Saturday, July 26, 2014

Bobby Jones Golf Complex in Sarasota , Florida - How good is it? Round played July 25th 2014

I play Bobby Jones Golf Complex often. As a matter of fact, over the past 4 years I played almost every week one round of golf there.

Bobby Jones Golf Complex is a course with history. It was opened in 1927 and from there on was a place where all kinds of golf greats competed. This history was one of the reasons I actually went there the first time.

It is always exciting to walk a course where you know some of the most accomplished golfers in history have walked.

But back to the course. Yesterday I was back on Bobby Jones yet again for a game which is played there for over 30 years.

The pro shop and sign in:

My first way was to the pro shop. This shop has not the biggest selection of products, but you will find the most needed things for a round of golf. Also some shirts, bags, clubs and shoes. There was no long line, so I was up right away. The staff is a little slow and certainly not cheerful. A smile here and there would be nice, but yesterday I did not find that.

Right now the summer rate after 12 pm is 17 $ with cart. I had my nephew with me and had to pay 10 $ for him riding the cart. A little much for a 13 old who was not playing. The reasoning was that they could rent the cart space otherwise. Nonsense I thought, I would walk if not for my guest. Also, there was about 20 people on the entire golf course and an empty parking lot.

We bought some balls for the range as well. 3 $ for a small bucket is reasonable. Do not expect great balls though.

The Range:

I picked up my cart. The carts are always in good shape and clean. The cart boys are great. Friendly, always a joke on their lips and always helpful.

We drove to the range. A short range ( about 200 yards), mats only, no woods unless you are a short hitter. There is a few target pins. This time I got lucky with the balls. Plenty of lost golf balls of the course. So my warm up was good.

The course:

We played the British Course. This is the longer track ( Blue tees are 6700 yards). I have not played in a few weeks there. The last time I was on the course I was not to thrilled about the upkeep. So My hopes were high. The chipping green was in OK shape and the putting green improved a lot. So there was a good start. Signed in with the starter. All starters are retired staff members. They are friendly. A little more cheerfulness would help though.

On the tee box I noticed that they did put some effort in getting them in better shape. Looking at all tee boxes the staff succeeded on some. Over all they are OK but could use some leveling and seed. You will be able to get a good stand after looking for it.

The fairways were in good shape I though. Grass well grown and for the most part you find good lies. However, there are many sandy spots in front of greens, along cart path and at times in the fairway. Those lies do not help to enjoy the round any more. For the most part you should move the ball to a better lie to actually have a chance for a good golf shot. Some of the areas should be ground under repair.

The greens were mixed. The front 9 greens seemed to be better and in much better shape than just a few weeks ago. Not very fast, but they had some roll. Still bumpy. The back 9 greens were green, but oh boy where they slow. When you walked up to the green you could actually see the grass height. Not sure if they cut them at all on that day. They were all green and looked healthy for the most part, but they were not cut. So we were putting more on a lawn than a putting green.

I was in some bunkers and I think they have partly improved. But the traps are not of great quality. When it is wet, they are not playable. Just not enough sand. The rakes they had need to be replaced. Some of them are broken and all of them are very old.

The landscape on the course was taken care of. There were many nice old trees and bushes which are for the most part seem to be original. Some ponds add to the over all look of the course and a couple of them actually come into play.

I would say the course is not the toughest challenge, but has some very nice holes. It is wide open so it accommodates all kinds of players.

The 19th hole:

After the round we stopped by the restaurant for a drink. They offer all kinds of draft beers, pops, wine and they have a full bar. If you want to snack something, You will find all kinds of things there from nuts to chocolate bars and so on. There was free popcorn as well.

If you get hungry you might consider looking at their menu. We were not very hungry, but I did order some fries. In the past I had some fries which were not exactly tasty and of different quality every time I ordered them. I asked if the current fries are good and was told they were. That is why I ordered them.

This time we got fries which were the same like at Checkers. Brown and crispy. Not very tasty. In short. We did not like them to much. Ok to eat, but not my favorite.

In the past I had chicken wings there and hot dogs. Both I did not order more than 1 time. Self explanatory I guess. Prices for drinks are good. Beer is cold, pop is mixed well and the drinks are good quality. They have a wonderful bartender/server who takes great care of everyone, is very cheerful and always smiles. Very positive.

What I liked most was that you have a nice view of the golf course and putting green. So it is a good place. The restaurant could be improved.


If you want to play for a good price, Bobby Jones Golf Complex might the course you are looking for. They offer 2 different courses ( British and American ) and a par 3 course ( which I did not try out yet. The British course is for the most part wide open which allows players with all kinds of handicaps to enjoy the round.

Do not expect top quality. It is a city course and it shows. But it is not in super bad shape either. It is reasonable for the price. The staff and marshals are not the friendliest but do their job. Bobby Jones Golf Complex to me is a good place to pay with your family and kids and a track which I will continue playing as long as summer rates apply.

In season rates go up to app 40 $ to 50 $ and for that price I would not play.

If you are in Sarasota I think you should check it out. The American course is a nice challenge as well, but I have no knowledge about the shape at this point. Same accounts for the par 3 course.

Have you played Bobby Jones Golf Complex? Tell us about your experiences. Maybe you have some older fun stories as well. I will follow up on this round in a few months and see how the course developed.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Rolling Green Golf Club in Sarasota - Review of course and club house

Rolling Green Golf Club at 4501 N Tuttle Ave, Sarasota, FL 34234 10

When I moved to Bradenton, FL about 5 years ago, I was looking to play golf within a 10 I mile radius and possibly finding a club where I can play and practice. Back then I actually stopped by at Rolling Green Golf Club to check it out. I only played once, but used the range several times.

My memories from back then are not very detailed. However I do remember that the course was in OK shape. Last week I had the opportunity to play in a skins game over there and decided to join in and see how the course has developed and if it is worth to spend time there.

I got there at about 6 40 am in the morning as we had an 7 30 am tee time. When I checked out the website I found that they have some green fee specials which would include breakfast, lunch and 2 drinks. So I wanted to try it and learn about the kitchen while I was there.

Arriving at the parking lot I already saw about 15 cars parked. So there was some people out there. A good sign. The parking lot was clean and there was plenty of space. Right away I realized that the club house , cart area, range and chipping area have not changed a single bit from the outside.

All looked exactly the same and was , as it was back then, well taken care off. I entered the club house where I friend Jerry Hinton already was waiting for me. He told me to check in , mention our group rate and make sure I get the food with it.

The assistant professional was on the phone while I was getting there and pretty much did not offer any greeting. While not unfriendly, he was not exactly showing inviting behavior. But I was there for golf and not for making a new friend.

Told him I am with the group. The green fee for that is 22 $ plus tax including the cart. I told him yes and that I also would like the food deal with it. Breakfast, lunch and two drinks.

He told me that this would be 29.63 $ including tax. Right away I thought that this sounds like a good deal, but before making up my mind I wanted to wait for the food.

Sat down with my friend. I ordered 2 Italian sausages, 2 eggs , toast and a coffee. The food came in about 5 minutes and it was very good. I have to say, that the sausage was perfect. Eggs just as I liked them and all was served by a friendly server.

After enjoying the good breakfast I was told I get some free range balls to warm up. I practiced on that range before and was looking forward to find out how the balls were and so on.

The range balls were the same they had 5 years ago. Maybe the added some new balls on top of that. I did not expect brand new range balls but was kind of hoping they improved the quality of the balls. After all they offer extensive range plans. The balls were free and so I was satisfied.

The range is actually pretty nice. They have plenty of targets and you can go deep with your driver ( unless you hit over 270 with the range ball). There is a nice pitching and bunker play area. The green was redone some time ago but still looks good.

The putting green is huge and very well taken care of. It runs nicely, has plenty of pins and you can also use it for chipping. There is plenty of room around it which gives you the opportunity to chip from all kinds of lies.

Tee time came up and we were ready to go. The first hole had a good looking tee box, which I like. It is nice to stand level when hitting the tee shot. Put it in the fairway which gave me a first look. I must say I was impressed. The fairway was nicely grown, no weeds, no dry spots. I had a good lie without clean , lift and placing ( which they do there ). I hit my second shot into the par 5 and made my way up there.

What I found was a good looking green. Also nicely taken care off and when I putted I found it was rolling great. Not super fast, but very nice. No bumps and dents.

The first hole set my expectations high for the rest of the round and I have to say that I was very satisfied with what I found. Most of the tee boxes were in good shape and gave you a good stand for your tee shot. Despite the fact that some fairways were very wet ( because they were close to wet areas or hazards) the fairways were in good shape and you found good lies for your second shots.

I think all greens were nice. That is a huge factor for me when I play golf. I can live with some bad fairways and tee boxes. But I do want some good fairways.

We made it around in a good time, enjoying a well kept golf course.

After finishing with an eagle on 18 I was hungry and looking forward to lunch. When I asked the server the told me that they make fresh burgers there. So I ordered it to find out how good they are.
Only took a few minutes and I got my burger and it was very good. You can see and taste, that it was not out of  a freezer. It was nicely garnished. I had onion rings with it, which was only 1 $ more and they were OK as well.

2 free beers rounded up a good lunch.

So what do I think about Rolling Green Golf Club ?

I think it is a nice little golf course. Not the toughest lay out, but with some challenging holes along the way. The lands cape might not be stunning, but it is nice. There is some residence living around it, but it does not interfere at all with your game. There are two holes along the road, but the road is so far to the right, that you need to hit your worst shot ever to get on to it. The traffic does not bother at all.

They take well care of their course, which gives you good position on the tee, good lies in the fairway and the opportunity to make putts on greens which might be a little slow, but are actually green and in good shape.

The practice area is very nice. You can do all you need to do. The range balls might not be the best quality, but it works fine. I really like the putting green.

The club house is old. However, you find all  you need. Good food for a good value, a little bar with cold beer and a pro shop with the most important things for a round of golf.

Servers and cooks were fun and friendly. The pros shop assistant might have been a little tired still. Not unfriendly but not cheering either. Since you just going to pay there, it does not matter.

The price value is I think OK. That is mainly because of the quality of the greens and the over all condition of the course. In summer time you are able to play country clubs and other good golf courses for less. However, often you find bad greens, dry fairways and so on.

Considering that breakfast, lunch and two drinks were only 6 $ plus tax to add, this is a great deal. You will not get that anywhere else and not of this quality.

Rolling Green Golf Club offers some special deals for golfing and for practice on top of that. Please visit their official site to learn more about that.

Rolling Green Golf Club is a place where you can enjoy a nice round of golf for a good price. So when you are in Sarasota, why not check it out.

Have you played at Rolling Green Golf Club? Have eaten at their restaurant? Did you try the monthly deal they offer? I always like to get comments on that. Keep it positive :)

Video of Rolling Green Golf Club in Sarasota