Play golf and enjoy the private Evergreen Club in Palm City as if you're a member

By Leigh MacKay, Contributor

PALM CITY, Fla. -- Would you like to play the gated, private Floridian Golf and Yacht Club in Palm City, the course where President Obama and Tiger Woods teed it up? Well, so would I, but don't count on getting an invitation any time soon!

Evergreen Club golf course - hole 7
The dogleg left seventh hole at The Evergreen Club reveals the lagoons that can come into play off the tee.
Evergreen Club golf course - hole 7Evergreen Club golf course - hole 17Evergreen Club golf course - holes 13 and 15Evergreen Club golf course - hole 16Evergreen Club golf course - hole 14
If you go

Crane Watch Club at Evergreen

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The Crane Watch Club at Evergreen is tucked away in a quiet residential community in Palm City. The 18-hole golf course opened in 1978 but has since undergone a complete renovation. The layout still has a classic design that was made more challenging but also more playable with the creation of five different tees.

18 Holes | Semi-Private golf course | Par: 72 | 6910 yards | Book online | ... details »

Within 500 yards of the Floridian, however, is The Evergreen Club, another gated, private community that will welcome you both with a tee time and a first-rate experience.

The Evergreen Club is located on 520 acres in northeastern Martin County, just off the St. Lucie River. Nestled among 299 one-acre home sites and under the auspices of a new owner, the golf course, practice areas and clubhouse have recently undergone extensive renovations and improvements.

Member Pat Vincelli, a nationally ranked senior player, chose Evergreen as his home course for several reasons: "First of all, the track is fun to play, and I certainly don't get bored by it. Second, it challenges the player off the tee, the lagoons play a strategic role, and the small, greenside bunkers are well positioned. Third, as a result, the course can produce a variety of scores. Every guest I've invited has scored higher than his handicap when playing Evergreen the first few times."

The Evergreen Club: The golf course

On the course, the TifEagle Bermuda greens are new, true and roll between 9-10 on the Stimpmeter, the bunkers have been recently edged and re-filled with sand, and a number of tees have been re-sculpted and re-sodded.

The course has also been lengthened and shortened, the former to test the long knockers who know no fear and the latter to encourage the "Tee It Forward" attitude that many players embrace. By adding 300 yards to the back, the tips now play at 6,910; by adding new tees in front, the forward tees measure 4,802 yards.

The driving range has been expanded, and complimentary balls are available all day long. The large putting green reflects the speed and undulations of the 18 on the course; also, a new, multi-teed chipping and pitching area allows for some short-game execution.

The renovated clubhouse contains a formal dining room, a grill room that functions more like a sports bar, a screened-in patio for luncheons and cocktails, men's and women's locker rooms, and a well-stocked pro shop.

"Evergreen is an experience that's hard to duplicate," said Charles Dyer, a longtime member and resident of the community. "As Pat said, it is fun and it is a challenge, but the course doesn't beat you to death every time you play it. We usually play in 3 1/2 to 3 1/4 hours. Waiting around to hit the next shot is rarely a problem. As I used to tell prospective members back when we were an equity club, 'Being able to play in 3 1/2 hours on any day and not having to worry about anything is a very civilized way to play golf.'"

The 18 holes wind their way among the upscale homes in a clockwise elliptical pattern. The fairways are ample but often have lateral lagoons that drown wayward drives, the Bermuda fairways provide excellent lies, and the greens quickly hold well-struck irons.

The prevailing wind, when it blows, shortens the first three holes -- two par 5s and the par-4 second, the No. 1-handicap hole -- but then magnifies the carries on holes four through seven and 10 through 14.

The finishing holes 15-18 are downwind once again, with the par-5 17th reachable in two if the second shot can carry the large lagoon guarding the front of the green. The variety of length (from the 6,273-yard Blue Tees) within the par 3s (135-174 yards), 4s (324-406 yards) and 5s (468-536 yards) demands the use of every club in the bag and maximizes the layout's attractiveness.

The Evergreen Club: The verdict

Guests might not shoot their handicaps the first time they tee it up, but they will be treated like a member and share in all the amenities.

Although Evergreen is gated and private, the club does encourage outside play, but these tee times can be obtained only through (and on this Web site) and not through the pro shop.

However, as Director of Golf Randy Raimondi said, "We are proud of our club. The open space and casual atmosphere set the tone for a relaxed yet challenging game of golf for all. We are very women and junior friendly, too, and we hope that you take advantage of to consider our club as your private golf get-away."

Leigh MacKayLeigh MacKay, Contributor

Leigh MacKay is a freelance golf writer who specializes in features and travel reviews. A member of Golf Writers Association of America, Golf Travel Writers, and International Network of Golf, he writes a monthly column, "Celebrity Golfer," for New England Golf Monthly and splits his time between Port St. Lucie, Fla., and Plymouth, Mass.

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