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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Watch: Spectator films as Woods' shot hits him

By Will GrayJuly 23, 2018, 12:07 am

It was a collision watched by millions of fans on television, and one that came at a pivotal juncture as Tiger Woods sought to win The Open. It also gave Colin Hauck the story of a lifetime.

Hauck was among dozens of fans situated along the left side of the 11th hole during the final round at Carnoustie as the pairing of Woods and Francesco Molinari hit their approach shots. After 10 holes of nearly flawless golf, Woods missed the fairway off the tee and then pulled his iron well left of the target.

The ball made square contact with Hauck, who hours later tweeted a video showing the entire sequence - even as he continued to record after Woods' shot sent him tumbling to the ground:

The bounce initially appeared fortuitous for Woods, as his ball bounded away from thicker rough and back toward the green. But an ambitious flop shot came up short, and he eventually made a double bogey to go from leading by a shot to trailing by one. He ultimately shot an even-par 71, tying for sixth two shots behind Molinari.

For his efforts as a human shield, Hauck received a signed glove and a handshake from Woods - not to mention a firsthand video account that will be sure to spark plenty of conversations in the coming years.

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Molinari retirement plan: coffee, books and Twitter

By Will GrayJuly 22, 2018, 9:35 pm

After breaking through for his first career major, Francesco Molinari now has a five-year exemption on the PGA Tour, a 10-year exemption in Europe and has solidified his standing as one of the best players in the world.

But not too long ago, the 35-year-old Italian was apparently thinking about life after golf.

Shortly after Molinari rolled in a final birdie putt to close out a two-shot victory at The Open, fellow Tour player Wesley Bryan tweeted a picture of a note that he wrote after the two played together during the third round of the WGC-HSBC Champions in China in October. In it, Bryan shared Molinari's plans to retire as early as 2020 to hang out at cafes and "become a Twitter troll":

Molinari is active on the social media platform, with more than 5,600 tweets sent out to nearly 150,000 followers since joining in 2010. But after lifting the claret jug at Carnoustie, it appears one of the few downsides of Molinari's victory is that the golf world won't get to see the veteran turn into a caffeinated, well-read troll anytime soon.

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Molinari had previously avoided Carnoustie on purpose

By Rex HoggardJuly 22, 2018, 9:17 pm

CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Sometimes a course just fits a player’s eye. They can’t really describe why, but more often than not it leads to solid finishes.

Francesco Molinari’s relationship with Carnoustie isn’t like that.

The Italian played his first major at Carnoustie, widely considered the toughest of all The Open venues, in 2007, and his first impression hasn’t really changed.

“There was nothing comforting about it,” he said on Sunday following a final-round 69 that lifted him to a two-stroke victory.

Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship

In fact, following that first exposure to the Angus coast brute, Molinari has tried to avoid Carnoustie, largely skipping the Dunhill Links Championship, one of the European Tour’s marquee events, throughout his career.

“To be completely honest, it's one of the reasons why I didn't play the Dunhill Links in the last few years, because I got beaten up around here a few times in the past,” he said. “I didn't particularly enjoy that feeling. It's a really tough course. You can try and play smart golf, but some shots, you just have to hit it straight. There's no way around it. You can't really hide.”

Molinari’s relative dislike for the layout makes his performance this week even more impressive considering he played his last 37 holes bogey-free.

“To play the weekend bogey-free, it's unthinkable, to be honest. So very proud of today,” he said.

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Rose: T-2 finish renewed my love of The Open

By Jay CoffinJuly 22, 2018, 9:00 pm

CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Justin Rose made the cut on the number at The Open and was out for an early Saturday morning stroll at Carnoustie when, all of a sudden, he started putting together one great shot after another.

There was no pressure. No one had expected anything from someone so far off the lead. Yet Rose shot 30 on the final nine holes to turn in 7-under 64, the lowest round of the championship. By day’s end he was five shots behind a trio of leaders that included Jordan Spieth.

Rose followed the 64 with a Sunday 69 to tie for second place, two shots behind winner Francesco Molinari. His 133 total over the weekend was the lowest by a shot, and for a moment he thought he had a chance to hoist the claret jug, until Molinari put on a ball-striking clinic down the stretch with birdies on 14 and 18.

Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship

“I just think having made the cut number, it’s a great effort to be relevant on the leaderboard on Sunday,” said Rose, who collected his third-career runner-up in a major. He’s also finished 12th or better in all three majors this year.

In the final round, Rose was well off the pace until his second shot on the par-5 14th hole hit the pin. He had a tap-in eagle to move to 5 under. Birdie at the last moved him to 6 under and made him the clubhouse leader for a few moments.

“It just proves to me that I can play well in this tournament, that I can win The Open,” Rose said. “When I’m in the hunt, I enjoy it. I play my best golf. I don’t back away.

“That was a real positive for me, and it renewed the love of The Open for me.”