We were fortunate to be able to play one of the most unique courses in Central Florida. Built in 1988, the New Course adds another dimension to the Grand Cypress Golf Resort package. There are 3 other 9-hole courses in the resort-North, East, and South. All courses were designed by Jack Nicklaus with the New Course a tribute to many historic courses in European Golf History.
This New Course is a true Scottish links style. There are double greens, walls, stone bridges, gorse mounds, burns, and 12-foot-high pot bunkers. According to the website, there are 150 pot bunkers on the course. You will find very little water or trees on the course, but you will find some gorse bushes and native wild grass that will quickly swallow a golf ball.
As would be expected, the practice area for these courses is large. The driving range appeared to be large enough to accommodate a professional event. On the range itself, there were markers for 100, 150, 200, and 250 yards. Adjacent to the driving range is a short game area, where you can practice all types of shots, including bunker shots.
When we made our way to the first hole of the New Course, we found another putting green. Adjacent to the putting green was an area for chipping to a separate green. On the first tee were 2 cups to practice putting. The first tee is cut with a putting green mower, so it is the same speed as the greens on the course. How cool is that?
There are 3 separate sets of tee boxes on this course. The Blue tees measure 6,773 yards, White tees measure 6,098 yards, and Red tees measure 5,218 yards. In the design, this course allows for blended tee boxes. Between the Blue and White tees, the blended yardage is 6,394. For the blended yardage between White and Red, the distance is 5,718. Flags on the greens are yellow for the outbound nine and white for the inbound nine.
Holes one and eighteen share a fairway and is extremely W-I-D-E. The holes are a replica of holes one and 18 at St. Andrews in Scotland. After a tee shot on number one, players are faced with a carry shot over a burn to a large and well undulated green. The second hole is a Par 5. With a good tee shot, players are required to hit a 2nd shot to a somewhat blind pin. On the second hole, between the players 2nd shot and the green are well placed bunkers to catch errant shots. The Par 4 fourth hole (440 yards from the tips) can be played straight out from the tee box or down the 15th fairway. Depending on the shot, players who hit straight are faced with a long 2nd shot of close to 200 yards. For those players who hit down the 15th fairway, shots can be considerably less, probably closer to 150 yards.
The sixth hole is Par 5 with bunkers placed strategically in a tee shot landing area. With a good tee shot, longer hitters could go for the green. But beware-the green is well undulated and guarded by green side bunkers. The seventh hole is a Par 3 measuring 182 yards from the back tees. In front of the green is a small bunker that guards a big green slopping from front to back. The eighth hole is an interesting Par 4 since the obvious way to play the hole is straight. If a player does hit the ball straight, however, trees from the adjacent condominium could interfere with a 2nd shot. The more prudent approach would be to hit the tee shot to the left of a mound on the right side of the fairway. Once there, players are faced with a carry shot over the burn in front of the green. We found this green well undulated and even had a drop off on the left side.
The tenth hole is a short Par 4 (330 yards from back tees) that really requires a tee shot be placed in the middle of the fairway about 200 yards off the tee. A 2nd shot is hit to an elongated green over the burn that runs in front of the 8th green.
The 11th is a straight Par 4. There are sand traps in the fairway and around the green. The fifteenth hole is a straight away Par 5 measuring 570 yards from the tips. Down the right side of the fairway is a short brick or rock fence that needs to be avoided. The 2nd shot is hit to a somewhat blind pin placement. Two good shots are necessary to hit the green in 2. On the green is a ridge located towards the front of the green that must be dealt with to hit the ball close to the pin. The 17th hole is a reachable Par 5 for long hitters. Measuring 485 yards, a good tee shot to the left/center of the fairway allows for a straight shot into the green. There are trees on the right-hand side of the fairway that could block a 2nd shot. The 18th hole is a straight Par 4 with a burn immediately in front of the tee box. Comparable to Hole 1, a well-placed tee shot should put a medium or short iron in a player’s hands.
Greens were well undulated. With several double greens, players could be faced with lengthy putts or putts that must be chipped to get over the fringe.
Dad’s Say So, this course is a must play if you live in Orlando or are in town visiting and looking for a place to play. It offers a very untypical Florida layout that requires players to hit challenging shots and is a good test of golf. This is one of Nicklaus’ early designs and many other people rate it as one of his best. We think it is a fun layout and a great experience for the golfers. For more information or to get a tee time, contact www.grandcypress.com.