Meadowbrook Golf Club Offers Rare Combination in Florida

By Derek Duncan, Contributor

Here in the land of golf, from the keys in the south to the panhandle in the north, the sun seems to shine brightest and with the most fanfare on the hundreds of "designer" resort courses and country clubs with national reputations. In between and too often overlooked are the smaller, city owned golf courses where the locals play.

Meadowbrook Golf Club - Gainesville
Meadowbrook Golf Club in Gainesville, Florida
Meadowbrook Golf Club - Gainesville
If you go

One of these "sleeper" golf courses is Meadowbrook, just a few miles west of Gainesville. This little marvel of a course offers the rare combination of an intriguing layout, superb course condition, and unbeatable affordability.

Maxing out at a modest 6,284 yards from the championship tees, the course is short. The men's tees are placed only at 5,714 yards. Don't be too fooled by this diminutive yardage, however, because the course is tight and tricky and demands crafty shot making to score well. Many of the holes set up like corridors with thick barriers of pines standing just paces off the fairway, often relegating the driver an obsolete weapon.

Adding to the intrigue of this course is the unique hole configuration.

If you do choose the big stick, you'd better be able to control it. On many holes, particularly on the back nine, well struck balls quickly become errant shots when they roll even three yards through the fairway.

All the par fives are reachable (with the possible exception of the 18th), unless you find the center of the fairway.

Adding to the intrigue of this course is the unique hole configuration. Without a lot of acreage to work with, the layout takes a creative route. The front nine is designed to keep you off balance with the scorecard reading 5-3-5-3-4-4-3-3-5 for an out-going par of 35.

All told there are six par fives, six par threes, and six par fours at Meadowbrook. It's a difficult task to get into a rhythm here, but the course is ultimately both fun and fair, so you won't mind.

The back nine plays to par 37 but seems more natural, in both feel and length. It is the superior layout of the two nines, and a real test of golf. Here the elevation changes are greater, the holes are tighter, and precise shot making is demanded. You will be hard pressed to find three better holes on a public course than fifteen, sixteen, and seventeen.

The fifteenth is a 161 yard (back tees), downhill par three to a picturesque green nestled between three bunkers short and trees long and right. The green is large and inviting, but make sure you have enough club to get it back to the pin - this gorgeous hole plays longer than it looks.

The sixteenth is a tremendous par four, a long dogleg left of 435 yards bordered closely by trees all along the left side. You do get help on your drive, however, as the fairway is banked on both sides by steep hills, so minimally wayward tee shots will filter back into the short grass. The second shot is uphill to a blind green with deceptive undulations. Be happy to be in the center of the green in two.

The seventeenth is a short but treacherous 355 yard par four. It sets up longer than that because the intelligent play is to lay back off the tee with a long iron or fairway wood due to the massive trench that crosses the fairway beginning ninety yards shy of the green. And keep it straight, too, as the trees again severely crowd this hole. Oh, and keep the ball below the hole too, because if you're putting downhill, forget about it.

In addition the wonderful layout Meadowbrook is always in top condition. Driving up to the course from 98th street you'll fall in love with golf all over again as you spy the magnificently manicured fairways rolling in the distance through the trees, the rye grass shockingly green year round. It is the greens, however, that make the greatest impression. What gorgeous putting surfaces they are, particularly once you make the turn.

These sprawling, rolling gems look like carpets. They're not fast greens but they roll true. What a pleasure it is to putt on them. You will feel comfortable and wholesome as you step around this golf course.

What gorgeous putting surfaces they are, particularly once you make the turn.

The candle on this experience is the bargain price, maybe the best deal in golf. Play after 1 p.m. and you will pay only $14. And that includes a cart! Beat that. The clubhouse facilities are adequate if not remarkable, but the practice range and putting green are regulation size and well kept.

Parking and access to the course is simple, and if the pro shop and its retail offerings are a bit sparse, it doesn't matter. If you live in the greater Gainesville area this golf course is not to be missed.

To get to Meadowbrook Golf Club travel west out of Gainesville on West Newberry until you get to 98th. Turn north and go one mile. The golf course is on the left.

Meadowbrook Golf Club
3200 N.W. 98th St.
Gainesville, FL 32606

Derek DuncanDerek Duncan, Contributor

Derek Duncan's writing has appeared in,,,, LINKS Magazine and more. He lives in Atlanta with his wife Cynthia and is a graduate of the University of Colorado with interests in wine, literary fiction, and golf course architecture.

Reader Comments / Reviews Leave a comment