Closer look: Water dominates the Preserve Golf Club at Tara in Bradenton
BRADENTON, Fla. -- The Preserve Golf Club at Tara sits inside a sprawling residential community right next to I-75. Sound like an urban jungle? Hardly.
More than 40 ponds create a dynamic target test of golf through a natural setting. Players who aren't striking the ball crisply or making good decisions will lighten their golf bag in a hurry. Water or wetland appears on virtually every hole of this 7,000-yard design by Ted McAnlis.
General Manager Scott Herman said golfers play The Preserve for a challenge. "The ponds get even more diverse with their shape and size on the back nine," he said. "It averages about two and a half ponds per hole. People come out here expecting a difficult course. There is a lot of thought process playing here."
A three-hole gauntlet leads players home. The par-5 16th is a double dogleg around several ponds. No. 17, a 220-yard par 3, flies over more water often into the wind off the Gulf of Mexico. The finishing hole checks in at 440 yards, the longest par 4 of the day.
"We've got some of the toughest finishing holes I've ever played," Herman added. "It is a tough home stretch."
The Preserve, which opened in 2000, is one of nine courses along the Florida Golf Trail, all owned or managed by Fore Golf Partners.