By Joe McLean, Flagstick Editorial Assistant
While in Orlando, Florida for the PGA Golf Show in late January, a few members of the Flagstick Golf Magazine staff took the opportunity to get in a game of golf at one of Florida’s top public access golf courses as rated by Golf and Golfweek Magazines.
A member of the Audubon International’s co-operative sanctuary program, Victoria Hills Golf Club is located about 45 minutes Northeast of Orlando in the college town of Deland. Five sets of tee blocks based on handicaps awaited our play ranging from 4902-7149 yards.
As a single digit player, Flagstick Publisher Jeff Bauder stepped up to the Championship black tees and with a layoff caused by a few months of Ottawa winter under his belt parked his tee shot nicely into a fairway bunker. Seeing this, your humble scribe based on his age and wonky knees stepped up to the Challenge blue tee and hit his normal 210 yard drive which conveniently carved the centre of the fairway. Not to bore you with a play by play of our games, let’s say we both broke 80 and had a great day while Ottawa, Canada according to our wives, was experiencing a full day of cold rain.
The Ron Garl designed course features generous landing areas on fairways lined by oak and Augusta pine trees set on a terrain of rolling hills, dotted with numerous lakes and large undulating greens. From the black tees, the par 3 – 14th is a signature hole requiring an uphill tee shot of 225 yards over a conservation area with the well bunkered green providing the only area for safe refuge.
For those who have made many a journey to Florida for golf, Victoria Hills is not your typical flat, water-infested layout. It sports true character on many holes, acting to maintain your interest levels on each shot. The shaping flows in tune with the land, taking away any feel of the golf course being an artificial presence in its surroundings.
After a thoroughly interesting game on a course with tremendous vistas, it was time to enjoy lunch at the club’s Mulligan Tavern & Grille. Who better than the bartender to suggest house favourites and our Par Three Reuben and Barbeque Pork sandwiches, washed down by a local draft, put the cap on a great day.
Check out the course at www.victoriahillsgolf.com. You won’t be disappointed.