What's Your Favorite Municipal Course in North Florida? Here's Mine

By: Tim McDonald


North Florida is blessed with dozens of fun, high-quality municipal golf courses, but for my money you'd be hard-pressed to beat Bent Creek on the west side of Jacksonville.

Bent Creek has the feel of an upscale, semi-private golf club, though it is indeed city-owned. The conditioning is top-notch throughout - something you don't always find in municipal tracks - from the driving range to the practice green and chipping areas, to the course itself. The greens are velvety-smooth, in fact, though a little slow.

It's a certified Audubon Sanctuary and it plays through the pleasantly shaded neighborhood of the same name. Wood bridges take you over little ponds and creeks, including of course Bent Creek.

As for the challenge, the course isn't overly long at 6,606 yards from the back tees, and it can be played from back there by mid-handicappers. But, tricky doglegs lie in wait throughout the layout, teasing you and luring you. Easy big man, some of them have hazards on the other side of those trees. You can feel like you're Tiger off the tee only to end up wet and abashed.

The course is full of interesting angles and tough carries over marsh, and many of the holes can be played in different ways. My playing partner and I found ourselves wanting to go back and play certain holes again.

Bent Creek does another admirable thing besides throwing good golf at you for a reasonable price: It serves the community. Kids play free everyday after 2 p.m. and they're always running specials to make their cheap rates even cheaper.

In March, for example, you can play a round with cart, hit the range for free and they throw in a free lunch, all for under $40. If you're a frequent golfer there, buy a players pass and save more.

For this course, at those prices, Bent Creek is one of the best bargains around.

Click here for a short video of the course.


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