Par 28

Level 3 playing from 1,005 – 1,517 yards

Some say Oakleigh is the ugly stepsister of its neighboring Amberwood course.  That's too harsh and fairy tale thinking.  But Oakleigh does pale in comparison to Amberwood.  Depending on where the crew places the gold tee boxes, the course could be more interesting, otherwise you’ll only use 5 clubs off the tees.  But it does have a few wicked stepmother shots at #2 and 9 that'll have you rooting for the prince to rescue you.  Ok, step up to the first tee box and let's see who's going to the ball! 


#1 is an easy opener with a frontward sloping green so it’s best to be short of the pin and putt uphill.  #2 is the first stepmother hole.  A frustrating amount of sand covering the entire front of the green – you’ll have to hit the perfect drop shot to not turn into a pumpkin.  #3 is really really short but the green is really really hard – that’s a fun combo!  A sadistic (or would it be wicked?) grounds keeper could easily place the cup in an impossible spot.  And getting a bogey on an 80-yard hole is an ego-buster for sure!  Your 4th and 5th shots take turns around a pond.  #5, pictured above, is another fun combo - pretty with the toughest green on the course.  The good news is that once on, most putts are uphill toward the center crown.  The left side is the safest landing zone. 


#6 is a par four requiring an accurate drive to avoid the fairway sand.  But the second shot hits onto an unprotected green, so at 250 yards, it’s your best birdie chance.  #7 is another wedge-shot shorty.  The 8th has a tricky trap on the right that seems to be a magnet for me.  The clock is nearing midnight as you finish on the most difficult hole on the course, and one of the hardest in town – 181 yards up to a green with traps front and back around a long narrow green.  The best was surely saved for the last on Oakleigh!  


So, now after playing Oakleigh, was the descriptor of Ugly Stepsister too “Grimm”?  Or is Amberwood's “Cinderella-feel” next door too generous?  I think you need to play them both a few times to judge if the “shoe fits”!

Toughest to Easiest:

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

From the blacks!   

Oakleigh should be played from the black tees – period.  You may even use 7 different clubs off the box.  #9 is already the hardest hole on the course, but from blacks it’s over 200 – wow!  And three of the shortest holes, #3, 6 & 7, play like regular par threes from the back tees.  #2 requires your most precise shot to hit over the trap onto the narrow green.  And #5 plays from a fun new angle shooting over water to land onto Oakleigh’s most difficult green.  From the black tees, Oakleigh is certainly striking midnight at the ball!

Go Green!

All but two holes play really short from the green tees.  Just the par four 6th and the closing par three 9th hole are still pretty long.  You’ll also like that the angle to the green is more advantageous around the pond on #4 & 5.  In fact, you may just find the whole course a bit more Charming from the greens!

What’s nearby? 

The First Responder Recreation Center is just a mile north of Oakleigh.  It’s one of the newest rec centers in The Villages complete with a huge pool, lawn croquet and all the standard outdoor amenities and games.  But the reasons it’s worth every foot of the one mile to get there are these three things:  1) a new 18 hole putting course – the Stars and Stripes; 2) the largest game room in The Villages including darts, ping-pong, pop-a-shot, table shuffleboard and hundreds of familiar video games; 3) most importantly, an amazing collection of memorabilia from all branches of First Responders presented in a patriotic theme.  Check this video out: First Responders Recreation Center.  You better go after you play Oakleigh or my guess is you’ll get so immersed you’ll miss your tee time.  It’s that worth it – as is every First Responder in our nation!

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.