My friends and I played Wentworth Golf Club last weekend. For as long as I’ve known it, this has been a private course, locked away behind the gates of the Wentworth community. Recently the course was bought by Ace Golf, and as of January 1 of last year became semi-private. Wentworth is now open for public play and its members have reciprocal privileges with Crescent Oaks and Pebble Creek Golf Clubs, all owned by the same company.
The course layout takes you through the community of Wentworth. I had been told that this was a tight course with narrow fairways. Yes and no. The front side, more than the back, had rolling fairways lined with tall pine and old oak trees, and several well-placed traps to keep you honest. The back nine, which seems to open up a little, still has water and sand, making you think your way around the course. It’s not a long course, with yardage measuring just under 6500 yards from the tips, to 5000 yards from the front tees, and plays to a par 71.
Overall, the golf course was in great condition. The tee boxes were good except for some minor condition issues on one or two of the back tees. The fairways and greens were all in good shape. The greens however, are extremely fast if you’re not used to them. Another thing you will notice are the sand traps. Not only are there a lot of them, the sand around the edges was soft with harder sand closer to the middle, which can be tricky around the fast greens. It seems like on every shot you have to contend with the sand coming into play. My friend said he counted 17 traps on one hole (he may be exaggerating), but course literature says they have 83 bunkers in total, and I believe them.
I really enjoyed playing this course and will play it again. It is a shot-makers course. As it is not a long course, club selection is key for almost every shot. If you can avoid the sand and adjust to the greens, you’ll find it’s a nice course to play. If not, it could be a frustrating round.
The practice facilities are good. They have a nice putting green by the clubhouse and 10th tee (I suggest you use it to get used to the speed of the greens) and a chipping and bunker area by the first tee. They also have a small driving range. There is one problem with the range. As I was playing hole 9, I almost got beaned by an errant practice shot and I noticed five or six range balls in the fairway. Be careful and play your tee shot to left center of the fairway.
The staff was friendly, taking our bags upon arrival, and courteous at check-in. The carts are nice, but no GPS or yardage books. There is plenty of water to drink and a beverage cart that comes by. We got around the 18-hole course in under four hours, which is good for a weekend 10:30 tee time and we paid $55. A little pricey, but each of the courses owned by Ace Golf cross-market the sister properties, so visit the other courses and look at their literature racks for coupons.
Wentworth is located in Tarpon Springs, about a 30 minute drive from downtown Tampa. For more information on tee times, rates and directions go to www.wentworthgolfclub.org. Also check out my posts on the sister courses – Pebble Creek and Crescent Oaks.