Played here for the first time this past week (Feb. 26, 2013). It's far out east, away from everything, which I thought would make it a lot quieter. It was. That part I liked. I did not have a tee time. I just drove out around noon on a Tuesday. When I arrived I was met by a friendly starter, slash cart guy, slash bag handler who said he could get me out right away.Single if I wanted, or he could pair me up. My choice. So, it wasn't too busy. A perfect 80* winter day in Florida and it's not busy? Hmmm.
When I signed in, I was charged under $30 for 18 holes with cart and tax included. Winter golf in Florida, $30? Again, hmmmm. Before I say anything further about the place, it was well worth that fee. I have paid much more for real dumps.
I was surprised to see very little green color. Looks like they are in a drought of sorts. (I played other tracks while I was in FL and found similar, yet not quite as brown conditions, even at higher end places.) Fairways were golden colored. Greens were not great, but rolled pretty true, though there were some patchy spots that were bad enough to affect the roll. Evidently, rain has not been in abundance this winter in this area and the course conditions showed it. Even so, I had no problem playing the less than lush fairways and greens. Rough was not too thick either, which wasn't bad for the game.
Played the Myrtle and Palm nines. Did not see the Live Oaks nine. Played single, so I had no help in planning or direction. Cost me a few shots as a result. There were 2 or 3 holes that were confusing. Had no idea where to hit my shot. In one case I hit my approach directly into a water hazard, of which I thought was where the fairway and green was. That was a surprise when I turned the corner and found a hazard. The layout is not well marked at the beginning of each hole. It is really hard to get a feel for the hole looking at the stone carved illustration at each tee, particularly those where there are dog legs hampering your direct view. The tiny illustrations on the score card aren't much help either. A GPS is necessary. I did not have mine with me. I had my rangefinder, but it was not as good as a GPS would have been here. I asked in the pro shop for a yardage booklet, but they don't have one available. Local knowledge is always helpful, but here it's a necessity if you haven't played it. On the 18th (9th on the Palms course), I had no idea where to hit my drive on a 327 yard hole. Could not see the green OR the safe landing area. I knew there was water left, but couldn't see it. There is a large wetland/wooded hazard area directly in front of the tee, obscuring the entire hole ahead except for a small opening in which you must pass your drive through. The opening is too small to thread a driver through unless you are totally confident of a dead straight launch and high enough trajectory. Too risky. I hit 3 hybrid and was able to thread it through, landing it 200 yards out, on far right of fairway, pretty much the only area I could actually see from the tee that I knew was safe.
Overall, Oak Ford could be better. It needs rain. But so do many courses in the area. My white shoes were covered in dust within a few holes. I have read other reviews about how dirty the carts were. That was not my experience. My cart was clean when I got in it to start. It is a nice course out in the middle of the wilderness. Lots of wild-life. For 30 bucks during the winter months, it's well worth it. Even $40 or so. For $50 or more, it is not. If things were greener and lusher, it could be a nice track and would be worth a 50-60 dollar rate. But, be sure to bring a GPS.
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