SUMMERFIELD, Florida – So you saved money your whole life to buy that ‘perfect‘ retirement home in a Golfer’s Paradise called The Villages in Florida. Thirteen championship courses and so many Executive courses that you’ve lost count. So the question is: Why toss your clubs in the back of an SUV and head out to play golf at a course outside of the Villages?
Just outside the Village’s northern border about two miles north on route 441/27, The Links Club at Spruce Creek South is exactly as advertised, it’s a links course. The Villages has no links courses to offer their golfing community, so you head to Spruce Creek to enjoy the challenges of playing one.
A links golf course is more broadly defined by golf architects as a golf course with a natural and open lay-out, lying on sandy soil that is heavily affected by the wind. It has few to no trees, but with thick rough grasses. The Links Club at Spruce Creek South offers all of that and more.
With several holes tucked between majestic old oaks and water features throughout, golfers of all levels will be put to the test. Terry Doss has outdone himself with the architecture of this Course. This original design is equipped with gentle rolling greens, long Par 4’s and beautiful scenery that perfectly encompasses the natural setting surrounding the course.
Greens fees run around $18 for 9 holes and $38 for 18 holes with a cart. There is a driving range, Pitching/Chipping Area, and Putting Green. Spruce Creek is a semi-private golf course with a multipurpose club house that is the centerpiece of the community and golf operations. The course is located towards the back of this gated community which requires visitors to travel a short distance through the residential neighborhood to reach the parking lot and bag drop area.
The pro shop has a friendly staff who are always ready assist you with everything from a scorecard to a new pair of golf shoes. Prices were compatible with surrounding courses and the smiles and good conversation were free. The Links Club Grill has an assorted menu of food and beverages. You can grab a bite and a drink after a round of golf or pick up something between nines. Both venues are in the clubhouse.
This 18-hole course is a Par 72 built in 1995 with a year-round golf season. Blue Tees play at 6406 yards, 124 slope, 70.7 rating. White Tees are 5891 yards, 114 slope, 68.3 rating. Green Tees are 5362 yards, 111 slope, 66.1 rating. Red Tees are 4979 yards, 118 slope, 69.7 rating. Bermuda is the dominant grass found on fairway, roughs, and greens.
The first few holes at Spruce Creek prepare you for the challenges ahead. The natural layout of these holes brings with it the demands for accuracy and common-sense golf. It is a quick awakening to the natural beauty of the course, coupled with the realization that this links course will have your undivided attention for the whole round.
The Par 4, 282 yards 4th hole is a dogleg left around a large moss-covered Live Oak tree that forces you to make a choice between going over the tree to a tantalizing green or playing it safe hitting straight away. This decision will depend on wind direction and strength. Choose wisely, there are 15 holes left to play.
The Par 5, 487 yards 6th hole is the Signature hole on the front nine. It’s slopping fairway can be both a positive moment or dreadful one. Two thirds of the fairway has a pond waiting for an aggressive drive that will roll far beyond your anticipated distance so be careful here. Playing to the left 1/3 of this fairway off the tee will almost guarantee a birdie putt.
The Par 5, 523 yards 9th hole is a long driver’s dream. This gradual dogleg left will challenge your courage but will also reward you greatly if you decide to “cut the corner.” Playing the gradual draw will give you a relatively long shot to reach this elevated green in 3.
The Par 4, 290 yards 10th hole is another dog leg left around a small pond that challenges you to try to go around it as close as you can. Watch out here, it’s a a decision that could result in a double bogey or more. Stay right and take the easy birdie.
The Par 4, 374 yards 14th hole is like the 4th hole only in the opposite direction. This dogleg right is protected by a large Live Oak tree that will invite you to show your courage. This hole is an easy par putt if you just play it as designed.
The Par 4, 417 yards 17th hole is a dogleg left to a raised green. Careful here the green slants right and anything right of center is destined to be a chip shot. The Par 5, 517 yards 18th hole is just what you’ve been waiting for. A well struck drive and fairway wood puts you in striking distance for that final hole birdie putt.
On my visit in April, the course was in good condition considering the amount of use it has endured over a long winter season. Thanks to generous over-seeding this past Fall, coupled with some solid maintenance upkeep, there were no major issues that interfered with the playing of the course although 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 Links Course.
The Links Course at Spruce Creek South has a flexible and accommodating reservation system and a gorgeous vista on a Terry Doss-designed course… all smack dab in the heart of The Villages, Central Florida’s premier Active Adult Retirement Community.
Give it a try, you won’t be disappointed!