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Courses We Love: Winter Park Golf Course

Courses We Love: Winter Park Golf Course

If there are more fun 9 hole courses in the US that combine community, golf and a heavy dose of charm, then we can't wait to find these gems.  Until then, our heart belongs in Winter Park, Florida at the recently renovated Winter Park Golf Course by Keith Rhebb and Riley Johns.  At a little over 2,500 yards and at a par 35 with wide fairways, lots of short grass and interesting green complexes, WP9 is built for fun.  And it can easily be played in 1-1.5 hours.  To us, every major city in the country has the ability to recreate this type of golf with a little imagination and vision.  We won't say 'grow the game' as that is the most overused phrase in golf, but if you want to get people to play golf and fall in love with the game, the formula is in Winter Park, about 20 mins north of Orlando.

As proponents of all things walking golf, have an inside peak at Winter Park GC as we have a brief look at our favorite holes.

Source: Keith Rhebb

1st Hole - par 4 241 yards

The opening hole is a very gentle handshake and a fun short par 4 that really plays as a par 3.5.  However, the green is a push up and provides some interesting approach shots.  A large bunker short right of the green dictates strategy.  Hitting down the left side opens the green a up bit more as the front left is a semi-bowl.  A shot down the right side can make for a tough short pitch over the bunker with the green running away.

Source: Keith Rhebb

3rd Hole - par 5 430 yards

The third hole is a straight away par 5 and easily reachable by longer hitters.  However, a large bunker on the left of the fairway dictates strategy. Ideally hitting close to it allows you to avoid the trees on the right, which could block out your 2nd shot in going for the green. The green is really deep with lots of interesting contours making eagle and birdie putts a challenge.

Source: Keith Rhebb

Hole 4 - par 5 495 yards

The second of back-to-back par 5s is a bit more of a challenge than the 3rd hole.  A large bunker inside this sharp dogleg left dictates strategy.  A 260+ carry over this bunker leaves a mid-iron in.  However, OB steps left of the bunker could lead to a reload.  Aiming out right leaves a longer second shot with a deep bunker left and a back-to-front sloping green standing between you and birdie.

Source: Keith Rhebb

Hole 5 - par 4 364 yards

The fifth is a fun hole.  A wide fairway with a couple bunkers on the left starting at 200 and requiring a 220+ carry dictates strategy.  Bailing right puts a large tree between you and the green.  The green is slightly elevated and has a bit of a sideways Biarritz to it with a swale in the middle creating two distinct halves.

Source: Keith Rhebb

Hole 6 par 4 262 yards

The sixth is a fun send it type hole.  Aiming over the trees, the green is protected by a large bunker in the front center of the green.  The safe play is to aim out left with a long iron and wedge into the green.  The green slopes back to front with a good bit of depth behind the bunker.

Source: Keith Rhebb

Hole 9 par 4 240 yards 

The ninth comes back to the clubhouse with the shaded patio just left of the green and the parking lot running to the right and behind the green. The green can be reached with a long iron, but don't slice one into the parking lot! Missing left leads to a difficult recovery shot as well as there is a little swale protecting the left side of the green. 

With a commitment to community inspired walking golf, we can not think of a more fun place to play a round than Winter Park.  And with people like Matt Ginella heavily involved, there are not many places we would rather play in his Friday afternoon skins game where par putts are picked up!

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