We had a chance to play Highlands Reserve Golf Club. The course is located off SR 27 in Davenport, FL. The staff was extremely friendly with most employees dressed in lime green shirts for easy identification. On arriving, we were greeted by a staff member in the parking lot who was driving a golf cart. They offered to put our our golf bag on back of the cart and bring us to the club house. As we walked to the smaller sized club house, every staff member warmly welcomed us. Inside the pro-shop, staff members were equally friendly. Throughout the day, whenever we encountered any of the staff members, their reception of us was always friendly. Behind the pro-shop there is a small restaurant area where you can get some sandwiches and your favorite beverage.
The driving range was very large. Over 50 golfers could warm up at the same time. Players warm up driving balls up a slight hill with trees on each side. On the day we played Highlands Reserve, they limited the area for hitting balls in order to have other areas available for later players. There were adequate markings on the driving range to help a player learn distances when hitting shots . After the morning sun gets above the tree line, this driving range has no protection from the sunlight and is wide open.
Highlands Reserve has one large putting green that was well maintained. The putting green offered players similar experiences to what they would experience when playing. The speed of the green was consistent and our golf ball rolled without hopping or bouncing. There were sufficient undulations that allowed a player to become accustomed to what they would experience on the course.
Highland Reserve offers 4 sets of tees. They range from Black tees (Slope 120, 6,702 yards) to Jade (Slope 101, 4,532 yards). Interestingly, each hole has a name that, in many cases, is appropriate. For example, Hole 9 is called the Sidewinder. The hole requires players to hit shots left to right and, if possible, right to left. On the front 9, the par 3 holes are long. Hole 4 is 192 yards from the Black tees. Hole 6 is 225 yards from the back tees. Conversely, on the back 9, the par 3 holes are a little shorter. Hole 12 is 188 yards from Black tees and Hole 17 is 160 yards from the back tees. The par 4 holes offer a shorter distance with 6 holes 400 yards or less. Hole 11 is the shortest par 4 and measures only 307 from the Black tees. Hole 13 is a par 5 and measures 476 yards from the Black tees. The remaining par 5 holes barely exceed 500 yards from the Black tees. Sand traps were strategic placed in the fairway and around the green. Many of the sand traps were deep and required a player to hit a lofted shot to an undulated green. It seemed the biggest challenge on the course was finding a flat lie. On many occasions, the ball was above or below a player’s feet.
Despite a lack of rain in Central Florida this spring, course conditions were good. Tee boxes were well maintained. From our observations, groundskeepers moved tee markers daily to promote even wear. Fairways were cut close but were in good condition. A player could play a shot from the fairway without having to move the ball to get grass under the ball. In addition to the usual distance markers for 200, 150, and 100 yards, there were yardage markers on sprinkler heads. If a player hit a shot into the short rough, the grass conditions weren’t as good. In a few occasions, a shot from rough was hit off almost no grass.
Greens were very well maintained and in great condition. No matter the approach shot they all held the greens and to our surprise we didn’t see many ball marks. The few we saw were easily fixed with a divot tool. If anything, we found undulations on the greens to be more of an issue than on the practice green. There were several greens that were very large and required a player to be on the right level in order to have a shot at making a putt. Holes 2 and 16 are examples of large mounded undulations affecting a putt. Around the actual hole, there were subtle breaks that were hard to see unless the player was a regular at Highland. A word that can be used to describe the greens is smooth. Of all the putts hit in our group, we did not see one putt hop or bounce on its way to the hole.
This course has just about everything that the golfing dads like. There are long and short par 3’s, Long demanding and driveable par 4’s and a 3 shot position hole and a risk reward par 5’s.
Dads Say So playing Highland Reserve was a lot of fun and we really enjoyed ourselves. Practice areas and course conditions allow a player to enjoy a round of golf on a well maintained course. Being located close to the attractions area it’s easy to get to if you are a local or in town visiting the area on vacation and looking for a fun round. To book a tee time go to highlandsreserve-golf.com and book your next round.