The CITRUS GOLF TRAIL
America's Value Golf Capital
By Dave Daubert
Known as the 'Value Golf Capital of America,' Sebring, Florida's collection of outstanding golf courses offer history, the best and friendliest service, and above all, an extraordinary golf experience at a great value. Located in the center of the state along Highway 27, these hidden gems are just 60 miles south of the theme parks in Orlando. Surrounded by cattle ranches, pristine freshwater lakes and citrus groves throughout Highlands County, the Citrus Golf Trail courses are well maintained and provide an excellent assortment of styles that will challenge the best players while the different distance tees allow for high-handicappers to enjoy their round.
With a selection of 7 courses at five locations, the Citrus Golf Trail has all the golf needed to enjoy a year-round stay and play at very reasonable prices:
Sebring International Golf Resort(formerly Spring Lake Resort) is bordered by Lake Istokpoga, the fifth largest freshwater lake in Florida. The expansive resort offers guests the opportunity to enjoy the new 12-hole short course along with a reworked 27 holes of championship golf. The new ownership is making substantial improvements throughout the resort. Stay & plays in lovely on-site condos and suites are available, with the Sebring International Raceway, home of the 12 Hours of Sebring, a few miles away. Call 863-655-5555 or visit SebringInternationalGolfResort.com.
Sebring Municipal Golf Course is a prime example of an old Florida track that opened in 1928. With small push-up greens, four sets of tees, and 6204 yards in length, the flat muni is a great walk. In 2009, Ron Garl, Mr. Florida Golf, came in and spruced up the golf course to make it an up-to-date challenge for golfers who like a great value and a well-maintained place to play. Sebring Municipal is near Inn on the Lakes just off Highway 27. Call-863-314-5919 or VisitSebring.com/Sebring-Municipal-Golf-Course.
Sun-N-Lake Golf Club is a semi-private community club home to two outstanding golf courses, Deer Run & Turtle Run, just off Hwy 27. Deer Run is the longest and most challenging of the duo, originally designed by Don Dyer in 1976. Ron Garl was asked to give the closing 18th hole a dramatic new look and changed it to a fabulous risk-reward par 3 about 10 years ago. Turtle Run was carved out of a Scrub Jay preservation area by Charles Ankrom in 1999 which plays tighter and shorter to smallish greens. The Club is managed by Indigo Golf Partners. Visit SunLakeGolfClub.com or call 863-385-5483.
Pinecrest Golf Club is a 1926 Donald Ross design that took full advantage of the topography near Avon Park, Florida, just north of Sebring. The traditional layout of the 6,719-yard course winds its way through forests and orange groves in a natural setting. There are 5 sets of tees to ensure all who play enjoy their round with great mounded TifEagle greens with false fronts. In the '50as the club hosted the first televised PGA event, The World Championship of Golf, won by Dr. Carey Middlecoff. New owners have remodeled the clubhouse and continue to spruce up the course which is part of the Florida Historic Golf Trail as well.
Give them a call at 863-453-7555 or visit GolfPinecrest.com.
River Greens Golf Club is also located in Avon Park. There is no river but there is a fair share of water to avoid. The golf club has been owned by the Davis family since 1969 who take great pride in the condition of the course, and the warm hospitality of the staff. The 6400-yard course has a drivable par four, a par five with two greens(1 for duffers & 1 for single handicappers) on the front, and three par fives on the backside. A great fun place to play. Visit RGreens.com or call 863-453-5210.
While playing the Citrus Golf Trail and staying in Highlands County, there are a variety of dining options to enjoy. At the International Resort, the clubhouse has two spacious restaurants, the Pub for light fare and after-round refreshments, and the upstairs The Grille which serves delicious American cuisine in a warm and upscale atmosphere with Florida's nature views. The Island View Lakefront Restaurant & Pub at Sun-N-Lake is a happening place for breakfast, lunch and dinner. The clubhouse can host large weddings and events and full-field golf tournaments with catering for any size affair. At Pinecrest, the newly opened Sandhill Grill serves delectable lunch and dinner options daily.
For a hearty helping of great grub look no further than Cowpokes Watering Hole on South Highway 27. If you leave there hungry, you need some serious help. For a memorable dining experience try the ever-popular Chicane's Restaurant & Bar complete with lakeside gourmet experiences located at the Inn on the Lakes, just off Highway 27.
Inn on the Lakes is a lovely privately owned stay and play venue rated the #1 Hotel in Sebring. The Hatfield family has been the Innkeepers for years and maintains a standard of excellence not matched anywhere in Central Florida. The lovely well - appointed 155 rooms and suites, lakeside pool and famous Chicanes restaurant serving three meals daily provide visitors to Highlands County and Citrus Golf Trail groups with the utmost comfort and convenience. With packages starting as low as $99, Inn on the Lakes is a longtime Citrus Golf Trail partner. For reservations or further information call 800-531-5253 or visit InnontheLakes.com.
In early December 2021, Highlands County and VisitSebring.com will host the Citrus Golf Trail Open for a three-day event featuring their partner courses and a fun and challenging tournament. More information will be forthcoming in 2021.
There you have it. America's Value Golf Capital smack-dab right in the middle of Florida. The affordable place to play and stay is The Citrus Golf Trail.
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Revised: 12/05/2020 - Article Viewed 8,954 Times
About: Dave Daubert
David has been writing about golf since the turn of the century. He was Managing Editor at a regional golf magazine for 11 years, published in Canada, the IAGTO and a Staff Writer for The Georgia Golf Trail. His insightful perspective brings golf to life.