Sanctuary Ridge Golf Club (Clermont, FL on 11/23/16)

My friend and I were back at it the next day for some more golf! Sanctuary Ridge looked intriguing and (again) it was convenient to both of us so we gave it a try!

The interesting thing about Sanctuary Ridge is that on it’s website, it claims to play similar to a mountain course! I’m not sure I’d agree 100% with that statement, but this part of Central Florida does have some hills so isn’t all swamp like you might expect! While pulling into the parking lot, I was able to see homes dotting the rolling hills for a few miles! In all honesty, the view from the parking lot is one of the better golf course views (non-coastal) that I’ve experienced in Florida.

The reason that you’ll want to play Sanctuary Ridge is because of all the elevation change that it features! Florida golf can get a bad rap since many courses have similar layouts with homes, water, and sand. The course is in Clermont, which is one of the highest points in the state and Sanctuary Ridge utilizes it’s location to offer a unique Florida golf experience! Just make sure not to expect a course like you’d find in the Sierra Nevadas or Smokies, or you will be completely disappointed! The starter gave us a few tips, that proved helpful, and we got going.

We played the gold tees (69.4/119/6581) and after playing the first couple holes we knew that Sanctuary Ridge was going to be a nice change from the normal Florida course. Some might grown when they hear that the course is routed through a community, but I think there are so many wonderful holes here! I say that because many holes have at least a club of elevation change and you have to think, making sure to favor the high sides of the holes. The 1st hole drops down to the green, so much so that it is a blind layup! There is a super deep bunker that is hidden off to the right that I ended up in, doh! The 2nd, a long par 3, is probably the signature hole. It plays about two clubs downhill and I could barely see the front flag from the tee box. The rest of the course continues with the uphill, downhill, and sidehill theme. The 9th, which plays along a lake, is another good hole. You’ll want to err on the left side to avoid the water and then the hole climbs severely up to the green. I didn’t think that I could fire at the right flag so I chased an iron between the bunkers short of the green. The course is a par 71 and the front nine is a par 35 with two par 5’s and three par 3’s.

I preferred the back nine as there are some more natural areas, at least off to one side of the course, and about half the holes on the back could be signature holes. The setup on the back nine is a bit unusual too as it is a par 36 with just one par 5 and one par 3. That leaves seven par 4’s (that is the extent of my math!) and you’re probably expecting me to say how boring and uninteresting it is to have so many par 4’s. Good guess, but that isn’t the case here! There is some great variety on the par 4’s on the back as the yardages range from 330 to 435 yards and the tee shots require some thought! The 10th is a short par 4, that could be driven by the longer hitters. There are even a couple ways to play it if you lay up, I tried to chip an 8 iron from 60 yards and skip the ball forward on the slope short of the green. On the 11th, you can lay the tee shot back to a flatter spot or blast a drive to the bottom of the hill leaving just a flip wedge. The 15th is another good tee shot and I had no idea where to hit it because the fairway seems to fall into a massive sinkhole! It is a dogleg left and you can actually hit it over the group of green trees in my picture, just make sure to take enough club. Finally, the 17th is a short par 4 that climbs a steep hill. Good luck clipping a wedge from an uphill lie into a small green with a deep bunkers short! Oh, and that 17th green has some severe slope from back to front.

When it came to the conditions, I’ll admit Sanctuary Ridge didn’t look great because it was pretty dry, but it played just fine. For only $27, I had no complaints about the conditions! The course should drain well because of the slopes so it might be a good choice after a downpour. The starter was telling us that the course was even open a day after last month’s hurricane. The tees and fairways were full and cut down. A few different grasses and divots were in the fairways, but they didn’t play. The greens were smooth and quick, I’d love to play every round on greens like this! I managed to rattle home some putts inside 10 feet which always helps, but much of that was credit to how they rolled. Once off the fairway conditions weren’t as good. There wasn’t much rough and many patches of sand/dirt. I agree with recent online reviews that the bunkers could use some help too; the course could benefit from some new sand which would make the visuals “pop” in addition to the improved consistency! That would be a healthy project though as there are plenty of bunkers here.

Overall, I was glad that we visited Sanctuary Ridge. Sanctuary Ridge turned out to be a good value, delivers on the promised elevation changes, and I found it player friendly. I’d probably say it is on the easier side with wider fairways and some flatter greens, but we didn’t mind after getting our butts kicked the day before at Grand Cypress. It isn’t on the level of some of the attraction courses in Orlando, but it was worth my 45 minute drive.

#1 (535 yard par 5):

#2 (205 yard par 3):

#3 (370 yard par 4):

#4 (420 yard par 4):

#5 (360 yard par 4):

#6 (175 yard par 3):

#7 (525 yard par 5):

#8 (181 yard par 3):

#9 (395 yard par 4):

#10 (330 yard par 4):

#11 (410 yard par 4):

#12 (545 yard par 5):

#13 (435 yard par 4):

#14 (175 yard par 3):

#15 (365 yard par 4):

#16 (405 yard par 4):

#17 (335 yard par 4):

#18 (415 yard par 4):


One thought on “Sanctuary Ridge Golf Club (Clermont, FL on 11/23/16)

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