ORCHID ISLAND GOLF AND BEACH CLUB
At one point in my golf-life, I played to a 10 handicap. I now play golf less frequently, maybe twice per month. As a result, my game is inconsistent and the old handicap is merely a memory. All this means that I have an idea of what I want to do with the golf ball, I just don't play enough to make that happen consistently. The 7 iron is my 150 yard club.
Hole 1 is a nice opening hole. It is a par 4 that curves gradually around a lake to your right. The hole is fairly short. I can use a five iron off the white tee, aiming just to the left center of the fairway. I use an 8 or 9 iron into the green. The generous green slopes from back to front. Don't slice your tee shot, as your ball will be in the pond.
Hole 2 is a long, straight par 4. There is a wide fairway with a hill and bunkers to the right. Far off to the left is another large pond. I hit a driver as far as I can, aiming for the left center of the fairway. If you hit it to the right, your view to the green is blocked by the hill. The second shot requires a long iron, or possibly a five wood. The green is huge. It's possible to be left with a very long putt.
Hole 3 is another par 4 that requires ‘local' knowledge. The pond in front of the green is easily reachable from the tee. I've put quite a few balls into this pond before I decided on a different strategy. I now use a 5 iron and aim to the right of the pond. The hole is short enough for me to reach the green on the second shot with an 8 or 9 iron. The green is tiered from right to left and the lower tier is sloped from front to back. It's a short hole, but offers many opportunities for trouble.
Hole 4 is the first of the par 5's. The tee shot requires a decision as to how much of the large pond you want to carry. Having lost many balls in the pond, I now try to take a more conservative route. I aim a little to the right of the bunkers that are placed on the far side of the fairway. The green is framed with a pond to the left, and the large pond that continues down the right. The pond on the right creates the border for the green and there is a sharp drop off. If the tee shot was cooperative, I can use a 5 iron, aimed to the right of the fairway, for my second shot. If this goes well, I can hit the green with a sand wedge.
Hole 5 is a par 3, about 185 from the white tees. The hole plays uphill. In front of the tee is a large waste area, and there are bunkers up the right side of the small fairway. A well hit 4 iron can get me to the large green, sloping from back to front.
Hole 6 is a par 4 with a waste area to the left and bunkers to the right. The hole is straight and I usually hit a 3 wood off the tee. The second shot is over a pond to an elevated green, with some additional bunkers. My second shot is usually a 6 iron. The key is to get the ball to stay on the green.
Hole 7 is another par 4, with an out-of-bounds to the right which seems to come into play too often. The key is to put the tee shot into the center of the fairway. A shot to the left side of the fairway is blocked by trees. The second shot is into a sloping green, protected by bunkers on the left and a pond on the right.
Hole 8 begins a difficult stretch of holes at Orchid. The hole itself is a very short par 3 to a relatively small green. The green slopes from back to front, but the there are potential problems everywhere. The entire carry, from tee to green, is over water. The hole seems to play longer than advertised, maybe because it is a ‘nervous' shot. Anything short gets wet. A shot hit to the left, right, or long will end up in the woods or in the landscaping. I approach the tee thinking that it is a pitching wedge, but have learned (the hard way) that I am better off using a 9 iron.
Hole 9 is the hardest hole in golf! It is a par 5 that offers every hazard invented by a golf course architect. I have heard that people can reach it in two shots, but I've never seen anyone come close. The tee shot is up a hill, between bunkers, avoiding the woods on the right. This is a hole where I take out the driver. The second shot must avoid bunkers to the right and a lake to the left. My second shot is a 5 wood. You are left with a shot over water, over a large bunker, to a relatively skinny, long, tiered, elevated green. My third shot is usually a 9 iron. I consider a bogey a victory.
Stop for a break at the wonderful clubhouse. There is a great staff, good food and terrific people!
Hole 10 continues the stretch of difficult holes. It is a par 4, but I don't think that I've ever reached this green in two shots. The tee shot is over a large pond to a very wide fairway. The fairway slopes up- hill. There is a bunker to the right. The second shot is blind. The green is protected by a creek in front and water on the left. There is a bail-out area to the right, which is where I usually aim. My club selection for the second shot varies and I still haven't figured out how to play this hole properly.
Hole 11 is another par 4 and it ends the stretch of difficult holes. There is an elevated tee to a wide fairway with bunkers on the right. There is a waste area to the left, but the hole is relatively short. Put the tee shot in the fairway and you are left with a fairly short, uphill shot to the green.
Hole 12 is a par 3, about 185 yards from the white tees, over water. It has a large green and provides a significant target. There is a bailout area to the left. The green has bunkers in the back and water in front. The size of the green makes this less intimidating than hole 8. A 5 iron is usually my choice. I do have a tendency to aim left to avoid a complete carry over the pond.
Hole 13 is a par 5. You want to avoid a drive to the left, as there is a hilly area and a bunker. There is also a bunker on the right. Again, I've never attempted to hit the green in two shots. There are simply too many hazards. The green has a large pond that forms its' right border. The green itself is skinny and long, not presenting a large target area from the fairway. The left side of the green is a long sand trap. My club selection usually follows driver, 5 iron, pitching or sand wedge.
Hole 14 is a par 4 that offers a very wide fairway. The second shot is over a waste area into a large green. It's a nice hole that offers a chance for a birdie.
Hole 15 is a short par 3 to a large green. The waste area is near the tee area and doesn't present a problem. The green has some contour, but again, this hole offers a chance for a birdie. I usually hit an 8 or 9 iron from the tee.
Hole 16 is a par 4 with wide fairway. I usually will hit a 3 wood from the tee which leaves a relatively short iron into the green. The green on this hole is particularly beautiful. The second shot must clear another pond to a green that is bordered with a rock wall and bunkers. This is another birdie opportunity.
Hole 17 is a long par 4 with water and a waste area on the left. There is a bunker in the distance, on the right, that I use as a target. It's a wide fairway and I'll use a driver from the tee. The second shot is to a huge green protected in the right front by a pond. There are bunkers on the left, but there is also some room on that side to land your second shot. The green is massive and you can face some very long putts.
Hole 18 is a long par 5. The tee shot offers a wide fairway and you can ‘swing away'. There is water over to the left and some bunkers and hills to the right. The second shot is a fairway wood, which I try to put in the left side of the fairway. There is a long bunker that runs across the fairway. The green is bordered by water on the right, with a stone retaining wall. There are bunkers around the green. In all, the hole forces you to carry at least some of the water to get on the green. A short iron or pitching wedge will get you there, completing your round.
It is likely that you will lose a few golf balls along the way. Where many courses have rough, Orchid Island has water. The course is beautiful, immaculate and a pleasure to play. The course is private.
The course is surrounded by beautiful homes. Orchid Island also features a beach club and a tennis club. If you would like additional information on Orchid Island, please contact us.
Orchid Island is located in Vero Beach, Florida.
Steven K. Zeuner
Dale Sorensen Real Estate