Duffer Dan and Providence Golf and Country Club
Our journey this month took us just a short drive southwest of Walt isney World to the expansive golf and country club community of Providence. After arriving at the lovely and inviting entrance off of 17/92 near the Polk and Osceola county line, your drive into the 2200-acre development will take you by different choices of homes by outstanding builders such as Toll Brothers, Lennar and ABD Development. ABD is the main developer of Providence, where half the acreage has been deemed conservation or green areas. The centerpiece of the community is the magnificent Clubhouse. ABD wanted to make sure the opening of the championship course, designed by renowned architect Mike Dasher, coincided with an outstanding facility to house the pro shop, a spacious restaurant, with both indoor and outdoor dining areas, a full service bar and meeting area for full field tournaments.
Upon arriving at the bag drop, the player assistant took our bags and got our carts loaded to face the unknown. It was great to see a familiar face when we checked in. Inside the well-appointed pro shop we found an old friend, Bob (formerly of Highlands Reserve) behind the desk and Kim Robert O’ Neil (from Sun n ‘Lake) as the new Head Golf Professional. Kemper Sports manages the facility and Marion Walker, a Polk county native, is the experienced General Manager. Marion brings a 25-year career of golf management with numerous accolades in all phases of the golf industry to Providence Golf Club.
Immediately outside the clubhouse is the large practice facility where folks of all ages and abilities can improve their play by requesting lessons from the very capable staff. The first hole is a dogleg left 413-yard formidable par four with water guarding the left side. No fear, just take the short side towards the green and your second shot puts you in birdie time. The Duffer did everything right but missed the putt. The par 5 second has plenty of fairway to drive, but keep the second shot to the left so you have an easy entry into the green, avoiding the waste bunker that guards the right. Can you say par twice. I did. Bogeys were all around on the par 4 third, even though we navigated through the bunkers guarding the fairway. Pick the right club on the par 3 fourth and you should come away with a sure par. Because of the newness of the community you will enjoy pure serenity and nature from here on. It is always a blessing to enjoy courses when they have just opened and housing hasn’t taken over. The neat thing about Providence Golf Club, you will always enjoy nature here. The tall stands of hardwoods and the fresh water that is prevalent throughout the property is home to an abundance of indigenous fauna, including deer, turkey, otters and even some boar.
After a short par 4, 5th, the course shows its teeth with an environmental area on the left side of the par 4, 6th that must be avoided on the second shot to a pure Dasher green with undulations that makes putting hazardous to your sanity. Where the Duffer got bit the worst was on seven, the #1 handicap hole, when he tried to clear the water and found himself swimming. Play safe and you can probably par this one. After a beautiful par 3 with a green with full of breaks, much like # 6, we reached the par 5, ninth, the longest hole on the course, which everyone played well. Service was available from the cart lady. As we drove to the 10th hole, there was a barbeque grill near the cart path with a lady serving freshly grilled foods. That was a nice extra for the Gang to enjoy, not having to stop and go inside the clubhouse and ruin our rhythm. Driver fluid was available as well.
We got going quickly on the gorgeous back nine that plays a bit longer than the front. The course totals just over 7,000 yards from the tips, plays to a par 72 and has four sets of tees so anyone can enjoy their day at Providence. The 10th and 11th holes are both par 4s and are parable if you keep the ball in the short grass. The prettiest hole on the course is the par 3, 12th. Play your shot to the middle of the green and you will have a shot for birdie.
Both 12 and the short par 5, 13th have water on the left side of the green. Beware, particularly when you are trying to reach the green in two. Holes 14 and 15 are both bears with the shot to the green on 15 the most demanding on the course. We got to know the trees up close and personal and our scores reflected the cowardly shots we made to avoid the water left. The beauty of the back nine in its natural habitat is really an aesthetic joy to experience. It’s always nice to finish well after playing poorly. A birdie on the 17th and 18th holes make Providence my favorite place to finish a round, The stunning clubhouse is the backdrop to the 18th and I knew if I could close strong somebody else would be buying the libations in the clubhouse grill with awesome service. It was shear providence! To learn more go to www.PROVIDENCEFlorida.com or call 863-420-2652.