Above: Water and a narrow fairway await you at the 399-yard 2nd hole.
After an hour’s drive from the Reunion resort we arrive at Harmony Golf Preserve. I must say I am intrigued by the name of this Johnny Miller-designed track which is operated by Troon Golf and has won awards for its environmental quality.
Standing on the tee, I certainly get a different feeling from a lot of the more clinical Floridian courses: with wild grasses growing on the right and mounds on the left, being in the fairway is the place to be. So I duly hit a nice draw over the mounds on the left. Hoping I have a shot into the green as I jump in my buggy and head down the fairway, I leave my second shot short of the green and pitch up about 10ft from the pin. Apart from the greens being in great shape there is certainly a lot of movement in them and they’re quick!
The first four holes seem to have a different feel to them – lots with water in play from the second to the fourth, and lots of risk-and-reward and a par-3 over water. I do like the preserve nature of the course and the long grass make a great contrast with the manicured fairways and greens.
As you cross a road to get to the fifth the course changes slightly and becomes more open. There are still the wild grasses and of course lots of wildlife just meandering by. There are swales as you approach some of the greens with lots of undulations, so if you are going to be short you need to leave it in the right places to still get at the flags.
There is water on all but two of the holes – the first and 18th – but it’s not always in play. And with the five different teeing options ranging from 7,417 yards from the Miller tees to 5,408 yards from the reds, you have plenty of choice. What I also enjoy is that the houses that surround the course are in no way intrusive. Once on the course you can only see them as you play the fifth.
All the par-3s are strong holes and all feature water, and the back nine finishes strongly with the 453-yard par-4 ninth with a long bunker and then water running all the way down the left. The back nine finishes strongly as well and includes another two favourite holes: the par-4 387-yard 15th, followed by the 548-yard 16th. Two great holes.
Sitting in the bar having a few cold beers and reflecting on the course I think Johnny Miller has done a great job here and the relaxed atmosphere is indicative of golf in Florida. I love the fact that Harmony is not manicured and fertilized to death – it gives it a unique feel. With the wild grass and some great holes, I think it's a track you will enjoy too.
Dog-leg right, the 548-yard, par 5, 16th hole
Harmony's beautiful opening holeLooking across the 8th greenAmong the trees at 15