Osprey Point Golf Course – Boca Raton, Florida Guru's Rating: 8.6
Non-Resident Weekend Rate (with cart): $57
Ah, Christmas break in Boca Raton. Sunshine, bagels, and slow moving white Cadillacs. If you’re among the throngs making the pilgrimage from the Northeast to Boca in December, you know exactly what I’m talking about. We visit our grandparents, kibbitz with relatives, crowd into delis, sprawl across the beaches of Delray, and generally try to postpone the impending freeze that awaits us back home. Of course, it’s also an opportunity to get in some last rounds of golf before the clubs get packed away until April. And with honorable mention to the great Tony Dell’s, I’ve found the new staple of my annual trip to Boca: Osprey Point Golf Course.
Osprey Point (not to be confused with the Kiawah Island course of the same name) is a relatively new 27-hole facility, complete with driving range, gorgeous layout, and affordable price. The course just opened for play in November 2010 and is located at the extreme western edge of town (all the way down Glades Road), accessible only after driving through South County Regional Park (don’t panic if you see multiple dog parks and an amphitheater).
What jumps off the page about Osprey Point is the disparity between price tag and quality. Osprey’s most expensive round is $57, and that’s in the extreme situation, for out-of-towners on weekends and during peak season (Jan 7-March 31). We paid just $48 for 18 holes and a cart on December 30th (80 degrees and brilliant sunshine the whole time). For that kind of dough, you might not expect much – but pleasant surprises await.
The course is nicely manicured, well-maintained (although that may change as it gets more play), fun, and interesting. Yes, that’s right, I said “interesting” in a review of a Florida golf course. The views (quite scenic at times) from the tee-boxes may remind you more of an Arizona links course – a tad elevated, with a panoramic of other holes. Unlike many other Florida courses, the fairways are tight and guarded by heavy vegetation and water. And – surprise, surprise – you’re not in the middle of a gated community with houses all around you. Just a whole lot of open wilderness and wildlife.
I was also impressed with the simplicity of Osprey Point’s facility. The starter’s booth (which featured a helpful and organized staff) is located at the driving range, which is central to all three nine-hole layouts. Little things like this remove unnecessary stress from a round of golf. Pace of play was very reasonable at 4:15.
Now to the golf itself: none of the nine-hole combos will kill you from a length standpoint – the longest possible 18 from the back tees is less than 6800 yards. But winds, narrow fairways, and difficult pin placements abound to complicate matters. We played the Hawk/Falcon combo and found Falcon to be more aesthetically pleasing and more enjoyable overall. To be fair, I’ll give each layout a vote in the categories below.
Most Memorable Hole: Hawk – #7/Falcon #4.
Hawk’s 7th hole is a flat, drivable 300-yard par 4 (you didn’t fly three hours to Fort Lauderdale to lay up). Even less from the gold tees (290) or blues (275). When the turf is dry, you can run one up if you don’t fly it. Of course, a couple of strategically placed fairway and green side bunkers might have something to say about that. If they don’t though, you’re in birdie/eagle territory.
Falcon’s 4th is one of the cooler holes I’ve played in a long time. Dog leg left which measures 372 from the tips, 367 from the middle tees. You can’t hit driver because the fairway is too sparse, and only with a perfectly placed tee shot will you be able to see the green on your second shot over a mess of plants and trees. The hole isn’t all that tough if you don’t over think it – you can hit an easy hybrid or 5-iron, followed by a wedge and walk away with a simple par. Of course, your eyes and ears get drawn to that mess of plants (we heard what sounded like a pterodactyl battle being waged inside). The backdrop to the green on 6 is a beautiful water view.
Most Challenging Hole: Hawk #8/Falcon #6
Hawk’s eighth is an uphill, over water par 3. Even from the blue tees, you’re looking at 180 yards that plays more like 200, likely into a swirling wind. On top of that, the green is enormous, making this a very difficult hole to par.
The 6th hole on Falcon is a short par 4 – 372 from the tips. You can take the short route off the tee and take aim at the green with your driver – and it’s certainly reachable…if not for a large area of vegetation (out-of-bounds) that you need to crush it over to get there. The other option is to hit an iron or fairway metal onto a narrow landing area (run it over and you’re also OB). Your second shot is uphill to an elevated, undulating green.
The Bottom Line: There’s a uniqueness to Osprey Point from other Florida public courses and the bargain basement price makes it a must play. The next time you’re visiting Grams, give Osprey a shot.
Guru’s Tip: Don’t plan on using the locker room at Osprey Point…mostly because there is none. The Pro Shop isn’t great either, and we saw a beverage cart just once on eighteen holes. So maybe service isn’t exactly this course’s strong point (and is the only reason it doesn’t get a better Guru’s Ranking). Oh well, use the money you saved on your round to buy yourself a change of clothes, and stock up on beverages at the turn.