One of the best, but oft ignored ways of creating a Florida golf course is by drafting a course layout that meshes all too perfectly with the natural contours of the land. The diversity of the Florida terrain is more often than not, ignored. One too many golf course designers decide to move the earth a little too much to create a replica of this and of that, forgetting how unique and special their land is.
Thankfully, though, there still are a lot of golf course designers who have recognized this fact. And they have so lovingly created golf courses that not only respect Florida's natural endowments; they have made them the highlight of their creations bringing out the best in both Mother Nature and the genius of the creator.
One such golf vacation destination is the Stonegate Golf Club in Poinciana, Florida, just a little outside of Orlando. Stonegate's two courses are very distinct but very complimentary in that, a visit here would never be complete by just playing on one. Let the Oaks Course and the Cypress Course tell their own story.
A Ron Garl original layout, the course is one with lots of water on the holes, and elevated greens set amidst a backdrop of well-preserved wetlands and marshlands. Its oversized fairway bunkers and waste areas and countless mounds snake through native vegetation. As its name implies, huge oaks – many of which are a hundred years or older – top the list of its native vegetation. This course has four sets of tees, measuring more than 7000 yards from the longest tees. Four sets of tees make this course especially inviting for golfers of all skill levels.
Stonegate's Cypress Course is another testament to the great work done and reputation held by the Clifton, Ezell and Clifton design team here in Central Florida. As the trio did in all their other course creations, the Cypress Course brings that stunning quality of being perfectly meshed with the environment. Not only are native flora and fauna growing abundantly here; they provide the scenic backdrop for an even greater golf layout. The course may have really large bunkers that look too daunting, but the fairways are wide so as not to feel claustrophobic. Water plays on 14 of its 18 holes and follows the dictates and contours of the land. It measures 6,800 yards from the tips, par 72, with three other sets of tees for other handicaps.
The natural beauty of the Sunshine State cannot be denied. Whilst the bustling urban jungle is what's on the forefront of it, exploring places such as the Stonegate will better remind people how great Florida naturally is. And as for golf trips, it is always best to try both courses. Not that one course will leave you longing and unsatisfied; it is just always at best with seconds!