Panther Lake: A Big Cat with Teeth

By: Tim McDonald


In my last blog, I talked about what a super facility Orange County National Golf Center and Lodge is and how it's set up for the hard-core golfer.

One of the main reasons, aside from the world-class practice facilities, huge pro shop, lodge and bar/restaurant, as well as the beautiful, relatively isolated setting, is the golf itself, obviously.

Orange County National has two 18-hole courses, Panther Lake and Crooked Cat. The two layouts have both similarities and differences. Today, I want to tell you about Panther Lake.

Panther Lake is 7,350 yards from the back tees, so if you want a challenge, you will get all – and most likely, more – than you can handle from back there. Probably, you'll play from one of the forward tees.

It's a lovely, parkland courses with moss-draped oaks and gently sloping, undulating fairways, some of them mounded along the borders to keep your ball in play.

One of the first things you'll notice is the atypical elevation, up to 60 feet of it. There are uphill and downhill tee shots, together with doglegs, fairway moguls and hillocks and strategically-placed bunkers – all these factors give the fairways a great deal of movement, so the course never gets boring. Every single hole requires thought and planning.

The greens are a blast. They're also gently sloped and elevated, with some of them multi-tiered. If you're not careful, you'll be looking at some three-putts, as I did. You have to hit to the right spots on these well-guarded greens.

You'll also be looking at a few prodigious carries off the tee if you play from the back tees, or even the green tees, and the course always keeps it interesting with risk/reward options. You make good shots here, you'll be rewarded. You can also get into a great deal of trouble.

There are no homes or development of any kind around the routing, and that gives Panther Lake a very natural feel; you'll see a variety of Florida wading birds.

In short, this is Florida golf at its finest, in a rolling, serene, rural environment. Orange County National is a place the hard-core golfer will want to visit again and again.

Next blog: Crooked Cat.

For more information on Orange County National, call 888-727-3672.

Sponsored listings by VISIT FLORIDA Partners


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