The irony was just too rich when my friend Jim Ross ventured into the woods at El Diablo Golf and Country Club more than a decade ago.
We were playing at the then-new Citrus Springs course for a newspaper review, and Ross was tracking down an errant shot when he found a pitchfork sticking out of the pine straw. At a course that was kicking our tail. And called El Diablo.
Love that story. And I still love the course, though when I lived in Citrus County it more often than not got the best of me.
El Diablo opened in 1998, and the Jim Fazio-designed course immediately soaked up accolades like “Best New Affordable Course in America” by Golf Digest. Fazio’s layout features elevation changes, varied bunkers (some playing as waste areas) and four sets of tees on a meandering trip through the forest.
Virtually every hole is isolated from the next, with few houses creeping in. You’ll feel like you have the whole place to yourself.
From the back tees, El Diablo is 7,045 yards with a rating/slope of 75.3/147. That’s pro-caliber stuff, and indeed the course has hosted many minitour events over its 15 years.
Its remote location in the west-central part of the state, some 30 miles southwest of Ocala, 90 miles north of Tampa and 90 minutes northwest of Orlando, adds to the intrigue. You may need a fine-tuned GPS to find the hamlet of Citrus Springs and then get to El Diablo’s front door, but you’ll thank yourself after the round no matter how devilish the course played.
Who knows, maybe you’ll even find that old pitchfork.
If you go
El Diablo Golf and Country Club
10405 N. Sherman Drive
352-465-0986 Pro Shop