2017-2018 Winter Series Schedule Released
When the temperatures cool down in Florida, the FSGA will be getting the annual Winter Series started! The Winter Series consists of three different age divisions, including the recently redesigned Mid-Amateur Division and is for players over the age of 25. The first event will be taking place at the end of October and will run throughout the holiday season and into the new year. The last event will conclude in the final days of February. Throughout these four months, player's will have the opportunity to travel around the state and compete on top-class courses.
Each tournament is 36 holes of gross scoring split into three age divisions. Those 25-54 years old will be playing in the Mid-Amateur division while those 55-64 and 65 & over will be competing in the Senior and Super-Senior divisions, respectively. Each Winter Series allows for those competing to earn points that will be monitored by the FSGA. At the end of the Winter Series, the individual with the most points will be named the 2017-2018 Winter Series Points Champion. In addition, players have the opportunity to earn exemptions based on their points into the 2018 FSGA State Championships.
The Winter Series will kick off the 2017-2018 season at Eagle Creek Golf & Country Club in Naples. Hosting the event on October 28 & 29, Eagle Creek Golf & Country Club is one of the more elite clubs in Naples located in the heart of the city. This Larry Packard design course has gotten redesigns and modifications by well-decorated golfer, Ken Venturi. Built in 1984, Eagle Creek Golf and Country offers a challenging and difficult trek around the native environment. With a good balance of lengthy and shorter holes, this private course will test even the most accomplished of golfers.
Two weeks later, the Winter Series will head to the east coast for its second event at Grand Harbor Golf & Beach Club. Taking place November 12 & 13, this Winter Series event will provide golfers will jaw-dropping views and a good test of skill. Grand Harbor Golf & Beach Club is located adjacent to the intracoastal waterway in Vero Beach and just a wayward drive away from the Atlantic Ocean. Players will play both of Grand Harbor's courses, the Harbor Course and River Course during this Winter Series event. The Harbor Course, a Pete Dye masterpiece, resembles courses across the pond with tiered greens, undulating fairways, and the dreaded deep pot bunkers. With the wooden walls, links-look, and mounds, the Harbor Course shows definite traces of Scotland. The River Course, on the other hand, couldn't be more different. A Joe Lee design, the River Course uses the natural Florida elements to steer golfers around the course.The way Joe Lee used the environment to build a golf course will provide players will stunning views. When players stand on the teebox on the 14th hole, they will be playing Grand Harbor's signature hole that has gained not only national recognition but international recognition as well.
It's not every day a Winter Series event gets to head to a recent FSGA State Championship site! However, on November 27 & 28, the Winter Series will make it's way to Southern Hills Plantation Club, the site of the 2017 Amateur Match Play Championship. Southern Hills Plantation Club is a favorite amongst multiple FSGA players for it's pristine condition and unique course design. The Florida State Golf Association has hosted multiple events at Southern Hills Plantation Club with the most recent being the 2017 Amateur Match Play Championship that was won by Jacob Huizinga in 20 holes. What makes Southern Hills Plantation unique is the Pete Dye design of using the natural environment to form the course. This course was designed to maximize the natural elevations in Brooksville and the exquisite views that come with the elevation. This private, 18-hole course has been rated by Golf Week as one of the top 100 residential courses in the U.S.
The last Winter Series event for 2017 will be at the Country Club of Ocala. One of the finer courses in Ocala, the Country Club of Ocala has been host to USGA qualifiers, FSGA Championships, and other prestigious events. Using the rolling Ocala hills, this course will provide golfers will lots of elevation changes and sometimes extra yardage off the tee. This course maxes out at nearly 7,000 yards and opened in 1994 following a meticulous design by Steve Nuegent. Throughout its years, The Country Club of Ocala has been voted the best course in Ocala and guarantees to provide golfers will an enjoyable time.
The new year kicks off with a Four-Ball Winter Series event at Hunter's Green Country Club in Tampa. This will be the only four-ball tournament of the Winter Series, which makes this event a unique experience! Hunter's Green Country Club is one of the many courses in Tampa that allows golfers to use length to their advantage. For the first time too, players will get to tee it up on a Tom Fazio designed course. Yet, like the others, Hunter's Green Country Club utilizes the environment in the course design. The Bermuda grass fairways allow for the extra roll off the tee, making some of the par-fives reachable for those who are willing to take on the challenge. With well placed bunker and water hazards, this four-ball championship will require teams to come into the event with a strategy in mind.
The Winter Series finally makes its way to Central Florida on February 11 & 12 when players have the opportunity to play ChampionsGate Country Club. This hidden gem in the madness of Orlando allows players to get away from the hustle and bustle and tee it up on a secluded course. Designed by George Clifton, ChampionsGate Country Club utilized the area's elevation changes and contours of the natural landscape to design the course. One of Florida's newest courses, ChampionsGate Country Club has expansive white sand bunkers that require accurate shots to avoid. With little trees and plenty of water hazards, this course provides a unique and fun experience for golfers of all playing abilities.
The final event in the 2017-2018 Winter Series will be taking place at Lakewood National Golf Club in Lakewood Ranch. The FSGA will head back to this exquisite course after hosting the Boy's 16-18 division of the 2017 Junior Amateur Match Play Championship. With players commending the courses's unique features and impeccable course conditions, the final event is shaping up to be the best. Located minutes from I-75 in the center of Bradenton, Lakewood National Golf Club opened in 2017 and was an Arnold Palmer Design Company project. Using the natural beauty of Manatee County, Lakewood National Golf Club pairs together difficult holes with risk & reward holes. Each hole presents a new view, different experience, and distinct strategy for the golfer and will require players to think and be creative. With large greens, players will get the opportunity to test their green-reading skills and enjoy the experience of playing one of Florida's newest golf courses.
With seven events hosted by seven of Florida's top-notch golf courses, the 2017-2018 FSGA Winter Series will give golfers the opportunity to put their skills to the test. Entries are now open for the 2017 events with the entries for the 2018 events opening on October 1st. Click on any of the course names to learn a little bit more about the event and course!