Candler Hills Golf Club - Experience Golf On Top of the World

Candler Hills Golf Club Ocala might be best known as Florida’s horse country, but tucked away in this quiet town is a golf course that ranks among the thoroughbreds of golf experiences.

In the heart of Ocala’s On Top of the World Communities lies Candler Hills Golf Club, one of the newest but most acclaimed golf courses in the Sunshine State.

Though only four years old, the course has already played host to some of the state’s top events, including the North Florida PGA Senior Open, the Ocala Open and the Florida State Women’s Golf Association Tournament. And each and every time, the course has played to rave reviews for its challenging design, immaculate conditions and painstaking attention to detail.

Located just over six miles west of I-75 on a small portion of Circle Square Ranch, Candler Hills has a western feel to it that will remind golfers more of Palm Springs than its actual Florida zip code. Upon arrival, golfers will immediately notice the wide-open nature of the course and the native grasses and large coquina boulders that lend both atmosphere and challenge.

A Gordon Lewis-designed layout, Candler Hills can stretch to more than 7,300 yards, emphasized by the 669-yard par-5 fourth, the longest par-5 in Florida. But by no means is Candler Hills simply a “grip it and rip it” layout. In fact, the course places equal emphasis on accuracy and creativity as it does length and power. To that end, Candler Hills primary defense is its bunkers, which total 148, including 10 on the very first hole. And these aren’t your garden-variety shallow bunkers, but rather deep-faced “traps” that often times can prove difficult to escape.

Further testing golfers’ short game are the green complexes that are, for lack of a better term, enormous. Typically greens average somewhere between 4,000 to 6,000 square feet. Candler Hills’ greens, however, measure between 7,000 and 11,000 square feet. Don’t let three- and even four-putts get you down, they can be commonplace around Candler Hills.

Candler Hills Golf Club

Much of Candler Hills’ length and challenge is found in its memorable par-5s. In fact, the top three handicap holes (fourth, sixth and 15th) are all par-5s and not one of them measures under 570 yards from the back tees. Not to be outdone, the par-3s all measure 200 yards or more from the tips and offer some of the most breathtaking views on the golf course.

Lewis, a Naples resident, is well-known for creating layouts with great variety and shot-making opportunities and with Candler Hills he followed that same formula. Lewis built different angles and placements into his five tee markers that, depending on the prevailing wind, will force golfers to adjust the way they attack the course.

Taken as a whole, Candler Hills Golf Club is a wonderful golf experience, but when looked at as 18 individual holes, the course becomes so much more. Perhaps that’s why each hole at Candler Hills has its own name that helps to expound upon the challenge that waits. Take for instance, the aforementioned fourth hole entitled “Monster” both for its 669-yard length and the six traps that guard the green.

The short par-4 seventh hole carries the moniker “Let the Fun Begin” as golfers are tempted to reach the green that sits only 307 yards from the “Green” tees and just over 335 from the tips. The careful player will go 3-wood-pitching wedge, but the aggressive golfer will pull the driver and, well, let the fun begin.

Candler Hills Golf Club

One of the most scenic holes on the course, the par-3 eighth is named “The Beach” for the large waste area that runs from the front of the tee box all the way to the green. At 200 yards from the back tees, the eighth is actually the shortest of the par-3s, but might present the most daunting of the tee shots on the short holes.

Given the length of the fourth hole, the 579-yard par-5 15th might not seem long, but its name “The Long and Winding Road” is well earned. The second toughest hole at Candler Hills, this long, tight par-5 offers plenty of danger should golfers find the OB on either side of the fairway off the tee or one of the three deep bunkers that guard the green.

By contrast, the 18th hole “Homeward Bound” offers a wide fairway target off the tee, but golfers will only see half the green on the approach shot.

The variety of holes and challenges at Candler Hills is further magnifi ed by constant changes in the winds that sweep across the largely open course. Depending on the direction and consistency of the wind, Candler Hills can play as tough as any layout in Florida, or can lay exposed to good scores.

But no matter the conditions, Candler Hills will provide an enjoyable and memorable golf experience.

In addition to the course, Candler Hills is also home to a world-class practice facility led by PGA Golf Professional Jeff McDonald and LPGA Golf Professional Sally Collins. Both single and multi-lesson packages are available as are group clinics and playing lessons by appointment. The double-ended practice facility also features an excellent sand-game area, a putting-only practice green and a chipping and pitching undulated green that includes mounding around it.

Candler Hills Golf Club Before or after playing or practicing, golfers are welcomed in the clubhouse restaurant, which serves breakfast, lunch and dinner.

The golf course is just one of many features that make On Top of the World Community in Ocala so inviting. The active adult community features a number of gated neighborhoods, with 17 new and beautifully-furnished model homes, a full pool, spa and fitness facility and 200 active clubs and organizations covering many different areas of interest. In addition, the community features two private courses, the Links course and the Tortoise and Hare course, to go along with Candler Hills.

The newest feature to On Top of the World is its retail and entertainment complex, Circle Square Commons. In addition to the retail space, the Commons is home to The Ranch Fitness Center and Spa, Master the Possibilities Education Center and the Circle Square Cultural center, which hosts concerts, movies and dinner theater productions for audiences up to 800. The new Town Square features weekly free live entertainment and Marion County’s only farmer’s market.

With so much to offer, it’s no wonder so many who visit On Top of the World Communities become lifetime residents.

For more information on Candler Hills Golf Club, visit, or call 352 861-9712 to book a tee time. For more information on real estate or amenities at On Top of the World visit or call toll free at 800-421-4162.


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