Par 28

Level 2 playing from 992 – 1,679 yards

A movie star makes for a great golf course name – especially one as iconic as Humphrey Bogart.  The Bogart and Bacall courses in the center of The Villages are rightly situated given they were the heart of Hollywood for decades.  The Bogart course is just a Level 2, but don’t tell Humphrey that – it plays much harder.  It contains one par four, a member of my Hardest Holes list and one of the best stretches of shots in town.  And in honor of the many war movies Bogart made, it’s got the deepest collections of bunkers you could imagine – honestly a couple of them are deeper than I am tall, like the 5th (pictured above).  With all that it seems this unique course deserves a special presentation – something where each tee box is up in lights on a marquis.  Have you ever played a course where the holes are named instead of numbered?  Let’s try that here – with each named after one of Humphrey Bogart’s most famous movie titles.  Lights. Camera. Action!


The first hole is named after Bogart’s 1950’s thriller, “In a Lonely Place”, simply because the first tee box of any course can be just that.  And Bogart 1 requires you to hit over water and sand to a tricky narrow green – that’s a lonely place to start!  #2 is “Key Largo” because it’s picture perfect and such a comfortable looking shot to a wide screen (I mean green).  The “Big Sleep” is hole #3’s name.  It’s on my Hardest Holes List.  170 yards to an incredibly tiny green surrounded by triple traps.  No way.  Big Sleep time. It also begins a stretch of six holes that are as good as anywhere in The Villages.  Six golf holes like six movies at an all-night drive-in!  Those were the days!   #4 is the “African Queen” because it was his only Oscar, and this is the best-looking picture of the day – worth an Academy Award.  The left side sand contrasts with a long inviting green – just like Bogart’s many leading ladies, it’s better to be on the right side of this beauty. 


#5 is the “Maltese Falcon” because as the only par four, you get to unleash your driver and let it fly!  Lots of fairway sand on the left so stay center right.  Then an incredibly deep bunker on the green’s right will affect your approach shot.  Aim for the left side of the green for an uphill putt on the Falcon!  The movie title for #6 fits exactly the shot you’ve got to make here – “The Harder They Fall”.  It was Bogart’s last film in 1956.  The 109-yard 6th hole is the shortest but requires the biggest and last drop shot of the day.  Just think about Humphrey Bogart’s total career and hit it high, make it fall, and see it stick.  There should be a popcorn stand on the edge of this green as a reward!  In the movie “The Desperate Hours”, Bogart plays one of his most villainous characters.  The set up on this 7th hole is similar – you’ll hate it.  It looks way longer than the 150-marker next to the gold tees.  And the four traps in front scream desperation as you try to blast over the top.  The only opening you’ll see is on the left.  Hopefully the pin is on that side but aim there anyway regardless.  Or if you’ve got that Bogie Swagger, dial up a desperation drive and try to fly it over the traps!  #8 is pictured below - it's the signature hole – and the “Caine Mutiny” holds a similar stature – the movie is set aboard a naval vessel in which the captain’s command comes into question.  Seem appropriate when teeing off over water and wondering about your own command.  Aim for the left side for clearest landing and best putting angles.  We close out with the classic “Casablanca” on #9. No better way to finish than with what many call the greatest movie ever made.  The 9th hole may not deserve that level of hyperbole – it’s a pretty plain short-iron shot with some water and sand to the left.  But the green is wide and flat so you should finish off with a good chance at par - you made it look easy!  Just like Humphrey Bogart did for decades of film making.  Retrieve your ball from the cup and tip your cap to a course named in honor of a Hollywood legend.  “Here’s looking at you kid!”

Toughest to Easiest:

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

From the blacks!  

Bogart is bigger than life from the blacks.   #1 plays from 187 yards!  How’s that for an opening scene?  The 3rd and 4th both play near 200.  And 7 and 8 are both over water and both over 170 yards.  This is no standard Level 2 course from the tips.  But it would be a legendary experience on an iconic course – so put on your tux (or best golfing garb), get ready to walk the red carpet and give it a try!  Then award yourself your own Oscar-like dinner at nearby Sumter Landing where you make an acceptance speech and thank all the little people!   

Go Green!

The first two holes have better lines to the cup from the green tees, so your confidence should get a boost.  You’ll need it on Bogart 3 though because it’s still nearly 150 yards.  The benefits continue to go up and down - 4 is easier, but 5 is still over 200 yards, 6 still needs to hit over sand, 7 is an easier angle, 8 is still over that Mutinous body of water, but 9 is better.  It's like a set of stairs - plenty of ups and downs, just rarely in our one level living in Florida!  

What’s nearby? 

The Sumter Landing Square is just 2 miles away.  Here's the "Best of Sumter Landing":  best lakeside experience - Gators; best marinara sauce – Red Sauce; best golfing gear clearance rack – Tees N Greens; best soup on a cold January day - Panera; best restaurant locale – Lighthouse Pointe; Best French fries – Johnny Rockets; best dinner on linens – Chop House; best DJ - WVLG radio booth; best way to spend a day with books – Barnes & Nobels; best name and breakfast spot – The Flying Biscuit.

Want more info on the nine movies cited above – there’s a good summary I’ve found in a website called “The 15 Best Humphrey Bogarts Movies Made Ranked”

Bogart 8 - The "Caine Mutiny" hole!

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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