Scenic Tampa golf with a friendly atmosphere awaits at Pebble Creek Golf Club

By Travel ArticlesFebruary 8, 2012, 10:04 pm

TAMPA, Fla. -- Some of the most pleasant golf course experiences in the Tampa area come thanks to mature, mossy oaks shading the fairways. Tampa's Pebble Creek Golf Club offers not only a preserve-like setting for golf but also a low-key, friendly environment that makes any golfer feel like they're at their home club.

Pebble Creek was founded in 1967, located just north of the heart of Tampa and about a 15-minute drive north from Busch Gardens. The course was designed by Bill Amick and is the centerpiece of an established residential community.

?Despite its location in the thick of this Tampa neighborhood, the course upholds a scenic, quiet ambiance, due largely in part to the property's many grandfather mossy oak trees that sit beside greens and fairways. In addition, 16 holes are guarded with ponds and streams, some of which don't come into play as much as serve as beautification.

One of the more notable holes on the back side is the water-heavy 14th. This is a narrow, sharp dogleg left with water on both sides of the fairway. On top of that, the approach shot must find an angle around tall cypress trees that guard it to a raised green. Suddenly, this par 4, barely longer than 300 yards, has every golfer's full attention.

In spite of the more target-style 14th, big-swingers will find plenty of opportunities to let it rip at Pebble Creek. The course, at 6,436 yards from the championship tees, features three long par 5s and a handful of long par 4s. Each nine finishes with a bang: the ninth hole, a gentle dogleg left lined with oaks is the longest par 4 on the course at 434 yards. The 18th, while just less than 400 yards, is undoubtedly the toughest approach shot on the course, requiring a carry over Pebble Creek to an elevated green.

Traditional golf with modern enhancements at Pebble Creek Golf Club

While the course is unmistakably a traditional Floridian-style golf design, Pebble Creek has undergone about $2 million in recent upgrades. The biggest development for golfers is the addition of new Champions Bermuda greens.

Implemented four years ago, the new surface rolls faster than the prior surface. Additionally, full-color GPS systems were installed in golf carts to assist golfers. Off the golf course, the club's banquet and dining facilities were expanded.

Improvements aren't done, however. The course is continually trimming trees back in some spots where they can to open up playing corridors -- especially near some tee boxes -- and also build a new practice green. Outside the clubhouse, a new lanai and expansion of the banquet room is under way. And with the recent laws banning smoking indoors, the club is working on installing an outdoor cigar bar.

Pebble Creek Golf Club: The verdict

?Pebble Creek's layout presents a challenge, though one that isn't brutally tough for any skill level, along with a consistently pleasant natural environment that makes for an enjoyable round amongst nature. The course can be especially favorable to senior or women's groups, as there aren't too many forced carries.

Stick around for a pint or two in Mulligan's after the round where the wait staff is cheerful and should be able to twist your arm into sticking around for one or two more rounds of drinks than you had planned.

?Those who live near Pebble Creek and enjoy the course and friendly vibe should inquire about memberships to the club that start as low as $185/month.

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Molinari reflects on beating Woods at Ryder Cup, Open

By Ryan LavnerSeptember 25, 2018, 9:11 am

SAINT-QUENTIN-EN-YVELINES, France – Francesco Molinari might be a useful resource for the European Ryder Cup team.

He’s already beaten Tiger Woods, head to head, at a Ryder Cup and a major.

Molinari was in the anchor match at the 2012 Ryder Cup when Woods conceded on the final hole to give the Europeans an outright victory in the incredible comeback at Medinah. He said the last hole was a “blur,” and it remains the last Ryder Cup that both Molinari and Woods played.

“I’ve improved a lot as a player since 2012,” said Molinari, who lost his previous singles match against Woods in 2010, 4 and 3, “and I hope to show that on the course this week.”

The proof is the claret jug that he now keeps at home.


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To win his first major he needed to not only endure the circus that a Woods group brings, but he needed to outlast the 14-time major champion and a host of other worthy contenders to prevail at Carnoustie.

Reflecting on that momentous day Tuesday, Molinari said he initially was dreading the final-round date with Woods.

“If I’m completely honest, I wasn’t exactly hoping to be paired with Tiger, not because I don’t like to play with him, but because, obviously, the hype and with him being in contention in a major, it’s going to be noisy and it’s going to be a lot of people," he said. 

“So the most challenging part was probably that moment when the draw came out, but then I quickly managed to think, You know, whatever. I don’t really care. I’m here to do a job, and they can’t really influence how I do my job.”  

To thrive in that situation gave Molinari a lot of confidence – especially heading into a pressure-cooker like the Ryder Cup.

Asked whether it’s more pressure trying to win a major or a Ryder Cup – since he’s now done both – Molinari said: “You won’t believe me, but it’s nowhere near. Carnoustie was nowhere near Medinah or in any matching ways. It’s hard to believe, but it’s probably because you play for a team; you play for a continent in our case, and you know about the tradition and what players have done in the past.”

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Woods 25/1 to break Nicklaus' record by age 50

By Will GraySeptember 25, 2018, 9:05 am

With his victory at the Tour Championship, Tiger Woods crept closer to Sam Snead's all-time PGA Tour wins mark. But he also got fans thinking about whether golf's most famous record is once again in play.

Woods has been stuck on 14 career major titles since the 2008 U.S. Open, although he had a pair of close calls this summer. But now that he's again a winner on Tour, oddsmakers at the Westgate Las Vegas SuperBook created bets on where Woods' career major haul will end up.

The line they drew in the sand? Dec. 30, 2025 - when Woods, now 42, will turn 50 years old.

According to the Westgate, Woods is a -150 favorite to win at least one more major by that time. He's 2/1 to win at least two more, 5/1 to win at least three more and 12/1 to win at least four more. But it'll take five more majors to break Nicklaus' record haul of 18, and the odds on Woods doing that by age 50 are set at 25/1.

There are also odds on Woods' 2019 major prospects, as he's already the betting favorite for the Masters at 9/1. Woods' odds of winning any major next year are listed at +225, while the pessimists can wager -275 that his major victory drought will extend to at least 2020.

There's even a bet for those expecting some serious history: the odds of Woods sweeping all four majors next year at age 43 are 200/1.

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All 12 Europeans have history at Le Golf National

By Ryan LavnerSeptember 25, 2018, 8:55 am

SAINT-QUENTIN-EN-YVELINES, France – The European team has plenty of experience at Ryder Cup venue Le Golf National, which has been the longtime host of the French Open.

The question this week is whether it’ll matter.

The only American player to compete in this year’s French Open was Justin Thomas. Jordan Spieth, Tony Finau and Bubba Watson all got a look at Le Golf National before The Open.

Not surprisingly, the European team has a proven track record here – all 12 players have seen the course at some point. Alex Noren won in July. Tommy Fleetwood is a past champion, too. So is European vice captain Graeme McDowell. Francesco Molinari and assistant Lee Westwood also have runners-up here.


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“I definitely think it’s a help to us, for sure,” Ian Poulter said. “It’s probably the most-played venue as a Ryder Cup venue for all of the European players that have played. So we definitely have a feel of how this golf course has played in very different weather conditions. I definitely think we have an understanding of how this golf course can play.”

Of course, this setup is no different than what players typically experience as they prepare for a major championship. They’ll play 18 holes each of the next two days, then maybe nine holes on Thursday, as they get a feel for the layout.  

“When it’s the best players in the world, and we play on golf courses week-in and week-out where we have to learn a new golf course, it’s difficult to say how much of an advantage it will be,” Fleetwood said. “It can only be a good thing, or it can’t do any harm that we know the course better or that we’ve played it more times.

“Knowledge can only be a good thing. Maybe it’s a little advantage, but it’s the best players in the world that are out here, so it’s not something to look at too much.”

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First-tee grandstand 'biggest you'll ever see'

By Ryan LavnerSeptember 25, 2018, 8:27 am

SAINT-QUENTIN-EN-YVELINES, France – The first-tee nerves could be even more intense this week at the Ryder Cup.

If only because of the atmosphere.

The grandstand surrounding the first hole at Le Golf National is unlike anything that’s ever been seen at this event – a 6,500-seat behemoth that dwarfs the previous arenas.

“It’s the biggest grandstand you’ll ever see at a golf tournament,” Tommy Fleetwood said.


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“It’s hard to explain to someone who hasn’t had to hit that tee shot before,” Ian Poulter said. “When I think back (to my first Ryder Cup) in 2004, the stand is nothing like what we have today. So it really is going to be quite a special moment Friday, and it’s going to be very interesting to see.”

Poulter said it’ll be his job to prepare, as best he can, the team’s rookies for what they’ll experience when the first ball goes in the air Friday morning.

“The No. 1 thing I’ve pictured since the Ryder Cup became a goal is that first tee shot,” Fleetwood said. “But nothing prepares you for the real thing. The grandstand is pretty big – there’s no denying that.

“It’s something that everybody wants in their career, so as nerve-wracking as it is, and whatever those feelings are, everybody wants that in their life. So you just have to take it on and let it all happen.”