New management, attitude is giving bargain Hunter's Creek Golf Club a second life
ORLANDO, Fla. - Located in the heart of metropolitan Orlando, Hunter's Creek Golf Club is in a neighborhood with some stiff competition.
There may be sexier (and more expensive) Orlando golf courses that get most of the ink around here, but locals in the know are frequenting family-friendly Hunter's Creek, especially following a management change that has led to a new commitment to course conditions and customer service.
It wasn't very long ago that a trip to Hunter's Creek was completely different.
With its chewed up tee boxes, spotty greens and multicolored fairways, it was put towards the bottom of the area totem pole by many local golfers. Unfortunate, considering the course had once been recognized by Golf Digest as one of the "Top 75 Courses to Play," and was a popular site for numerous events and tournaments. Most notably, were the US Open Qualifying tournament (1989-1994) and PGA Tour Qualifier (1989).
Since the arrival of OB Sports Golf Management and the appointment of Roger Masterson as director of golf, however, Hunter's Creek has undergone some much needed change.
"The guys in the pro shop always made it seem like you were bothering them whenever you came to check in," says Chris Blauvelt, a local golfer who calls Hunter's Creek his home course. "In the past year, I've noticed a definite improvement in the attitudes and behaviors of the courses personnel.
"As a matter of fact, a few of the guys now recognize me and call me by name; it's a pretty good feeling," he says with a smile.
Kris Strauss of OB Sports Golf Management talked about the new culture that surrounds Hunter's Creek.
"Since we have taken over management last year, we have been committed to enhancing the golf experience, elevating the agronomic conditions and creating a loyalty program (called the Creek Card) that rewards frequent golfers with the best rates and a ton of money saving benefits," he said.
And the course was rewarded for it's efforts in 2008 when it was selected to host the 2008 FSGA Florida State Public Links.
Huge greens challenge at Hunter's Creek Golf Club
At 7,268 yards from the tips, the Lloyd Clifton design from 1986 is one of the longest golf courses in Florida. It features five sets of tees, the shortest being 5,225 yards, giving players plenty of options. Aside from being long, Hunter's Creek is sure to try your patience with its strategically placed bunkers, large undulating TifEagle greens and 13 lakes.
Perhaps, the term "large" in regards to the greens is a bit of an understatement. Some of them are down right huge and although it gives you a larger target and a better chance at a GIR, it can easily lead to a three-putt or more.
There's also the matter of the 13 lakes. For the most part, water will not be a factor if you hit the ball relatively straight, but take care on holes six and 10. Six requires a precise tee shot and any deviation, especially to the right, will most likely end up in the drink.
The 10th hole is a deceptive par 5 with a stream that runs all the way across the hole, right around the 250-290 mark (depending on the tees). The water is not as close as it appears and has fooled many a cocky golfer. Take heed and play it safe.
Hunters Creek Golf Club: The verdict
Hunter's Creek Golf Course offers an enjoyable round of golf that won't break the bank. It's not as difficult as some other courses on the Orlando Golf Trail, but you don't want to let down your guard.
They have an impressive short game practice area, where you can work on putting, pitching and chipping and there is a large sand bunker for you to practice in.
Dave Grant, one of the rangers at Hunter's Creek, said it best when he said "it's a challenging course that is reasonably priced."
Hunter's Creek is only a short drive from the Walt Disney World Resort, Orange County Convention Center, and Orlando International Airport. It is a good course to consider for locals and travelers alike.
There is a "Kids Play Free" program where golfers under the age of 18 play free when accompanied by a regular paying guest. There are some limitations and blackout dates, but kids play free anytime Monday-Thursday and anytime after noon Friday-Sunday.
April 27, 2009