Golf Club at Cypress Head a muni? You'd never know it
PORT ORANGE, Fla. — The Golf Club at Cypress Head doesn't sound like the name of a municipal golf course. The name implies a ritzy resort course, or maybe an expensive, la-te-da affair in a swank neighborhood, with CEOs strutting around like peacocks.
When you pull into the parking lot and get your first glimpse of it, it doesn't look like a municipal golf course. Even when you walk off No. 18, it doesn't feel like you've just played a municipal golf course.
And yet that's what it is: a muni.
"Yeah, but it's one of the best munis in northeast Florida," said Tyler LeCompte, playing with his buddy Jeremiah Johnson. "It's a beautiful course and they keep it in great condition."
Funny, that's what Bill Dichiara, standing behind the pro shop counter said, changing only the geography slightly.
"It's one of the nicest public courses in central Florida," Dichiara said. "And we're very competitive with green fees. Actually, we're one of the cheapest courses in the area."
True on both counts. Cypress Head is an excellent course most resorts would be proud to display, and the cheap green fees ranging from $37-$57 make it more of a bargain.
Opened in 1992, the course was designed by Arthur Hills and Mike Dasher, and it has Hill's characteristic greens: fast and well-contoured. Many of the greens have some pretty dramatic slope and undulation, and it's to superintendent Dennis Pickavance's credit that they're in terrific shape at a time when many central Florida courses are wrestling with the aftermath of last summer's hurricanes.
It is a typical Florida course in that it is relatively flat with a lot of water, with water on 14 holes, and wetlands to negotiate almost all over the layout. It is fairly traditional in that it has mostly tree-lined fairways.
It also plays through a residential neighborhood, like so many Florida courses, with many of the homes encroaching on the fairways and tee boxes. Nevertheless, Hills and Dasher fashioned an interesting course on terrain that lacks drama, other than the many ponds that you play around and over.
They did it by giving you challenges that differ from hole to hole, partly by eschewing traditional routing. For instance, there are back-to-back par 3s on the front nine and the two closing holes are back-to-back par 5s. If you happen to have a friendly wager on the game, the last two holes will make it interesting.
About those par 3s — they are difficult, especially from the back tees. No. 6 is a 197-yard one-shotter through a narrow chute of trees. No. 12 is a 214-yarder over marsh to a relatively long, but thin green with water to the right. No. 16 is 178 yards, again, through a narrow tunnel of trees.
Cypress Head is a must-play in the Daytona Beach area, especially at those prices. It's well inland, west of Interstate-95 and about 10 miles from the Atlantic Ocean, and it can be a bear when the ocean breezes reach it.
It's a medium-length course at 6,832 yards, with a slope rating of 139 from the tips, and there are a number of holes that have fangs.
The 522-yard, par 5 second hole requires a pretty good carry over water to reach the plateau fairway that drops off to the right of you're short. It's decision time on your second shot, lay up or carry the little marsh area short of the small, sloped green with a deep collection area right.
The closing par 5 has water all down the left, and the green sits at a sharp angle to the fairway, which means you'll almost certainly be hitting your second shot over water.
The course plays through a cypress forest and preserved wetlands and most of the greens are nicely framed by the native vegetation. Still, there are too many homes too close to the course to call it pristine.
It's owned by the city of Port Orange and managed by Kemper Sports.
Stay And Play
When you come to a place with "beach" in its name, you want to actually see it, right? Perry's Ocean Edge Resort comes through in that respect, sitting smack dab on the Atlantic Ocean; you can hear the waves crashing on shore from your room or balcony.
The resort, one of Daytona Beach's biggest, has more than 700 feet of landscaped oceanfront, whirlpool/spa, two outdoor pools with a poolside bar and a heated, indoor pool in a 10,000 square-foot atrium. It also has home-made donuts in the mornings that I defy you to pass up.
The resort caters to families and has a children's activities program. They also offer volleyball, bocce ball, basketball, shuffleboard and horseshoes. There are about 20 golf courses within a 30-minute drive.
There is a small, casual restaurant adjacent to Perry's that serves breakfast and lunch. For fine dining, try Rains Supper Club on Seabreeze — oh, you absolutely must try the Chilean sea bass — which opens up a night club upstairs after 9 p.m.
Daytona Beach has a number of excellent restaurants, among them: the Bonefish Grill, Chops, and the Inlet Harbor Marina and Restaurant.
The Daytona Beach News-Journal has voted the course the "best around" for two years running.
March 14, 2006