DUNNELLON, Florida – A recent road trip outside the pearly white gates of The Villages led me to Juliette Falls Country Club in Dunnellon, Florida. It’s an easy 50-minute trip up 75N to Ocala then west down Rte 40 to Dunnellon.
The entrance to the Juliette Falls Country Club was impressive and immediately stimulated my curiosity to ask what this day had in store for a 14-handicaper playing in a friendly match with 23 other golfers from the Nancy Lopez Country Club in The Villages. Guess you could say, this was my first official course visit and “Road Trip” rolled in one!
Once inside the main gate, it was obvious that the residential areas of the development were still in transition. Some houses were completed while a number of houses were either in the process of being built our in their initial construction phase. It appeared that at some point there was a pause in the building process and that it had recently been restarted. I did try to chat with the Club Manager about both the residential areas and golf course but he was busy that day.
Arriving at the golf course was made easy by an energetic club employee who managed to load 24 bags on the right carts while giving directions to some first-timers to the Pro Shop and Putting Green.
Checking in and finding the first tee was smooth and easy, due in part to the club personnel and David Alford, the trip organizer, who handled all the formalities involved with a competitive, yet fun day of golf.
The Golf Course
Immediately, it was obvious that Juliette Falls is a well maintained and challenging golf course. The tees were placed to give all levels of golfers an opportunity to enjoy the challenges this course had to offer. Today’s match was played from the green tees. Our foursome was composed of players ranging from 9-22 handicaps which certainly gave me a good feel of what this course had to offer.
After the first few holes I got familiar with the fairways, rough, traps, and greens. After that, you knew you were playing on a well-designed golf course that was about to challenge each of us to play our best game and deal with the obstacles strategically placed.
In a state with over 1,100 courses Juliette Falls ranks among the very finest. In fact, the January 2008 Golf Magazine designated it as one of the top ten best new courses in the country, and in the 2011 GolfWeek Magazine Juliette Falls was ranked #6 in the state.
Juliette Falls CC is a wonderful golf experience, and I recommend it be your “Must Play” list when visiting the Ocala area. It has something for everyone and provides you with an enjoyable day featuring beautiful natural surroundings on every hole. Included with the natural habitat are a number of man-made rock formations and waterfalls that had many golfers searching for their cellphones to get one of the “screensaver” pictures found around a number of greens. Hole No. 13 is one of those “WOW” moments and is named “The Falls” and each hole has its own name.
The 7,239-yard, par-72 course, has a rolling park-like design highlighted by four spectacular waterfalls and significant elevation changes.
The 19th hole
Once we completed 18 holes in about four hours and returned our clubs and gear to our cars, it was time to gather together in the clubhouse a/k/a 19th hole, for a hamburger, chips and a cold drink. The friendly banter included recaps of hiccups, birdies, pars, bogies and much more. For me and the gang of 23, Juliette Falls is a unanimous “thumbs up” for the course, the conditions and we were impressed with the variety of holes.
In the near future, if you’re in the Ocala area and are looking for a good challenge, then head west on Rt. 40 to Dunnellon and look for Juliette Falls County Club. You’ll be delighted!