Editor’s note: This is our first installment of a new feature taking a closer look at golf courses in the area. Look for a different course each month on the recreation page.
It all comes down to how much of a challenge you are up for when you visit the golf courses at Plantation at Leesburg. Boasting two courses in very different styles, Plantation has one course that places a premium on hitting the ball where it’s supposed to go and another that is more on the forgiving side.
Run by Mount Dora landscape company Down to Earth, Otter Creek and Cranes Roost are built among the homes at Plantation, but both also transport you away from the homes and into plenty of natural beauty. Unlike many courses built in subdivisions, you don’t feel like the homes are right on top of you as you play.
The crown jewel is really the Otter Creek course, the oldest of the two courses in Plantation. And while it is definitely the more challenging of the two courses, it offers an extra set of tee boxes so every level of golfer can enjoy the experience.
The course runs 6,036 yards from the blue tees and 4,960 yards from the red tees. Then there are the teal tees, measuring 3,745 yards and ideal for older golfers who may not have the power they once had.
“We had some of our older members giving up the game because they didn’t feel like they could play on the longer tees any more,” said General Manager Nick Slattery. “We wanted to create something so they could still enjoy the game they love and we came up with the teal tees. Now we have players in their 90s who can still come out and enjoy the game.”
The signature stretch on Otter Creek is holes 13-15, dubbed Otter’s Revenge and the Plantation equivalent of Amen Corner at Augusta National. The stretch features a pair of par-5 holes with a challenging par-4 in the middle.
It begins on No. 13, a par-5 that measures 476 yards from the back tees and demands two well-placed shots so you can be on the left side of the fairway for a third shot into an elevated green.
The next hole is a 314-yard par-4 that again puts a premium on accuracy off the tee, rewarding those who manage to keep the ball right to avoid the trees guarding the green. The two-tiered green means you want to keep the approach shot below the hole.
The challenging stretch ends with No. 15, a 475-yard par-5 with trouble left and right. The key shot is the second on this hole and you look to position yourself away from the large oak tree in the middle of the fairway.
Cranes Roost is the more popular of the two courses, and not just because it is slightly shorter at 5,863 yards from the blue tees and 4,398 from the red. While there is plenty of water, there are still plenty of opportunities to escape with a good score after a slightly wayward tee shot or two.
“The two courses are uniquely different,” said Justin Mouser, Plantation’s golf pro. “Cranes Roost is more user friendly but there’s more undulation on the greens. Cranes is so much more popular because you can spray the driver a little.”
The most scenic hole at Cranes Roost might be No. 9, a 490-yard par-5 that has you dogleg around the hazard on the left. The green is protected by bunkers and a bulkhead.
Plantation offers choices in the style of golf you want to play, but the nice thing is that there is no wrong choice.