Shingle Creek Golf Club: A course that gives the word 'fair' new meaning

By Dave Lair, Contributor

ORLANDO, Fla. - "A fair, challenging, pretty golf course," said golfer Steve Castino, sitting in the clubhouse at Shingle Creek Golf Club, nursing a wounded ego, as he examined the day's scorecard.

18 Holes | Public/Resort | Par: 72 | 7213 yards
Shingle Creek Golf Club - Orlando
Upon opening, Golfweek wrote that Shingle Creek Golf Club was among the top 40 best new golf courses in the U.S.
Shingle Creek Golf Club - OrlandoShingle Creek Golf Club - Hole 3Shingle Creek Golf Club - Hole 5Shingle Creek Golf Club - Hole 17

Even after the round was finished, he was still disappointed about the ball he lost on the ninth hole. "The water came out of no where!" the 5-handicap golfer said.

That is probably one of the most accurate ways to summarize Shingle Creek Golf Club. Although, the water decorating 16 of the 18 holes never appears to come into play, some golfers have found the contrary. Course designer David Harman, must have had golf ball manufacturers in mind when he thought up this course.

The golf course features undulating fairways and interconnecting waterways bordered by the natural backdrop of dense oaks and pines along historic Shingle Creek. The design objective was to make the course play fair while keeping it an exceptional test of golf. With its tight fairways, ever present wind, strategic bunkers, rolling greens and, of course, water, the course will test players of all skill levels.

Shingle Creek Golf Club's best holes

The third hole is a great embodiment of David Harman's vision for Shingle Creek. It's a beautiful 399-yard dogleg right with a fairway shaped by willow and cypress trees to the right along a lake and devious bunkers on the left. A tee shot anywhere but in the fairway will leave you groaning about your second.

Number five is the toughest par-3 on the course, weighing in at 222-yards, it comes equipped with a shallow green, complete with water on the left, a 25-yard bunker guarding the front, and two smaller bunkers guarding the back right and left. Controlling the spin of your ball is a must in order to have a chance at a birdie putt.

The front nine closes with a tricky 433-yard dogleg left. The fairway ends in a bunker and there's water running down the left side of the landing area. For your second (or third) shot, you must contend with hitting over the water and dodging a bunker that stretches along the front and left side of the green. The green has four plateaus and is the most sloped green on the course.

The 12th hole is a 599-yard, wide-open long bomber's dream. There is water on the left, but for once it's hardly a factor off the tee. This is a good hole on which to take out some aggression. Even Tiger would have a hard time hitting the green in two. Take caution on your second shot, though, you could find yourself on the beach or in the drink.

Shingle Creek Golf Club's signature hole is 17. It's a 207-yard par 3 guarded with bunkers on both the left and right side of the green and a water hazard on the right. The view of the resort behind the green creates a wonderful backdrop.

One of the newer golf courses in Orlando, Shingle Creek opened for play in December 2003. While still retaining a bit of that "new course smell," Shingle Creek has already racked up its fair share of accolades. In 2005, it was listed in the "Top 40 Best New Golf Courses in the U.S." by Golfweek. Orlando Business Journal voted it "one of the toughest courses you can play" in 2006.

Shingle Creek Golf Club: Practice facilities and instruction

Shingle Creek's state-of-the-art practice facility includes two full-swing grass teeing grounds, a chipping, pitching and bunker practice area, and a practice putting green. It is also home to the Brad Brewer Golf Academy

Shingle Creek Golf Club: The verdict

It's safe to say that the golf course meets the expectations of its designer. It plays fair but is deceptively difficult. Course conditions are up to the standards one would expect from playing a $100-$150 resort course. The pace of play was good, considering the round was on a Saturday morning. The staff was courteous and informative, wiped down my clubs with a clean cloth and took care of getting the car, loading the clubs and parking it while I went off to the clubhouse for a drink.

Dave Lair, Contributor

Dave Lair, writer of, is one of those rare Orlando natives. He has spent many years passionately pursuing that mistress we all call golf. In this pursuit, he has played many of Central Florida's finest golf courses and has gained valuable insight into what makes a course worth playing.

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