Little-known Timacuan Golf Club in Lake Mary is a big time Orlando-area play

By Travel ArticlesApril 27, 2012, 4:00 am

One of the Orlando area's best-kept secrets is Timacuan Golf Club, which is home to a scenic and challenging design that hosts a 2012 U.S. Open Qualifier on May 17.

LAKE MARY, Fla. -- Everyone may not know its name, but you'll certainly be glad you came. If you're looking for a fair golf course with unique holes that offers the perfect balance of challenge and charm, head 15 minutes north to Timacuan Golf Club in Lake Mary.

A Florida secret kept in the state's central chamber, Timacuan's blueprint is modeled to a tee after original architect Ron Garl's design philosophy (the course was renovated by Bobby Weed in 1996 to deal with some initial drainage issues). Originally opened in 1987, Timacuan is one of Garl's earlier projects and reflects his architecture firm's mission statement: 'To design and build memorable courses that challenge players to excel and that everyone can enjoy.'

Garl is known for his innovative routings and the belief that a course should, 'sit softly on the land.'

Timacuan Golf Club: The course

Head Professional Sam Srour has only been at Timacuan a few months but can already sum up the beauty and madness the course provides in one simple phrase: 'What you see is what you get,' he said. 'With one exception.'

That one exception is the par-4 second. Playing 421 yards from the championship tees, it was named the toughest hole in the region by Orlando Magazine, and it will become evident why the first time you play it. It's a devil's advocate kind of hole -- it can be extremely devilish, and you'll probably leave the round advocating it be blown up. A big number at the second can turn an otherwise solid round into another 'woulda, coulda, shoulda' kind of day.

No. 2 presents two challenges: forced carry over water off the tee and on your approach. Srour said the second hole plays a full club longer than others on the course, but unfortunately, that tidbit came after my round.

I, along with the others in my foursome, safely found the fairway but came up short on our approaches and carded double-bogey sixes. My experience with No. 2 probably isn't much different than your first go-round or anyone else's would be. In fact, legend has it that a member -- the course is semi-private -- once carded a 42 on the hole during tournament play. If one of Timacaun's own can't conquer the hole, there may be little hope for the rest of us.

Aside from the second, the front nine is a dunes-style layout with rolling fairways and big greens. There's very little water on the front, and unless you hit it five miles sideways, even mishits should be recoverable.

The back nine is more of a traditional Florida layout where water comes into play on eight of the nine holes. The entire back side can be likened to No. 15 and 16 at TPC Sawgrass or any of the holes at Doral -- risk-reward shots with water in play.

The two nines are distinct in style but equal in appeal. Which nine you'll fancy will depend on what you consider your cup of tea.

'Depends where you're from,' Director of Golf Nate Stevenson said. 'Those from England tend to relate more to the front nine, and those looking for a more traditional Florida layout tend to favor the back.'

Timacuan Golf Club: The verdict

A quick trip from Orlando, Timacuan is both the smart and convenient play. And if you can't decide what type of golf you're in the mood for, choose Timacuan and receive the perfect dosage of dunes and doozy.

The club's location and facilities have also made it a popular pick to host top area tournaments. In 2012, it's already hosted the NGA Tour, Ladies Suncoast Tour, Hurricane Junior Tour, Golf Channel Am Tour, Moolight Mini Tour and the U.S. Kids Tour. And in May, it will host a local U.S. Open Qualifier, where 84 entrants will compete for five-to-six spots in the sectional qualifier in hopes of teeing it up in the U.S. Open at Olympic Club.

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What's in the bag: CareerBuilder winner Rahm

By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 22, 2018, 10:37 pm

Jon Rahm defeated Andrew Landry in a playoff to earn his second PGA Tour title at the CareerBuilder Challenge. Here's what's in his bag:

Driver: TaylorMade M4 (9.5 degrees), with Aldila Tour Green 75 TX shaft

Fairway wood: TaylorMade M3 (19 degrees), with Aldila Tour Green 75 TX shaft

Irons: TaylorMade P790 (3), P750 (4-PW), with Project X 6.5 shafts

Wedges: TaylorMade Milled Grind (52, 56 degrees), Milled Grind Hi-Toe (60 degrees), with Project X 6.5 shafts

Putter: TaylorMade Spider Tour Red

Ball: TaylorMade TP5x

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Strange irked by Rahm-Landry friendly playoff

By Jason CrookJanuary 22, 2018, 9:45 pm

Curtis Strange knows a thing or two about winning golf tournaments, and based on his reaction to the CareerBuilder Challenge playoff on Sunday, it’s safe to say he did things a little differently while picking up 17 PGA Tour victories in his Hall-of-Fame career.

While Jon Rahm and Andrew Landry were “battling” through four extra holes, Strange, 62, tweeted his issues with the duo’s constant chit-chat and friendly banter down the stretch at La Quinta Country Club, where Rahm eventually came out on top.

The two-time U.S. Open champ then engaged with some followers to explain his point a little more in depth.

So, yeah ... don't think he's changing his perspective on this topic anytime soon ever.

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Randall's Rant: The Euros won't just roll over

By Randall MellJanuary 22, 2018, 9:36 pm

The Ryder Cup may not be the King Kong of golf events yet, but you can hear the biennial international team event thumping its chest a full eight months out.

As anticipation for this year’s big events goes, there is more buzz about Europe’s bid to hold off a rejuvenated American effort in Paris in September than there is about the Masters coming up in April.

Thank Europe’s phenomenal success last weekend for that.

And Rory McIlroy’s impassioned remarks in Abu Dhabi.

And the provocative bulletin board material a certain Sports Illustrated writer provided the Europeans a couple months ago, with a stinging assault on the Euro chances that read like an obituary.

McIlroy was asked in a news conference before his 2018 debut last week what he was most excited about this year.

The Ryder Cup topped his list.

Though McIlroy will be trying to complete the career Grand Slam at Augusta National come April, he talked more about the Ryder Cup than he did any of the game’s major championships.

When asked a follow-up about the American team’s resurgence after a task-force overhaul and the injection of young, new star power, McIlroy nearly started breaking down the matchup. He talked about the young Americans and how good they are.

“Yeah, the Americans have been, obviously, very buoyant about their chances and whatever, but it’s never as easy as that. ... The Ryder Cup’s always close,” McIlroy said. “I think we’ll have a great team, and it definitely won’t be as easy as they think it’s going to be.”

McIlroy may have been talking about Alan Shipnuck’s bold prediction after the American Presidents Cup rout last fall.

Or similar assertions from TV analysts.

“The Ryder Cup is dead – you just don’t know it yet,” Shipnuck wrote. “One of the greatest events in sport is on the verge of irrelevancy. The young, talented, hungry golfers from the United States, benefitting from the cohesive leadership of the Task Force era, are going to roll to victory in 2018 in Paris.”

European Ryder Cup captain Thomas Bjorn won’t find words that will motivate the Euros more than that as he watches his prospective players jockey to make the team.

And, boy, did they jockey last weekend.

The Euros dominated across the planet, not that they did it with the Ryder Cup as some rallying cry, because they didn’t. But it was a heck of an encouraging start to the year for Bjorn to witness.

Spain’s Jon Rahm won the CareerBuilder Challenge on the PGA Tour, England’s Tommy Fleetwood started the week at Abu Dhabi paired with American and world No. 1 Dustin Johnson and won the European Tour event, and Spain’s Sergio Garcia won the Singapore Open in a rout on the Asian Tour.

And McIlroy looked close to being in midseason form, tying for third in his first start in three months.

Yes, it’s only January, and the Ryder Cup is still a long way off, with so much still to unfold, but you got an early sense from McIlroy how much defending European turf will mean to him and the Euros in Paris in September.

The Masters is great theater, the U.S. Open a rigorous test, The Open and the PGA Championship historically important, too, but the Ryder Cup touches a nerve none of those do.

The Ryder Cup stokes more fervor, provokes more passion and incites more vitriol than any other event in golf.

More bulletin board material, too.

Yeah, it’s a long way off, but you can already hear the Ryder Cup’s King Kong like footsteps in its distant approach. Watching how the American and European teams come together will be an ongoing drama through spring and summer.

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Quail Hollow officials promise players easier conditions

By Rex HoggardJanuary 22, 2018, 9:14 pm

Quail Hollow Club - a staple on the PGA Tour since 2003 - debuted as a longer, tougher version of itself at last year’s PGA Championship, receiving mixed reviews from players.

The course played to a lengthened 7,600 yards at last year’s PGA and a 73.46 stroke average, the toughest course in relation to par on Tour in 2017. As a result, it left some players less than excited to return to the Charlotte, N.C.-area layout later this spring for the Wells Fargo Championship.

It’s that lack of enthusiasm that led officials at Quail Hollow to send a video to players saying, essentially, that the course players have lauded for years will be back in May.

The video, which includes Quail Hollow president Johnny Harris and runs nearly five minutes, begins with an explanation of how the first hole, which played as a 524-yard par 4 at the PGA, will play much shorter at the Wells Fargo Championship.

“I had a number of my friends who were playing in the tournament tell me that tee was better suited as a lemonade stand,” Harris joked of the new tee box on the fourth hole. “I doubt we’ll ever see that tee used again in competition.”

Harris also explained that the greens, which became too fast for some, will be “softer” for this year’s Wells Fargo Championship.