Monday, May 5, 2014

Windswept Dunes

While visiting with Vicki's daughter Jennie and granddaughter Bonnie in Florida, we stayed at an RVGolf RV park, Live Oak Landing, in Freeport, FL, and played Windswept Dunes.  The course was designed and built by golf course builder "Dozer Doug" O'Rourke.  He's built 22 other courses, mostly in Michigan, but this is apparently his first and only design effort.  It was named one of the 10 best new courses in 2004 by Golf Magazine.

It's the longest course in the Florida panhandle, at 7752 yards from the tips.  I played at 6533, which is a little bit too far for my game, but I wasn't ready to step down to the next set of tees at 5851.  I still have some pride left.

It was a little foggy early in the morning,

but after it burned off the weather was perfect.

I had 4 double bogies in the first 5 holes, which I attribute to the excessive length - I hit a lot of 3-wood layup second shots on the par 4s - the recently aerated and oversanded greens (I mean too much sand, not just putting sand over them), not playing enough, and incorporating a few tweaks to my swing, from the tips I get on the internet, which gave me a few more swing thoughts to keep in mind.

There was a bit of casual water on some of the holes, due to the recent heavy rains.

The 7th hole was being pumped out, and played from temporary tees in the fairway, but otherwise there was only minimal interference.  I verified with the pro that if you hit your ball into casual water and can't retrieve it or even find it, it's still a free drop, not a lost ball.  That only happened once.

This is not a walkable course, even though it is flat.  The brochure says it "meanders through 750 acres" - about 160 acres is plenty to hold a normal golf course, if that's all that's on it.  It's in the midst of a housing development, but the houses are not visible from the golf course.  You only see them on the 1/2-mile drives from green to tee, as you cross the roads.  I played in 3 hours, only saw the guy in front of us on 1 and 18, but I estimate it would take more than 4 hours just to walk this course, without stopping to hit any shots.

The fairways are wide, with large sandy waste areas, and plenty of bunkers.

The greens are large, with considerable slope and multiple levels.

I imagine the course could be quite difficult when the wind is sweeping the dunes, and the greens are fast.  Neither was the case today.  Except for a couple of 3-putts on the back nine, I coulda shot 39.  And except for missing a 12-footer and a 10-footer for birdie, it coulda been 37.

We saw some wildlife

but no alligators.  They say it's too cold for them, still.

And a bird that could be on The Voice

More pictures.

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