By Patrick Farnan
The word “dread’’ referred to the difficulty of the original course design in 1924. It was redesigned in 2008, but the “dread” part still applies.
Dubsdread is not dreadful, of course. In fact, it is rather short. Stretched out to its maximum, Dubsdread is only a little more than 6,100 yards, well below contemporary design standards that can expand a course to 7,500 yards and beyond.
But its length clearly belies the difficulty, challenge and delight of this 18-hole layout.
Dubsdread literally wends its way through a residential neighborhood in the College Park district west Orlando, a charming mix of new, older and gentrified homes. The golf course seems a perfect match.
“This is very convenient and seems to suit the neighborhood,’’ said Bill McGee, 75, a native of Brooklyn, N.Y., who now lives nearby. “It’s a fun course to play. We enjoy it.’’
The course is owned by the city of Orlando and managed by Billy Casper Golf. Both entities appear to take their roles seriously. Dubsdread is kept in top shape; tees, greens, fairways and traps are well manicured and primped on a regular basis. The course has plenty of practice facilities, a well-stocked pro shop and a popular dining spot, The Tap Room, within a few steps of the 18th green.
Dubsdread, which managers like to promote as being “a course everyone can play at a price anyone can pay,’’ accommodates more than 65,000 rounds a year.
“The investment by the city is key,’’ said Andrew Rice, assistant general manager. “The city, the workers, the pros, everyone takes a lot of pride in what we do here.’’
Part of the charm of Dubsdread is that for a relatively short course it plays considerably longer than its listed length. From any of the five teeing areas, several holes are relatively tight challenges that require precise tee shots. For many golfers, this will take driver out of the equation. But even if you are laying up with as little as a mid-iron, you better hit it straight. And the more you lay back, of course, the longer shot you will have to the green, many of which are elevated, adding a few more yards to the approach.
While precision is a prominent theme of the layout, there are other challenges. The greens have plenty of contour that requires careful attention. Sand traps are well-placed, both along the greens and in some fairways. And not every hole is short.
The No. 1 handicap hole is the 4th, which can stretch out to 440 yards from the back tees. It requires a precise tee shot to a narrow dog-leg. Even for a skilled player, laying up here is not a good option because it will leave an even longer shot that must negotiate water left of the fairway for the last 150 yards, and an elevated green guarded by sand. This would be an honorable par 4 on virtually any course.
The same is true of No. 16, another par 4 that stretches to 436 yards with an elevated green that is well bunkered.
Whether you hit it long or short, Dubsdread is a delightful challenge and a pleasurable walk through the neighborhood.
When you go…
Dubsdread Golf Course
549 West Par Street
Orlando, FL 32804
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