Lake Jovita Golf & Country Club - South - no. 9
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Lake Jovita Golf & Country Club - South - no. 9
With 36 well designed holes and reasonable green fees, Lake Jovita Golf & Country Club is well worth the half hour or so drive from Tampa. Mike Bailey/Golf Advisor
Images
Lake Jovita Golf & Country Club - South no. 1
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Lake Jovita Golf & Country Club - South no. 1
The first hole on the South Course at Lake Jovita is also its no. 1-handicap hole: a tight, downhill, long par 4 through a chute and over a creek. Mike Bailey/Golf Advisor
Lake Jovita Golf & Country Club - South no. 3
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Lake Jovita Golf & Country Club - South no. 3
The tee shot is the toughest part of the par-4 third hole at Lake Jovita Golf & Country Club's South Course. Mike Bailey/Golf Advisor
Lake Jovita Golf & Country Club - South no. 4
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Lake Jovita Golf & Country Club - South no. 4
The first par 3 on the South Course at Lake Jovita Golf & Country Club plays over water. Mike Bailey/Golf Advisor
Lake Jovita Golf & Country Club - South no. 5
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Lake Jovita Golf & Country Club - South no. 5
Fairway bunkers loom large on the par-5 ninth on the South Course at Lake Jovita Golf & Country Club in Dade City, Florida. Mike Bailey/Golf Advisor
Lake Jovita Golf & Country Club - South no. 6
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Lake Jovita Golf & Country Club - South no. 6
The no. 1-handicap hole on the South Course at Lake Jovita Golf & Country Club is the dogleg-left, 456-yard, par-4 sixth. Mike Bailey/Golf Advisor
Lake Jovita Golf & Country Club - South no. 18
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Lake Jovita Golf & Country Club - South no. 18
A lake comes into play on both the par-5 ninth and par-4 18th on the South Course at Lake Jovita Golf & Country Club in Dade City, Fla. Mike Bailey/Golf Advisor
Lake Jovita Golf & Country Club - North no. 4
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Lake Jovita Golf & Country Club - North no. 4
It's a challenging pin when the flag is on the left side of the green on the par-3 fourth hole on the North Course at Lake Jovita Golf & C.C. in Dade City, Florida. Mike Bailey/Golf Advisor
Lake Jovita Golf & Country Club - North no. 7
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Lake Jovita Golf & Country Club - North no. 7
No. 7 on the North Course at Lake Jovita Golf & Country Club is 427-yard par 4 that plays around water. Mike Bailey/Golf Advisor
Lake Jovita Golf & Country Club - clubhouse
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Lake Jovita Golf & Country Club - clubhouse
Lake Jovita Golf & C.C. has a magnificent clubhouse, which contains the golf shop, locker rooms and the Grille Room. Mike Bailey/Golf Advisor

Overlooked and overshadowed: Lake Jovita Golf & Country Club, north of Tampa, Florida

DADE CITY, Fla. -- Locals seem to know about Lake Jovita Golf & Country Club, but visitors to the Tampa area might overlook it. They shouldn't.

Somewhat overshadowed by its more famous neighbors World Woods Golf Club and Black Diamond Ranch, you can play golf at Lake Jovita for as little as $52 during peak season and less than that as summer approaches. And with two excellent layouts, you won't be bored as the semiprivate club alternates courses daily between public and member play.

The 220-acre South Course at Lake Jovita is the original layout. Opened in 1999, it was designed by Tom Lehman and golf course architect Kurt Sandness. The strategy behind this course was to take full advantage of the unique hilly terrain and create a layout that is professional tour quality in every sense. For example, the par-5 11th hole features a 94-foot drop from tee to green on one of the the largest natural elevation changes of any course in the state of Florida. The course has played host to many important tournaments, including Stage 1 of PGA Tour Qualifying.

Lake Jovita's North Course -- a 7,226-yard par 72 created by Sandness in 2002 -- complements the South well. A little more contemporary in style, the North Course has even more elevation changes than the South; providing many great views. Large greens, water hazards and modern bunkering complete the look.

Mike Bailey is a senior staff writer based in Houston. Focusing primarily on golf in the United States, Canada, the Caribbean and Latin America with an occasional trip to Europe and beyond, 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 25 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 @MikeBaileyGA and Instagram at @MikeStefanBailey.
Related Links
Tampa has an impressive line-up of stay-and-play options with golf courses sporting designer labels such as Arnold Palmer, Tom Fazio and Tom Lehman. Veteran Florida golf writer Ed Schmidt offers up some of his favorites.
Towering pine trees that look more North Carolina than Florida and elevation changes that look more north Georgia than north Tampa are just a couple of elements that make some of Tampa's courses among the more unique in the Sunshine State. The combination of diverse topography and innovative course designers resulted in an engaging menu of special, one-of-a-kind layouts. The eclectic group of golf architects responsible for these courses include Tom Lehman, Bobby Weed, Chi Chi Rodriguez, Donald Ross, Tom Bendelow, Chip Powell, Larry Packard and John Sanford.
Mike Bailey checks in from the Tampa area, where he played Innisbrook's Copperhead, home of the Valspar Championship, plus World Woods, Black Diamond and Lake Jovita Golf & C.C.

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Overlooked and overshadowed: Lake Jovita Golf & Country Club, north of Tampa, Florida
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