- Stay 3 nights get the 4th night FREE
- 18 Holes of Golf for Every Night Stayed (Golf Carts, Greens Fees, and Range Balls)
- Accommodations in a Spacious 1,100 Square Foot Condo
- Club Storage and Locker Room Service
- Complimentary Coffee at the Turn Grill and Self-Serve Coffee in Room
- Fitness Center & Pool Access
- Wireless and Wired Internet
- Custom packages available
Request more information including price about Emerald Greens.
Doral, PGA National, Reunion, Champions Gate, TPC…..Emerald Greens Golf Resort? How do you put yourself on the map with big resorts like these and compete for Florida golf vacations of travelers throughout the world? Not being biased because I live and play in Tampa, I can tell you my 3 day golf vacation at Emerald Greens was a unique experience shared with 3 of my closest friends.
It is the phone call which happens once a year to every golf tour operator, “Hey Mike, Hook Ya Boyz Up!” When you have access to many of the top resorts in the world, it is amazing how close your friends become when they feel the itch to “chase the little white ball.” Every two years since college three of my best friends and I get together to pound our chests, tell lies, smoke cigars, and party too much. This was going to be no exception. My first instinct was to laugh as they dunked ball after ball on the famous number 17 at Sawgrass or let them take a stroll down 15th, 16th, and 17th (The Bear Trap at PGA National). We were looking for time together, a laid back atmosphere and of course, great golf. My suggestion was to fly directly into Tampa, Florida and within 12 minutes be at Emerald Greens Golf Resort and Country Club to what was going to be an epic weekend.
I picked up Shayne, Brian and Brian (aka Slauger, Roop-Dog and Cat Daddy) from the airport and headed straight up Dale Mabry past Raymond James Stadium where the Tampa Bay Bucs play. Many restaurants including the Crazy Buffet had us checking off places to visit. Within 12 minutes we arrived at Emerald Greens where they consider themselves “Tampa’s Friendliest Club and Most Convenient Resort.” We were going to find out they were correct in many different ways.
We checked into our two bedroom units with each of us having our own king size bed and bathroom. These condos are less than three years old and have all the conveniences we would need for a guys' weekend. The full kitchen in each unit along with washer and dryer was a wonderful addition. No, I was not to dawn on my Paula Dean hat and make cheddar biscuits with glazed duck for dinner, but I could if I wanted to! Having a full refrigerator would allow us to store a few cases of frosty beverages. Texas Hold 'em could be played on the living room table or on the private balcony. The rooms have the ability to be set up with either one person per room with a king or two per room each having their own twin bed. We all could have been in the same two bedroom unit but with Shayne’s snoring, it would only add to the lack of sleep.
All of the units are located directly in the middle of the resort. We checked in at 1:00pm and in time for the first battle. Let me set the stage; 1:00pm, Tampa, Florida, August ,Friday the 13th, 90 degrees, 150% humidity. We walked down with our clubs in tow and two carts appeared as if from the gods. What are these snake like appendages? AIR CONDITIONED CARTS? When you sat down, cold air blew down the back of your neck. So nice!
There are three 9-hole golf courses at Emerald Greens. The Pine, Cypress and Meadow allow you to customize your experience. These courses were rebuilt by Pinehurst architect Dan Maples and include water on 20 out of 27 holes. Brian (Cat Daddy) is a long driver in which length is not the key to success at Emerald Greens. Accuracy plays a big role while concentrating on your second shot. You must be in a good position to access well protected greens. After playing Cypress, the hot dog on the turn was well enhanced by the quick wit of “Wacky Jackie.” She had a comeback for everything you say and her one liners were continuous. The Meadow course is well-bunkered with smaller pot bunkers as well as large waste bunkers. Brian (Roop-Dog) spent much of his banana hook shots, or as he would call it (over zealous fade), in the waste bunkers.
The evening consisted of a relaxing evening at the Tilted Kilt. The Hooters style restaurant with a Scottish flair where the slogan is, “A cold beer never looked so good,” is right outside of the grounds. A must is TK’s Irish Nachos, fresh cooked crispy potato chips covered with cheese, sauce, seasoned ground beef and tomatoes.
After a breakfast buffet on Saturday morning we jumped into our car and headed 15 minutes east to Tampa Palms and Hunters Greens. We wanted to experience a few other courses in the area. With Tampa Palms and Hunters Green being directly across the street from each other, fitting in 36 holes within a Saturday would be no problem. Tampa Palms is a challenging golf course. The first hole double dogleg Par 4, warrants a 5 iron off the tee or you can be bold and try to cut the corners with a 3 wood. Many of the Tampa Bay Bucs are members of this course. The greens were in great condition considering the very dry summer. Each hole is carved and lined by fully matured oak trees.
We went directly across the street to another ClubCorp Tom Fazio designed private golf course. In 2006 the course went through a complete renovation including adding Tif-Eagle greens. The same greens are on the Champion Course at PGA National home to the PGA Honda Classic. The course is built around existing pine flat woods and wetlands. It was a great afternoon and even though we did not have the air conditioned golf carts like Emerald Greens, we had plenty of cloud cover to make it pleasant. I know some of you who have read my reviews before never seem to hear about rain. “How does Mike always have great weather?” There was one rain shower which came through at 3:00pm. What's great about Tampa Florida compared to many other locations throughout the world is, if it rains, wait 10 minutes and you will be playing again.
That evening was going to be a big boy’s out evening. We had dinner at the clubhouse where Chef Siftar (Chef Kaz) made a mouthwatering NY Strip Steak medium rare with fully loaded baked potato. Big screen tv’s allowed us to keep up with scores around the world as we had a few heated discussions and bets about who could kick a football the furthest.
Quick showers and shaves and we were out on the town. Three options:
- Channelside (20 min) - Where many of the Tampa locals go for the evening, Howl at the Moon (Dueling pianos), Splitsville (Bar and Bowling), Stumps Supper Club, Wet Willies, and my favorite, LIT (Premium Cigar Lounge).
- Centro Ybor (20 min) – Capturing the flavor of Tampa’s historic Latin Quarter, there are many small bars along with Game Works which provide many opportunities to challenge each other.
- Seminole Hard Rock Hotel – 178,000 square feet of casino.
Quick call to All Access Limos and Peter was there to take us to Seminole Hard Rock. Do they really pump pure oxygen into the casino to keep you awake? I do not know, but they sure do not skimp on the vodka for a great “Black Russian”!
The next morning could not have come any sooner. Our tee time was at 9:00am and put an exclamation on our bonding weekend. We had all put new grey hairs on our head, and some of us even lost a few along the way…Shayne. We played the Meadow with our final nine holes on the Pine course. It all came down to the signature ninth hole Par 5, 490 yards with an island green. After four drives down the middle it came up to the second shot which was about 210 yards to the center of the green. Do you go for it or lay-up? The bet was on, loser pays for all the beers after the round. Three shots from guys who have not seen their clubs in two years, all on the green, and the person that writes reviews and sells golf vacations chokes and chili dips it into the water. NICE!
After a nice bar bill and many “man hugs”, the two years were all summed up in one great location in Tampa, Florida. Emerald Greens is a great place to experience a Florida Golf Vacation with lifelong friends!