Errol Estate Country Club is located in Apopka, FL, also known as northwest Orlando. It’s a Joe Lee design that opened in 1973 and features three nine hole courses; Grove, Lake and Highland.
It was originally a private golf club with 18 holes, but two years later, Mr. Lee came back to build a 3rd nine hole. Somewhere along the lines it was downgraded to a semi-private course and just last year, they stopped selling memberships and have begun striving to revitalize the course and bringing in some new blood.
Each nine hole has completely different character, style and challenges and affords the player the opportunity to play three different golf courses depending on the type of they’re interested in.
The overall course design falls somewhere in between modern and classic. Any combination of the courses will pit the player against hilly terrain, low-profile bunkers, traditionally placed water, couple of blind tee shots and slightly sloped greens. Lee did a great job of melding the course into the natural contours of the local environment.
For the Errol Estates golf course review, we played the Grove & Lake combination.
The first hole is definitely a memorable one. It’s a 568 yard par-5 that plays from an elevated tee box, providing you an astonishing view of the entire hole. Beware, those of you whose tee shots, like mine, trend to the left side of the hole. There’s the first of many water hazards lurking there and trust me, it’s not as out-of-play as it might seem.
Throughout the rest of the course, you’ll wind your way through pine and oak trees and if you’re lucky, you’ll avoid the worst of the strategically placed vegetation. Although it’s the longest of the courses out at Errol Estates, it’s also the easiest.
You’ll finish the course opposite the way you started, playing an uphill 426 yard par-4 with a tee shot over a small strip of water. It’s not really an issue clearing the water, unless it gets inside of your head. This tee shot requires accuracy as the fairway is bordered by encroaching trees and bunkers.
You’ll face narrow undulating fairways and strategically placed clusters of trees and hills. Accuracy is vital to survive this track, and you’ll enjoy every painful moment of it.
My favorite is the 488 yard par-5 fourth hole. It’s a super tight hole that goes to the left and any straight shots longer than 200 yards will land you in a wetland oak grove. If you survive the tee shot, you’ve gotta clear a small stream that cuts across the hole on your way to the elevated tri-bunker green.
The first hole is pretty fun as well, it’s a downhill double dogleg (left than right) with trees on the left, water on the right and some strategically place bunkers that can ruin a good starting hole.
Number three is a fun, windy beautiful par-3 hole tucked away in stand of oak trees.
The shortest of the Errol Estates courses, Highland measures 3,329 from the tips. Named for it’s various elevation peaks and valleys. Like the other two, the first hole is an elevated tee shot, but unlike the other two, so it the finishing 9th.
I’ve played this particular course twice in the past and the most memorable moment for me is standing on that 9th tee box taking in the panoramic view. It’s like you’ve been teleported to some golf course in the Dominican Republic. It’s a beautiful downhill shot, with water on the left and a bunch of housing that looks like Spanish villas. It’s a very enjoyable hole. Even a substandard drive will get you close to 300 yards and if you pure it.. (whistle) LOOK OUT BELOW!!
You’ll encounter terrain on the Highland course that one doesn’t expect from an Orlando golf course. Plenty of uphill and downhill plays with no water to contend with. It’s a great opportunity to post a lower than usual score.
The 8th hole, however, is reputed to be the most frustrating hole on the course. It’s a 445 yard par-4 triple D (double dogleg downhill) hole. You’ll also have pit your formidable golf skill against more encroaching trees, bunkers and marshland.
I played Errol Estates country club for the first time during the 2nd Annual Future Stars Foundation Pro-Am. It was played on the Lake/Highland combo. I tried to view the round with the “course reviewers” eye, but I was too busy trying to keep up with Carling Coffing and her birdy dances.
At the time, though, there was a lot of rubbish strewn about on the course. By rubbish, I mean piles of cut trees, rakes leaves, and other foliage, which was quite an eyesore and super frustrating as one of our playing partners landed his approach shot in one. It wasn’t in that great of shape either.. not nearly what you’d expect when you’re forking out $200 bucks to play..
I’m happy to report, however, that the new management and new initiatives have made a positive impact. Instead of playing a course that was maintained just enough to “get by,” now your swinging your sticks off of turf that is on its way to former glory. The clubhouse could definitely use some work though, it’s aged, but not in a good way. I suppose it could be viewed as “comfortable” but it doesn’t exactly convey a sense of prosperity.
Errol Estates has one of the most inconveniently located driving ranges I’ve ever had the misfortune of encountering. It took me quite a bit of time to find it, even AFTER I was given directions. I’ll give you a hint, it’s on the other side of the parking lot across from the clubhouse.
The course was in good shape, nothing to brag about, but also nothing to complain about. It’s well worth the price of admission, I think the tee times are between $30-$50 during peak times.
Overall, I really enjoyed Errol Estates. I’m a big fan of the “build your own golf course” motif. Each course is distinctive and provides it’s own set of challenges for you to contend with. If you’re looking for a reasonably priced golf course that’s in good shape and has some character, check them out, I’m sure you won’t be disappointed.
For all you locals or Orlando frequenters, what is your opinion of Errol Estates?