Nature makes Seven Springs Golf and Country Club in New Port Richey a challenging -- and fun -- round
NEW PORT RICHEY, Fla. -- Keep it straight. That's all that matters.
At Seven Springs Golf and Country Club, the key is to keep it in the fairway. There's water and a lot of tree-lined fairways, and buying a course caddie book is key to avoiding a tough round.
Seven Springs doesn't appear to be a tough course. At 6,431 yards from the tips, it isn't the longest golf course in the Tampa Bay area or even the longest in the neighborhood. Fox Hollow Golf Club, for one, plays longer.
But Seven Springs is tough. Most Tampa Bay-area golf courses use water as their defense. Seven Springs offers foliage and even alligators, although water does come into play on most holes on the most errant shots. Most of the holes are straight, but the trees and water make Seven Springs more difficult than most courses in the Tampa Bay area.
Seven Springs is in Pasco County, kind of out of the way from some of the area's more celebrated courses, but if you do not mind spending some time checking out Pasco County golf courses, it is worth a trip.
There are plenty of courses in the area, including the four courses at Innisbrook Resort and Golf Club, and several others, including Fox Hollow, about five minutes away. If you are not looking for nightlife, a trip to Pasco County has a lot to offer, and Seven Springs is a great place to start.
"It's challenging, fair and one of the best-conditioned courses in the area," Assistant Golf Professional Paul Boyko said. "Keep it in the middle, and you are in good shape. Spray it, and you are putting up some big numbers."
Seven Springs Golf and Country Club's Champion and Challenger Courses
The Champion, designed by noted Florida golf architect Ron Garl, starts off tough and gives an indication of things to come. No. 1 is the top-handicap hole on the course and is a 392-yard par 4 that requires a tee shot over water, not the first thing someone wants to see for their first shot. It isn't long, but keeping the tee shot to the right is key. There are trees on both sides, but the right side is more forgiving.
The second is a long par 3 that has water on the right of the green. It's 180 yards, not too long, but there are trees to the left, so club selection is vital. The front side is longer but also a little more tame than the back side where water makes an even bigger difference.
"The front is where you can pick up some strokes," Boyko said. "The back side is tighter with more water. If you can't hit the driver straight, keep it in the bag."
The 10th stars off the backside with an easy par 3 -- just 149 yards with little trouble -- but it gets more interesting going down the stretch. No. 15 is a 367-yard par 4 with an extremely tight landing area off the tee. The approach requires the right club, because there is trouble everywhere around the green. That's followed by a long, par-4 16th that plays to 425 yards, the longest par 4 on the course. It's a dogleg left, but keep the driver in the bag because a drive that runs through the fairway is buried in a bunker to the right.
There are no GPS systems on the carts at Seven Springs, so get the caddie card. The course takes a lot of strategy and planning shots in advance. Being on the right side of the fairway is key to mastering the course, so do some homework before each hole.
"I knew coming out here, from what I heard, that this was a tough track, but I tend to hit it straight," said Joe Elkins from Louisville, Ky. "I don't hit it far, so I had a great time. The course is in great shape."
Seven Springs is one of the more popular golf courses in Pasco County, but it offers plenty of amenities you don't find at other courses. The club is known throughout the Tampa Bay area for its catering and banquet service, and the Sunday brunch is second to none. Take advantage of the blintzes, but make reservations in advance.
Seven Springs Golf and Country Club: The verdict
Seven Springs Golf and Country Club is one of the best golf facilities Pasco County has to offer.
It's a little off the beaten path, but so is most of Pasco County. There are plenty of accommodations and you can plan an entire golf junket in Pasco County that is rewarding, especially if you want to stay away from the traffic and noise of Tampa or Orlando.
Just be sure to hit it straight.