunity to make up a stroke or get started on the right foot.
Number 3 is the closest I’ve ever come to making a hole-in-one on a par 4. The hole plays 246 yards from the White Tees which requires about a 200-yard carry to clear the pond. There is no sand around the green, just the pond.
Unless you know it’s there, the pond that fronts the green on the 306-yard, par 4, 5th hole can be an unwelcome surprise. From the White Tees, you only need to hit it about 180 yards, which will leave a short pitch shot into the green.
Silver Dollar Golf Club has some of the best practice facilities in the area. For starters, there’s a full-length driving range where you can hit every club in the bag. Then, there is a putting and chipping green complete with sand trap, two putting greens, and to top it off, 3 practice holes. For $6, you can play the three practice holes as many times as you like! There’s no reason not to be ready when you hit the first tee.
With an in-season rate of just $38 for greens fees and cart, Silver Dollar is affordable by anyone’s standards. Other courses in the area are charging twice that rate. If you’re competitive and looking to get in a game at Silver Dollar, you’ll find them just about every day of the week. I used to live in the area about 20 years ago and played a money game every Friday afternoon. Head Golf Professional Ron Hoffman who returned to Silver Dollar a few years ago, has been able to keep that game going all this time.
As you would expect during the peak golf season in Florida, the course was very busy. We spoke with golfers from all over the Midwest who make Silver Dollar Golf Club a regular visit on their snowbird migration. Everyone we spoke with raved about what a great value the course is. Ladies seemed to favor the Panther 9 because it has three par 3s and Thursdays. After all, that’s Lady’s Day. Another common denominator between those we spoke with was the food. Not only is it delicious, but it’s also priced right too! Hamburgers seemed to be the favorite, however, it was Lady’s Day and we saw a lot of salads!
For more information or to book your next round at Silver Dollar, call them at (813) 920-3884 or visit them online at www.silverdollargolf.com.