LAKE WALES, FLORIDA | Golfers tend to use the words “hidden gem” recklessly when talking about course design. Often layouts described in that way are neither hidden nor gems. A recent trip to central Florida, however, reminded me that the term quite accurately applies to the track at Mountain Lake.
The hidden part is easy to reconcile, set as it is in a remote part of the Sunshine State where cell service can be spotty and towns are separated by miles of blacktop. So is the use of “gem” for the celebrated, par-70 course that Seth Raynor designed on the same sandy soil that is perfect for orange and grapefruit trees.
The land at Mountain Lake is also endowed with contours rarely found in such a famously flat region. Raynor took advantage of those features to produce deft renditions of the great old-world template holes, whether Eden or Redan, Biarritz or Punchbowl. In doing so, he gave golfers interesting angles off the tees that rewarded those who took risks on their drives. Raynor also provided players with a nice mix of holes ...
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