The first of my three 18 hole rounds in Florida was at Grand Cypress, where I played with a friend. The course is in Orlando, about an hour for each of us, so it was a central location. My friend and I like to play new to us courses if we can, and I saw some tee times on Teeoff.com here for $65 each. I’m not sure sure how much money we saved this way compared to booking through the course’s website, but Teeoff.com is very easy to use. I use it more than Golfnow.com these days!
I meandered my way through town to the course and stopped for gas at station around the corner. In that short amount of time, I saw a Bentley, a Range Rover Sport, and a Mercedes S class so I knew that I had arrived in Orlando! Orlando just seems to be one of those towns with impressive cars all over the place! I turned into Grand Cypress and immediately got the resort vibe. The road to the clubhouse is lined with trees and nicely manicured, so it was clear that Grand Cypress positions itself as an upscale resort with some golf. I was amazed at the relaxed feel inside the walls compared to the hustle and bustle of the communities nearby!
Grand Cypress is a Jack Nicklaus facility with 45 holes. There are 27 holes, the North, South, and East nines, that are used in rotation of an 18 hole round. My friend and I played the East/North combination. There also is the “New Course” which was built a bit later, in the late 1980’s I believe. The New Course appears to be a links style course and looked awesome from the pictures that I found. I’ll be putting that on my list for the next time I visit Central Florida! Because this was our first trip here, we weren’t able to compare the East/North nines to the remaining holes on the property.
We started on the East nine and felt that this was tougher than the North nine. The East nine features a compact routing with as much water as you’d ever want to see on a course! It is on the narrower side and almost has a Florida parkland feel to it. I’ve never heard that term before, but thought it sounded good here! The water hazards surprised us in many spots so a GPS should help to avoid them. I somehow managed to hook a shot into a hazard that was designed for another hole! If you aren’t careful, you can lose ball after ball here even though the East nine is just under 3200 yards. Even if you can avoid the water, it still could be a long round! The way the small greens are designed, I needed an almost perfect iron to get close to the flag. There are little tongues and tough angles to conquer if you want a birdie putt. Plus, there are bunkers all around the greens. If missing the green, you will need a high, soft chip to get it close. That’s fine and dandy from a perfect lie, but the ground was firm which limited options around the greens. Tough is how I’d describe the East nine!
When it comes to memorable holes on the East nine, I think the 3rd is the nine’s best designed hole. It is a dogleg right par 5 that can potentially be reached in two. A hazard doglegs with the fairway so you’ll need to pick a line off the tee and hit it. If you don’t pick the proper line, or miss right of your correct one, then you could be dropping a long way back! If you chicken out to the left then you are up in some mounds and water lurks on the layup. The signature hole on the East nine is the 5th! It is a shorter par 3 that plays to an island green. The front of the green is narrower than the back so you’ll need a straight iron in order to play the next one. It is one of those “do or die” shots trying to hit the green.
While the East nine smacked us upside the head, we found the North nine more relaxing to play. The fairways on the North Course are wider and the routing is spread out across more land. It has more of a resort feel to it with condos (I’m assuming for rent) visible on maybe half the holes. Multiple bunkers have been filled, which is great because I thought the course as a whole was over bunkered. This North nine isn’t anything extraordinary, but it is more playable which is why I enjoyed it more!
The best holes on the North nine are the closing ones! The 7th and 9th are par 4’s with water all down the left side and any misses need to be out to the right. You will need to hit good drives and good second shots. I was very happy to play these two par 4’s with a bogey and a par! The 9th seemed to be a Nicklaus version of the 18th at the TPC Sawgrass, at least from what I’ve seen on TV! The 8th is a mid-length par 3 that is in a natural area and has great look to it!
The conditions were nice and I think it was a good value, especially since the game’s greatest golfer designed the course! Like all the courses that I played in Florida, Grand Cypress was on the firm side. The fairways were full and the greens were smooth and quick. The North greens were sanded, but I didn’t notice a difference in how they rolled; they just looked discolored.
From the nines we played, I’d say Grand Cypress is difficult. For reference, we played the blue tees which are 71.4/133/6385. I thought we played fine, but the strokes just added up too quickly for my liking. After the round my friend and I agreed that the course has an opportunity to become more playable! But, there are plenty of Nicklaus courses which fall into that category in my opinion! Other than that, I’d say Grand Cypress is a solid mid to high tier course.
East #1 (362 yard par 4):
East #2 (393 yard par 4):
East #3 (510 yard par 5):
East #4 (384 yard par 4):
East #5 (134 yard par 3):
East #6 (353 yard par 4):
East #7 (360 yard par 4):
East #8 (193 yard par 3):
East #9 (462 yard par 5):
North #1 (339 yard par 4):
North #2 (491 yard par 5):
North #3 (359 yard par 4):
North #4 (170 yard par 3):
North #5 (400 yard par 4):
North #6 (518 yard par 5):
North #7 (399 yard par 4):
North #8 (169 yard par 3):
North #9 (389 yard par 4):