Tim Gavrich

Senior Writer

Tim Gavrich is a Senior Writer for Golf Advisor. A student of course design since he took up the game at age six, he also played for his college team at Washington and Lee University and still tries to tee it up in competition whenever possible. He has been involved in the golf industry since graduating in 2011, and has written full-time about golf travel and architecture since 2014. A native of Avon, Connecticut now residing in Vero Beach, Florida, he has played golf on two continents so far and is not too bad on Bermuda greens for a left-handed New Englander. Follow him on Twitter @TimGavrich and on Instagram @TimGavrich.

  • 4.0 stars from 5

    LPGA International - Hills Course

    "A pleasant ride through the woods"

    The Hills Course at LPGA International gets the nod from me as the superior of the facility's two layouts. This 1997 course heads off into the woods, with mostly isolated holes that ask for sound strategy as well as sure execution. Greens are on the smallish side but are not too undulating. A few forced carries must be negotiated, but otherwise the course is very playable. My favorite hole is the par-5 8th (the best of a well-above-average set of three-shot holes), which has a cool split fairway where if you take the left-hand route close to a lagoon, you can get yourself a tempting look at the green in two. The Hills Course's greens haven't yet been renovated (i.e. regrassed and expanded back to original perimeters) like the Jones' have. Once that happens, it'll be even better. more »

    5.0 stars from 5

    Jupiter Hills Club

    "Simply one of Florida's best and toughest tests"

    I had the good fortune to play Jupiter Hills' Hills Course as part of the "Preview Day" for May's upcoming US Amateur Four-Ball Championship. The Hills lives up to its billing as one of Florida's best courses. It might be the most difficult course I've played in the state, too - it will expose any weakness in your game. Jupiter Hills occupies some of the best topography for golf in the state, with the stretch from hole 6 through 11 and 16 through 18 serving a mix of uphill and downhill shots the likes of which most Florida courses cannot provide. This, combined with the immaculate conditioning of the course and the private nature of the club, makes for a terrific experience. If you get an invite to play at Jupiter Hills, you would be foolish to pass it up. more »

    5.0 stars from 5

    Riviera Country Club

    "Exactly the type of course we need more of"

    Simply put, Riviera is a revelation. A 1950s throwback of modest length (6,200 yards) that is extremely walkable and wonderfully-kept, with green fees topping out below $50 (even in prime snowbird season), it stands out as a model for what public golf can be at its best. Strong players who are tempted to take Riviera's small footprint to be a sign that it is not a worthy place to think again; "Riv" is one of America's longest-running professional golf hosts, with the local professional Riviera Open having been contested every year since 1960 except one. The course defends itself slyly, with pushed-up greens where short-siding yourself can lead to quicker-than-expected bogeys, especially when the surfaces are firm and fast. A final word in praise of Riv. Mike Boss, head pro for 40 years at the course, does not keep a formal tee sheet. Instead, golfers wanting to visit may call up, request a general time to play, and will be directed toward a softer time on the schedule if their requested time is going to be busy. This more organic way of managing golf course traffic adds to Riviera's relaxed feel. If you're ever in the area, play this golf course. more »

    5.0 stars from 5

    Oceanside Country Club

    "Lowkey pleasant and potentially playable private course"

    In a state like Florida where so much of the golf a) was built in the last 30 years, and b) is broadly pretty mediocre, it's refreshing to play a classic, strategically interesting course. Oceanside has a quality pedigree: Alex Findlay laid out the original course, and in 2003, almost a century after the course opened, Bobby Weed renovated it, leaving the layout I enjoyed recently. Oceanside also served as the host of "The Sally," which is one of women's golf's premier amateur events. The course has a nice mix of holes, anchored by shorter ones. The short par-4 fifth and 13th, as well as the short par-3 4th and 16, anchor the routing with a solid mix of temptation and danger. Overall, though, I like the front nine better than the back. If you're a member of a private club elsewhere, Oceanside is likely amenable to a pro-to-pro call. Keep this in mind as you contemplate a visit to the Daytona Beach area. more »

    4.0 stars from 5

    Duran Golf Club

    "Fun when firm and fast"

    I was pleasantly surprised by Duran when I played it in late March in the Space Coast Amateur, a local tournament. The course doesn't look overly complicated from photos, but the area's drought conditions over the late winter had it playing nice and firm and fast, with everything in good shape. The greens have some interesting contours, with the boldest being the large "Punchbowl" 7th green. I enjoyed architect Chip Powell's choice to echo the CB Macdonald/Seth Raynor template holes with certain features. They elevate Duran above the designation of "just another Florida golf course." Worth playing if you are in the area. more »

    4.0 stars from 5

    Reunion Resort - Nicklaus Course

    "A strong driver-diagnostic challenge"

    Having played more rounds of golf in my life at a Nicklaus course (Pawleys Plantation in coastal SC) than any other, I am always intrigued to see how the Golden Bear and his team have approached other sites. At Reunion, I found a big ballpark of a course that really tests players as they near the putting surface. The greens themselves aren't as undulating as at Nicklaus' Old Corkscrew, but they are on the small side, and require the expected hyper-focus on precise iron play. I quite like the course as a test of driving, where there's often a decision over whether to lay back or challenge a fairway bunker. If you think you're a good driver of the golf ball, this is a good course to test the theory. more »

    4.0 stars from 5

    LPGA International- Jones Course

    "Solid example of mid-90s golf"

    LPGA International is an impressive mid-upscale daily-fee facility in Daytona Beach. The Jones Course is a Rees Jones effort originally opened in 1994, now sporting some firm, fast greens renovated last summer. It's a straightforward golf course where a lot of the visual intrigue comes in the form of large mounds lining the holes, plus plenty of water and large, flat-bottomed bunkers. The par-3 13th has one of the largest greenside bunkers I've ever seen. It's probably four times the size of the green (not small in its own right) itself. Minimalists and purists will bristle at the Jones Course's look, but overall I think it's worth including in any Daytona Beach-based golf itinerary. more »

    4.0 stars from 5

    Banyan Creek Golf Club

    "Brand-new, private but playable"

    Having read a bit over the last year about the revival of the former Crane Creek course at Martin Downs Country Club, which closed over a decade ago, I was eager to take the opportunity to check it out. I found the new-look, new-name Banyan Creek to be a solid addition to an already strong private course scene around South Florida. With architects Harry Bowers and Tom Pearson each guiding the design, Banyan Creek is not long on eye candy but does offer an enjoyable test of golf. It plays decently firm and fast, and most greens accept run-up shots if the need or desire arises. The greens have a lot of subtle bumps and humps that make lag-putting and putt-reading a particular challenge. The course has only 37 members so head pro Kevin Nutt and I practically had the place to ourselves. The course is also one of the more walkable in the area, which I consider a significant plus. If you're a member of a private club yourself, you can arrange to play Banyan Creek if you find yourself in the area. I recommend it. more »

    4.0 stars from 5

    Crooked Cat at Orange County National

    "Solid test"

    After many years of visiting Orange County National for PGA Show Demo Day, never seeing any of the actual golf, I enjoyed my round at Crooked Cat last month while in Orlando with my dad and a couple friends of his. The course is definitely on the straightforward side, with a lot of par fours of similar yardage. The movement of the land did add some good interest to the experience, as did the stretch of holes 12-15, which incorporate a big lily pond in different ways. I really liked 15, a long, downhill par 3 with water behind. Crooked Cat was in very good shape (they overseed everything but the greens) and the people working the course were friendly and seemed adept at handling the large number of players. It was cool to warm up on the massive range before the round, too. more »