Par 29 

Level 4 playing from 1,080 – 1,751 yards

Teddy or Franklin?  Or maybe it's Eleanor!  This course is probably named after Franklin, but I’m going with Teddy!  Afterall, he’s known for his appreciation of outdoor beauty - and the Roosevelt course is surely that!  And his face is on Mt Rushmore - a fitting analogy given the high esteem I place on this course.  It’s one of my top five!  The views and your club selection are definitely impacted by the elevation.  It’s also the reason playing a round here is such a memorable event, worthy even of reverence.  So when departing the starter shack, be sure to speak softly, but carry a big stick!  


#1 is the only hole without an elevation impact, but don't tell that to the big lip on the front trap! It'll still take a good opening shot to stick this green.  #2 begins the real up and down with a gorgeous uphill landing green.  It's got a subtle valley in the center that makes for challenging putts.  #3 begins your downward trek – but just a little - it's like the appetizer - a nice little shot with sand on the right and a flat wide green – just a tease for what’s to come.  #4 is like the salad - a little more substance and a little more drop with sand on the left.  #5 is the main course – one of the Hardest Holes in The Villages (pictured above).  The gold tees are usually about 140 out with a significant Rushmore-like elevation change - at least 1 club down.  You’ll have to land it on a tight green with two traps on the front left.  Anything not center hit could roll into the pond or left under that tree.  It's the roughest ride of the day! 


For #6 you turn back up hill to play one of the most unique par fours in The Villages.  It’s under 300 yards but the whole fairway slopes into trees on the right and it’s protected by two fairway traps on the left.  This requires either a perfect center drive, or a blast over the traps, or maybe the smartest play is to lay up in front using a long iron.  The green slides away to the right.  It’s a great hole that tests you mentally as much physically - Teddy would be all in on that!  #7 climbs out of the valley for another challenging par four.  Aim your drive right to avoid the traps on the green’s left.  Saying the green is elevated is like saying Teddy had a strong will - a huge understatement!  Take an extra 2 mins and drive to the top before you hit your 2nd shot so you know what you're getting into! Turn back to the south for #8 – a cool looking downscape shot - sand to the right of a green full of tiers. If The Villages had a golf simulator, this would be an ideal golf shot to shoot over and over!  #9 is a hard closing hole, back up hill usually into the sun to a green slanting hard right.  Be glad if you've been facing a eastern wind all day cuz that's going to really help climbing "Mount Nine".  The green slopes down to the front right making this a hard par, no matter if you're Presidential or not!


Whenever I finish my last putt on Roosevelt, I feel I've accomplished something meaningful - like I took on a force of nature.  That regardless of my score, this course imparts a test worthy of my best effort.  Next time here I should wear some vintage Rough Rider gear instead of a silly golf shirt - Bully!

Toughest to Easiest:  

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

From the blacks!

Any level 4 course is going to be more difficult from the black tees.  For Roosevelt, you’re gonna really need that Big Stick!  Especially for #9 that goes off at 194 yards uphill.  #4 becomes longer and a more challenging downhill shot than #5.  Oh and #5 from an additional 25 yards is no picnic either.  The only good news is that neither of the par fours changes much.  Give it a try for a real test! 

And speaking of tests, one of Teddy’s most famous speeches fits well into our collective desire to compete, which seems fitting when playing from the Black Tees: 

"It is not the critic who counts.... The credit belongs to the one who is actually in the arena, who strives valiantly, who errs and comes up short again and again, because there is no effort without error or shortcoming, who spends himself for a worthy cause; who at the best, knows in the end, the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least he fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who knew neither victory nor defeat." 

----Teddy Roosevelt, May 7, 1918

Go Green!

Four of the par three’s play downhill at Roosevelt – playing those types of shots from the forward green tees is a big benefit.  This will be especially helpful on #5. The whole course plays 50% shorter than from black.  You’ll still have two par fours to deal with, but they're both just a little over 200 – you can do it - don't be with cold or timid souls who don't play Roosevelt!!

What’s nearby?

Given my appreciation for Teddy Roosevelt or anything historical, it makes sense to highlight something similar nearby.  Did you know The Villages has an Enrichment Academy, with hundreds of course and lecture offerings?  In the most recent course catalogue, I found nearly 50 offerings in the History Section alone - that's amazing!  There's so much more - from A (Aquatics) to W (Writing).  Here's the most recent catalogue and the Academy's website with info on how to enroll.  Most of the History courses were taught nearby in the Eisenhower, Lake Miona or Rohan Rec Centers.

It's a little farther away, but still in honor of Teddy Roosevelt’s impact and passion for National Parks, drive to the Everglades Regional Recreation Center south of the Turnpike to see an amazing collection of National Park photographs.  Count how many you’ve been to!  Is that more than Teddy did?

Everglades Rec Center

<<<< Your emotions tell you to bomb away on Roosevelt 6, but the smart play is to lay up to the 100-yard red stake and get an easy par. 


>>>>> This is what's behind the 8th green.  Don't go long - this looks like what Teddy and Rough Riders climbed out of in the San Jaun Heights fight!  

Roosevelt 8 from the front side looks way more appealing - except for that cloverleaf bunker that looks good only on St Patrick's Day! >>>>>

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.