Providence Golf Club near Orlando: A natural choice

By Travel ArticlesJanuary 2, 2013, 5:00 am

DAVENPORT, Fla. -- I'm standing on the tightly mown seventh fairway at Providence Golf Club about to hit another one of my patented 6-iron worm burners when I pause to admire the amazing sight about 50 yards away.

Several wild turkeys are dawdling across the fairway in no particular hurry to let me proceed in my futility.

After the round, when I tally up all my bogeys and double bogeys, I want a stiff shot of Wild Turkey to drown my sorrows, but that's another story. Make no mistake, I blame myself -- not the course -- for my erratic play.

Located in Davenport, Fla., not exactly a golf mecca, Providence is actually situated just a few miles from the high-profile ChampionsGate resort and Reunion Resort & Club. Davenport is 10 miles from the Walt Disney World tourism corridor and 36 miles from Orlando.

Providence Golf Club: Mike Dasher's natural touch

Providence Golf Club is set in Providence, a 2,200-acre upscale residential community.

Measuring 6,920 yards from the back tees (Black), the course plays to par 72. It was designed by Winter Park-based golf course architect Mike Dasher, who also designed nearby layouts such as Crane's Bend and the Reserve at Orange Lake Resort.

Dasher's design philosophy is aimed at making sure 'the course should blend in with the surroundings, incorporating the nature features of the site. The man-made features should appear natural.'

At Providence, Dasher has accomplished his goal in stellar fashion.
Dasher's innovative mounding and bunkering enhances the multi-faceted site dotted with mature oak trees, wetlands, fresh water creeks and lakes. Moreover, he utilizes expansive native sand areas and tall grasses to add beauty and challenge to the layout.

There's little question that Dasher made the golf course appear as natural as possible.

Just ask the animals. The evidence of his success is the amazing amount of wildlife you'll see throughout your round.

'One of the most common things I hear from our customers upon finishing their round is the many alligators they see,' said Bryan Harrell, Providence's assistant golf professional. 'In addition to the gators, we've seen turkeys, sand hill cranes, raccoons, bobcats, otters and wild hogs.'

On the front nine there are some holes with homes framing the fairways. The back nine has a classic parkland feel with no homes, several lakes and heavily wooded wetland backdrops.

Providence Golf Club: Course strategy

While some holes at Providence are forgiving off the tee with large landing areas, you'll need to put lots of thought into a strategy once you pull driver from your bag.

'I feel the best strategy towards playing the course is placement of the tee shots,' Harrell said. 'There are quite a few holes where you need to play from the green backwards, by figuring out how long of a shot you feel comfortable with going in to the green and then playing your tee shot accordingly.'

Amenities at Providence Golf Club

The Providence clubhouse -- with its white columns, tile roof and impeccable landscaping -- is a welcoming site to golfers.

One of the highlights of the total golf experience at Providence is a post-round lunch at the Grille Room, a tastefully furnished restaurant with dark wood appointments, ornate ceiling, elegant wall art, designer carpeting and an impressive wooden bar.

Among the more popular menu choices for lunch are the New York Strip steak sandwich, Reuben, grilled beef burger, and fish and chips. Dinner entrees include a 12 oz. center cut pork chop and chicken piccata. They've also got daily specials.

Providence Golf Club: The verdict

Mike Dasher is at the top of his game at Providence. He created a residential community course with a unique personality that's playable to residents and visitors with lots of sizzle and creativity on every hole.

My favorite holes were no. 5, a short par 4 measuring only 281 yards from the blue tees that encourages a grip-it-and-rip-it drive; no. 8, a 135-yard (blue tees) par 3 with a green that slopes radically from left to right; and no. 16, a 395-yard (blue tees) picturesque par 4 that combines beauty, an elevated tee and a scenic lake to create an exceptional fun-to-play hole.

Harrell said the seventh, a 445-yard par 4, is the hole he enjoys the most.

'One of the most challenging holes on the course, it calls for a perfect tee shot,' he said. 'A pond guards the right side of the fairway, while sawgrass and bunkers line the entire left side. With a long bomb off the tee you can clear the pond, but the shorter hitters must be able to shape the ball. It's one of those 'only bite off what you can chew' sort of holes.'

Summing up the Providence golf experience succinctly, he said, 'We offer great customer service with a spectacular golf adventure highlighted by a variety of nature.'

Def. champ Fitzpatrick grabs lead at Euro finale

By Associated Press, Golf Channel DigitalNovember 17, 2017, 1:50 pm

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates – Defending champion Matthew Fitzpatrick shot a second straight 5-under-par 67 to secure a one-stroke lead halfway through the European Tour's season-ending Tour Championship on Friday.

At 10 under after two rounds on the Earth course of Jumeirah Golf Estate, Fitzpatrick leads English compatriot Tyrrell Hatton, whom he beat by one shot to win the title last year.

Hatton moved into contention with a brilliant 9-under 63, a round soured only by a closing bogey on the par-5 18th hole.

In the Race to Dubai, main protagonists Tommy Fleetwood and Justin Rose experienced contrasting emotions to their opening rounds. Fleetwood boosted his chances by rising into a tie for 11th at 6 under after a 65. Rose endured a three-putt bogey on the 18th to finish with a 70, and dropped on the leaderboard so he's just two shots ahead of Fleetwood.

Masters champion Sergio Garcia, the only other player with a chance to win the Order of Merit, stayed in contention by adding a 69 to his opening 70 to be one shot behind Fleetwood.

DP World Tour Championship: Articles, photos and videos

Full-field scores from the DP World Tour Championship

Fleetwood needs to equal or better Rose's finishing position to claim the title. If Rose doesn't finish in the top five and Garcia doesn't win, Fleetwood will have done enough.

Fitzpatrick made two bogeys but eagled the 14th, and five birdies contributed to his 67.

Overnight leader Patrick Reed is now three back following an even-par 72. Reed is in the field thanks to a European Tour regulation that allows the Presidents Cup to count as an official event, thus allowing him to meet his quota of tournaments played.

Fitzpatrick was helped immensely also by the 18th, where Hatton, Rose, and Reed all made bogeys. Fitzpatrick birdied the hole for a second straight day with a 25-foot putt.

''I said to my caddie, we were putting really, really well all week so far,'' Fitzpatrick said.

''The thing is, you get so many fast putts around here, even uphill into the green, they are still running at 12, 13 (on the stimpmeter) even. You've just got to be really sort of careful. Every putt is effectively a two-putt. You've got to control your pace well and limit your mistakes, because it's easy to three-putt out here.''

Rose, hoping to win a third straight tournament after triumphs in China and Turkey, was disappointed with his finish despite playing solid golf from tee to green.

''To make six (on 18) just ends the day on the wrong note, but other than that, I played really well on the back nine,'' Rose said.

''I was aware of the scores and who had done what today. But listen, halfway stage, I'd probably have signed up for that if somebody said on Wednesday you would be in this position after two rounds. It's a position you can build on the weekend.''

Fleetwood resurrected his chances of winning the Order of Merit with a 65, eight shots better than his opening round. His only bogey of the day came on the seventh after an errant drive, but that was the only mistake on a solid day that saw him make eight birdies.

Fleetwood spent hours on the putting green after his first round.

''I needed a low one today for (a tournament win and the Order of Merit),'' he said. ''Luckily, I got a good score.''

Closing eagle gives Kirk 1-shot lead in RSM

By Rex HoggardNovember 17, 2017, 12:16 am

ST. SIMONS ISLAND, Ga. - Chris Kirk holed an 18-foot putt for eagle on his final hole for a 9-under 63 and a one-shot lead Thursday in the RSM Classic.

Kirk played the par 5s on the Plantation Course at Sea Island Golf Club in 5 under.

''I kind of hit my putter on the fringe a little bit and I wasn't sure it was going to get there, but that was just kind of the day that it was,'' Kirk said. ''Even when I thought it wasn't quite going to work out, it still went in the middle of the hole.''

The seven lowest scores of the opening round came on the Plantation Course during a picturesque afternoon on the Golden Isles. Sporting a University of Georgia hat Thursday, Kirk won at Sea Island four years ago for the second of his four PGA Tour victories.

''It's a big Georgia territory out here on St. Simons,'' Kirk said. ''Hopefully, my hat will bring me some luck the rest of the week.''

The tournament is the final PGA Tour event of the calendar year, and Kirk is sorting out equipment changes.

''I'm still trying to get it all worked out and figure out what I want to do going forward,'' Kirk said. ''But keep shooting 9 under, so I won't have to worry about it too much.'

Joel Dahmen had a 64.

RSM Classic: Articles, photos and videos

Full-field scores from the RSM Classic

''I think it played a little easier today,'' Dahmen said. ''The wind was down, greens were a little softer over here on the Plantation side. But just kept the ball in front of me and made a bunch of 8- to 10-footers.

''I've been rolling it pretty good,'' Swafford said. ''Took some time off, which was nice, after China. I was kind of frustrated with the golf a little bit. Took a little time off and got back into it. Something just kind of started clicking, but knew I don't have to be crazy aggressive and just give myself a chance.''

Sea Island resident Hudson Swafford was at 65 at the Plantation along with Jason Kokrak and Brian Gay.

''I feel like I've been rolling it pretty good,'' Swafford said. ''Took some time off, which was nice, after China. I was kind of frustrated with the golf a little bit. Took a little time off and got back into it. Something just kind of started clicking, but knew I don't have to be crazy aggressive and just give myself a chance.''

He played alongside fellow former Georgia players Bubba Watson and Brian Harman.

''We are right in the heart of Dawgs' territory, mine and Harman's backyard, so it's kind of nice,'' Swafford said.

Though, his caddie wore an Auburn shirt.

''We don't need to talk about that,'' said Swafford, not needing to be reminded that Auburn beat Georgia in football last week.

Nick Watney and Brice Garnett each had a 5-under 65 on the Seaside Course, which will be used for the final two rounds.

Brandt Snedeker opened with a 67 in his first return from a sternum injury that sidelined him since the Travelers in June.

Harman shot 69, and Watson had a 71.

Co-leader Smith credits Foley's influence

By Randall MellNovember 16, 2017, 11:33 pm

NAPLES, Fla. – Sarah Jane Smith is making the most of the devoted efforts of Sean Foley this week.

Foley’s prize pupil, Justin Rose, is in the hunt at the World Tour Championship in the United Arab Emirates, looking to win the European Tour’s Race to Dubai, but Foley isn’t there with him.

Foley promised to help Smith this week, and he’s living up to the pledge, making the trip to Naples.

“At 33, Sarah is in her prime,” Foley told “She is going to hold a trophy at some point. She is too skilled not to win.”

Foley's extra attention is paying off for Smith.

CME Group Tour Championship: Articles, photos and videos

Full-field scores from the CME Group Tour Championship

With a 6-under-par 66, Smith moved into early contention to make her first LPGA title memorable at the CME Group Tour Championship. She’s tied for the first-round lead with Taiwan rookie Peiyun Chien.

“I just seem to play my best with him,” Smith said.

Foley, the former coach to Tiger Woods, was No. 10 in Golf Digest’s Top 100 teacher rankings released this fall.

Foley sees a lot coming together in Smith’s game. She is a 12-year veteran building some momentum. She tied for third at the Women’s Australian Open earlier this year and is coming off three consecutive top-15 finishes in Asia. She is sixth on tour in birdies this season. 

“As a coach, you try to get a player to see something in themselves that is already there,” Foley said.

Rose, by the way, opened with a 6-under-par 66 in Dubai and is one shot off the lead.

Seeking awards sweep, Park 1 off lead

By Randall MellNovember 16, 2017, 11:03 pm

NAPLES, Fla. – Sung Hyun Park made a strong start in her bid to make LPGA history with an epic sweep of the year’s major awards.

Park opened the CME Group Tour Championship Thursday with a 5-under-par 67, moving her a shot off the lead.

Park is looking to join Nancy Lopez as the only players to win the Rolex Player of the Year and Rolex Rookie of the Year awards in the same season. Lopez did it in 1978. Park has already clinched the Rookie of the Year Award.

Park, 24, can also walk away with the Vare Trophy for low scoring average, the LPGA money-winning title and the Race to the CME Globe’s $1 million jackpot.

CME Group Tour Championship: Articles, photos and videos

Full-field scores from the CME Group Tour Championship

Nobody has ever swept all those awards.

There’s even more for Park to claim. She can also take back the Rolex world No. 1 ranking. She’s No. 2, just two hundredths of a point behind Shanshan Feng.

“I think the course suits my game really well,” Park said through a translator. “I think I can play well in the next rounds.”

Park played the course just once before Thursday’s start, in Wednesday’s pro-am.

The reigning U.S. Women’s Open champion, Park won twice this year. She also won the Canadian Pacific Women’s Open this summer.