Address: 1801 27th St. E.
On the web: www.riverrungolflinks.com
Yardage: 6,293 (blue); 5,809 (white); 5,331 (gold) and 4,709 (red)
Course history: Ward Northrup constructed the City of Bradenton-owned course, which opened in February 1987. In 2005, Jed Azinger and Gordon Lewis redesigned the track, flipping its front and back nines. River Run hosts the city series, a collection of amateur tournaments throughout the summer months. The men’s amateur is conducted in November and has witnessed some top-notch competition. Current PGA Tour star Sean O’Hair finished runner-up in the inaugural event in 1997.
Who can play: The course is a municipal facility owned by the city and open to the public. Rates fluctuate depending on the time of the year. Currently, they are $24.50 (18-holes riding until 1 p.m.) and $19.50 (18-holes riding after 1 p.m.). Players can walk the course for $12 before 1 p.m. and $9 after 1 p.m.
Driving range: There is no driving range at River Run, which has a practice putting green. There is a range down the street from the course. Contact the pro shop at 708-6331 for more information.
Fairways and greens: The fairways are 328 Bermuda grass, while the greens are TifDwarf Bermuda.
Signature hole: The par-5 18th is the perfect risk/reward hole. This par-70 layout features just two par 5s, one on each nine. With the 18th measuring 523 yards from the back tee, players have to drill a tee shot with pristine accuracy between two lines of trees. With hazards off both sides of the fairway, an accurate tee shot can give the player a chance to grab a birdie to finish off the round. To do so, the approach must be hit to a slightly-elevated green guarded by a front bunker and water hazard. A player must also avoid the few trees around the water hazard.
Pro tip for signature hole: The secret to this hole lies with the tee shot, head pro Clint Wright said. “The tee shot is the toughest shot,” he said. “You’ve got to find a club that you can hit straight and maybe 200 yards. After that, the hole opens up.”
Playability factor: The course is accessible for all skill levels. Its short yardage is an asset, with many holes requiring placement over power. Yet, beginners can play the course without feeling overburdened by its difficulty.
-- Jason Dill