Survive the 'Aman Corner' at Windermere Country Club near Orlando
[Editor's Note: This course closed down in April, 2016.]
WINDERMERE, Fla. -- Windermere Country Club boasts its own version of "Aman Corner."
That's not a typo. Don't call or e-mail the editor.
The holes 14-16 got their nickname to celebrate a former member. A plaque near the 100-yard mark of the 15th hole reads "Aman Corner, Bill Aman, Always Play it Down, 1949-1999."
Like the famous three-hole stretch at Augusta National, Aman Corner tends to be the defining moment in any round. "Those holes are some of the better golf holes in (Orlando)," said Jimmy Bell, the club's director of sales and marketing.
The 6,606-yard parkland layout opened up limited tee times to the public in 2008, transitioning from an all-private club to semi-private. The country club amenities -- a nice clubhouse and restaurant with tennis courts and a swimming pool nearby -- are still intact. Windermere C.C. has even started selling stay-and-play packages with nearby condominiums.
The course, designed in 1986 by Ward Northrup between Lake Roberts and Lake Crescent, tends to be mostly no-frills golf up until Aman Corner. Water touches 13 holes, although far enough on the perimeter that it's really only a factor on the par 4s at No. 6, No. 9 and No. 10.
The three holes on the back nine that sit across the street from the main property feel almost like another course entirely. Suddenly the friendly fairways have constricted. Wetlands and ponds are much more in play. Every hazard seems magnified.
At 205 yards from the tips, the 14th hole plays tight, pinched by a wetland up the left side and overhanging tree branches on the right. It gets even narrower on the 15th tee. Players who safely drive through the chute of woods and wetland on this 475-yard par 5 are rewarded with an open second shot on a fairway that sweeps around a giant pond.
Bombers can challenge the pond, while short hitters maneuver around it. The same pond runs up the right side of the par-4 16th hole. Misses left disappear into an environmentally sensitive area. The green sits tucked behind this wetland on the left.
Back across the street, there's another strong par 3 over water, the 205-yard 17th hole, and a water-logged, 402-yard finishing hole that serves as the No. 2 handicap.
"The course isn't overly lengthy," said Jason Schneider, an assistant professional at the club. "It is very shot oriented."
New TifEagle grass on the greens, installed in 2010, has raised the bar on conditioning, providing consistently fast surfaces. Joel Pullis, of Lakewood, Wash., noticed how well they putt during his first visit to the course in December.
"It is a very fair golf course. The greens roll true," he said. "If you hit it good, you will be rewarded."
January 16, 2013