Viera East Golf Club delivers good golf in spring training land along Florida's Space Coast

By Jason Scott Deegan, Senior Staff Writer

VIERA, Fla. -- Justin Wasson has seen a lot in his nine years as the head professional at Viera East Golf Club.

Viera East Golf Club - hole 9
Water causes concern at the ninth green at Viera East Golf Club.
Viera East Golf Club - hole 9Viera East Golf Club - hole 10Viera East Golf Club - hole 13
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Viera East Golf Club

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Bordering the Indian River, Viera East Golf Club sprawls across a landscape of sparkling blue lakes and native marshland that is accented with towering pines and cypress trees. The well known layout is considered one of the best and most affordable public golf courses in Florida.

18 Holes | Public golf course | Par: 72 | 6669 yards | Book online | ... details »
 

A handful of hurricanes blew through in 2004 when he first started the job, knocking down historic oak trees and causing bunker and damage around the various ponds on the property.

He's seen a few baseball celebrities walk through the door, notably Ken Griffey Sr., Marquis Grissom and current Washington Nationals pitcher Stephen Strasburg. The Nationals train every spring at the Space Coast Stadium within three miles of the club.

Famous or otherwise, golfers who visit Viera East have come to expect a fun round on a solid golf course that's generally in good condition. Architect Joe Lee designed Viera East in 1994, the same year the Space Coast Stadium opened. These two entertainment options made living in the community more fun. Both will celebrated their 20th anniversary in 2013.

Viera East Golf Club: The course

The 6,669-yard course winds through a master-planned community, although the houses rarely impede upon the routing. Lee, a prolific architect throughout Florida, is perhaps best known for his partnership with Dick Wilson that produced La Costa Resort & Spa in southern California, the No. 4 course (nicknamed Dubsdread) at the Cog Hill near Chicago and the Blue Monster at Doral near Miami. Like his old boss (Wilson), Lee used bunkering to define the mostly flat Florida terrain. Golfers at Viera East encounter 66 traps on their journey.

"If you look at the courses he's designed, Joe Lee loves bunkers," Wasson said. "Between the number of bunkers and their locations, those two things make this course."

The winds off the ocean add a line of defense as well. Lakes and ponds frame the outlying areas of most holes, only creeping into play a handful of times. The most daunting tee shot comes at the par-4 10th, a dogleg right with water threatening those who tempt the corner. Ponds swallow poor approach shots to the short par-4 12th green and to the peninsula-like green on the par-5 14th hole. A wall of trees blocks those who drive it right on the par-4 sixth, the toughest par 4 on the course.

Mike Herrero, a resident of Westchester, N.Y., who owns a second home in the area, called Viera East one of the top golf courses on the Space Coast after a recent round.

"The course is in good shape. It is very fair with generous fairways," he said. "The bunkers were in great shape and were consistent. The greens were not cut shallow (today), but they roll perfect. I would definitely play here again."

Viera East Golf Club: The verdict

There's enough variety in the length and shape of the holes to keep anybody happy, even members who might play Viera East twice a week the rest of their lives.

Snowbirds with rusty golf games will love the forgiving fairways.

For the money, Viera East Golf Club certainly delivers a value.

Jason Scott DeeganJason Scott Deegan, Senior Staff Writer

Jason Scott Deegan has reviewed more than 700 courses and golf destinations for some of the industry's biggest publications. His work has been honored by the Golf Writer's Association of America and the Michigan Press Association. Follow him on Twitter at @WorldGolfer.


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