Minneola, Florida (Private)
Sugarloaf Mountain would be one of the year’s top debuts no matter its location, but to come upon it in Florida is downright spine-tingling. Sitting in the hilly outback of scrub oak, citrus groves and quiet country roads north of Orlando, Sugarloaf Mountain (see “The Florida Sand Belt,”) bears its name unabashedly. The layout features ear-popping elevation changes of two hundred feet or more and enormous tumbling fairways seemingly hauled down from Virginia. In a state better known for highly engineered resort courses, Bill Coore and Ben Crenshaw’s organic approach incorporated only materials native to the site and involved almost no earth-moving. Tacking up and down pleasant inclines, the holes are beautifully oriented and paced. The reachable uphill par-five ninth is followed by a beastly par four and then an elegant par three of just 121 yards. Two holes later, a 507-yard par four plunges exuberantly from atop the highest point in peninsular Florida. The Sugarloaf community
Bill Coore and Ben Crenshaw.