Every year vast numbers of visitors arrive in Florida looking for the Walt Disney experience but while here a lot of them want to take part in the Florida golfing scene. This is the third in a series of articles looking at various aspects of the Florida golfing scene, with this feature looking at the Alaqua Country Club.
The Alaqua Country Club can be found 14 miles north of central Orlando. It was one of Gary Player’s early course designs in a career that numbers around 300 courses in total (as well as designing golf courses Gary also found time to win nine majors!).
Unveiled in 1988 the Alaqua Country Club golf course is the focus of an exclusive, luxury, gated community and has been designed to reflect its surroundings, which include Wekiva Preserve State Park as well as the Little Wekiva River. As a result the course is notable for the narrow fairways stretching between corridors of tall trees as well as the ubiquity of water with nearly every hole including a water element in one way or another. The landscape, as well as providing a perfect backdrop for golf, is an ideal environment for wildlife and it is not uncommon for a round of golf to include the occasional sight of an alligator or deer.
The generally accepted approach to playing the narrow fairways and hazardous water features is careful club selection alongside thought through approach play, although by all accounts the course can be played at speed, with a round often taking less than four hours to complete.
The stand out hole on the course is the beautiful 177-yard par-3, hole No. 13. From daunting tee positions to the green protected on all sides by water with a bunker in front to snare anyone falling short, this hole is a challenge for any golfer. Hole 13 is the start of the best run of holes on the course, challenging and picturesque in equal measure.
In short, the Alaqua Country Club golf course provides a very decent round of golf, in beautiful surroundings, yet is only a short hop from central Orlando, offering a relaxing respite from theme park mania.