Great price and 27 holes: Don't overlook Silver Dollar Golf Club north of Tampa
ODESSA, Fla. -- Silver Dollar Golf Club is not a place for a Stevie Williams or a Steve "The Volcano" Pate. The 27 holes of golf are nice enough but located on the same property as a gun range means there are bullets fired away during many a backswing.
Silver Dollar, designed by Dan Maddux, is located adjacent to The Eagles Golf Club, a 36-yard track that is a lot more difficult for the high-handicaps. But the Silver Dollar is just about right. There are a lot of holes bunched together, so some of the higher-handicappers may have some surprises coming right at their heads from the courses' usual array of newcomers to the game.
It starts with an 18-hole course, followed by a newer nine-hole track.
"All three nines are completely unique from one another," said Head Professional Bobby Cobianco. "You have to play all 27 for the full experience."
Silver Dollar's Bobcat Course is the first nine, while the Gator is the second nine for those wanting to post an 18-hole score, although going straight to the Panther Course, if the coast is clear, won't change your round at all.
The Bobcat starts off with a long par 5 that, even at 475 yards, you can cut off a large chunk of by driving over a fenced-in area on the dogleg right. It takes some guts, but long hitters can easily start off with a birdie clearing the fenced-in field on No. 1 and leaving a short wedge. The par-5 seventh is the longest hole on the Bobcat at 479 yards with length its only obstacle.
It's time to make the turn to the Gator, which -- since is it located around a swampy, wooded area -- gives the nine an appropriate name. There are three par 5s, but save your longest for No. 8, a 576-yard behemoth that includes several doglegs. Cobianco claims to be the only golfer to ever reach the green in two.
The Panther is the third option at Silver Dollar. It's not for bombers, but accuracy is at a premium. There are three par 3s, including the 123-yard 11th hole, which requires an accurate tee shot to a hole guarded tightly by trees all the way down the left side. No. 16 is the first of two straight par 5s and is straight but has water guarding the front of the green. So even if it plays at 512 yards, going for it in two is not an option.
The course is set up with the Gator and the Bobcat playing as two sets of holes 1-9 and the Panther closing out at 10-18 for players only looking to go 18 for the day, but it's recommended to play the Bobcat, Gator and Panther in that order. Pick your best score between the Bobcat and Gator, then combine it with the Panther, and there's your 18-hole score for the day.
Silver Dollar Golf: The verdict
Silver Dollar is a great golf course for players looking to knock a few strokes off the handicap. You won't lose a lot of golf balls, and you can bring along a beginner for the fun of it. Besides a practice tee area, there is a three-hole practice course, and there is plenty of room for walk-ons.
"This is the first time he's ever played," said Marty Herold, a 10-handicap who had his 10-year old son tag along. "He never got discouraged, so that's a good thing."
As for food, Silver Dollar serves typical golf fare, but after 27 holes, it's getting close to dinner, and Odessa isn't known for its restaurants. You're best bet is to take the 20-mile drive into West Tampa where you can find almost anything.
For 27 holes and a great rate, Silver Dollar Golf Club offers a decent round with some tough fairways leading to larger greens. It's not TPC Tampa Bay and doesn't try to be, but it's a great daylong golf outing for beginners or those prepping for one of the area's big boys.
September 6, 2011