Palmetto Golf Club in Miami: A place for golfers to call home

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MIAMI -- Nobody will confuse Palmetto Golf Club with Doral's Blue Monster or even Crandon Park G.C., the jewel among the five courses run by Miami-Dade County Parks.

But what you do get at Palmetto Golf Club is a sense of welcome and belonging.

It begins with the starter, a bearded fellow who will help you feel at ease at the first tee with a joke or two. And it continues throughout the course and into the grill, where they make a heck of a burger or Mahi-Mahi sandwich and freely discuss the coaching moves, trades and happenings in the world of sports.

In between, there's 18 holes of golf. A few holes are quirky, but the majority of them are good tests with water features, a few forced carries and a number of large, white-sand bunkers.

At first glance, you might not think it's particularly long at 6,711 yards from the back tees, but it's a par 70, making it more like a 7,000-yard course if it were a par 72. In the end, Palmetto Golf Club has a slope/rating of 71.7/136, much of that no doubt due to the water on more than half the holes and ever-present wind that can wreak havoc with tee shots.

Palmetto Golf Club: Another Dick Wilson original

Designed by prolific architect Dick Wilson, Palmetto Golf Club opened in 1962 and was sold to Miami-Dade County in 1967. There are three sets of tees, beginning at 5,619 yards.

A series of canals feeds the lakes and ponds that come into play throughout the course. In addition, there are plenty of trees and bunkers, making it more difficult to navigate than first meets the eye.

It should come as no surprise then that are a few difficult holes. The second, for example, is a 430-yard par 4 with water off the tee and a green surrounded by bunkers. The third, the No. 1 handicap hole, is 435 yards, and the approach shot is played over water to the green. The par-4 13th plays 451 yards from the tips, and the finishing hole is a 434-yard par 4 with trouble everywhere, especially off the tee.

And if you're looking to make up strokes on the par 5s, you'll have to bring your 'A' game. With moderate length, more lakes and a few doglegs, going for them in two carries great risk.

Palmetto's popular practice facilities

With a lighted range and putting green, Palmetto has become a popular place to practice as well. Located right off US 1 and Coral Reef Drive, its convenient location draws a variety of players.

One thing that shouldn't be overlooked is the Mini Golf course that opened a couple of years ago next to the clubhouse and parking lot. It's a legitimate putting course. There are no windmills or other gadgets, just nicely landscaped grounds.

In fact, one of the attractions is that each of the 18 holes is named for a different type of palm, which is found on that hole. Best of all, it's only $7 to play.

Palmetto Golf Club: The verdict

No doubt, Palmetto Golf Club is one of the best values in south Florida. It can be played for as little as $15 with great rates for seniors.

Better yet, the facility features a nice golf shop and welcoming grill that offers a pretty good burger and fish sandwich as well as different beers and cocktails.