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In Tempo In Tampa

Buff Strickland The bunker-lined par-four fifth on the Pine Barrens course at World Woods.

Photo: Buff Strickland

BEST OF THE REST

Formerly PGA National (from 1945 to 1962), semiprivate Dunedin Country Club ($50–$59, 727-733-7836) is a worthy old Donald Ross design. Waterlefe Golf & River Club ($35–$80, 941-744-9771) in Bradenton has twice served as a U.S. Open qualifying site, despite being just five years old. Silverthorn Country Club ($40–$65, 352-799-2600) is a 1994 design by Florida legend Joe Lee combining tight fairways and open expanses subject to inland winds. Fox Hollow Golf Club ($60–$90, 727-376-6333) is part of a family of courses designed by Robert Trent Jones Sr. and Roger Rulewich that includes Crumpin-Fox and Fox Hopyard in New England. The well-groomed thirty-six-hole Lake Jovita Golf & Country Club ($65–$119, 877-481-2652) may become the next household name in Tampa golf. The topography, by Florida standards, is practically mountainous.

PRIVATE GEMS

Old Memorial Golf Club, Tampa (1997). One of the more difficult invites in town—but worth the effort. Designed by Steve Smyers, this caddies-only course has the wild bunkering and dramatic green complexes for which Smyers is known.
Hunter's Green Country Club
, Tampa (1989). Yet another vintage indicator of why Tom Fazio's work, private and public, has become so integral to the Florida scene.
Palma Ceia Golf & Country Club, Tampa (1916). Designed by transplanted Scotsman Tom Bendelow, whose portfolio, however distinguished, has been overshadowed by Donald Ross, Willie Park and others of his era. The layout is short, tight and interesting.

TAMPA PLUS

Orientation

Florida's comprehensive network of high-speed interstate highways notwithstanding, driving around the Sunshine State has never seemed easy. But Tampa's location on asymmetrical Tampa Bay, along with the half-dozen bridges that traverse it, manages to relieve the confusion wrought by the state's predominantly flat and featureless terrain. An early-morning or late-afternoon drive across the Sunshine Skyway Bridge, which connects St. Petersburg and the Sarasota area, is de rigueur for any first-time visitor.

Speaking of interstates, I-75 and I-275 both travel north–south, the former allowing you to bypass downtown Tampa. The two-year-old Veterans Expressway has greatly expedited travel to points north of the city, including the airport, Busch Gardens and several of the region's top courses. Apart from an inner-city bus system with twenty-eight routes, an "in-town" trolley system connects many of the downtown neighborhoods, including Ybor City and Channelside.

Situated just seven miles from downtown, Tampa International Airport is frequently cited in passenger surveys as one of the nation's most user-friendly. Two terminals have been added in the past three years, to accommodate the expanded flight schedules of Southwest Airlines and a newcomer, Independence Air. Across the bay is St. Petersburg–Clearwater International Airport and to the south is Sarasota–Bradenton International Airport, both of them favorites among Canadians.

Tampa's official web site, visittampabay.com, provides some good basic information; or call 800-448-2672.

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