The Skyview Golf Club at Terra Vista recently reopened after a four-month closure to replace the greens with TifEagle Bermuda, redo the irrigation throughout the course and redesign the bunkers filling them with new sparkling white sand. Tee boxes have been enlarged, leveled and resodded. Trees with limbs hanging over the fairways have been trimmed and crown lifted. I took a ride up to the “Manatee Capital of the World,” Citrus County, Florida to check out the beautiful Terry LaGree design to find out what the members are applauding after the completion of the $700,000 improvement project.
Once you pass through the gates of the Terra Vista master-planned all-age community, beautifully manicured grounds surround you as you drive to the magnificent Skyview Clubhouse, which houses the fully stocked pro shop with all the latest apparel, clubs and accoutrements. Jimmie Brothers, PGA Professional and Director of Golf, and his fine staff make sure your day at Skyview is the very best golf experience in the area. Skyview has an expansive target driving range, large greenside bunkers, chipping green and over a half-acre practice putting green. The beautifully decorated clubhouse is home to the Skyview Restaurant which serves a delectable menu of lunch specials and an evening culinary experience with Executive Chef Joe Bergman unmatched in the area. The lovely decorated dining room overlooks the eighteenth fairway and green and can be reserved for family affairs and special golf tournament dining. The large Skyview Bar is the perfect place to refuel after a round on the links with both indoor and outdoor seating.
Located about an hour north of Tampa and 30 minutes west of Ocala, the Skyview golf course stretches out to 7,142 yards with a 74.0/134 course rating/slope. The expansive championship course offers uncompromising golf weaving through the picturesque residential Terra Vista community where it has been expertly carved from the unique “central ridge” site to take advantage of the area’s dramatic elevation changes. There are five sets of tees to play from, making it enjoyable for most everyone.
Your golf game begins on a downhill 464-yard hefty par 4, the longest four on the course, sloping right with plenty of room, which might take 3 shots to make the green. The second hole is another downhill par at 426-yards. Favor the left side with your drive and 2nd shot to avoid the sparkling white bunkers on the right and to attack the green, which slopes from front to back, keeping the greenside bunker out of play. The first par 5 is a 553-yard dogleg right. Keep your second shot on the left side of the fairway avoiding the large waste area on the right. A short third shot could provide an opportunity for birdie.
The tee box for the par 4, 384-yard fourth sits below the Terra Vista Central Activity Center which has a heated Olympic swimming pool, whirlpool spa, pickleball courts, a fitness center, 300 seat auditorium, media room, card room and pool tables for residents enjoyment. Over 50 clubs use the Center for their functions. Once on the tee, play your drive favoring the right side to have an approach shot to the pin, avoiding the hidden waste area on the left. The first par 3, the 208-yard 5th is the toughest to me with an elevated smallish green. The par 5, 522-yard dogleg right 6th starts the climb up the course. Favor the right side for a better look into the green. The 7th is the easiest par 3, after which you drive up to the ‘View’, the par 4, 8th. The tee box here is the highest point of any golf course in Florida, and if there is a clear sky, you can see the Gulf of Mexico. Take a moment to take it all in and capture it with a photograph. Playing the hole just needs a straight drive over the crest of the hill for an easy shot to the green below.
The most aesthetic hole at Skyview is also the toughest, the par 4, 9th Skyview Signature, with beautifully landscaped hills that border the dogleg left fairway. If you are long off the tee, a fairway wood might be better to keep your ball from reaching the waste area on the right, after which you must avoid the lake on the right. This is another Kodak moment. After you complete the outward nine, you pass the outstanding tennis facility next to the Skyview Clubhouse, which has eight lighted Hydrogrid Har-Tru courts, a 2 story observation deck, pro shop and Director of Tennis and Teaching Professional Bruce Payne.
The back nine starts with a downhill 601-yard par 5 that plays easier than the distance. Favor the right side for an easier approach avoiding the lake left that juts in before the green. The uphill par 4, 436-yard 11th fairway slopes right, so favor the left on your drive, using an extra club to reach the green for a possible birdie. The short par 4,12th is another birdie opportunity. Aim your drive towards the cluster of bunkers on the right side of the fairway for your best approach to a green that slopes from front to back. The par 3, 13th needs an accurate shot to a well-protected green to walk away with par. Good luck! The uphill left dogleg par 5, 14th has a protruding waste area on the left to avoid on the second shot, then use an extra club to reach the elevated green.
Terra Vista is among the ‘Top 50 Master-Planned Communities’ in the United States according to Where to Retire magazine. One of the key selling points to Terra Vista is the 45,000 square-foot BellaVita Spa & Fitness Center that sets on one of the many high points at Skyview and houses one of the nation’s most extensive facilities. The wellness amenities are offered in a collection of buildings highlighted by an expansive state-of-the-art fitness wing; racquetball courts; an indoor heated lap pool; aerobics and yoga studio; cardio training circuit and the recently remodeled spa. Two hundred complimentary monthly classes include but not limited to yoga, spinning, tai chi, and Pilates along with saunas, steam rooms, jacuzzi and Junior Olympic pool.
The #1 handicap hole is the par 4, 15th at 456 yards which requires accuracy avoiding the bunker on the right and being below the pin on the smallish green for a possible good score. The 16th is the longest par 3, but the easiest with a very receptive but sloping green. One of my favorites is the par 4, 17th which just seems to fit my eye. If I play clear of the water on my second shot, I am looking at birdie. Skyview finishes with a tricky uphill short par 4 at 364 yards. Aim left on the drive to have an open shot to the bowl green where a 3 might be had. There you have it. I could play here every day and enjoy every minute.
Skyview at Terra Vista is really a must-play and one of the finest semi-private courses in the state. If you are looking for a gated community with all the ‘bells and whistles,’ a bevy of choices on homes, friendly and welcoming neighbors and the finest in golf condition and variety of holes, you have to visit Skyview at Terra Vista. I was thoroughly impressed. Check it out at SkyviewGolfandCountryClub.com.
Dave has been writing about golf since the turn of the century. He is published at Traveling Golfer Canada and the IAGTO. His insight and unique perspective makes for an enjoyable read and interesting articles. He also was managing editor at a regional golf magazine for over 11 years before joining eSouthernGOLF. Dave also contributes to Golf Coast Magazine, GolfTrips.com, GolfGuide.com, GoGolfandTravel.com and regional golf websites.