LADY LAKE, Florida – Harbor Hills Country Club was designed by Lloyd Clifton and features a par 72 championship golf course that is rated 4 stars by Golf Digest. The property runs along the edge of beautiful Lake Griffin in the heart of Central Florida with a layout that takes the elements of an old Florida course and fuses them with a Parkland style course featuring rolling fairways, elevated tees, well placed bunkers, deep roughs, and undulating green.
The course has a little bit of everything: wetlands, native grasses, lush vegetation, manicured fairways, and big trees! As you make your way around the layout, you’re bound to see an abundance of Florida wildlife including cranes, egrets, great blue heron, wild turkey, hawks, and snakes.
Harbor Hills Golf Course is surrounded by a private gated Country Club Community that has received numerous awards for its serene location, ample green space, private marina, and 24/7 Florida State Guard Gated entries. Luxury homes start at $400,000.
It also boasts a multipurpose clubhouse that offers residents and visitors a chance to enjoy the panoramic view of Lake Griffin along with all the amenities for community and private events.
There is a driving range, chipping area, and putting green all located just off the parking lot. Greens fee range between $33 to $42 on weekdays. Weekend fees range between $48. to $65. There are seven sets of tees. The Blue tees play at 6389 yards 71.0/127, the Green tees play at 6389 yards 68.9/123, the Whites play at 5293 yards 65.6/114, and the Reds play at 5028 yards 68.8/123.
I had the opportunity to play Harbor Hills with 27 golfers from The Villages’ Nancy Lopez Championship Course playing their monthly off-site tournament. Each month a different course, located around Central Florida, is selected by Tournament Director David Alford. Here is a thumbnail look at some of the holes that we played during today’s round.
The Par 5’s
The two most challenging par 5 holes are the 3rd and the 12th.
The 3rd hole (White 421 yards) is the shortest of the par 5’s but it presents the golfer with a couple of risk-reward decisions that will require some common sense or luck. The tee shot needs to land in the fairway past the large group of trees on the left side. Trying to cut this corner really offers a slight advantage not worth the risk. The second shot is reachable, but it will require an almost perfect shot that needs to settle quickly on a fast surface. A second shot that lands short of the green will still give you a decent chance for a birdie.
The 12th hole (White 480 yards) is a narrow fairway that seems to play longer than 480 yards. A long drive will give you two choices; a layup close to the creek or a 200-plus shot to the small green that is slightly raised and guarded by a long hazard area on the left side. The second option is the layup and a short wedge to the green. Which ever you chose, it’s still a tough birdie hole.
The Par 4’s
The two most challenging par 4 holes are the 9th and the 17th.
The 9th hole (White 313 yards) is a sharp dogleg right that requires you to either hit a well-placed fade or hit a drive down the right side, that’s long enough to clear a lengthy bunker and deep rough. The second shot to this green requires either a fairway wood or long iron. This green has an undulating green that will almost guarantee two putts to any approach shot that lands 10 feet or more from the hole. Good luck on this one!
The 17th hole (White 346 yards) starts on an elevated tee that offers you a landing area that offers few problems except for a fairway trap on the left side that shouldn’t be a problem for most golfers. The second shot here is the most difficult to a green that slopes left to right and will take any ball landing to the left of the pin on a quick ride across the green to a sloping fringe leading to some deep Bermuda grass. This is also a difficult green that requires your undivided attention.
The two most challenging par 3 holes are 5th and the 16th.
The 5th hole (White 104 yards) should be the easiest hole on the course. A hole measuring 104 yards really doesn’t present an average golfer much of a challenge, does it? Well, maybe the problem is lack of experience, or maybe overconfidence, or maybe just plain overthinking! Any way you look at it, if you’re not paying attention, you’ll pay the price on this one.
The 16th hole (White 150 yards) is the Signature Hole. There is no doubt that it’s not only the signature hole, but an awesome challenge to every golfer. It’s the longest par 3 on the course. The tee is elevated high above the green, there is water running left-to-center in front of the green and the green’s putting surface is one of the more difficult ones on the course.
Harbor Hills Golf Course was in great condition and and an enjoyable experience from start to finish. Playing this course for the first time will be a learning curve for most golfers. The hole layouts will keep you engaged and at times a little frustrated but that’s the nature of a Lloyd Clifton designed golf course.
When visiting central Florida, put Harbor Hills on your list to play for a fun round of golf. You will not be disappointed. Hit’em Straight!