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Hometown Heroes

We watch them on TV. We’ve heard about where they’re from. But for those die hard pro golf fans and Golf Channel viewers willing to go a step further, here’s a comprehensive guide to GolfNow courses you can play in the hometowns of some of the PGA TOUR’s top golfers. You never know who you may run into.

lost key

Located near Bubba Watson’s hometown of Bagada, Fla., Lost Key Golf Club was the first golf course in Florida to be certified as an Audubon International Silver Signature Sanctuary. Photo by Lost Key GC

Bubba Watson – Bagdad, Fla.

Bubba grew up in Bagdad (pop. 1,500) but 41 miles away, just minutes from the white sand beaches and the Gulf of Mexico in southwest Pensacola, is Lost Key Golf Club. It measures just 6,800 yards but carries a whopping slope rating of 144.

Redesigned by the Arnold Palmer Group in 2006, Lost Key presents plenty of challenges, including tight fairways and plenty of water hazards, but the outstanding natural beauty – Lost Key was the first golf course in the State of Florida to be certified as an Audubon International Silver Signature Sanctuary – makes for an unforgettably enjoyable round.

Jordan Speith – Dallas, Texas

Speith’s hometown of Dallas is rich in golf, but few places offer the shot quality as Buffalo Creek Golf Club, a Tom Weiskopf-Jay Morrish layout developed by Charles Perry, formerly CEO of Golden Bear Golf. Buffalo Creek consistently ranks among the top courses in the golf-rich Dallas area, and you’d be hard pressed to find tougher holes than Nos. 6 and 16. It’s also a regular host for the USGA Open, Amateur and Mid-Amateur qualifying events.

Jimmy Walker – Oklahoma City, Okla.

Jimmy Walker has developed into one of the PGA TOUR’s best on the greens, and no doubt a course like Silverthorn Golf Club in OK City helps golfers develop that magic touch. The course features the best of Oklahoma’s “Hill Country,” with large oaks, expansive bunkers and large, contoured greens to challenge low scores.



La Cantera Resort Course in Patrick Reed’s hometown of San Antonio provides breathtaking views of the Hill Country and downtown. Photo by La Cantera

Patrick Reed – San Antonio, Texas

Though he graduated high school in Louisiana and college in Georgia, young and confident Patrick Reed  was born in San Antonio. Former home of the Valero Open, La Cantera Resort Course is a delightful Weiskopf-Morrish design that treks through the rolling hill country of southwest Texas, where barbecue and fast, challenging greens are the norm.

Webb Simpson – Raleigh, N.C.

There is hardly a better course to get the feel of the wooded, rolling hills of central North Carolina that Webb Simpson calls home than Crooked Creek Golf Club. It measures under 6,200 yards from the back tees yet plays much longer. Soothing, velvet-like fairways and small greens constitute an enjoyable course that still requires precision for low scores, even from former U.S. Open champions.

Dustin Johnson – Columbia, S.C.

Designed by P.B. Dye, Pete’s son, Cobblestone Park Golf Club – formerly known as University Club – is a sneaky, wicked layout that will challenge even the likes of long-hitting Dustin Johnson. With deep, dark woods lining fairways and placid water hazards guarding greens, this is a course that demands good ball-striking. It’s also a calming venture through the best of the midland South Carolina terrain.


Winter Park Country Club

Winter Park Country Club in Matt Kuchar’s hometown is Central Florida’s second-oldest golf course. Photo by Winter Park CC

Matt Kuchar – Winter Park, Fla.

Few regions in the country offer as many golf choices as Matt Kuchar’s central Florida, but for fans of this hometown hero, you have to experience the history and mossy oak beauty of the Winter Park Country Club. Being central Florida’s second-oldest golf course (dating back to 1914) and host to storied golf greats like Gene Sarazen and Ben Hogan is reason enough to include Winter Park on the list. Add in the cost-effective nine hole walking rounds available and this historic course is a must-play.

Tiger Woods – Cypress, Calif.

Tiger is well-known in his youth for playing regularly at two courses – Dad Miller Golf Club in Anaheim and the Naval Course in Long Beach. But 20 miles to the northeast, you’ll find Black Gold Golf Club, an Arthur Hills layout that will test good golfers and mid-handicappers alike. Black Gold refers to the oil that lay beneath these regions, and it’s up to you to make your claim for good scores.

Phil Mickelson – San Diego, Calif.

Whereas Torrey Pines gets the most publicity, golfers shouldn’t underestimate Aviara Golf Club in Carlsbad, near Phil Mickelson’s hometown San Diego area. This Arnold Palmer course is a romp through over and around the Batiquitos Lagoon nature preserve that brings one close to the native flora and fauna of the region.


Featured image of Bubba Watson courtesy of Jay Moore Photography

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