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– Short yet Challenging
At the Turnberry Isle Resort down in Miami FL, golfers have two courses to choose from: the shorter and more player friendly Miller Course and the soon-to-be-world-famous Soffer Course. While Soffer is a lot flashier than its little brother, The Miller Course is by no means a pushover of a golf course.
Both the Miller and Soffer golf courses were originally designed by Robert Trent Jones, Sr. and were previously known the South and North Courses of Aventura Country Club. In 2006, both courses underwent a makeover to the tune of about $45 million, at which time PGA Tour veteran and course designer Ray Floyd was brought in to “re-imagine” each course.
What Floyd has done with the flat, boring land of South Florida is nothing short of amazing. He trucked in countless yards of fill and sculpted 2 golf courses that are as picturesque as the cars that adorn the parking lots. Several holes were moved slightly, however the original flow of the course was maintained. A new water hazard was created and various forms of sedge and flowering vegetation were planted beneath the palm trees that adorn the courses and on the high ground between playing corridors.
The Miller Course is significantly shorter than Soffer and plays 6,417 yards from the back tees with a course rating of 72 and a slope of 143. Ladies typically play from 5,343 yards (66.2/116). Although the par is only 70, it’s still a good test of golf as the slope rating indicates. Holes #2 and 3 play directly into the huge manmade lake and numbers 4 through 7 play around it.
Number 5: Par 5, 540 yards. Although water guards the entire right side of the fairway from tee to green on this dogleg right par 5, the fairway bunkers on the right are in play off the tee. Playing down the left side of the fairway is your best bet here as it takes the water out of play; that is until your approach shot. The hole swings even more to the right which can easily bring the water back into play. Longball hitters that can play a fade would be wise to do so here, giving them a shot at going for the green in two. Number 7 is pretty much a par 4 version of this hole.
Number 9: Par 5, 469 yards. Definitely reachable in two; if I can do it, it must be easy. The fairway is very narrow and if you don’t find it off the tee, getting home in two is a much more difficult. It’s one of the few holes on either course that doesn’t have a lot of trouble to get into. That said, par is still a good score here.
Number 11: Par 3, 217 yards. From the back two sets of tees (246 and 217 yards respectively), this hole is quite a challenge. Two bunkers on the right side catch anything that’s hit that way. When the wind is blowing, this hole becomes a lot more difficult. Take a par and run.
Number 12: Par 4, 307 yards. Strategically placed fairway bunkers keep you honest off the tee. You’re best to lay up short of the bunker in the middle of the fairway and leave yourself a short chip shot to the green which slopes gently from back to front.
Number 17: Par 3, 151 yards. It’s all carry off the tee on this par three. There’s no real bailout area to speak of either and the green is surrounded by bunkers on all three sides with water catching anything short. Another short hole where par is OK.
Last Word: Just like the Soffer Course, the Miller is somewhat out of place in this part of Florida; definitely not what you would expect to find in this part of the country. The vegetation is lush and lively and the waterfowl are friendly. The swans almost seem to pose for pictures. Pink flamingoes inhabit the manmade island, built specifically as their nesting grounds. With all of the water comes a lot of bridges; wooden bridges which actually add to the aesthetics.
If you are set up to play both courses, this is the one you want to play first. It’s a great warm-up for the Soffer Course and while the length is a lot less, it does have some teeth from the back tees – as the 143 slope can attest to. The Miller Course is extremely beautiful and if you’re just looking for a nice, casual round of resort golf, move up to the White tees and have some fun. Take in all this wonderful course has to offer.
Both courses share a practice area which features a double ended driving range with many target greens, a large practice putting green, separate chipping and pitching areas as well as bunkers resembling those that you will find on the course.
The Golf Shop offers the latest in equipment and they have all of the latest fashions from top name designers. Golf Instruction and memberships are also available.
Turnberry Isle is now part of Marriott’s high end Autograph Collection. Reservations can be made by calling the resort at 866-612-7739 or visit them on line at www.turnberryislemiami.com.
David Theoret writes about all things golf. See more of him on his website thegolfinguy.com
Cover photo credit: Belinda Theoret
Congratulations to this Week’s Winners in Professional Golf!
PGA Tour – Next Event: RBC Heritage, Hilton Head, South Carolina (Apr 14-17)
European Tour – Next Event: Real Club Valderrama Open de Espana, Andalucia, Spain (Apr 14-17)
Featured Image: Danny Willett, 2016 Masters Champion, EuropeanTour.com
BIO: Keith Cook has been a writer/contributing editor at localgolfer.com since 2013. Follow Keith and Local Golfer on Twitter: @_KeithCook and @LocalGolfer.