Duffer Dan at The Tradition at Ginn Reunion Resort
The Gang took a short drive west on I-4 to experience the new Jack Nicklaus designed Tradition course, which completes the perfect trifecta for the Ginn Reunion Resort. There were already two magnificent layouts designed by Arnold Palmer and Tom Watson, the Legacy and the Independence, both of which begin their routing at the beautiful hilltop clubhouse and opened simultaneously in 2004. The 7244-yard par 72 Tradition will have its own clubhouse and is a few blocks from the centerpiece of the community, the Reunion Grande, a luxury high-rise with one and two bedroom suites, fine dining and meeting space. April 14-20, 2008 the resort will host its 3rd LPGA Ginn Open, utilizing a mix of the Palmer and Watson courses, with FGCM’s favorite young LPGA star, Brittany Lincicome, defending her awesome win against Lorena Ochoa and Laura Davies on a wind swept Sunday afternoon last year.
Let’s talk Tradition. I am not Tevye from ‘Fiddler on the Roof’ but Duffer Dan. After a long drive to the beginning tee, which is around the large practice green, and driving range, we got our first glimpse of the Parkland- style layout. The smooth and flowing fairways with abundant horizon lines, elevated tees and greens and risk reward opportunities throughout are a sharp contrast to the other two courses. There are four sets of tees to accommodate anyone’s ability. The first hole is a short uphill par 4 with a good chance for par, which none of the Gang obtained. The second is another par 4, the #1 handicap hole at 440 yards, which we did par. Sometimes luck is just better than skill. The course’s longest hole is the 3rd, a 585- yard par 5, which the Duffer played extraordinarily well. A great drive and second shot to less than 150 yards, and keeping the water out of play a beautiful shot to the green to come away with a bird. There was no fiddling around here. It didn’t take long to lose the momentum when I doubled the 4th, a par four that seemed easy enough. Our first look at a par 3 came on #5, the longest of the four at 223 yards, followed by another par 5 that we had little trouble with. The frontnine is the shorter of the two nines by almost 150 yards. With a slope and rating at 147 & 76.7 it is the highest of the three layouts, but does not play as hard to us. The cart service was there on a regular basis.
The back nine starts out with a tough and the longest par four at 461 yards where smart shots will outdo a long bomb that could put you in an awkward position to reach the green. The easiest hole, the par 3, 11th is 184 yards from the back tees but did not present any problem to the Gang. We enjoyed the routing of the back nine as it wove its way through some beautiful vistas and lush landscaping. Playing at Reunion Resort is always a pleasure. Kevin Bacon, the Director of Golf, and his fine staff take care of their guests with topnotch service. The finishing hole is an uphill par 5, with about a 180-yard carry over a deep ravine from the back tee, and then a hard dogleg left to the green. Keeping the ball in the middle or favoring the right side of the fairway will give you a better chance to reach the green. We got there in good condition but the undulating green and back pin placement gave us a fit. The greens have many different levels and undulations, but they do putt true.
After our round we went back to the main clubhouse to enjoy a snack and a few drinks. Much to our surprise the ‘Ginn Open Got Game Challenge’ was just finishing up. After two days of tough competition, Lindy Duncan, a 16-year-old amateur from Plantation had just won the playoff against Sookhee Baek, a professional from Bradenton, on the second extra hole. With her win Lindy earned a qualifying spot at the Ginn Open, Come out and follow her and Brittany April 17-20 at the magnificent Ginn Reunion Resort. To learn more about Reunion and other Ginn properties go to www.GinnResorts.com.