Polo Trace Golf Club – Delray Beach, Florida Guru’s Rating: 4.9
Non-Resident Weekend Rate (with cart): $119
I heard great things about Polo Trace. “A hidden gem!” I was told. “Three straight par 5’s – crazy!” And then I went to the course’s website. “One of South Florida’s premier golf courses!” Ok, I added that last exclamation point for fun. Point is, based on the hype, I didn’t blink when I was asked to plunk down $79 to play Polo Trace. I did, however, raise an eyebrow when I read that the rate jumps to $119 during peak season. That’s double what two other courses I enjoy in the area – Osprey Point and Westchester – charge. So I expected some sizzle. Some bells and whistles. A departure from the usual average Florida course (wide open, palm trees, housing communities…you know the drill). Boy, was I disappointed.
The three par-5’s in a row is kinda cool. The course is a challenge, I’ll give it that. Greens and fairways were just fine. But start-to-finish, you do not get what you pay for at Polo Trace. We were greeted by an unfriendly, unhelpful attendant in the Pro Shop, who apathetically grunted that it was a ridiculous $10 to buy a driving range token. No other options. Strike 1. Then our token got STUCK in the machine at the range. Strike 2. We had to race back to the Pro Shop and argue for our money back (we won), but never got to hit any balls. All this stress before we even put a tee in the ground (and not surprisingly, our first drives ended up in the water). Strike 3. By the time we hit the turn, I had lost two boxes of balls (I told you the course was tough), and was too numb to fight my overpriced, soggy $12 tuna sandwich (Strike 4?).
Most Memorable Hole: #12 – easy little par 3 (142 yards from where we played, downwind) over water. Pretty scenic. What really caught my eye though, was a house behind the tee-box with colorful antique furniture adorning the lawn. When the highlight of your round is someone’s backyard, you know you’re grasping at straws.
Most Challenging Hole: #9 – the first in that trio of Par 5’s is the toughest, measuring 566 from the longest tees, and featuring not one, but two shots over water. Depending on where your tee box is, you may be contending with a short fairway, lined by a water hazard that cuts through. I hit 3-wood and lost my drive (presumably it rolled in). When you’re forced to hit something like a 4-wood or hybrid off the tee on a par-5, you know that par is a difficult score.
Guru’s Tip: If you’re gonna put yourself through the agony of playing Polo Trace, afternoon rates are much more reasonable: $59 after 1:30PM. Not sure if the driving range drops its rates at that time too.
The Bottom Line: Frankly, I just don’t get the hype. Overpriced, annoying, and average. Sounds like a lovely way to spend 5+ hours.