Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Mickey Smith-The Villages most prolific golfer?

Located an hour NW of Orlando, The Villages with its 630 holes is the largest collection of holes in the world. They have 12 championship and 36 executive courses (2 more are under construction) all nicely manicured and decently designed. I have in the past few weeks played all the courses but not all the holes as 10 of the championship courses have 27 holes.

All but a couple of the courses are designed by the Cliffton Golf Design Group out of nearby Apopka, FL. The executive courses I find more challenging from the back tees than the championship. The championship courses are a resort style design with some mundane holes interspersed among a few good ones. I understand the philosophy here, with the millions of rounds played they need to move the golfers along. It would have been more interesting to have had more variety of design from several architects. It does get a bit boring for me looking at essentially the same design characteristics hole after hole. My favorite Championship course on the property is the Palmer designed Legends course. The executive courses have green complexes designed the same as the championship so there is not a drop off in difficulty. The Roosevelt/Truman complex is my favorite executives due mainly to their rolling topography. I enjoy walking and usually do so on the executives but the design of most of the championships have a few long hikes between some holes.

One might think with that many holes it would be easy to find a tee time. With about 115,000 residents, of which most play golf, 99.5% of the 10,000 daily tee times are filled each day during the winter season. If you are a single you can get on somewhere everyday, but if you wish to play with friends you certainly will not be playing everyday. In 2016 there were 3.072 MILLION rounds played, 2,241 holes in one, 770 Villagers shot their age, and nearly 8 million cart miles driven on the golf courses alone!!  Of course at The Villages there are hundreds of other clubs and activities to keep you busy. It is a fun, friendly place to live or visit.

I had heard about a gentleman who routinely plays all 36 executive courses every month and that he had been doing this for several years. When I played at the Lopez Legacy course, I unknowingly met him as he works there three days a week at the bag drop. Luckily, near the end of my tour of all the courses I was paired up with the Legend- Mickey Smith. Starting in 2006 till the end of 2016 he played 6440 executive and 328 champion nines!! That averages out to over 315 eighteen hole rounds for 11 straight years, plus he works three days a week. Mickey is a golfing machine, one year he played 800 executive rounds and he walks every one of them. During that time period he has had streaks of 48 and 69 straight months were he played every executive course monthly. Having played all the courses over 200 times he knows every tidbit about each hole. I suggested to him he needs to write a book about his knowledge of the Executive courses. In addition to golf he and his wife swim in all the 73 pools at The Villages every year. It was a pleasure to play with this Villages Legend.

For my Rankings of all 48 courses at The Villages please click above on State/Region > Florida > proceed to the bottom of list> The Villages