Duffer Dan – May 2007

Duffer Dan and the Undercover Gang at Club Renaissance

April might bring spring showers, but it was all shiny and bright when the Gang visited Sun City Center, just 30 miles from Tampa or Sarasota, off I-75. We spent the weekend enjoying all the amenities at this 55 & better community. To start off with there is 162 holes of championship golf, 3 great clubhouses and non-stop activities for everyone. Our accommodations were just spectacular; a three-bedroom villa overlooking the ninth tee box on the Chip Powell designed 6700 yard Club Renaissance course. We had an elevator to get to the second floor right inside the garage door. How cool is that? I will say it again “it’s great to be the Duffer.” After a fun Friday evening at the Sandpiper Country Club clubhouse with karaoke and dinner, we drove around and checked out the vastness of Sun City Center Saturday morning. This is the grand daddy of all the mature living communities in Florida, A Sunsational Location.

At lunchtime we were treated to a delicious taste of the offerings at Amici’s, a 120 seat picturesque restaurant located in the magnificent 40,000 square foot Club Renaissance clubhouse. The clubhouse has a full service spa named Spa Celeste, a fitness & wellness center with Da Vinci’s Juice Bar, a walking and jogging track that over looks the fitness area, Bacchus, their fine dining restaurant, Amici’s, a pool and activity area just outside with casual fare from the outdoor Dauphine’s restaurant, and of course the well stocked pro shop. PGA Professional Bob Dailey and his fine staff are there to take care of all your golfing needs when you go to visit or to spend the rest of your glorious days. Kudos to Kyle and Jack, the outside player assistants who treated us like the Gang we are.

After getting the lay of the land and loading up on driver fluid, we were off. The par four, 1st is a great beginning hole with bunkers on either side of the fairway to give you a target to shoot at. Not knowing there is a pond front left of the green, and coming up short with my 2nd shot, I was left with a wedge shot after the ball trickled back to the water’s edge. Bogey, and what do we have next but the #1 handicap hole, a straight away 433 yard par 4. Can you say par? I could twice after I did it again on the par 5, third. In fact the Gang played the front very well. My only real hiccup came on the ninth; a 427-yard par 4, where I put it in the water again, then over shot the green. So, I was 4 shots back going to the back nine. Time for more fluid! Beer is a heck of a confidence builder.

I often like to tell you about my favorite nines of the courses we play, and a lot times it has to do with how well I played them. Although I played the back nine marvelously, it really had the more intriguing holes of the two, although the Gang might not agree. If you haven’t figured it out, I didn’t pay for the drinks at the end of the round. The 12th hole, a 162-yard par 3, is the prettiest of all the holes. The tee box is tucked away to the right in back of the 11th green, and water surrounds the green except for a neck on the left. After watching two of the Gang bale for fear of going in the water past the hole, the courageous Duffer stepped up and stuck his tee shot 8 feet from the hole and between the edge of the water. I could already taste the cold ones. By the way, we had plenty of service from the cart lady once she realized how often we needed replenishing.

The thirteenth, a short par 4 that requires accurate tee and second shots if you want to hold on to the lead in your foursome, is another great hole. Some of the Gang found the forest to the right while I played safe with a 3 wood off the tee. I thought I needed more club to reach the green, which is tucked away to the right and protected with two bunkers in front. I got away with bogey after I overshot the green and came up just short of more woods. I got one back on the next par 3 and played flawlessly coming home to secure the win. The carts don’t have GPS so be sure to check your yardage markers before you hit. And look at the scorecard for those ponds and other hazards if it is your first time visiting Club Renaissance. It seems life’s more fun under their sun. We look forward to going back to challenge the other 144 holes there and enjoying more of Sun City hospitality. To learn more you can call 1-800-237-8200 or visit www.SUNCITYCTR.com.