Conveniently located between Fort Lauderdale and Miami Beach, Fla., The Diplomat Country Club, at The Westin Diplomat Resort and Spa, offers a golf experience you won’t want to miss. As you make your way up to the gate of the club, you feel as if you’ve been transported to a Mediterranean villa. Surrounded by tranquil palms, laurels and shade trees, the golf club offers an oasis of calm in the busy world of meetings and conventions.
Robert von Hagge designed the original 18-hole course at The Diplomat in 1957. A three-year reconstruction completed in 2000 under the direction of renowned golf architect Joe Lee maintains the course’s “old-time” ambience while ensuring The Diplomat’s place as a true contender in today’s world of golf.
From the tips, the course measures 6,728 yards, while the whites measure a comfortable 6,038. There is water on 16 of the 18 holes-10 and 11 are dry. Standing on the first tee, a 504-yard double-dogleg left, then right with water off to your right, you might feel that this is a harmless setup, but with the unpredictable southeast crosswinds from the Intercoastal Waterway and the Atlantic Ocean, a par would be a great start; a bogey is more likely. Next up, the No. 1 handicap hole on the course-the 351-yard par-4 second with its island green. What is most intimidating about this hole is that you never see an approach to the island green. Don’t hesitate to lay up and try for a short pitch onto the green.
Finishing up the front nine, settle into a mindset of target golf; this is not the place to “grip it and rip it.” The back nine is more of a “thinker’s golf course,” so it won’t do you much good to try to overpower it. Pay close attention to the ParView system display in your golf cart. It displays a graphic overview of the hole, including distance to the pin, fairway hazards, landmarks and pro tips. The system also displays the current pin placement, with distances to the front and back of the green, and pin distance from the center of the green.
When you hit the 10th tee, it’s time to turn it on. The 380-yard-long hole, followed by the 555-yard 11, are easy to negotiate as long as you keep out of the bunkers and in the short grass. Don’t drain the tank because 14 is, in my opinion, the most difficult hole on the course. The 412-yard par 4 is difficult in its own right, but the unpredictable winds will get to you. Select your club carefully on this one. There are palm trees on the right. If you try to cut the corner, you’re going to get wet. If you walk away with a par, you’ll know you made the right choice.
The 15th is a short par 3 with a carry over water. The 16th is a monstrous 576-yard-long hard-dogleg right with water down the left of your driving area. Trees block your second shot on the green, so if you’re going to go for it, remember that it’s a blind shot to a hard 90-degree dogleg right. No. 17 is a short par 3. At 18, you’ll feel like letting it all out downwind, but remember, water does come into play with a good drive; just try to keep it dry for your approach shot.
The 19th Hole
The Diplomat Country Club was truly an enjoyable experience in golf. The pace of play was perfect: We never felt we were being hurried along. The service at the clubhouse was quick and courteous. The staff was very eager to help. The course was in impeccable shape with the greens running very fast in the afternoon sun. Be sure to stop off at the Tack Room for an after-round drink on the verandah overlooking the second-hole island green. My only disappointment? I had other commitments after my round, so I couldn’t stay for a spa treatment.
Just the Facts
o The course has 76 bunkers, eight acres of lakes and rolling fairways
o Signature hole is 2-it’s also the No. 1 handicap hole-a par 4 with a island green
o ParView GPS on all carts gives exact yardage to the center of the greens
o You can place a food order via the ParView system and h ave it delivered to you anywhere on the course
o Greens are seeded with Tif Eagle
o Fairways, tees and rough are all Bermuda 419
o Pro shop rents Callaway Graphite shafts and Footjoy shoes
o Practice facility includes a driving range, practice putting green and chipping green with sand bunker
The Diplomat Country Club, The Westin Diplomat Resort and Spa
3555 S. Ocean Drive, Hollywood, FL 33019, tel 954 602 6000 or 888 627 9057
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