One of the most difficult things to overcome is a bad reputation. That's not to say that you cannot, but it can be difficult.
Indianwood Golf Club in Indiantown is trying to do just that.
Over the past several years, neglect and drought caused the course to become nearly unplayable. There were fairways devoid of grass, greens with bare spots and ball marks, bunkers with dirt instead of sand and more. Then in March of this year, members decided they were tired of their course sitting in such a state of neglect. They decided to purchase the club and bring it back to the course they had known and loved a few years ago.
Last weekend I was invited to play the course for the first time in five years or more. I didn't see it in its neglected state. After visiting the course, it's hard to imagine just how bad it had become. The member-owners and their new management team have done a marvelous job in getting the course back to its former self.
In August, Jeff Stange was brought in as the club's new general manager. In the few short months that he has been at Indianwood, the club has experienced a rebirth.
The course has been over-seeded for the winter, the fairways have come back, the bunkers have been cleaned up, the restaurant has a new menu and expanded hours and the pride the member's once felt in their club has been restored.
Of course the most important part of any golf club is the course itself. You know the old saying, "you cannot judge a book by its cover"? With a golf course the saying is, "you cannot judge a course by its scorecard". There are few courses where that saying fits better than at Indianwood.
One may think that a course that plays to just more than 6,000 yards from the back tees is a mere push-over. Here that is certainly not the case. While the course's par-5s may be somewhat short, and there are a few par-4s where you can and should hit a fairway wood or hybrid from the tee, it's the par-3s where Indianwood shows its teeth.
Playing to a par of 70, the course has six par-3s. The shortest of these plays to 140 yards from the back tees. Even this hole is fraught with danger, as the green is guarded by water and a large bunker at the front.
The course has a wonderful variety of holes. On each of the par-3s I hit a different a club, using a 5-wood down to a 7-iron depending on the wind and pin placement.
The fairways are generous in spots, narrow in others with gentle hills and undulations. You will need to navigate your tee shots between trees, bunkers and ponds. Most of the greens are elevated and well protected by trees and bunkers. Shots missing the green will require a deft touch if you plan to save par.
One of the most intimidating tee shots I have ever hit comes at the par-4 eighth. Playing from the back tees, the hole measures just 518 yards. A solid tee shot will allow you to possibly reach the green in two and have a chance for eagle. The tee shot however must first carry a wetland and land in a narrow fairway with more wetland left, deep bunkers right and trees right of those.
The par-4 ninth hole is one of the best in the county. Playing to about 400 yards, you must drive the ball down a narrow fairway guarded by bunkers and wetlands. Your approach must find a small green with water front and left, and a bunker right.
The back nine plays a little shorter than the front, but features narrower fairways and smaller greens with more trees guarding them. The second-shortest par-4, the 12th, is the sixth hardest hole on the course because of this.
Playing to just 486 yards, the par-5 17th, offer golfers the chance to pick up a stroke or two on their competitors. The 18th is the longest par-4 on the property and a solid finishing hole.
After your round, you should check out the restaurant. Now staying open until 8 p.m., you can enjoy a nice dinner after your round, or arrive early on Thursday through Sunday and grab breakfast before you play. For lunch I would recommend the grilled chicken sandwich with mesquite bacon, lettuce and tomato on grilled jalapeno cornbread.
My round at Indianwood made for a pleasant Sunday afternoon. I'm glad to see the course coming back and the rates and specials are as good or better than any in the county.
For more information check out the website at www.IndianwoodGolfClub.com or call the pro shop at (772) 597-3794.
James Stammer has been an avid golfer and golf enthusiast for nearly 40 years. He hosts the Thursday night golf show on WSTU 1450-AM. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.