Davenport, Florida – Heading to Davenport, Florida from The Village’s is a short trip down the Florida Turnpike to Rte 429 to I-4 west. In this central Florida town you’ll find the beautiful Village Community of Providence and its Mike Dasher-designed Providence Golf Club.
Providence Golf Club has been winning rave reviews since it opened in 2008. That year, Golfweek included Providence in its list of the top 50 new golf courses in America. “The variety of style and tree canopy throughout the course creates an ever-changing pallet that will provide for memorable holes as well as strategic golf,” wrote Dasher.
Providence is a “Gated Community” that will require you to spend a moment introducing yourself to the gate guard prior to gaining entrance. This is a nice way of being introduced to a community that cherishes its security while encouraging you to spend a day on its golf course. Once inside, you will find a majestic country club and well-stocked pro shop awaiting your arrival. The club boasts a top-flight practice area and putting green which are both located directly behind the pro shop and adjacent to the golf carts and starter area.
The Providence Golf Club will test your game as it winds through land featuring ancient hardwoods, fresh water creeks and wetlands. It is common to encounter deer, otters or wild turkey during a round of golf. Dasher says, “I would characterize Providence as a hybrid course, part prairie style (otherwise referred to as heathland), part old Florida, and part parkland.”
After getting all the preliminary requirements in place it’s time to hit the first tee and see for yourself what this course is all about. The opening holes are a casual introduction to well manicured fairways and some of the best winter greens around.
This course has something special going on and you’re about to experience it. The par 3 fourth hole is the first indicator that placement of approach shots will be paramount to scoring low. Attacking the pin becomes a secondary goal right after insuring that you hit a lofting shot that will hold on a fast track green. Thus the realization that this course will require your total concentration on all approach shots on most greens.
The 5th hole is a relatively short par 4 that plays more difficult than it looks. A big drive has a fair chance of landing in the small inlet of water directly in front of the green. Not paying attention to the hazard stakes on this hole is a double bogey in the making.
The 7th hole is a dogleg right with water running the front of the tee box to 90 yards from the green. On the right side of the green is another small pond that will catch an approach shot that fades before the green. This is a “choose your poison” hole if you stray to far off either side of the fairway. The par 3 eighth hole is relatively short but the green is pitched from left-to-right and could take a well intended tee short quickly into the rough, turning an anticipated birdie hole into a struggle for par. The par 5 ninth hole is a great front nine finishing hole. Staying in the fairway or short rough will just about guaranteed you a chance for a birdie putt or a tap in par.
The back nine at Providence Golf Club is a much different nine than the front for a couple of reasons. First, it becomes obvious that the expansion of the village community has begun construction on building homes along the outer side of the 10th, 11th, 15th, 16th, 17th, and 18th holes. This is part of the long-term plan for the community.
The construction project was a minor distraction but did not interfere with the golf. There was a short crossover through minor pathway construction between the 10th and 11th holes and the 17th and 18th holes. Aside from those two areas it was business as usual.
The back nine played similar to the front nine and for a short time you found yourself surrounded by the beautiful natural environment found mostly on Links Courses. The par 3 twelfth hole gave you the feeling that you just dropped into golfing heaven. This beautiful hole seems to have been waiting for you to arrive. Water along the entire left side and behind the green, a sand trap guarding the right front, and 155 yards to the pin were both a challenging shot and a brief moment in time when golfing and nature were on display together.
The next four holes all had distinct personalities and requires concentration on keeping your drive straight and maintaining your respect for the continued fast but true greens. The 16th hole is a par 4 with water running the entire left side of the fairway. The green had a slight dogleg left that made an approach shot from the left side of the fairway having to carry the water to the apron of the green. The 17th hole is a par 3 requiring a carry over water and being long will lead to a fast down hill putt.
As with many fine golf courses the final hole is a beauty. Water borders the right with a couple of alligators enjoying your company. The hole is tree-lined on the left side awaiting an errant drive, coupled with a undulating fairway slowing down even the best drives. The green is relatively flat that sits in front of a modern-looking clubhouse.
Looking for a quality golf course with plenty of challenge and exquisite natural beauty of Central Florida?
Put Providence Golf Club at the top of your list!
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