Clermont’s Green Valley serves up a roller coaster thrill ride

By Paul Jenkins Posted Jun 27, 2018 at 6:00 AM   

CLERMONT — On the drive up to the pro shop at Green Valley Country Club, you are treated to an excellent view of the third hole. Before you even get out of the car, you know you are in for something unique.

That view of the third hole reveals a long downhill fairway to a green that is heavily guarded by two large bunkers. It is the downhill fairway that is a dead giveaway that this course is special.

The Clermont area in general is known for being out of the ordinary for Florida when it comes to elevation changes, and Green Valley has carved out a gem of a course that makes full use of those hills.

“It’s a fun golf course,” said Terry Govern, Green Valley’s general manager and head pro. “You can play a lot and never get tired of it. On a lot of courses, if you play them a lot, you get to know every shot. That’s not the case here.”

Green Valley offers tees that range from just over 7,000 yards at the back to just under 5,000. It’s also a bargain with specials available online ( for $24 at 10 a.m.

The course was originally built in 1966 as a nine-hole course. In 1991 Green Valley brought back the original designer, Lloyd Clifton, to add another nine holes.

Playing the course, you would have no idea which are the old holes and which are the newer holes. That, of course, was the reason Clifton was brought back.

It was not a case of just adding 10 through 18. Instead, the newer holes are sprinkled among the original holes, and it all blends for a course that feels like it was all built at the same time.

There are a few signature holes on the course, from the par-4 No. 3 that you view as you enter the course to a good test of the nerves on Nos. 7 and 8. The par-4 seventh features a second shot over water, and No. 8 uses the water again on the longest par-3 on the course.

Then there is No. 10, a great way to start the second nine with a fairway that wraps around a large lake and offers temptations of cutting across the lake to glory.

On many of the holes you can stand over a shot and almost hear Dirty Harry in the back of your mind. You know, the old “do you feel lucky” line. With plenty of doglegs, the urge to cut corners can be strong. It’s a course with a high risk-reward factor.

And for those who decide to challenge the course only to pay the price by coming up a little short, well, there are plenty of opportunities to take your mind of that ballooning score.

On No. 6, a modest par-4, there is a sweeping view over Lake Minneola with the Citrus Tower clearly visible in the distance. Then there is No. 9 with water down the right side and a bird sanctuary with more than 20 species out in the rushes. Sandhill cranes and other birds are constantly roaming the course.

“This course rolls, which is not typical of a Florida course,” Govern said. “We’ve got really nice views and we’re kind of Clermont’s home course. It’s challenging enough, and the rough can be tough. But the fairways are generous for the most part. If you play the right yardage for your game, you’re really going to enjoy yourself out here.”