Duffer Dan – December 2006

Duffer Dan at Country Club of Mount Dora

The Gang played closer to home this November. We went up to the quaint town of Mount Dora in Lake County, just a 45-minute ride from Winter Park. The Country Club of Mount Dora is a Lloyd Clifton design that has been open since 1991. The area was once a thriving orange grove but the freezes in the late 80’s prompted new development. Upon arriving, the player assistant got our clubs and showed us the way to the pro shop where we met Head Golf Professional Shawn Holmes. Shawn said the course was in fantastic shape and we would really enjoy our day at C.C. of Mount Dora. Boy, was he right! We got there at the perfect time. The members were just concluding their morning shootout and two other groups were going to tee off later in the day. The course was ours. We finished our round in less than 3 & ½ hours. It was one of those days you would like to package and send a holiday gift to those northern duffers who have not experienced the beautiful golf we enjoy this time of year while they are sitting in their homes looking out on brown grass, snow and leafless trees. The temperature was 70, the humidity was low, and the sky was as blue as blue could be. To top it off the wonderful staff at the Country Club made sure our round was perfect. Upon the leaving the well appointed clubhouse, the starter got us on our way and gave us a few suggestions as to the location of the facilities, the cart girl’s whereabouts, and the fact that they have a half-way house between nines. The opportunities to have a few extra libations made the Gang very happy. Hole#1 is a long par four that plays right in front of the clubhouse with a wide open fairway to help get you over those first hole jitters. The Gang played it pretty well with the worst scoring a bogie. The next hole you might need a little help with if you never played this par 5. There are some hidden surprises, but take a good look at the hole picture prior to teeing off, so you get an idea of what you might encounter. The back tees play to 6571 yards and there are four sets of tees to pick from depending on your ability. The golf car has a pin location advisory posted so you know where you should be landing your approach shots. The par four #3 is their toughest hole. Having played here in years past I knew exactly where to put my drive so that I had an easy short iron to the green, Can you say “par for the Duffer?” I just wish I were as smart on the other 17. The fairway has bunkers to the left, water to the right and water before the green, so beware. The toughest hole for the Gang on the front side was the par 5 #7. If you would have been a spectator watching us play you would have needed a helmet, Balls were going everywhere- left, right, water, homes, o.b. I am sure had we played any of our shots from the fairway we would not have scored so poorly, but that was not in the cards. Review the hole picture! I think I said that before. We did redeem ourselves on the par 5 ninth. We laid up to the water in front of the green, and again the worst was bogie. After # 9, you can curse or beat your chest for a few minutes because of the drive to the backside. On the way you pass the extensive driving range with targets well marked on little peninsulas jutting out into a large pond. Before you get to the 10 th tee, you must visit Regina, the halfway house lady, for one of her excellent grilled all beef hot dogs and your choice of beverage. The Duffer would drive up there just to enjoy another one of those. The second nine starts out with another straight away par four, but #11 is another one of those holes you need to experience once or read the sign very carefully. Number 13 is a short par 5 that the gang will remember for a long time. All of our drives found the fairway, but mine gave me an opening. With my 5 wood that I hit on the screws, I landed directly in front of the green. You have seen Tiger just make some incredible second shots. Well, this was mine. Eagle. Did I tell you how much I love this course? I wish I could tell you I played the rest of the course as well, but even with some great holes, I still was paying for the drinks. The Ranger, Mike, who has been there over 5 years checked up on us a few times, and let us know how proud they are of the course condition, and stated that things keep getting better every year.

When we got back to the clubhouse and were enjoying a cold one or two, the bartender recommended a late lunch. We had the grilled mahi mahi, which was cooked to perfection. To enjoy a fine meal and some great golf call 352-735-2263 or contact www.MTDORAgolf.com.