We drove through and checked out Black Bear before making tee times for the following week and were disappointed at first blush by the general appearance of the course and adjoining poorly maintained neighborhood homes. The clubhouse seemed OK, but just an average setup...nothing fancy or pretentious anywhere. So, we decided to use our vouchers for range balls, a round of golf and a discount on lunch. None of our 4-some was too excited, but we'd give it a shot and bail out if the course was in real bad shape.
The nitty gritty details:
1) Excellent golf carts with GPS
2) Nice range layout
3) Course in good condition overall, all greens but 2 in real good shape - one being mowed as we played through was covered with big clumps of new clippings, one had some patching going on that was severely burnt.
4) Course is covered with hills and bunkers - difficult if you haven't played it before, because you can't see what's over those hills out in the middle of most fairways.
5) 18th hole is a swell finisher, requiring a 130 yard water carry to the green, longer hitters can go for green in 2, most will need to lay up before making a 130-150 yard shot to green.
6) Lunch in the clubhouse after golf was quite good. Our group had lasagna and burgers/fries, fine portions, reasonable prices and much tastier than we expected. Quick, friendly service.
The only complaint we have is for being scolded for slow play, apparently 2 calls from a 2-some behind us and another 2-some behind them were getting impatient with our 4-some pace. We asked why they were sending out 2-somes and why the 2 sets of 2-somes behind us didn't join up. It appeared this was arranged and we had no further problems with anxious players on our heels. We might have been moving a bit slow, we had 2 ladies in our group with knee injuries, wearing braces, playing on this very hilly unfamiliar course. The ladies were so upset by this, they quit playing after 9 holes. We're "ready golfers" from the Villages and know all about slow play issues.
Black Bear is an enjoyable challenging and different golfing experience than we're used to seeing in the Villages...we'll likely return sometime. I would recommend this course for golf and food...2 thumbs up!
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