Dubsdread Golf Course: Orlando's beloved, historic muni
ORLANDO, Fla. -- Orlando does indeed have a history before 1971 (when Walt Disney World changed the landscape). And one of the best places to prove it is historic Dubsdread Golf Course, now an area-favorite municipal golf course.
Before Disney, Orlando had a budding citrus industry in the late 1800s, then area real estate boomed in the 1920s and Dubsdread G.C. was born in 1924.
The golf course is located just north of downtown -- a downtown many visitors to Orlando may never even see as they often spend their time to the south in Lake Buena Vista or around the Orange County Convention Center and International Drive.
Getting to the course from the resort and attractions hotbed south of Orlando is easy, just take I-4 to the aptly named Par Street, take a left.
Dubsdread Golf Course: The design
Even before putting a tee in the ground, Dubsdread Golf Course and the neighborhood it's in feels steeped in history, thanks in part to the many mossy oaks scattered throughout. The golf course was a host to the Orlando Open in its heyday, hosting such greats as Ben Hogan, Sam Snead and Claude Harmon.
It's a classic Thomas Bendelow design that was heavily renovated by the city and reopened in 2008. The golf course closed for the better half of 2007 in order to restore, enhance and lengthen the course while also improving drainage. The efforts seem to have paid off after a bad Florida winter for golf courses.
"It's recovered really well from the winter," said local resident Tom Bone, who admitted he plays here more than anywhere else in the area for a variety of reasons. "It's in a lot better shape than a lot of the other area courses that didn't recover as well."
The 7-handicapper who goes by "T-Bone" has another reason he likes Dubsdread Golf Course. "Last Wednesday I shot a 69 here, first time ever in 23 years I went under par."
T-Bone's ball flight is a good one for a shorter golf course like Dubsdread, which plays just 6,153 yards from the championship tees with a 69.7/123 slope rating. It's a low, straight flight that doesn't break any distance records but chugs its way down the fairway more often than not.
That's the secret to Dubsdread Golf Course and its small greens and narrow, dogleg fairways with a smattering of small ponds. Longer hitters won't hit more than a handful of drivers throughout the rounds, while opting for hybrids and long irons more often.
It's probably why seniors especially enjoy playing Dubsdread Golf Course; that and the fact that it's a bargain you can play again and again -- and the locals do.
That isn't to say there are a few holes that don't require distance. Two par 4s play more than 430 yards, starting with the par-4 fourth hole. It's the No. 1 handicap hole and plays 431 tight yards, dog-legging left around water to an elevated green, while O.B. lines the right side.
There are just two par 5s at Dubsdread Golf Course, including the finishing hole, which is a tight tee shot through a chute of trees. It's just 515 yards from the championship tees, but as is the case with most holes here, hitting driver can mean trouble.
Dubsdread Golf Course: The verdict
A popular, convenient municipal that hosts 50,000-60,000 rounds a year, Dubsdread Golf Course weathers the local traffic well. And after a brutal Orlando winter, conditions of the course were as good as you'd expect from a course in this price range.
The course's classical routing and shorter length also means pace of play is very good here. On a weekday morning, my foursome got around in about three hours and 30 minutes.
Despite its shorter length, there are still four sets of tees playing as short as 4,100 yards, which is a good option for beginners and juniors.
Dubsdread Golf Course's facilities include a pro shop, halfway house and driving range that is home to a golf academy, plus a couple of short-game greens. Next door to the golf club is Tap Room, a favorite restaurant for neighborhood gatherings and special events.