Par 28

Level 4 playing from 1,163 – 1,710 yards

Amberwood is a classy, difficult course with spectacular greens, lots of oaks and all the distance you can handle - a must-do round and one of my Top Five courses.  It is up on the northern fringe of The Villages.  I once was paired up with three Canadian snowbirds who said they played it often because it was the closest course to their home!  It took me 70 minutes by cart, but I'm not complaining.  If I had guests coming to visit and we weren't crunched for time, I’d get a tee time on Amberwood for sure! 


With that “hallowed ground” setup, it’s time to step up to one of the best opening scenes we have! And it's all over this website - just look at the banner on any page - that's Amberwood 1!  What a great way to start your day!  But it's best to be aggressive here as the holes get progressively harder.  #2 is 25 yards longer with more prominent water and two traps near the green.  You’ll turn west for the next 3 drives, all along an incredible line of old oak trees.  #3 has a fun uphill sloping green and #4 will have you using a high lofted club to land safely. Then Amberwood 5 begins a great stretch of holes, one of the most difficult groupings in The Villages. A recent fellow golfer called it his "Amen Corner"!  I agree - you'll be thanking God if you can manage bogeys on 5 through 7!  The 5th hole is completely covered by dense trees and two flanking fairway traps, framing a distinctly leftward slanting green - a 4-foot fall at least!  Check out the picture below and an interesting fun fact about this hole.  The good news on #6 is you get an extra stroke - it's Amberwood’s only par four.  Fairway sand borders both sides of this long-distance call, so your drive must be centered.  By the time you get to #7 (see picture above), you might be feeling pummeled, so you need to take a moment and a deep breath and put your game face back on to attack this drive because it's usually over water to an uphill green guarded by a huge trap on the right.  And if that’s not enough, the green has an elusive slope.  Oh, did I mention that it often plays into the wind too?  It's Amberwood's toughest hole - club up, say a final prayer on Amen Corner and go for it! 


After that treacherous stretch, and perhaps a sign of the cross, you'll complete a different type of cross to get to the closing holes.  It's pretty unusual to cross a city street during a round on an executive course.  Amberwood is one of them, crossing over Legacy Lane.  Can you name the other courses that cross a city street?  (Quiz Question 24). On the other side you'll find the 8th to be shorter with a rolling green and great view.  Then turn to the east for the final drive of the day - up over water, likely into the wind, onto a sloped green with a center swale – probably with onlookers following your shot from the starter shack - a dramatic way to close out a flawless, fantastic course!  And regardless of the outcome, you'll be back! 

Toughest to Easiest:

7, 5, 6, 2, 3, 9, 8, 1, 4 – toughest green 5

From the blacks!   

The stretch from 5 to 7 will challenge the best golfers, even more so from the black tees.  The par four 6th plays over 400 yards and the toughest hole on the course (#7) is a par three from 190!  And both #8 and 9 will also bring more water into play.  Give it a try, then treat yourself to a delicious meal at Glenview afterwards!  

Go Green!

Amberwood is one of the most difficult courses in The Villages.  Even from the greens this is an experience for the brave at heart.  But it’s one of my Top Five, so still really worth it.  Your biggest advantage playing the green tees will be on the first four holes.  While obviously shorter, each has a better angle to the center of the green.  Near the end, the 7th and 9th holes have a simpler approach too.  

What’s nearby?   

On the way to Amberwood, you likely drove past the entrance to the Glenview Country Club.  You should take the time after Amberwood to turn into that entrance on the way home.  The drive into the facility alone is worth your time – it’s beautiful.  And if the weather is good, consider having lunch or an early dinner on the patio overlooking the ninth green on Glenview’s Fox Run Golf Course - try the Prime Rib Quesadillas, a Pistachio Salmon salad or go old school with their tasty Pot Roast.  And that’s just lunch! Click here for more info and their dinner menu.

Or better yet, book an evening dinner show out on the patio.  We went there to see the Hooligan Acoustic Trio play - it was fantastic!  Click here for their Dinner Show Calendar.  Music with a meal beats a double bogey on 5 any time!

The 5th is my favorite hole at Amberwood.  It's got a great look with heavy tall trees in the background and two large upward sloping sand traps on the sides.  Look behind the green to see the remnants of an older green placement.  That must have been a part of the original design when it was a much longer shot.  In fact, until recently, the scorecard displayed in the official website listed the distance as 198 from the golds and 226 from the blacks.  Back in the day this must have been a real doozy!  

My impressions are based on playing from the Gold tee boxes.  The Black and the Green tee boxes pose different challenges or benefits described as well.  The rankings of the toughest to easiest holes are just my opinions - yours will be far different, as will your favorite courses and most difficult and attractive holes.  I welcome your opinions or thoughts on any of this - click to leave a comment.  

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