Saddlebrook Course at Saddlebrook Resort - no. 14
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Saddlebrook Course at Saddlebrook Resort - no. 14
With Spanish-moss covered cypress trees lining the fairway, the original Saddlebrook Course at Saddlebrook Resort has a unique look. Mike Bailey/Golf Advisor
Images
Saddlebrook Course at Saddlebrook Resort - no. 1
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Saddlebrook Course at Saddlebrook Resort - no. 1
The approach shot on the par-4 first on the Saddlebrook Course at Saddlebrook Golf and Tennis Resort near Tampa, Fla. Mike Bailey/Golf Advisor
Saddlebrook Course at Saddlebrook Resort - no. 2
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Saddlebrook Course at Saddlebrook Resort - no. 2
There's a little room to the right on tee shot of the par-4 second hole on the Saddlebrook Course. Mike Bailey/Golf Advisor
Saddlebrook Course at Saddlebrook Resort - no. 3
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Saddlebrook Course at Saddlebrook Resort - no. 3
One of the most difficult holes on the golf course, the 200-yard par-3 third on the original Saddlebrook Course plays through a chute of cypress trees to this well-protected green. Mike Bailey/Golf Advisor
Saddlebrook Course at Saddlebrook Resort - no. 5
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Saddlebrook Course at Saddlebrook Resort - no. 5
The original Saddlebrook Course is known for its majestic stands of Cypress trees, like the ones here on the difficult par-4 fifth hole Mike Bailey/Golf Advisor
Saddlebrook Course at Saddlebrook Resort - no. 6
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Saddlebrook Course at Saddlebrook Resort - no. 6
The short dogleg par-4 sixth on the Saddlebrook Course recently got a new green that's pretty difficult to hold, so it's easy to make bogey here. Mike Bailey/Golf Advisor
Saddlebrook Course at Saddlebrook Resort - no. 8
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Saddlebrook Course at Saddlebrook Resort - no. 8
The par-3 eighth on the Saddlebrook Course has plenty of bite. Mike Bailey/Golf Advisor
Saddlebrook Course at Saddlebrook Resort - no. 9
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Saddlebrook Course at Saddlebrook Resort - no. 9
A good finishing hole on the front side, the par-4 ninth on the Saddlebrook Course has a little bit of trouble on it. Mike Bailey/Golf Advisor
Saddlebrook Course at Saddlebrook Resort - no. 10
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Saddlebrook Course at Saddlebrook Resort - no. 10
And yes, there's more water when you make the turn on the par-4 10th on the Saddlebrook Course. Mike Bailey/Golf Advisor
Saddlebrook Course at Saddlebrook Resort - no. 12
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Saddlebrook Course at Saddlebrook Resort - no. 12
The shortest hole on the Saddlebrook Course is the 145-yard par-3 12th, Mike Bailey/Golf Advisor
Saddlebrook Course at Saddlebrook Resort - no. 15
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Saddlebrook Course at Saddlebrook Resort - no. 15
One of the easier holes on the Saddlebrook Course is the short par-4 15th. Mike Bailey/Golf Advisor
Saddlebrook Course at Saddlebrook Resort - no. 16
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Saddlebrook Course at Saddlebrook Resort - no. 16
A tough approach shot awaits on the par-4 16th on the Saddlebrook Course. Mike Bailey/Golf Advisor
Saddlebrook Course at Saddlebrook Resort - no. 18
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Saddlebrook Course at Saddlebrook Resort - no. 18
The long par-4 finishing hole is one of the toughest on the course at Saddlebrook. Mike Bailey/Golf Advisor
Saddlebrook Resort - putting green
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Saddlebrook Resort - putting green
There's a putting green in the center of the resort, which Saddlebrook guests can use anytime they please. Mike Bailey/Golf Advisor
Saddlebrook Resort - key lime pie
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Saddlebrook Resort - key lime pie
If you like Key lime pie, you'll want to try the one at Saddlebrook Resort. Made from the resort's own bakery, it's arguably the best in the state.. Mike Bailey/Golf Advisor
Saddlebrook Resort - pool
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Saddlebrook Resort - pool
If you're staying at Saddlebrook Golf & Tennis Resort, this is one the best places to wind up after a round. Mike Bailey/Golf Advisor
Saddlebrook Resort
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Saddlebrook Resort
An aerial view of Saddlebrook Resort shows how much there is to there. Courtesy of Saddlebrook Resort

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

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