The original golf course at Saddlebrook Resort near Tampa can still turn a few heads

WESLEY CHAPEL, Fla. -- With stands of Spanish-mossed cypress trees lining most of the fairways and framing the greens, the original Saddlebrook Course at Saddlebrook Golf & Tennis Resort has a distinct look all its own. Definitely the more picturesque of the two courses at Saddlebrook Resort (the other is the Palmer Course), the 6,500-yard par 70 has 18 unique holes with plenty of doglegs, water on more than half the holes.

Opened in 1976 and designed by Ed Seay, Arnold Palmer and Dean Refram, the course starts out easy enough, but gets very difficult by the time you get to the par-3 third. It measure just 190 yards or so, but often plays into the wind. Even more difficult is the fact the hole plays through a chute of trees to a difficult green bordered by a lake on the front and left sides.

The signature hole is definitely the 425-yard par-4 18th. It, too, often plays into the wind. The tee shot is demanding and if you don't get it down there, you can easily have an approach over water from 200 yards out.

Staff review of the Saddlebrook Course: Mike Bailey

Feb 02, 2018

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Mike Bailey

Senior Staff Writer

Mike Bailey is a senior staff writer based in the Houston area. Focusing primarily on golf in the United States, Canada, the Caribbean and Latin America, he contributes course reviews, travel stories and features as well as the occasional equipment review. An award-winning writer and past president of Texas Golf Writers Association, he has more than 20 years in the golf industry. Before accepting his current position in 2008, he was on staff at PGA Magazine, The Golfweek Group and AvidGolfer Magazine. Follow Mike on Twitter at @Accidentlgolfer.