Botanical Wonderland or Golf Course? The Soffer Course at Turnberry Isle is Both

By: Tim McDonald


It's like a botanical wonderland with a beautiful golf course set down gently in the middle.

That was my first impression of the Soffer course, one of the two gorgeous tracks at the famed Turnberry Isle golf resort in Aventura, a well-struck 5-iron from Miami.
Of all the major golf resorts in Florida, this is one I had not played and I can only regret I hadn't played it sooner. It's definitely one of the marquee tracks in south Florida.
Here's the kicker: Not only is it drop-dead beautiful, it's a stern test for any golfer who likes a serious challenge mixed with his luxury golf. So many scenic resort courses are laid out with the semi-serious resort duffer in mind. This one is not.
It's over 7,000 yards from the back tees and it's going to be all you can handle, particularly if you don't bring your straight game with you.
The fairways are narrow, even the par-5s. You don't need your driver every hole, but you have to be straight off the tee if you want to score well.
Then there's the ubiquitous water that lurks on most holes, waiting for errant shots. It's often lateral, but it guards many greens and lies just to the side of many fairways.
Some of the greens are small, and some have fairly severe slopes and tricky undulations, and yet others have tricky surrounds that make getting up and down an adventure, here in Aventura. Most are well-guarded with the aforementioned water or bunkers.
It isn't the kind of course that will beat you over the head with length or unfair hazards, but it will test most parts of your game, especially your tee ball and your approaches, particularly on some of the longer par-4s.
It's also the kind of course you will enjoy even if you're having a bad day with the sticks: It's that lovely. The fairways are lined with swaying palms, there are those weird, intricate banyan trees at various spots, and everywhere you look, you see that colorful, unusual tropical fauna of South Florida and the Caribbean.
It's a visually interesting course, with all the color and waterfalls, and interesting angles into the green.
The Soffer is part of Turnberry Isle's $150 million transformation, a redesign by Raymond Floyd of the original Robert Trent Jones Sr. work.
It's full of risk/reward options and anyone who likes to play bold and fearless will get his chances. This is one of the must-plays for any golfer in south Florida.
Wait till you see No. 18, one of the better finishing holes in the state.
Enjoy the video.


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