With snowbird season in full effect, there are plenty of new golfers in the area who may be unfamiliar with which local golf courses are the best to play.

In a five-part series, the Sun will highlight some of the most enjoyable golf courses that the area has to offer.

We began last week with Sarasota National Golf Club.

The second course in our series is …

Heron Creek Golf and Country Club

A 27-hole, semi-private golf course designed by Arthur Hills in North Port, Heron Creek is roughly 6,800 yards from the tips.

Though it’s not as long as several area courses, it makes up for the lack of length in its layout.

With water on nearly every hole and some tricky tee shots, the course is short enough for most players to enjoy while still forcing them to make some difficult shots.

“Even if you want to play the back tees, it doesn’t seem like it’s that much of a test,” Director of Golf Bart Cook said. “But when you get out here, just based on the green complex, the strategic bunker placement, the way the course moves and the way that Arthur Hills designed it to play, it offers a challenge for all levels.

“I think the one thing you can find here is that every golfer can play here, but it’s a challenge.”

Best feature: The condition of the course. From the tee boxes to the fairways, the bunkers and greens, the course is well-maintained throughout the year. Rotating its golfers between three nine-holes courses helps to ease the wear and tear.

Best holes: Oaks No. 9 — A dog-leg left par 5 leading back to the clubhouse that forces players to plan their shots well — including two hazards to navigate over.

Creek No. 4 — A par 5 with a tee shot overlooking water and rolling hills leading to the fairway. Waste traps and bunkers line the fairway and can have players scrambling if their ball finds one of them.

Marsh No. 3 — The longest par 3 on the course — 196 yards from the tips — is a tough tee shot. Hit the ball too short and it will fall into a preserve. Hit it too long or to either side of the green, and it will be lost in the woods.

Additional benefits: Free range balls come with your round and there is a clubhouse that offers hot food and beverages along with a pro shop that sells clothes, golf balls and golf clubs.

“It’s 25 acres and two-tiered,” Cook said of the course’s Learning Center. “We have a member’s tee on the west side of the range and a public tee on the east side. Then up the hill, we have an iron tee, and then we have three practice greens up top for chipping, putting and pitching.

“Then down by the clubhouse we have two other greens.”

Fee: $89

Booking a tee time: Heron Creek is semi-private, part of which means members get preferential tee times. However, the public can still play the course year-round.

Non-members should call seven days in advance to secure a tee time.

Address: 5301 Heron Creek Blvd, North Port

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