The par-5 No. 3 at Camp Creek Golf Club
Tucked away on Floridas panhandle, just west of Panama City Beach, is an absolute hidden gem of a golf course ' Camp Creek Golf Club.
Designed by famed golf course architect Tom Fazio, Camp Creek is situated just off Northwest Floridas Scenic Highway 30A in The St. JOE Companys ocean-side WaterSound community, a quaint coastal town located mid-way between Panama City Beach and Destin.
Opened in 2001, Camp Creek is a private members course but it also available for resort guests of the WaterColor and WaterSound Beach Resorts. WaterColor consists of a 60-room boutique inn on the Gulf of Mexico, as well as luxury vacation rental homes and condos. WaterSound includes luxury vacation home rentals and high-end condos located in the towns gatehouse and Compass Pointe District. So yes, you can play this beauty without being a member.
Ranked No. 6 in Golfweeks 2008 Best Courses You Can Play, it's clear once you get out onto the course why it has achieved this ranking.
The lush wetlands look as if you have gone back in time, nary a home or condo in sight. The course is kept in pristine condition, which adds to its stunning visual layout. Sand dunes frame many of the holes but due to its close proximity to the Gulf of Mexico, there is plenty of water hazards to be found.
With five sets of tees, the course offers a perfect challenge for a wide range of golfers and their handicaps. The fairways are for the most part generous and fair, but it is mostly approach shots that will get the golfers' attention. Typical Fazio greens - large and undulating - await, and with plenty of trouble to be had if you miss the green.
Two other St. JOE owned courses in the vicinity are Shark's Tooth and the Origins Course.
Shark's Tooth, designed by ' you guessed it - Greg Norman ' is an another award-winning course nearby that features plenty of visually stimulating holes as well. Sharks Tooth, similar to Camp Creek, can be played by WaterColor and WaterSound resort guests.
The Origins Course, designed by Davis Love's company, is a 6-hole regulation course that alternatively plays as a 9-hole executive course or a 10-hole par 3 layout depending on the use of alternate tee boxes. It is open to the public as well as guests of the resorts, and was designed specifically for beginners and families.
The icing on the cake of this area, besides the outstanding golf, is the laid back surrounding area, with plenty of shops, restaurants and activities.
The par-4 18th hole, No. 2 handicap hole. It's one of the longest par 4s from the tips, at 453-yards. The landing area is dangerously close to the lake on the right, and the green is smaller than No. 9 green, the No. 1 handicap hole.
MOST MEMORABLE HOLE
The shortest par-4 on the course, the 352-yard par-4 13th. Fourteen bunkers and a long waste bunker, right, grace this two-shotter and make it appear more intimidating than it is difficult. The green, often described as 'wedding cake' is elevated and makes for a blind approach.
'As difficult as this golf course is (152 slope, among the highest in the state), the key is to take advantage of the enormous landing areas on most holes to have an approach shot in regulation to the severe greens. Miss the fairway and you're playing from behind.' - Will Hopkins, General Manager.
DID YOU KNOW?
More than one million cubic feet of dirt and 250 oak trees were planted to provide Camp Creek's 'dunescape' feel.