Par 29

Level 2 from 991 – 1,539 yards

Following in the footsteps (or would it be hoofsteps?) of its sister courses Belmont and Churchill Greens, the Pimlico executive golf course is themed for the renowned Triple Crown of Horse Racing.  Three golf courses.  Three racetracks.  Pimlico is the home to the Preakness Stakes held each May as the annual conclusion of the three races. Just 13 horses have crossed the finish line first in all three.  But for our Pimlico golf course, there's a different type of line to cross – a road.  Belvedere Blvd.  That’s because the holes south of Belvedere are bleak and the holes north are beauties.  Belvedere is like other famous lines of demarcation - The Maginot Line, the Mason-Dixon, even the DMZ in Korea, even the two largest lines on earth – the Equator and International Date lines. Ok, I’m taking too much latitude with this description. Back to Pimlico and this bottom line:  The first three holes south of Belvedere are just not triple crown worthy.  But sometimes horses that stumble out of the gate can still close strong – and that’s our Pimlico!


Oddly, the scorecard lists the first three holes as all being 108 from the gold tees.  Bleak and redundant.  To be fair the first hole is ok.  #2 and 3 are not.  Pull down your blinkers, tee off, chip, putt, repeat - three times.  Then cross over Belvedere (but look both ways!)  The 4th hole welcomes you to the other side with a beautiful view (pictured above).  It’s still a short shot but it’s got great form as you hit toward an attractive landscape of sand, trees and homes in the background.  The green has a rolling knoll in the back that makes for some fun putting.  Now Pimlico stretches out with a “daily double” of par fours.  First, the 5th is tantalizingly short – just 232 from the golds – so you’ll have a great shot at par.  Just don’t drift right toward the water.  The 6th hole is Pimlico’s hardest. It doglegs right around water with a couple drop offs to trouble.  It has a real cool two-tiered fairway – the upper where smart players aim – and a lower more narrow and more direct line to the green where the stallions drive.  Either approach will eventually get you to an unobstructed wide green.  The two fun fours are followed by a tricky precision shot on #7.  It’s less than 100 yards but with sand on the left and a severe drop to the right, so you’ll need to be Exacta!  Ok, now we’ve gotten to what many believe is the hardest green in The Villages – Pimlico 8.   A long extended two-level magic carpet ride with a 3-foot drop.  And the pin's sometimes placed on the upper tier near the breakpoint.  I could just putt this green for hours it’s so fun - hopefully you'll have time for a few extra putts from the top. (Here are the other 8 hardest greens in The Villages) You'll cross over Belvedere to close out this course.  But Pimlico 9 is not like the first three holes south of the Belvidere line. There's always an exception - like when Seabuscuit beat War Admiral! Pimlico 9 is really a good way to finish - it's 125 yards onto a gently sloped green framed by a bunker on the right and a set of mounds on the left.  As you approach your final putt, you’ll see the Belmont course in the distance and the busy starter shack servicing all three courses.  So, in fully redemptive fashion this horse finishes well!  


Finishing a fun round of golf at Pimlico reminds me that life is made up of both bleak and beauty, but it's up to us to decide which we want to race toward!  For sure I’ll be coming back to Pimlico to race over Belvedere! 

Toughest to Easiest

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

From the Blacks! 

Yes.  All Level 2 courses should be played from the black tees.  Neither par four is that long from the golds, so you’ll hardly even feel the change moving to the back tees.  And at least you’ll get to use two different clubs on the redundant opening holes.  But the best reason is because the 8th hole becomes one of the most difficult in town as the extra length to 160 yards makes this more than just a putting parlance.

Go Green! 

Some may shy away from Pimlico from the greens because it has two par fours.  But the first is only 176 yards and that’s very doable to reach the green in two.  The rest average around 80 yards.  And the tee boxes on the 7th and 8th holes are angled such that the water on your right should not come into play.  This is a good course to be green! The only green thing missing are the Black Eyed Susans!

What’s Nearby?

Just north of the course on the infamous Belvedere Blvd is a great lineup of restaurants.  You’ll take the tunnel under 466 for mouthwatering choices that’ll make you want to Spit the Bit:  Red Lobster, Olive Garden, IHOP, Subway, Culvers and Taco Bell!  Hay, it’s time to feed!

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.