Duffer Dan at Rock Springs Ridge Golf Club
In September, we had the opportunity to visit one of Central Florida’s great layouts. The 27-hole complex of Rock Springs Ridge Golf Club in Apopka provides a fun challenge no matter what mix of nines you choose. After the player assistant took care of our bags we went inside the clubhouse and visited with General Manager John Abbott who showed us some of the expansion going on. The pro shop is being moved to make room for more dining area and a private meeting space, which will enhance their ability to handle bigger tournaments. At the same time, smaller outings will be able to have their own private room while daily fee players and members can still enjoy the restaurant facility.
One thing I always liked when I visited Rock Springs Ridge was the expansive practice area. Adjacent to the clubhouse is a large putting surface, great for a little friendly wager while only steps from the bar. And just up the cart path, towards the starting holes, are a chipping area and the lengthy driving range. In November of 1997 the course opened with 18 holes consisting of the North and South nines designed by the renowned team of Clifton, Ezell & Clifton. CEC has designed many of the courses throughout Central Florida and in 2001 put the icing on the Rock Springs cake with the West course.
We had our choice of layouts so we chose North/West. There are 5 sets of tees so anyone should feel comfortable with their ability as long as they choose correctly. The championship tees are almost 7200 yards on this particular 18. After an easy downhill par 4, I was reminded why my golf group enjoyed coming here in years past. It’s the maturity of the trees that line the fairways and the changes in elevation that, if it hadn’t taken about a half hour from Winter Park, one would sure feel like you were in the mountains and not in Florida.
The North has a wonderful variety of holes to enjoy, and even if you hit that Duffer slice or hook, the on board Pro Shot GPS will give you an accurate distance wherever your ball has landed. There is very little water to contend with at Rock Springs, and none on the South course. Our first opportunity to visit the drink was on the par 4, 414 yard, 4th. If you are a big hitter you might want to reconsider the driver and just put a safe drive in the middle of the fairway for an easy short iron to the green, depending on the hole location. On this day it was up front and pars were the score. But if it is back right, there is a greater opportunity for higher numbers. The par 5, 582 yard, 5th is my favorite on the North. You start off from an elevated tee box with a downhill fairway, provided you are in it, which allows you the feeling that you are a really big hitter. Then a little maneuvering with your second shot, for a short wedge to an elevated green. Can you hear my ball drop in the hole? Yes, the Duffer once again showed his awesome short game, at least on one out of eighteen. A little note from the Gang- try and keep it in the short grass. Some balls played found the rough right next to the fairway and could not be found.
All three of the ninth holes bring you back to the clubhouse so you can grab a sandwich and your favorite beverage. The starter was still at the top of the hill to direct us to the West. This nine has the most dramatic elevation changes and just a real joy to experience. The first hole is an easy par 4, and the second, a par 3 with a pond to cross, gave us two good scores. The par 5’s, #s 3 and 9, are great scoring holes and once again the Duffer showed the rest of the Gang some fine shot making, even after landing in the fairway bunker on #3. I ruined my perfect nine on the short downhill #6. While I was hacking out of the sawgrass, the Gang was short wedging onto the green for birdies. Well I played the rest of the West at par and someone else had to buy the libations. If you haven’t visited Rock Springs Ridge Golf Club, you need to. For further information or to make your tee times call 407-814-7474 or contact www.ROCKSPRINGSRIDGE.net.