Par 27

Level 2 from 952 – 1,371 yards

Few courses can boast having 2 of the 18 best looking golf shots in town.   And only two courses have two in a row.  Saddlebrook is one of them.  What a stretch!  It’s a fun level 2 course that everyone can play, laid out around a fountain filled lake designed in a way to accentuate club selection – I used 6 clubs off the gold tees.  And the closing hole is one of my favorite finishes!  That’s a lot of positives to look forward to!  You only have to get through the first two holes first.  Those are the saddle sores of Saddlebrook.  But once you get to the 3rd tee box, your round will easily surpass that start.  


#1 is bad looking – picture me getting up onto a saddle – yes, that bad looking.   Avert your eyes, swing, putt, move on.  #2 is not much better, like looking at me up on that saddle at full gallop.  But then you turn north and things begin to look up!  It’s like you opened a door and a real golf course emerged!  Aim your drive to the left side of the 3rd green for the best putt angle.  #4 is a fun short downhill shot with a funky trap on the right.  Things begin to really shine as you turn west and face the sun for the first time today.  If you’re playing late in the afternoon, you may have to squint like Clint to see the green.  It might be better if you don’t see what’s ahead of you anyway – a huge sloping green – about a four-foot drop to the left.  So, try to simultaneously squint and aim left!  Turn north for a wonderful stretch of shots that equal any in The Villages - #6-9 are really good.   The 6th hole has it all – water, triple traps and a pretty white fence along the back.  Only two traps await you at #7 but the slight downhill approach will make you feel confident in reaching the center of the green.  It gets even better at 8 & 9.  These two closing holes are the equal to Gray Fox as picture perfect finishes, both on my list of Postcard Holes.  The 8th plays downhill to an upward sloping green.  It’s only 120 from the golds, so you can focus your energy on the look, not trying to hit a perfect golf shot.  But a nice little drop below the pin will give you the best chance at par.  The 9th is uphill from 132, so it’s more of a challenge.  But it’s the “Augusta” like picture that will capture your attention here.  That’s the Saddlebrook Rec Center (pictured above) in the back and a perfect live oak near the left side trap.  It’s a flawless finish! You cannot be unhappy hitting this last shot – one of the best closing holes in The Villages! 


Some of my favorite courses start really bleak but finish with a flurry.  It’s much like Churchill Greens and Pimlico.  But from three on, Saddlebrook is an exceptional short course. Try playing it late in the day - you'll want to ride off into the sunset on this one! 

Toughest to Easiest:

2, 5, 6, 9, 3, 7, 8, 1, 4 – Toughest Green 5

From the Blacks!

Yes!  You’ll need to be strong to reach #2 and accurate to land #5.  Both are testers from the black tee box.  But the 6th and 7th holes will be the most enjoyable shots from blacks.  Anytime you have use longer irons to land a green with flanking traps, your game is highly challenged.  Saddle Up!

Go Green! 

Saddlebrook is a perfect place to play from the green tees.  Under 1,000 total yards means you can enjoy the scenery (beginning with the 3rd hole!) and not feel pressure to play fast.  The only water to deal with is on the edge of #5.  And the 4th hole is just 75 yards – one of the closest cups in The Villages.  You’ll get all the positive vibes from the closing 4 holes without any of the hassles that come from playing harder courses!

What's Nearby?

If you’re arriving to the course from the south, you’ll cross under 466 then come up to an incredible quarter mile tree covered canopy.  It’s a bucket list trip that unfortunately lasts only a minute, unless of course you make a U-Turn and go back and forth a few times!  Go ahead you’ve got time on your hands! 


After your game go north to the Saddlebrook Softball Fields – maybe you’ll catch a game.  Did you know we have 5 complexes like this one?  There are 10 divisions of Neighbor or Recreation teams of varying levels that compete year-round in three distinct seasons.  As with everything here, the scale is impressive and the opportunities for all skill levels is easily available. 




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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