I was in Florida for Thanksgiving and found time for plenty of golf! Heck, I thought about trying to become a Florida resident by being there for ten days, hehe. Joking aside, it wouldn’t be difficult to get used to high 70s and sun.
I started the golf portion of my trip out with a return visit to Mission Inn. About five years ago I played the facility’s premier course, El Campeon. I think that course is worth its status as one of Florida’s best public courses, and I was back to play the Las Colinas course. I took advantage of an internet special for $32 and battled a damp, rainy morning. Thankfully after this round the weather was perfect for my trip!
The Las Colinas course is a Gary Koch design and takes a back seat to the El Campeon course. It is a decent course, but if you only have the time to play one course at Mission Inn, then you’ll want to check out the El Campeon course. It has more elevation change and one you’re more likely to remember!
I’ve played a couple other Koch designs and found them playable. Compared to those, I found Las Colinas tougher. I had no business playing the blue tees on a day when the ball wasn’t carrying, but couldn’t force myself to play the whites. The blues are 74.1/130/6829.
You can get away with some crooked tee shots at Las Colinas, but that is about the extent of the funny business that is allowed. Approaches need to be precise, there are some beefy par 4’s, and long carries on the par 3’s. Somehow I parred both of the par 3’s on the back nine and am extremely proud of that! They are both around 200 yards, although the 15th was playing 236 yards the day I was there. Lucky me! The back nine, with three par 5’s, is significantly longer than the front, so pick your tees accordingly.
I thought the design got better as it went on, as fewer homes surrounded the course and there were more trees. The course appears to have been rerouted at some point as I rode past a skeleton hole to get to the 8th and the 9th and 18th holes are confusingly close.
The 5th through the 7th are a nice stretch of holes on the front as they play through the pines. The 5th is a short, risk/reward par 5 where you can make all sorts of numbers. It doglegs right and if you cut the corner you might be able to carry a creek short of the green to leave an eagle putt. The green is three tiered so getting a wedge close is no easy task.
The back has the course’s only “memorable” hole, which is the 12th. The 12th is another short par 5, playing 468 yards from the blue tees. It plays into the Florida swampland and appropriately is named “Alligator Alley”. It is as narrow as can be and has trees overhanging the fairway. You can hit driver for a chance to reach the green in two or lay up a couple times.
The conditions were nice as the overseed came in nicely and the crew was out mowing it on Black Friday. The greens and fairways were full but the greens were slower than they looked as it rained for the previous 36 hours. Putts didn’t bump off line. The grass off the fairways had some typical Florida bare spots. For the price I paid, it is a steal this time of year. I’m sure the greens would be pretty quick if they were drier. One thing that jumped out at me was that the bunkers here have a beautiful, round shape to them!
I played in 3.5 hours which was crawling considering that I was the first person off around 7:10am. I play a lot of golf and somehow found myself at the center of a controversy, which was a first! I booked a time with another threesome, but they turned into a foursome. The proshop said that I could go out before them and I made sure the foursome knew what I was doing. They were fine with it, but one of the cart guys wasn’t! One cart guy said that they had orders not to let anyone out earlier as the singles always catch the maintenance crew.
I got the “okay” from a third employee and set off by myself promptly at 7:10am. Sure enough, I caught up with the maintenance crew on the 6th hole and we spent the rest of the round trying to avoid each other. At times I waited for them and then they’d wait for me. It was a circus as I had the the leaf blowers going on the greens in front and fairway and tee mowing behind me each hole. I’m sure it gets frustrating for them too. I’m not sure why the course was doing that much maintenance on one of the busiest golf days of the year, but I was so happy to close the doors on my car and enjoy the silence before heading for a coffee!
Las Colinas is a decent course and worth checking out if you are close by and haven’t played it. However, I wouldn’t drive from Orlando just to play Las Colinas, like I would to play El Campeon.
#1 (386 yard par 4):
#2 (181 yard par 3):
#3 (433 yard par 4):
#4 (414 yard par 4):
#5 (488 yard par 5):
#6 (175 yard par 3):
#7 (372 yard par 4):
#8 (418 yard par 4):
#9 (362 yard par 4):
#10 (392 yard par 4):
#11 (196 yard par 3):
#12 (468 yard par 5):
#13 (542 yard par 5):
#14 (468 yard par 4):
#15 (218 yard par 3):
#16 (410 yard par 4):
#17 (396 yard par 4):
#18 (510 yard par 5):