Par 28

Level 2 from 953 – 1,514 yards

Answer: The most unique opening shot in The Villages.  Queston: What is Volusia #1.  That’s how the Volusia course would be presented on Jeopardy.  But it’s when you try to putt on the first green that you're really put into jeopardy – it’s a real game show.  The green severely slopes back down the hill toward the tee box.  Nearly every option for cup placement is on a slant.  And anytime you putt and your ball breaks and travels further than the original putt, it’s more of game show than a golf shot.  After actually holing the putt, I fully expect to hear someone yell “Tell them what they won Don Pardo!”  Ok, here’s the deal.  Or in this case, no deal -> I really like playing Volusia, but I treat it as a game experience, more so than a golf experience.  And my score usually reflects that distinction!  Now for a real game question. Volusia 1 is the shortest shot from any Level 2, 3 or 4 course from the gold tees. What are the next four shortest holes? (Quiz Question 18)  


Ok, the game continues on #2.  This might be the easiest looking most difficult hole in town.  Just 112 yards from the golds with no hazards in the way.  But a crater on the right side of the green means putting again becomes a game of Concentration.  You think the sanity returns on the par four 3rd hole – a 325 straight shot downhill.  But it's like the Gong Show, complete with a bell.  Don’t hit your drive left - the fence line marks the out-of-bounds.  Just hit an easy drive anywhere - every shot will funnel down the hill into a gulley where your second shot is an easy approach.  Also, there are "No Trespassing" signs posted along the fence warning against attempts to retrieve errant drives, so don’t “waste” your time on wayward shots.  Once you’ve all reached the green, ring the gong to notify the next group it’s safe for them to shoot.  You’ll turn east to #4, to the first normal shot of the day, but to tell the truth, I’m already missing the craziness.  The green is perched up, so you need an accurate drop shot or you’ll roll off the pyramid.  #5 is the shortest with the best-looking trap and another difficult sloping green.  I’m reminded of the 90’s game show called Lip Service when teeing off on the 6th and 7th holes.  Both have frontal sand traps with a lip protruding up near the green requiring you to drop your drive down to a limited landing zone.  #6 is easier because the trap is father away from the green.  7 is the toughest drive of the day (pictured above) over water and that lip sticking up.  The green on 7 also has a subtle ridge running back to front in the center that funnels the ball away to either side.  It’s better to err to the left side.  (Volusia 1 and 7 are part of the mythical 18 Hardest Shortest Holes in town!) The 8th hole is unique with a quadruple set of traps.  The good news is it’s the first fairly flat green of the day so you won't have to ask What’s My Line? when aiming your putt!    The closing 9th hole is your final answer, or I mean final shot.  It’s a great finishing hole – downhill with sand on the front right to a wide green. 


Hope your “game show” experience had a mixture of fun and real golf.  The best foursome to play Volusia would be Villagers named Monty Hall, Alex Trebek, Bob Barker and Wink Martindale!  One thing is for sure.... The Price is Right!

Toughest to Easiest

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

From the Blacks!  

Might as well.  The black tee boxes add just 266 yards to the golds.  And the extra 40 yards on the par four #3 will be irrelevant as your tee shot will roll down the hill to the same gulley as it would from the golds.  You will notice a far more difficult shot on the 7th hole as you’ll have to hit directly over water to that overly protected green from 184 yards out.  And you’ll be on your own because you won’t be able to “phone a friend”!

Go Green!  

Volusia is a good course from the forward green tees. The only par four plays downhill and the eight other holes average about 80 yards each.  You’ll most appreciate the easier approach angle on the 7th toughest hole.

What’s nearby?

The Sarasota Golf Practice Center is a right across the street from Volusia.  It’s one of three Golf Academies in The Villages, where you can get individualized lessons and a unique driving range where you hit balls into a lake – and the balls float!  But the real game is to land your shot on this small island. Looks like many have! 


Before playing Volusia, decide if you are going to play from the green, gold or black tees.  Look at the Volusia Scorecard to determine the clubs you’ll likely use off the tee, then stop at the Driving Range to hit a small bucket of balls with just those clubs.   Too often, golfers use a driving range to blast their driver.  But practicing your irons will be far more valuable in our world of par threes, especially at Volusia where you hit a drive just once.   As a bonus prep, there’s a practice sand trap on the same side of Meyer Loop as the Volusia Starter Shack – in fact, if you really launched a shot out of the sand it might land on Volusia’s first green – but don’t let that dissuade you from practicing golf’s most difficult shot!

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.  

Volusia Views

V is for Volusia and V is for View - This picture is looking north from Volusia 2, one of the Tallest Tees in The Villages. That's the Sarasota golf range lake - if you could zoom in on this picture you would see thousand of floating golf balls!

Volusia shares a topographical feature with the Escambia course. Both are built on opposites sides of a landfill.  It's remarkably well covered except for the warning signs!   

An awesome view from the 2nd green is only surpassed by the look over the ridge on 3!

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