A couple months ago we scored tickets to see Paul Shaffer & The World’s Most Dangerous Band live at Seminole Casino Hotel Immokalee. It is a long drive to the casino, but not far from there is Oil Well Craft Beer, a small craft beer bar we had been wanting to see. We decided to make a pit stop on the way to the casino to see what it was all about.
Oil Well is located in Ave Maria, a planned community located in the middle of nowhere! It’s not that bad, but it feels like it when driving out there. On our first visit I noticed Panther Run Golf Club on the way in. I knew nothing about it, but looked it up. The course looked nice, and their website looked familiar. Not their current website… They recently released a new website design. But their old website looked familiar, so I reached out to Benjamin Duffy, Head Golf Professional. Sure enough, Panther Run was one managed by Troon. I knew it! Ben and I stayed in touch over the next few weeks and he invited me to come out and see the golf course. We planned a Saturday afternoon to head out there, play the course and visit Oil Well.
When I got to the course I was impressed with their practice facility. They had a large practice putting green, several chipping greens and sand traps for working on your short game and a large range featuring a members only section. Their range isn’t a normal range, though… It is an aqua range! The golf balls don’t fly as far, but they must float, because the range is pretty much a lake! I hit a small bag, rolled a few putts and headed off to the first tee.
Right out of the gate I could tell there was going to be a lot of room to miss out here. It was nice playing a course with conventional rough. Greg Norman didn’t use conventional rough when he designed Tiburón Golf Club and not many courses in Arizona have rough. So that was a nice change of pace. I hit the ball pretty good off the tee all day, though, and only found the rough a couple of times. Hit the fairway off the first tee… Made bogey!
After a few holes I passed a nice couple that informed me it was cart path only. I missed that notice… But that allowed me to get a lot of extra steps in. Maybe I will revisit Panther Run and walk 18 holes… Write one of those steps/miles blog posts I used to write when I lived in Phoenix! I digress. I made a lot of pars but made birdie on No. 8! Back to even par. Then I lipped out for birdie on 9 to shoot -1. Oh, well… I will take 36 on the front any day of the week.
When I got to No. 10 I hit my drive left into a bunker. They had a lot of rain the night before, so the bunker was wet, but I only had 136 to a back pin. Grabbed an 8 iron and tried to hit ball first. I did and the ball almost went in! I had just a few inches to get to under par. Then I made a long downhill putt on No. 11 for birdie to get to -2. I had about 8 foot for birdie on 12 and drained it! I was feeling good… I don’t remember making 3 birdies in a row in a long time. Hole No. 13 was a par 5. I ripped driver down the left side leaving me 242 yards to the center of the green. The green was protected by bunkers left and right, so I hit a 5 iron leaving me a 9 iron in. The ball didn’t draw and left me a short pitch down the hill. I commented to Sheryl, saying, “I haven’t chipped in for birdie in a while!” I decided to be aggressive and the chip was headed straight to the hole… It hit the pin, but stayed out! Easy par.
I made 1 more bogey on the way in and lipped out for birdie on 18 to shoot 69. But, hey, I am never going to complain shooting under par on a course I am seeing for the first time. Especially after making bogey on the first hole! I really enjoyed my day at Panther Run and look forward to playing it again later this year.
Ben, thank you for having me out. Wish we had the chance to chat a bit more, but maybe I can convince you to come out to play Tiburón in the near future. Regardless, you will be seeing me at Panther Run again soon. FORE!