Yankee Clipper

Par 29

Level 3 from 1,323 – 1,978 yards

A Yankee Clipper is a 19th century sailing ship. It’s also the name of a Pan Am flying boat back in the 40's.  It’s even the name of Apollo 12’s Command Module.  But I think our Yankee Clipper golf course here in The Villages is named for the most famous Yankee Clipper of all – Joe DiMaggio.  He's the Yankee baseball legend who holds the incredible 1941 record of 56 consecutive games with a hit, and an equally notable streak of 237 days married to Marylin Monroe.  He symbolized the Heroic and Hollywood persona of the World War Two era that many original Villagers were drawn to.  Over a seven year span he hit more home runs than struck out.  Given his prodigious ability to hit the long ball, it’s fitting that Yankee Clipper is the longest executive course in The Villages, playing nearly 2,000 yards from the black tees.  So, in honor of my love of baseball, and the most famous Clipper of all, I'm going to call each hole an inning!  Let's Swing for the Fences! 


Last time out the starter told us to pull up to the white line because we were "On Deck" - so the baseball theme is really pervasive!  It would be even better if the starter yelled out “Play Ball!” when it was our time to tee off!  So, step up to the plate, tighten up your batting gloves and take a good swing on the 1st hole I'm calling the "1st Inning". You have to clear that wall on your first drive of the day.  The first green is tough - that will become familiar.  All the Yankee Clipper greens have distinct slants and ripples – they're like putting on a pitching mound.  Inning #2 is virtually the same shot as 1, but Inning #3 requires you to hit for the fences – it’s the longest par three on the course, over 170 yards from the gold tees.  You’ll need a frozen rope to land this green.  Get your driver out for the 4th Inning – it’s the first of two par fours.  This one has lots of fairway sand that'll vacuum in any bad hops.  But it’s got a huge welcoming green so it’s the better of the two fours for a par.  The 5th Inning is Yankee’s signature hole – as often the case, the shortest holes are some of the most challenging.  It’s like laying down the perfect bunt - it's harder than it looks. 


Today’s baseball players have their own “walk-up” song.  You’ll have yours on #5.  Music from the nearby Sea Breeze Pool will get you pumped up as you approach the batters box.  Enjoy that moment of pre-stroke swagger, choke up and swing confidently at this beauty! Then focus on reading the signals on this tough rolling green.  You’ll go around the horn for a long cart ride to the 6th Inning – another par four.  Take an easy swing for centerfield to set up the best approach shot - this will be the toughest green of the day.  It slopes hard down to the left, so aim your approach shot for an uphill putt.  The 7th inning stretch requires hitting a different club for the first time today - take a few extra practice swings in the on-deck circle before teeing off.  From the 8th tee box, you might see “Ducks on the pond”, but don’t look at the water - just make good contact to advance the runners and avoid the sand and the splash.  Get your closer up and out of the pen for the 9th Inning.  It’s uphill and plays into the predominant wind, so play it a bit longer than it looks.  Get a par, then “walk off” with a great feeling knowing you’ll be coming back soon for a Yankee Clipper curtain call!


It's a great time of the year - baseball is back on the field and the golf courses are greening up!  Touch 'em all! 

Toughest to Easiest:  

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

Major League Photos:

Play Ball!  Unlike the best baseball players, you don't want to hit one off the wall here!

Yankee 5 is short but the trap on the right and the swale on the left make it a narrow basepath to run.  It's good the water tower is directly behind the flag to give you a big target!

The 8th has the game's best seats - a pretty view of the whole yard.  

From the blacks!

Yankee Clipper is the ultimate black tee test – six of the seven par three holes are over 170 yards - #3 is like Fenway’s chasmic centerfield, needing a monstrous 203-yard drive.  You’ll need a large dose of some Mr. Coffee to be amped up to take on this challenge!  

Go Green!

Your first shot of the day is often the most stressful – Yankee #1 from the green tees will exert far less anxiety than from the golds or blacks.  You’ll also like the improved angle on the 5th hole.  But the two par fours still play nearly 300 yards each from the green tees, so that will be tough. Batter up?

What’s nearby?   

Need some extra innings?  How about two?  Rec Centers that is!  Sterling Heights and Sea Breeze Rec Centers are visible from the Yankee Clipper course.  There are only three other executive courses that are adjacent to 2 Recreation Centers. Can you name the others?  (Quiz Question 19).  


Sea Breeze is the larger and has all your bases covered – a cool Florida seaside vibe inside, complete with a fitness center.  Outside there’s everything a sports enthusiast could want – even sand paddle tennis!  Joltin' Joe would have loved to take a swing at this sport! 

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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