The last time I was visiting my family in The Villages, my dad and I played a couple nine hole courses here. We were looking to golf again this year and I suggested we try one of the executive courses that neither of us had played. We listened the to the phone menu, picked a location in town, and then picked one of the first selections. That’s how we ended up playing Briarwood!
No matter where you golf here in The Villages, you are likely to get a similar experience. I’ve driven by probably half of the courses in The Villages and most of them look the same. The par’s, the names, and the locations all differ but they are all similar looking, and playing, courses (at least the executive ones). I think the community recognized that so they built a couple different looking courses (named Red Fox and Grey Fox) in their newest development. I didn’t get a chance to play either of those courses this trip, but maybe next year we can try them out.
Where I’m going with my comments is that playing the executive courses at The Villages is more about your day golfing than the course itself. And, that is true of Briarwood too. I had a great time with my dad, who only golfs if I’m in town. This round was a bit unique because we didn’t get paired up with anyone. This time of year, all the courses are packed! We were behind a foursome and had a twosome behind us. Everyone here is respectful of whatever your handicap is so that allows someone who doesn’t play much to be able to enjoy the round. And, no matter how busy it is you can always seem to count on one and a half hours to play an executive course here, even if you are walking. I’m sure that can fit into almost anyone’s schedule!
Compared to the other executive courses that I’ve played in The Villages, Briarwood standouts because it is a par 3 course! It is a par 27 and from the black tees where I played, the yardages are mixed nicely. The shortest hole is 133 yards while the longest is 206 yards. I ended up hitting seven different irons and it is always nice to mix up the club selection that much! The 4th and 5th are probably the most interesting holes here to play. The 4th is 136 yards and plays over a slight rise to the green. The green’s surface cannot be seen from the tee, so judging the distance was a bit tricky. The 5th is 140 yards and has a large green that is divided by a ridge in the middle. I started it at the ridge trying to draw it to the left side and got a nice bounce down towards the flag. If you have a decent round going, try to hold on as the 8th and 9th are the longest holes at Briarwood.
The conditions at Briarwood were consistent with what you would expect at The Villages. The tees and greens had been overseeded, giving the course a nice look. The greens rolled fine, just a bit slow. I think the slowness has to do with lots of slope in the greens, a design feature of the firm that created many of the courses here in The Villages. I don’t see much of a way to quicken the greens without causing headaches for all the casual golfers that play! For the visitor rate of about $12 playing here was a great way to enjoy time with family and a way to sharpen my iron game.
#1 (178 yard par 3):
#2 (133 yard par 3):
#3 (178 yard par 3):
#4 (136 yard par 3):
#5 (140 yard par 3):
#6 (145 yard par 3):
#7 (166 yard par 3):
#8 (179 yard par 3):
#9 (206 yard par 3):