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Isleworth Country Club

Windermere, Florida

By: David Gould

Appeared in November/December 2005 LINKS

No doubt you’ve gasped at a Tiger Woods golf shot. A visit to his residential enclave and club, Isleworth, is no less jaw-dropping. The complex is so posh that when Sotheby’s installed an exhibit of sculpture masterpieces—by Auguste Rodin and Salvador Dali, among others—along Isleworth’s thoroughfares, a visitor’s eyes still wandered to scope out the next mansion instead.

Woods, Mark O’Meara and Isleworth’s other resident stars were a happy bunch when their golf course reopened in 2003 following a complete Steve Smyers renovation of the original Arnold Palmer-Ed Seay layout. By adding contour, dimension and tougher bunkering to greensites and landing areas, Smyers upped the Slope Rating to 142 and broadened the shotmaking possibilities.

Woods & Co. now hone their games on holes ranging from the difficult 479-yard 4th to the 349-yard 16th, which tempts long-hitting members like Woods, Stuart Appleby and Charles Howell III to try to drive the small green, guarded by a bunker short left and a depression to the right and behind. Those laying up need to pay attention as well, as bunkers guard both sides of the fairway. 
 
One of LINKS Magazine's 100 Premier Properties for 2007–08, Isleworth makes up half the world's most competitive annual interclub match, the Tavistock Cup, against cross-town Lake Nona, whose members include Ernie Els and Annika Sorenstam. Last year, the 20 players on both sides combined to win eight U.S. Opens, six British Opens, five Masters and four PGA Championships.

How does that compare to your club's team?

Par: 72
Yardage: 7,544
Year founded: 1986
Architects: Ed Seay and Arnold Palmer; Steve Smyers

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