TPC Tampa Bay Golf Review
One of the Area's Premier Golf Facilities
By David Theoret
Since being built in 1991, the TPC Tampa Bay has earned numerous accolades including a 4 ½ star rating in Golf Digest's Places to Play. It has an annual been spot as the top golf course in the Tampa Tribune's Readers' Choice Awards. TPC Tampa Bay has also been named the top golf facility in West Central Florida as well as one of the top five in the State by the readers of Florida Golf Magazine. In 2008, TPC Tampa Bay was ranked number 18 of the top 50 public facilities in the country by Golf World Magazine in their annual 'Reader's Choice: Best Places to Play edition. Over the past seventeen years TPC Tampa Bay has truly evolved into one of the most beautiful and exciting courses in Florida.
The 18-hole, par 71 TPC Tampa Bay layout plays almost 7000 yards from the champion tees and 4,990 yards from the forward tees. The course is routed around natural wetlands, cypress groves and numerous ponds (lakes here in Florida), which are home to an abundance of wildlife. Deer, foxes, otters, armadillos, alligators, egrets, storks, cranes, blue heron, and eagles all inhabit the golf course. This natural setting and wildlife variety is the reason why TPC Tampa Bay has been designated as an Audubon Cooperative Sanctuary. The course was designed by Bobby Weed with Chi Chi Rodriguez serving as player consultant.
Most Memorable Hole Number 18, Par 4, 414 yards (Green Tees). Not only is this hole the most memorable, it's probably the most challenging. The water down the right side is intimidating and begs you to challenge it. A good drive will still leave a lengthy approach shot and a right side pin has "sucker" written all over it as the water comes in tight. The green is long; probably a 3 club difference between front and back. A birdie here deserves a drink in the clubhouse. Make a birdie and have someone else pay!
Favorite Par 3: Number 6, 124 yards (Green Tees). For some reason, this hole gives me fits. The green is small compared to the other par 3 greens and the sand on the short left and long right seems to attract golf balls. There's not a whole lot to it, especially when you're coming off a short par 4 that provided a good birdie opportunity. Here's a good chance for two in a row.
Favorite Par 4: Number 9, 418 yards (Green Tees). This is one of those holes where either playing with someone that knows the course or buying a yardage book in the pro shop will pay great dividends! Water lines the left side of the fairway and to the surprise of unsuspecting golfers winds back into the middle of the fairway and will swallow up what you may think is a great tee shot. The best tee shot is down the right middle of the fairway; not too far right or you may find the woods. Your approach shot will be anywhere from 175 - 220 yards to a green that slopes back to front. It takes two good shots to make par; three to go par one better!
Favorite Par 5: Number 14, 538 yards (Green Tees). Tame this monster and consider the day a success! With water all down the left side right up to the green, the best way to play this very long dogleg left is down the right side. Don't try to bite off more than you can chew off the tee; it's still going to take three well played, long shots to reach this elevated green. As you play down the right, you will need to avoid three well placed bunkers short of the green's right side.
At TPC Tampa Bay, you can get a feel for the conditions tour professionals deal with each week. More specifically, the importance of keeping the ball in the fairway. Anything in this Bermuda rough is going to take a lot more club - and effort - to hit the ball as far as you need to. Even if you do manage to keep the ball in the fairway, you'll find that some of them have more undulation than the greens. Speaking of greens, you'll also get somewhat of a feel of what it's like to putt on tour as these greens can run 11-12 on the stimpmeter. With all of the subtle undulations and hidden breaks, escaping this course without a three-putt can be seen as a victory. Many of the greens are elevated and surrounded by high mounds and grass swales. Miss the green on approach and you'd better have a great short game in order to save par. Sand traps are strategically placed on each hole, with several in the fairway that can be quite penal.
Your tee selection goes a long way to determining your level of enjoyment out here. The course is set up for all levels of golfers to enjoy themselves, provided you choose the set of tees that best suits your game (and handicap). I found it a good challenge from the green tees (6,332/70.4/131) while my senior playing partners found the white tees (6,008/69.0/126) all that they could handle. Check out the scorecard for TPC's recommendation based on your handicap. For more information or to book a tee time, give them a call at (866) PLAY-TPC or visit their website: www.tpctampabay.com.
Revised: 07/08/2016 - Article Viewed 29,465 Times
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About: David Theoret
David Theoret has been in the golf and golf travel industry for over 10 years, primarily selling online advertising. For the past seven years, he has also been a golf writer, reviewing golf courses, resorts, destinations, equipment, golf apparel, and training aids - the latter of which never seems to help. David's articles and reviews have been posted on many golf travel and equipment websites.
Growing up in Southwestern Ontario, Canada, it was naturally assumed he would play hockey. Beginning at the age of 3 and continuing into his late 30's, he did just that. However, after one too many pucks to the head, he realized that golf was a lot easier on the body (whoever said hockey players were slow) and took the game up.
After moving to Florida and accepting a position with TravelGolf Media (now part of GolfNow) his love for the game grew exponentially. Most Saturdays you will find him on a course somewhere in Florida or on the practice range reinforcing his bad habits. David plays to a 10 handicap - unless there is money involved in which case it goes considerably higher. He currently resides in Lakeland, FL with his wife Belinda and their two "kids", Madyson and Molly.
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