Rosedale Golf and Country Club is Bradenton's underrated gem

By Jeff Berlinicke, Contributor

BRADENTON, Fla. -- Bradenton offers some great golf deals, not to mention a short drive to some of Florida's best beaches, but the best golf here might be at Rosedale Golf and Country Club.

Rosedale Golf & Country Club - hole 12
Rosedale Golf & Country Club is one of the best-manicured courses in Bradenton, Fla.
Rosedale Golf & Country Club - hole 12
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Rosedale Golf & Country Club

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Rosedale Golf & Country Club boasts beautiful conditions and friendly service that has made it the most popular golf course in Bradenton. The layout is somewhat tight but scenic pockets of nature and stands of trees give it a more spacious feel. The fast greens roll true and are often framed by tricky hazards.

18 Holes | Semi-Private golf course | Par: 72 | 6714 yards | Book online | ... details »

Rosedale isn't the easiest course to find, but it is worth tracking down. It is one of the best-manicured courses in Bradenton -- and maybe the entire Tampa Bay region -- and it is challenging, with tight fairways and water that comes into play on 12 holes. The greens are not too undulating, but they are fast and small.

"We think we have some of the best greens anywhere," said Mike Clayton, the head professional at Rosedale. "It's tough, really tough, but it is fair and challenging. The scenery is great and you can see plenty of wildlife out here."

Noted Florida golf architect Ted McAnlis designed Rosedale in 1993, and the course still looks brand new. It doesn't do anyone any favors, though, with more trees than most Florida courses to go along with the water. No drives are safe at Rosedale, which is 6,714 yards from the tips but plays a lot longer when you consider the fairways and hazards. There are few driver holes on the course.

Rosedale Golf and Country Club: The front nine

Rosedale's first hole has trees running all the way down the right side and water, which should be cleared easily, on the left. That's followed by a harsh dogleg right with water on both sides.

The biggest bite on the course is the 438-yard par-4 fifth hole. It has the tightest landing area at Rosedale and plenty of sand running most of the way down the right side. The rough at Rosedale is deeper than most Florida courses so keeping it in the fairway is vital, especially since the fairways are so tight.

It gets a little easier until the 362-yard par-4 ninth. The tee shot goes to a generous fairway, but there is water on both sides of the green.

Rosedale Golf and Country Club: The back nine

Both sides play to the exact same length from the tips, but the back nine is more difficult. The 15th hole requires a long carry over water and has sand on the left and trees down the right side. Hitting a draw is key or you'll find yourself in one of the four fairway bunkers. That's followed by No. 16, a hole with no water but trees everywhere and a hidden bunker on the landing area on the right side.

"Rosedale deserves more respect because it might be the nicest course in the Bradenton/Sarasota area," Bradenton resident Mike McCauley said. "It's a bear of a course. I am not great with the driver, but that doesn't matter here because you would be a fool to drive it out here unless you are a professional. Great practice facilities and the place is always in great shape."

Rosedale Golf and Country Club: Instruction and facilities

The Steve Whidden Golf Academy is one of the top instruction facilities in all of Tampa Bay. Whidden was named the 2010 Southwest Florida PGA Teacher of the Year, and his prices are quite affordable. He teaches on-course shot instruction, game assessment and much more.

With a grass driving range, two putting greens, a chipping and bunker practice area, Rosedale can prepare you for a round, not just at its course, but for the number of excellent courses within a half-hour drive.

Rosedale also offers a full-service bar and restaurant, including lunch, dinner and a Sunday brunch. There is also tennis, a pool and a fitness center for members.

Rosedale Golf and Country Club: The verdict

Take the time to check out Rosedale on any golf outing in the Bradenton/Sarasota area. It might be southwest Florida's most underrated course.

Jeff BerlinickeJeff Berlinicke, Contributor

Jeff Berlinicke is a golf writer based in Tampa, Fla. He writes for multiple publications including the Tampa Tribune, Golf Fitness Magazine, and the Associated Press. He has also received multiple honors from the Florida Press Association.

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