(October, 2009) As you stand on the first tee at Timacuan and take in the surroundings, you realize that you are in for a special round of golf; unique golf holes that are challenging and appealing to the eye. As your round progresses, you are confronted with rolling terrain that leads to uneven lies; something not often seen in these parts. As you make the turn and start the back nine, you feel like you have entered the Twilight Zone; these holes are nothing like the first nine. On the back, you encounter water, lots of water. All of a sudden there is a premium placed on accuracy and brains instead of brawn. And then it’s over and you are ready to do it all over again.
This is typical of the feelings you have as you play Timacuan Golf Club, located just northeast of Orlando off of I-4. Although the course is not that old (it opened in 1987), Timacuan has had its share of growing pains. Not long after construction, it was discovered that the course had very poor drainage, so much so that a lot of water damage was caused to the course. Originally designed by renowned Florida golf architect Ron Garl, Timacuan underwent a major overhaul in 1996 at the hands of another Floridian Bobby Weed. Mr. Weed’s redesign corrected the flooding problems and also changed the appearance and playability of the course, ensuring that all players will have an enjoyable round of golf.
As you will see, playing Timacuan is like playing two completely different nine-hole courses. Many have compared the front nine to a Scottish links style course while the back nine is said to be something you would find in the low country in South Carolina. Translation: on the front nine you are likely to find foxes and such and on the back nine alligators and wading birds (lots of water).
Throughout the course you will find rolling hills, strategically placed sand traps and water hazards, as well as stately oaks, and elegant pines. The greens are beautiful and roll true in every sense of the word; all in all, the course is well-maintained. It’s no wonder Timacuan Golf Club has long been recognized as one of the purest and most enjoyable tests of golf in Central Florida.
The clubhouse at Timacuan features a pro shop with the latest equipment and apparel as well as the full service Timacuan Bar and Grill that serves some top notch food. Practice facilities include a full scale driving range, short game area and practice putting green. Should your game be way out of whack, Timacuan is home to the Mike Bender Golf Academy. The practice facility is lit to take you into the late hours.
Tee Yards Rating Slope
Gold 7047 74.3 136
Blue 6531 71.8 129
White 6001 69.1 120
Green 5343 70.6 125
Red 4693 66.4 117
Number 1: Par 4, 397 yards. This hole plays uphill, almost 400 yards from the back tees. The landing area off the tee is wide open, so don’t hold back. Your approach shot is slightly uphill to an elevated green that slopes gently from right to left and is slightly domed with a couple of subtle breaks. Par is always a good way to start any round.
Number 2: Par 4, 421 yards. There’s a reason this hole is the number 1 handicap. Positioning your tee shot is a feat in and of itself. It’s over 220 yards to carry the water if you choose a line straight at the pin; the catch is that there is more water just beyond the fairway so if you hit it too far, you’re wet. You’ve got about 30 yards of fairway to work with at the widest and only about 20 yards where the fairway bottlenecks between the two lakes. You will probably leave yourself a long approach shot once again over water to a green flanked on both sides by sand. The large green features a crown in the middle
Number 3: Par 5, 503 yards. Although not all that long for a par 5, this slight dogleg right is hard to reach in two. Off the tee you are driving out of a chute with water left and large pine trees on the right. After a good layup shot, you are still looking at an approach shot of a little over 100 yards uphill to an elevated green that slopes dramatically form left to right.
Number 6: Par 4, 457 yards. This par 4 is a monster; you’ve probably played fives that were shorter! The fairway is wide open off the tee, so grip it and rip it; you’re going to need it. You will still be hitting a very long approach shot, uphill to a small green that is surrounded by man-made, grass dunes. Par is an awesome score here.
Number 7: Par 3, 171 yards. This island green is surrounded by sand, not water which makes your ball retrievable and playable. I’m not so sure that’s a good thing. The green slopes back right to front left. This is target golf at its finest.
Number 12: Par 5, 508 yards. You have a choice to make off the tee; do I want to make birdie or be satisfied with a par? If it is the latter that you chose, you will be best served hitting a three wood or hybrid straight out off the tee; a draw will only enhance your tee shot. For those of us who are a little more aggressive off the tee, choose a line over the trees on the left side. Complete this task successfully and you will be looking a little more than two hundred yards to a small green well guarded front left and right by large, deep bunkers. Birdie is a definite possibility.
Number 14: Par 4, 395 yards. This is a tight driving hole with a narrow landing area and water on the right; hopefully the woods on the left will not come into play. The emphasis is on accuracy on number 14 off the tee. Your approach shot is to a small green well protected by sand.
Number 17: Par 4, 412 yards. This long, sweeping dogleg right is protected all the way down the right side by water. Long ball hitters may be enticed to go for the green off the tee; you’ll need to carry it about 280 off the tee to clear the water. Out of bounds looms to the left so don’t plan on bailing out too much. A good drive will leave a short-iron approach shot into a green that is protected on the right by sand.
Number 18: Par 4, 450 yards. This is a fitting end to some great golf holes. This long dogleg par 4 offers you the opportunity to cut off the dogleg by going over fairway bunkers and a large tree on the left side. For most, this is not doable, for long ball hitters, go for it. A good drive will still leave a long iron or hybrid into a small green. Take your par and be happy.
Last Word: Timacuan is one of the best courses I have played; both from the standpoint of challenging and aesthetically pleasing. No wonder it is consistently voted one of the top courses in the state each year. How often are you presented with uneven lies in Florida? You will be here. There is also a variety of green sizes and shapes, some flat, some with severe undulation. This course is a must play; again and again. For more information on Timacuan or to book tee times online, you can visit them at www.golftimacuan.com or give them a call at (407)321.0010.