(August 2009) The Arthur Hills designed Stoneybrook Golf Club at Heritage Harbour in Bradenton, Florida features 18 holes of golf and plays 7,134 yards from the longest tees for a par of 72. The course rating is 74.8 and has a slope rating of 142 on Bermuda grass. Three additional sets of tees allow the course to be played by players of all abilities. The Stoneybrook golf course opened in 2002 and has been delighting golfers ever since.
Stoneybrook at Heritage Harbour is truly a memorable test of championship caliber golf. The course plays through a landscape highlighted by mature woods and water hazards of all types including wetlands, ponds, and lakes. Like most Arthur Hills’ works there is always a risk/reward element to the game; at this particular venue the greater the risk, the bigger the reward.
Amenities abound at Heritage Harbour. The practice facility offers an aqua range, 2 greens to practice your putting, and an area for short game practice. You will also find a 7,700 square foot clubhouse, home to the Grandstand Sports Lounge and Restaurant, as well as a fully stocked pro shop, and a staff of knowledgeable PGA instructors.
Number 3: Par 5, 510 yards. From the back tees this hole is not overly intimidating; two good shots will get you home in two. However this hole is not without its share of trouble. From the tee, you will find water on the right and a bunker left. The landing area for the layup shot is very narrow; a pond gets any ball hit to the left and a large bunker eats up anything hit to the right. The green slopes towards the water, and has plenty of undulation. This is your best chance at birdie on any of the par 5 holes.
Number 4: Par 3, 150 yards. At 150 yards, this is by no means the longest par 3 on the course. The green is small and well protected by both water and sand short of the green and by steep slopes away from the green on all sides. Miss the green and you will have a very testy chip shot back to the hole. Par is a good score here.
Number 5: Par 4, 416 yards. The 5th fairway bends in a gentle “S” shape between two lakes, the second of which runs right up to the left edge of the green. You will need a well placed tee shot to score well on this hole; anything off line will most likely meet a watery death. Successfully navigate your tee shot through the water and you will still be left with a long approach shot. Good luck with this one.
Number 11: Par 5, 600 yards. This is the longest hole on the course and surely a top five on any course. This is the only tee shot you will hit on the back nine at Stoneybrook where water doesn’t come into play – or at least shouldn’t. Finally, you can “grip it and rip it”; just be sure to avoid the huge fairway bunker on the left. Your second shot must be hit between a large bunker on the right and a pond surrounded by mature trees. After navigating this menagerie you can hit your short approach shot to a picturesque green guarded on the right by a beautiful lake. In case you put up a large number, you can always enjoy the scenery.
Number 13: Par 4, 482 yards. From the back tees, this hole is a monster; the par 5 number three is about 30 yards longer Par here is a welcome treat. The right side of the fairway has water running down it from tee to green. The bunkers seem to be placed strategically down the fairway so as to catch drives that steer too far left. There is also a large bunker sitting in the middle of the fairway, making you wonder about where you want the ball to land. Good luck – you’ll need it.
Number 17: Par 3, 224 yards. Far and away the toughest par 3 on the course. It plays entirely over water although the large green does provide an inviting target. The water wraps round the back of the green on the left while the green is protected on the right by two large bunkers. Take a deep breath, pray, hit your tee shot, and hope for the best. Then pray some more. Should you make par, take it and run!
Number 18: Par 4, 336 yards. A really nice finishing hole which offers a birdie opportunity to end your round. The hole is protected by water that runs all the way down the right. Your approach shot is to a small, elevated green that is guarded both left and right by deep bunkers.
Last Word: Although length off the tee is important on some holes, this course demands accuracy if you want to score well; many of the holes require brains over brawn. The course is always impeccably manicured, especially around sand traps and water hazards; something you don’t see as much in these tough economic times. The greens are considered by many to be some of the best on the West Coast of Florida. No matter what you shoot, I’m sure you will enjoy the course enough to come back and play it all over again.
For more information on Stoneybrook Golf Club at Heritage Harbour, visit them online at www.stoneybrookgolfbradenton.com or give them a call at (941) 746-2696.