Sebring Bills Itself as the Most Affordable Golf Destination

By Len Ziehm

The Citrus Golf Trail has – most justifiably — promoted itself as “The Value Golf Capital of America.’’

Joe Staffieri, the manager at Pinecrest on Loleta in Avon Park, Florida, created the Citrus Golf Trail in 2012 and it’s flourishing like never before now.

“Golf can be expensive, but if you want to make a golf trip without breaking the bank you can come here and play for $20 — $60 in peak season,’’ said Andy Kesling, head professional at Sun ‘N Lake Golf Club and a Trail official. “We’re very excited about what the future holes. We have a lot to offer here.’’

The Sebring area isn’t just an economical place to play good golf. Big things are happening at the six golf facilities that comprise the Trail. Two have recently gotten new owners and collectively the group has put together a big new amateur event that will debut in December of 2021.

The biggest splash made most recently has been at what had been the Spring Lake Golf Resort, a facility that had opened in the 1970s. Signature H Property Group purchased the 352-acre property in November of 2019, renamed it the Sebring International Golf Resort and went on a major rebranding mission.

“It had 45 holes in its heyday,’’ said Helmut Wyzisk III, president and chief executive officer of Signature H. “Then it fell on hard times. My business is re-positioning and re-developing golf courses. We come in with a vision. Play had been coming down but it had a great footprint for us to bring in other amenities and save 27 championship holes.’’

Those 45 holes have been whittled to 39. The 18-hole Cougar, a 5,500-yard par-70 course, and the nine-hole Panther nine are being renovated. The nine-hole Bobcat has been closed and will become the gathering point for fishermen. And, within that mix, is The 12 – a creation of Steve Smyers, a Florida architect who has designed courses across the U.S. More