By Bill Sangster

There’s never a dull moment at The Villages – “Florida’s Friendliest Hometown” – and the buzz this week is all about the grand opening of an 18-hole championship layout called Southern Oaks Golf Club.

With the opening of the 13th championship golf course here in The Villages, I did some research on CEC Golf Design Group – the golf course design company that designed all 13. Could this new course qualify as a Links Course? None of the other 12 are links-style courses.

“The definition of links is near or next to large water bodies with multiple weather varieties like wind and rain changing the daily, if not hourly, playing conditions,” said architect Ken Ezell, who has been directly involved with the design of 13 of The Village’s courses. “Void of most trees! Typically, they are what I refer to as core courses and not associated with real estate development. Our 13th course at The Villages – Southern Oaks – is about as close to a core course as you can get, while it is a parkland type.”

Southern Oaks Golf Club is only the third course in the family of 13 that is 18 holes, and the first to be added to The Villages southern expansion program. The course consists of the Live Oak and Laurel Oak nines, mirroring each other in an “L” shape as they approach the turnpike and split in opposite directions before looping back.

Both nines feature something unique: a configuration boasting three par 3s, three par 4s and three par 5s.

When stepping onto the first tee, you can feel the adrenaline rush, which is expected at a new course opening. No sweaty palms or first tee jitters, but you know something special and unpredictable is happening.

This is not just another golf course at The Villages. What makes Southern Oaks special is the unique blend of strategically designed holes, surrounded by the beauty of the natural settings found throughout central Florida. This distinguishes Southern Oaks from all the rest. The Villages has finally stepped into the future with the investment in Southern Oaks. More