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.'

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Hadwin returns to site of last year's 59

By Will GrayJanuary 17, 2018, 11:04 pm

Adam Hadwin had a career season last year, one that included shooting a 59 and winning a PGA Tour event. But those two achievements didn't occur in the same week.

While Hadwin's breakthrough victory came at the Valspar Championship in March, it was at the CareerBuilder Challenge in January when he first made headlines with a third-round 59 at La Quinta Country Club. Hadwin took a lead into the final round as a result, but he ultimately couldn't keep pace with Hudson Swafford.

He went on to earn a spot at the Tour Championship, and Hadwin made his first career Presidents Cup appearance in October. Now the Canadian returns to Palm Springs, eager to improve on last year's result and hoping to earn a spot in the final group for a third straight year after a T-6 finish in 2016.

"A lot of good memories here in the desert," Hadwin told reporters. "I feel very comfortable here, very at home. Lots of Canadians, so it's always fun to play well in front of those crowds and hopefully looking forward to another good week."

Hadwin's 59 last year was somewhat overshadowed, both by the fact that he didn't win the event and that it came just one week after Justin Thomas shot a 59 en route to victory at the Sony Open. But he's still among an exclusive club of just eight players to have broken 60 in competition on Tour and he's eager to get another crack at La Quinta on Saturday.

"If I'm in the same position on 18, I'm gunning for 58 this year," Hadwin said, "not playing safe for 59."

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Rahm: If I thought like Phil, I could not hit a shot

By Will GrayJanuary 17, 2018, 10:39 pm

When it comes to Jon Rahm and Phil Mickelson, there are plenty of common bonds. Both starred at Arizona State, both are now repped by the same agency and Rahm's former college coach and agent, Tim Mickelson, now serves full-time as his brother's caddie.

Those commonalities mean the two men have played plenty of practice rounds together, but the roads quickly diverge when it comes to on-course behavior. Rahm is quick, fiery and decisive; Mickelson is one of the most analytical players on Tour. And as Rahm told reporters Wednesday at the CareerBuilder Challenge, those differences won't end anytime soon.

"I don't need much. 'OK, it's like 120 (yards), this shot, right," Rahm said. "And then you have Phil, it's like, 'Oh, this shot, the moisture, this going on, this is like one mile an hour wind sideways, it's going to affect it one yard. This green is soft, this trajectory. They're thinking, and I'm like, 'I'm lost.' I'm like, 'God if I do that thought process, I could not hit a golf shot.'"

CareerBuilder Challenge: Articles, photos and videos

The tactics may be more simplified, but Rahm can't argue with the results. While Mickelson is in the midst of a winless drought that is approaching five years, Rahm won three times around the world last year and will defend a PGA Tour title for the first time next week at Torrey Pines.

Both men are in the field this week in Palm Springs, where Mickelson will make his 2018 debut with what Rahm fully expects to be another dose of high-level analytics for the five-time major winner with his brother on the bag.

"It's funny, he gets to the green and then it's the same thing. He's very detail-oriented," Rahm said of Mickelson. "I'm there listening and I'm like, 'Man, I hope we're never paired together for anything because I can't think like this. I would not be able to play golf like that. But for me to listen to all that is really fun."

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DJ changes tune on golf ball distance debate

By Will GrayJanuary 17, 2018, 9:16 pm

World No. 1 Dustin Johnson is already one of the longest hitters in golf, so he's not looking for any changes to be made to golf ball technology - despite comments from him that hinted at just such a notion two months ago.

Johnson is in the Middle East this week for the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship, and he told BBC Sport Wednesday that he wouldn't be in favor of making changes to the golf ball in order to remedy some of the eye-popping distances players are hitting the ball with ever-increasing frequency.

"It's not like we are dominating golf courses," Johnson said. "When was the last time you saw someone make the game too easy? I don't really understand what all the debate is about because it doesn't matter how far it goes; it is about getting it in the hole."

Johnson's rhetorical question might be answered simply by looking back at his performance at the Sentry Tournament of Champions earlier this month, an eight-shot romp that featured a tee shot on the 433-yard 12th hole that bounded down a slope to within inches of the hole.

Johnson appeared much more willing to consider a reduced-distance ball option at the Hero World Challenge in November, when he sat next to tournament host Tiger Woods and supported Woods' notion that the ball should be addressed.

"I don't mind seeing every other professional sport, they play with one ball. All the pros play with the same ball," Johnson said. "In baseball, the guys that are bigger and stronger, they can hit a baseball a lot further than the smaller guys. ... I think there should be some kind of an advantage for guys who work on hitting it far and getting that speed that's needed, so having a ball, like the same ball that everyone plays, there's going to be, you're going to have more of an advantage."

Speaking Wednesday in Abu Dhabi, Johnson stood by the notion that regardless of whether the rules change or stay the same, he plans to have a leg up on the competition.

"If the ball is limited then it is going to limit everyone," he said. "I'm still going to hit it that much further than I guess the average Tour player."

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LPGA lists April date for new LA event

By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 17, 2018, 8:18 pm

The LPGA’s return to Los Angeles will come with the new Hugel-JTBC Open being played at Wilshire Country Club April 19-22, the tour announced Wednesday.

When the LPGA originally released its schedule, it listed the Los Angeles event with the site to be announced at a later date.

The Hugel-JTBC Open will feature a 144-player field and a $1.5 million purse. It expands the tour’s West Coast swing, which will now be made up of four events in California in March and April.

The LPGA last played in Los Angeles in 2005. Wilshire Country Club hosted The Office Depot in 2001, with Annika Sorenstam winning there.