The Golfing Dads recently had the opportunity to play this Par 71 course. Opened in 1990, the golf course was designed by Lloyd Cliffton. Winding through the Kissimmee Bay gated community, this course offers players challenges.
On arrival, there was a person driving around the parking lot offering to put our clubs on the back of a cart and take them to the pro shop. The pro shop staff was equally friendly. Before teeing off, the golf pro even told us to have a good day. We found the dining room staff to be extremely friendly. They greeted us with a smile and and made sure we knew the daily lunch specials. On the course, we didn’t see any maintenance workers.
The driving range offered enough room for up to 20 golfers and conditions from the driving area looked good. The range itself is a pond of water which means range balls are “floaters”. We didn’t feel the range was adequate for the golf course due to the golf balls. There was a medium sized putting green and a small area for chipping. The putting green, unfortunately, is similar to the conditions experienced on the golf course. Grass on the putting green is poor quality and the green had areas of poor or no grass. On the chipping green, we noticed a large hole which made the area even smaller. In fact, when we arrived, we noticed a player kneeling down to pull balls out of the hole.
From the Tiger tees, the course is long at 7,487 yards. Listed on the website are 6 other tees but we didn’t see 6 other sets of tees on the day we played. For the less adventurous player, Gold tees measure 6,846 yard and Blue tees measure 6,383 yards. Ladies tees are 5,171 yards. Listed on the website are Silver and Senior tees but we didn’t see any yardage for these holes.
Prior to playing this course, Kissimmee had experienced a great deal of rain. Also, we learned the golf course waters every night. As a result, there were many wet areas where balls could plug. This was true in the fairway and around the greens. Despite the course wetness, fairways were by far the best attribute of the course. We didn’t see or experience a fairway shot where the ball had to be moved to secure a better lie. If anything, some of the fairway grass was a little longer than we anticipated. Quality of tee boxes varied. On Hole 3, the number 1 handicap hole, we found the tee box in bad shape. It appeared the tee markers hadn’t been moved in several days and there was minimal grass in our teeing area. While this appeared to be the worse tee box, others were equally bad. We found several tee boxes where the grass barely covered the dirt. Other tee boxes had areas where there were heel sized depressions which made it hard to find a teeing area. Once on the course, players should hope they don’t hit a shot into a bunker. Most of the bunkers were hard. In fact, one player in our group suggested another player was “the first person to rake the bunker that day”. In many bunkers, there was grass growing. This was especially evident on Hole 7. Along the left side of the hole were a line of palm trees to prevent player from cutting the corner. Just before the trees was wild grass that could be described a THICK rough (USGA would love it!). While the palm trees were planted in the bunker, grass allowed to grow in the bunker. Other bunkers throughout the course had enough grass to look like a waste bunker but were actually a regular bunker.
Course layout was very good. The golf course offers players a chance to hit left to right and right to left shots. In fact, some of the holes would be indefensible without the dogleg. On several holes, we had to negotiate around large oak trees for a shot at the green. These trees also offered a course . Hole 1 is Par 5 that requires a player to hit the ball far enough right to get around large oak trees. For the longer hitters, we felt the hole could be reached in 2 shots. Hole 3 is a long straight hole requiring 2 good shots to a small green. Hole 9 requires a player to hit 2 good shots in the fairway in order to have a chance to hit the green in 3 for a chance at a birdie. Hole 11 challengers a players ability to hit a position tee shot. Once in the fairway, a player in confronted with a decision of going for the green or laying up to the right. This allows a clear shot to this large green. From the Tiger tees, the Par 3 holes are L-O-N-G. The shortest hole is 16 measuring 169 yards. Hole 6 measures 253 yards!
Generally, we write about the greens as part of the course description. In the case of Kissimmee Bay, we felt a separate paragraph is warranted. Overall, green quality on this course is poor. The area around the outside edge of the greens appeared, in some instances, to be “scalped” There were numerous spots on virtually every green where the grass had died and hadn’t been replaced. On several greens, we felt 1/3 of the green had dead or dieing grass. Some greens had obvious areas of crabb grass. Other greens had patches of sand in or around the green. In these instances, the sand actually replaced the green grass. On down hill putts, the grass was so coarse and unpredictable players in our group didn’t get the ball to the hole no matter how hard the putt was hit.
Dads Say So, we had been looking forward to playing this course for a number of years. Unfortunately, we were extremely disappointed in the course conditions. Layout and fairways were good. These areas could not offset the poor tee boxes and greens. At this time, we would recommend looking for another course to play as Central Florida has plenty of other options in much better condition.