Red Fox

Par 28

Level 3 playing from 982 - 1,566 yards

Red Fox is a neat little figure-eight course with two holes on my Hardest List The course traces the edge of the Fenney Springs Wetlands, and while that nature element impacts just the 3rd hole, you do get a beautiful sightline to the dense woodland on every tee box and green.  It shares a Starter Shack and putting green with its sister course, Gray Fox.  Here’s a fun (and pretty irrelevant) fact about foxes.  The way you can tell the difference between a Red and a Gray Fox is that Reds have a white tip on their tail.  Grays have a black.  Can you keep all those colors straight?  Best to focus on just keeping your shots straight!  Especially on hole #1!  Because you’ll be hitting over water on the first shot of the day.  It only plays around 110, but the wall that protects the green will be an immediate adrenaline rush.  Keep your head down, take an easy first swing and be confident – don’t pull out your “water ball” for the first hole – plus you’ll likely need if for #9!  On #2, you get your driver out for the only time today.   At just over 300 yards, it’s not the length but the location of your first shot that requires your focus.  There’s water all along the left and a creek that cuts across the fairway about 250 yards out.  The more you hit left, the more the creek comes into play.  As often the case, hitting down the middle is ideal.  Your second shot needs to be precise as the green is elevated and you don’t want to be left or over.  #3 is the first of the two Red Fox entrants to my Hardest Holes List.  Pictured below, it plays around 150 with no bailout area for a mis-hit.  A dense tree line to the right and wetlands to the left is a great visual but creates an incredibly narrow landing zone.  If you’re not a believer in Mulligans, Red Fox 3 will convert you!  #4 is the most difficult green.  It’s slopes to the front but has a second tier on top so if the flag is back a precision drive is required to avoid a three putt. 


Now you’ve finished the “front 4” and drive past the starter shack to get to the “back 5”.  The 5th hole has Red Fox’s best-looking sand trap (is that really a new category?) and a green with a subtle valley in the center for a tricky putting experience.  #6 is a little longer to an elevated green that punishes anything that’s not a direct hit.  Sometimes the shortest holes pose the greatest challenge - #7 is a perfect example.  It faces south into the Fenney Wetlands and gives you a great view into the Fenney Recreation area.  It’s a really tight shot – my fear of hitting into the trees in the back can cause me to swing light, but that brings into play the wetlands and a pesky wall covering the front.  You need a perfect drop shot to avoid big trouble.   And the green slopes to the front left leaving you most likely with a downhill putt.  Have fun on the shortest hardest hole here!  After navigating that little gem, you make your final turn on the figure-eight and head back southwest with the woodlands now on your left.  #8 is a mid-range shot with water along your right, but the green is wide open.  Get your par here, because #9 is coming!  When I first started to keep a list of the Hardest Holes, Red Fox #9 was my first entrant.  After playing the course three times, I seriously considered hitting a driver off the red barn in the back just to miss the marsh and sand!  When you stand on the tee box 150 yards out you'll see what I mean – there’s only a speck of green to shoot at.  This is like a Pelican course wannabe hole!  Use your water ball if you didn’t lose it on #1, or maybe you still have a mulligan if #3 didn’t gobble it up!  Think of me when you see that red barn, and maybe you’ll start your own hardest holes list with this one too!  

Toughest to Easiest:

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

From the blacks!

Ok, you remember #3 and 9?  The ones with no landing areas?  Well from the black tees they’re both over 180.  Good luck!  The rest of the round is not that different.  #1, 4 & 7 require you to hit over more water, but you’ll actually use fewer clubs off the tees than from the golds.  And #4’s furthest back tee box is on the right side of the cart path, making it a very attractive approach (see picture).

Go Green!

Three times you avoid hitting directly over water from the green tees.  But you’ll still have to deal with it on the 2nd, 3rd 7th & 9th.  And even if playing from the forward tees shorten the course by 26% from the golds, many of the same hazards that challenge big hitters will still be looming for you from the greens.  But it still has beautiful sightlines to the Fenney Springs Wetlands so you'll enjoy one of the most attractive courses in town.  And the Fenney Recreation Center is really close by to calm you down afterwards! 

What’s nearby?

The Fenney Rec Center is a beauty.  It’s just a short cart ride away.  It has one of the nicest resort style pools with plenty of shade and a bar just a few feet away – a perfect place to relax and contemplate your next attempt at #9!  Inside is billiards, darts, table shuffleboard and a fully stocked fitness center. To further you unwind, there’s a great nature trail and boardwalk behind the center sure to calm you down!  If you have guests visiting and you live near Fenney, I think this is the one of the best pools in The Villages – you’ll feel like you’re on vacation! 

There's no landing spot other than the green at Red Fox 3. Nearly all of this picture is Out-of-Bounds!    

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.