The golf club has a good restaurant with friendly help.
|Culture with Camoluscious Gally||
One of the most pleasant aspects of Bay Tree National Golf Club is that while challenging, many features of this course makes it a win for newer players. The fairways tend to be wide near the tees on most holes. Although there are many lakes and traps, these tend to be harder to get into. My husband and I played here recently and only had one or two golf balls roll into the palmettos. The wide fairways can be a relief for newer players who hit hooks or slice from the tee. If your first ball hits fair, that's half the battle.
A few of the back nine holes have narrower fairways and more of the trickier shots. Some holes require the golfer to hit over ditches so chipping up is sometimes needed. A couple of the back nine holes have hills along one side. The first time I played here it was in late summer so I worried about rolling out of bounds. I thought, hit high on the hill, the golf ball will roll down. This doesn't work. It's far better to avoid the hills, my husband and I found there was plenty of room for the golf ball to land away from the hill as the fairways opened up down range. The last hole features a real surprise, you hit toward the green and have to drive way around a small lake before walking onto the green from the back. It's a fun golf course with a lot of variety in how your ball lies and with a lot of scenic views. Located in Melbourne, Florida, 32940, it is near I-95. For a better view of how the golf course plays, see the video below.
The golf club has a good restaurant with friendly help.
Chipping is a fine art that is much more a case of mental planning especially for beginning golfers. The art of the chip is to bring the club head to the back of the ball, with the proper angle to produce arc, with the proper speed to put the ball where you want it after it stops, with the proper direction to place the ball exactly where you want it, and with the proper follow through so that it reacts properly.
The club head angle demonstrated below is placed at about 45 degrees to the ground. It is used when you want to get extra loft. The best times to use loft are:
The main disadvantages of a "open" club head angle as shown above, is that the ball may tick off the inner or outer edge of the club head, making it go either to the left or the right of where you planned for the ball to go. Another disadvantage is that the on less level surfaces (no matter the angle e.g. if the ball is sitting on a slope) there is a greater chance of having the club head get stuck in the turf.
If you have a short distance to the green where you are considering putting the ball, closing the club so that it sits at a 90 degree angle to the turf will produce a similar strike on the ball as a putter (see photograph below).
The main advantages for a closed club head, 90 degrees to the turf, are:
The major problems with using a closed head are:
Between the two extremes, open at 45 degree angle and closed at 90 degree angle, the golfer can choose a little more angle to get more loft to get over small barriers, or even more loft to get over medium barriers or to get better stopping distance. One of the reasons for using the practice chipping areas at the golf course or for taking a chipping class with a professional golfer is to practice using the golf club angle and to get a better estimate for how the arc varies distance.
When we played golf in Baden Baden, Germany at the Baden-Baden Golf Club, we ended up playing with rental golf clubs. The MacGregor golf clubs were much different from our usual golf clubs; I play with Kunnan Golf Clubs and Bob normally plays with Callaway Big Bertha golf clubs.
Is Renting Golf Clubs Worth it?
Yes and no. You do pay plenty to rent golf clubs, but to ship golf clubs via the airlines is usually at least $30 per bag and more like $50 per bag each way, while rental golf clubs cost from $20 per bag on up. If you play once, you've saved a bundle on shipping fees and saved annoyance hauling them to the airport and you don't take the risk of loss or damage of your golf clubs. Anytime we've planned to play golf several times on a vacation, we've deemed it well worth our time to ship them.
Here's a comparison of two golf bag covers we've used; in general they cost from $30 to $1000 depending on the quality.
The main difficulty I had playing with the rental golf clubs was due to a lack of golf glove; without a glove, the golf club reverberated in my hand and I had more slippage and less control. Also, the surprise with rental golf clubs is that most golfers keep their glove, tees, balls, hats, golf ball markers, golf repair tools, golf ball retriever, suntan lotion or sun block, lip gloss, golf shoes, golf range finder, etc. in their golf bag. Most rental golf bags don't provide any of this golf equipment.
Yet, we did rent golf clubs and I am glad we did so. My golf score was off a little from my golf handicap, but we got to experience golf in a foreign country at a golf course we would never have visited. It's a rather fun experience to find golf culture pretty intact around the world.
Mini MacGregor Golf Club Review
From my husband's view, he liked the MacGregor golf clubs better than his Callaway golf clubs. I've wanted to get a set of Callaway golf clubs because they were heavier than my Kunnan golf clubs and a heavier club cuts through wet turf much easier. I haven't needed a heavier set since I moved to Orlando, Florida because the grass rarely gets as thick and heavy as it did in the Seattle area during the wetter months.
I was less happy with the MacGregor golf clubs since I found it more difficult to get any loft. They also exchange my favorite fairway drivers, the five wood and seven wood for hybrid clubs and these weren't as effective on the fairway. Hybrids are good for heavy turf so if we'd played earlier in Spring I might have like them better. The edges of the clubs seemed soft and the club head didn't launch the ball as well. I did keep pretty straight on my shots which is the reason I don't like many other brands.
Choosing a Golf Club
When I chose the Kunnan golf clubs, the manager at ProGolf Discount found me the correct size and told me the ladies clubs tend to have a lot of flex in them, especially with graphite handles which the MacGregor also used. I tried about six brands of golf clubs at the ProGolf discount driving range in the store. The Kunnan golf clubs gave me the cleanest hit and straightest drives. A club that is good for a straight hit saves a golfer a great deal of grief on the golf course.
Well, for me it was easy because I had a husband who made all the arrangements for staying at the Barcelo Bravo Palace Deluxe Resort in Punta Cana, Dominican Republic including all of our tee times online the internet (the link takes you to their webpage where you can arrange a room and a tee time). That was the first step.
The second step involved getting our golf clubs to the golf course. We took the resort train from the pick up stop at the end of our hotel building (the place is very large) but I think perhaps getting the golf cart first and picking the clubs up in the same spot would have been much easier.
The third step is checking in with the pro shop--lunch is available in the dining room right next door and since our first tee time was late in the afternoon, this mean lunch first was a great choice. The restaurant here has a dubious reputation for being really slow with some of the people we met, but for us it worked out fine. The restaurant didn't open until 12:30 so we had drinks first until they opened. Barcelo Bravo Palace Deluxe is an all inclusive so the beer (Presidente), Coca Cola light, hamburger, roast beef sandwich, and a dessert had we wanted it were provided without charge. The tee time cost us a charge for use of the golf cart. Had we played 5 times instead of three, the cost would have been less but as it was ended up at $40 per person.
Afterwards, we were able to store our golf clubs at the Lakes Golf Course.
The fourth step is choosing the appropriate tee. My husband thought the blue tee distance was about his pace for his first game, the next two were played at the more typical white tee. The reason is on a couple of holes over the water, the distance can be pretty long. My husband had a much happier, less stressful time on the white tees. For women, the red tees play within a usual handicap.
Other hints about playing the course involve the challenges. One of the hallmarks (see photo above) of the Lakes Course at Barcelo Bravo Palace Deluxe are the scenic golf shot lakes especially the number 9 and number 18 hole with their wood braced raised greens.
Play it with the exact right club (the holes play long when faced with wind) with a high arching chip shot.
Another is the hidden greens (see photo to the left). Place your approach shot so that a high, arching chip shot that lands and stops is your best bet.
Another hint is to stay in the center of the course, choose the right distance club to stay out of the lake with any additional roll.
A last warning is to stay out of the sand traps. Many are hidden. You get over one sand trap only to fall in the smaller one hidden behind.
The Barcelo Bravo Palace Deluxe golf course is in excellent condition. We played after heavy rain and found you had to punch the ball hard to get it in the hole on the green and we also had to walk (most of the course was closed via cart path only rules due to soggy turf). Two days later, the greens were fast and driving on the course was allowed. Rain drizzled and was a relief from heat, the heavy rains came at night. Be prepared with sun protection.
Note: WiFi from the Barcelo Bravo Palace Deluxe resort isn't available on the golf course.
I’m cool, warmed up, loose.
I’m gonna crack this ball straight down the fairway all the way to the white post, clean and straight.
Yeah. I’m the king of the worm burners, oh, no, I’m the baddest Tiger of these here woods. Ha ha, not bad, I launched that there rocket clean into that oak, missed my forehead, missed my partner, never you mind. I’m out on the fairway now.
I’m cool, warmed up, loose. Got my eye on the ball. King of Zen. Just swing and … yeah.
Okay. I’m King of the beach blanket beee-ing go.
Okayyy. No problem. Golf is about practice and practice make perfect. Okay, closed my eyes there. Splash?
Splash it is. Okay, I’m Chipping King, just smack that ball into that little ole hole. God’s be with me.
Whew. I’m the man. Ain’t I the man? Blow me a-way! It’s all won on the greens guys.
Ain’t I the King? Didn’t I just chip right in? Ever see anything like that before? MMMhmm.
You on for five on the next hole?
I thought Sweetwater Golf & Country Club's golf course was going to be easy to play until I reached hole 10. This is not to say that the front nine holes lack challenge.
The Sweetwater Golf & Country Club in Apopka, FL is friendly to visitors. The golf clubhouse is split between several buildings--the snack shop for instance shares quarters with the pool crowd. Dining at the snack shop is very good, I liked the turkey sandwich just fine. There's a separate place for the pro shop and another place for dinner dining. We didn't get golf cart service but they provide drinks vending machines at the bathrooms halfway along each nine.
The golf photograph above is about half of hole number ten. The hole travels uphill through the trees and when you get to the top, you find the lake and the hole curving around it to the left. This hole is pretty tricky since the side hill lie tends to want to put your golf ball in the water as does any roll.
The golf photograph to the left shows one of the tricky par 3's on Sweetwater Golf & Country Club. Three of the par three's require a drive over 150 yards, including this one that has a deep gully and pond. Other challenges on the golf course include a sand trap hidden in front of one green, another long sandtrap beyond a tree that allows golfers to shorten the distance to the green.
This golf club is pretty lively with many events, an upcoming Thanksgiving Day buffet, and a long time on the golf course--5+ hours for our round.
Orlando Beach Hopping Visitors Might Like Golf at The Preserve at Turnbull Bay, New Smyrna Beach, FL
The clubhouse at the Preserve at Turnbull Bay in New Smyrna Beach, FL is not intimidating. This photo shows the clubhouse from the first tee. Coming into the club, you're met by staff members who help you load your golf clubs into a cart right away.
This photograph shows the challenging second hole, a par 3 across water that isn't as difficult as it may seem. The houses, also, sit well back from the golf course on most holes, so golfers don't need to worry about accidents or a big audience. There are many water hazards on this golf course.
The way to handle the narrow starts on some of the holes is to use a shorter club, anyone that golfers find are easy to hit straight.
The drives over water seldom result in lost balls, unless they roll off from the side.
We found play on this course was crowded so we were glad we had a tee time, especially since we started at about 9:00. Although we often followed the foursome in front of us, play moved well and we easily managed our round in under four hours.
The clubhouse has a small snack bar in the pro shop and we did have cart service. The bathrooms were available about halfway and at the clubhouse. Afterwards, there was plenty of time for lunch at BlackBeards in New Smyrna Beach and a stroll along the beach, too.
When visitors arrive at Legends Golf Club in Clermont, Florida near to Orlando, the elaborate waterfalls framing the entry gate may seem intimidating, but after you're through with a game of golf, you'll understand that this golf club was well designed to create wonderful memories of challenging golf. Legends is open to the public and during the warm summer off-season they offer a $179 all the golf you can play card May 1- October 1 after 1pm, after 3pm get a $10 deal on cart. They have a deal on golf balls for use on the large outdoor driving range, too and a large putting green.
The clubhouse is reassuring to visitors since it is quite small and staff very friendly and helpful. The small pro shop stocks visors, socks, clothing, and the usual golf supplies and snacks. A meal with your golf ticket for $12 is available, I think to keep wait staff well up to the task of serving large groups. I had chicken tenders, my husband a club sandwich. Food was tasty and arrived quickly including refills on soft drinks and seconds on beer.
The tower advertising Legends Golf Course with the purple golfer is played on the back nine which is a bit tougher to play than the front nine. Legends Golf Course makes good use of the unusual for Florida hilly terrain.
Close up of the tower. Below, the Legends #14 par 3 hole can be tricky to play, hit long because the ball is likely to roll down hill (see golf photograph below).
This golf course is pretty favorable to women player's with the purple (normally red) tees playing an average of 108 for 5200 yards approximately.
Most tees have wide open fairways and usually you can avoid any but occasional trouble. The rough is pretty rough now due to all the rain--over 8 inches, bring extra golf balls. The course ends with several back to back uphill holes so make sure you have enough energy to get through this fun course.
Clubhouse at Forest Lake Golf Club, Ocoee, Florida
We visited Forest Lake Golf Club and because it was rather warm out, we decided to skip out on our putting practice. This is a very bad idea. My husband and I were not the only golfers coming in with three and four putts a hole--putting this badly is a serious ouch for your score. So what can you do to help our your putting at Forest Lake Golf Club?
One thing that will improve your putting on a golf course such as Forest Lake Golf Club is to make use of a golf range finding device. Each golf cart at Forest Lake Golf Club comes equipped with a ProShot Golf GPS device. Not only did it give the distance to the hole from your current location, but it also gave the distance to several spots on the green and other hazards such as sand traps. We still augmented the advice provided by the ProShot Golf GPS with our exact distance ranger finder. What both of these devices are supposed to do is get your approach shot as close to the hole as possible. That only works if your chipping is close to exact. So good chipping practice and club selection is in order.
The photograph of one of the greens at the Forest Lake Golf Club shows some of the difficulties involved with golfing this course:
So how do you handle putting on such surfaces:
When our group started paying close attention to our putting, our putt count went down.
One reason that my husband and I report our scores as the number of strokes / the number of putts is to remind ourselves how much our score would go down if we dropped out putt count for the eighteen holes to below 36.
The photograph to the left shows one more reason why putting at Forest Lake Golf Course is difficult--complicated approaches insure that your chipping can put you into difficulties such as blocked by a tree, by a bunker, rolling into a lake, or sandy area on the lake fringes, sand hazards, and woods.
Overall, Lake Forest Golf Club is sure to test your skills as a golfer.
This particular photograph was taken at Providence Golf Club in Davenport, Florida. This card is posted in the golf carts there so that golfers will know where the golf will be on every hole.
The starter at Providence Golf Club informs golfers which placement the flag will be for the day. Just before chipping on to the green, golfers can check the car to get an idea about how the green is shaped and how much space on the green there is for the ball to roll to the hole.
Other golf courses may not be as sophisticated in their pin placement. Some golf courses don't have starters and the club pro or person at the cash register when ringing up your green fees will tell you.
Some golf courses only use the color of the flag to indicate pin placement. Again, the golf cart, or the score card will tell the golfer what the color of flag means. Not all golf courses change their flag color or provide a map. Then it is up to the golfer to estimate based on experience (and sometimes a sneak and peek drive ahead) to determine where the hole is.
Why is it important to know pin placement if you have a distance reader?
Pin placement maps show you how much space surrounds the flag. Depending on the space around the flag, you may choose to have a chip with more or less loft. Hazards will also affect the decision.
Sheri Fresonke Harper
Sheri loves to golf, travel and to write.
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