There is at least one hole on every golf course that makes even the best of players take a deep breath and wipe the sweat from their palms, and that’s certainly the case in Daytona Beach.
From New Smyrna Beach to Ormond Beach, the local golf scene is home to nearly 20 courses, and if your next golf vacation brings you to the Daytona Beach area (and it should), here are nine of the area’s toughest tests.
- The Preserve at Turnbull Bay presents a significant challenge with a slope rating of 134, and the 380-yard (all distances from white tees) 18th hole is a significant reason why. There are a pair of bunkers lurking on the left side of the fairway, but it’s the approach on the par 4 that causes the most anxiety. Water pinches in on the left side of the green and a tree limits the ability to bail out right. It’s a hole that demands skill and nerve.
- The 11th hole at New Smyrna Beach Golf Club is 403 yards, the course’s longest par 4. On a player-friendly layout, you need to avoid the large bunker lining the left side of the fairway because it gobbles up approach shots that fall short. The last thing you want is a long sand shot to a small, two-tiered green.
- Wetlands run the entire right side of the 380-yard, par 4 13th hole at Venetian Bay Golf & Country Club. There is ample room to land the ball off the tee, but the approach to a green flanked with bunkers on both sides and a large palm tree-filled bunker on the starboard side significantly enhance the danger.
- The par 5 eighth hole at Spruce Creek Country Club, which is at the heart of America’s largest private fly-in community, is long (485 yards) and tight. It’s also less than 150 yards from a runway that might be welcoming Dale Earnhardt Jr. to the area. It’s an unforgettable hole, but the fear of a big number lurks.
- The 325-yard fourth hole on the Hills Course at LPGA International might be short, but it’s long on danger. A 215-yard tee shot will suffice on the dogleg right, but players must be in the left side of the fairway, lest they run the risk of having their path to one of the course’s smallest greens blocked.
-- The 522-yard ninth hole is the scariest LPGA International’s Jones Course has to offer. There is the potential to hit the ball in the woods but mostly the hole is just long. Throw in fairways that are framed by mounding and bunkers, and bogey here is a good score.
- It doesn’t take much to explain why the 14th hole at Halifax Plantation Golf Club is so daunting - it’s a 432-yard, dogleg left par 4. Did I mention that it’s tight?
- The Challenge tees at Victoria Hills Golf Club play just 5,967 and 520 of them come on the straight-as-an-arrow fifth hole. A cluster of bunkers flank both sides of the fairway in the primary landing area from the tee - avoid them at all cost. The challenge is then compounded by a green ringed by four bunkers.
- DeBary Golf & Country Club has served as a U.S. Open qualifying site and the 391-yard, dogleg right 14th hole is a challenge worthy of our national championship. With OB on both sides of a narrow fairway, much of the risk is on the tee shot, though the greenside bunker that’s nearly as big as the putting surface must be avoided as well.
Have you conquered Daytona Beach’s toughest holes?
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