In this section learn more about the history of the course and its hometown, see a selection of historic and current images of the course, learn about what the course is like today, and discover nearby historic sites.
The Highland Florida Golf Club is located in the Village of Highland Park, south of Lake Wales in Polk County. A 9-hole golf course existed on the property for several years in the early 1920s. The course was poorly designed and frequently flooded. In 1927, the Boston golf course architectural firm Wayne Stiles & John Van Kleek were hired to design an 18-hole golf course on the site. Named the Highland Park Club, Stiles & Van Kleek rebuilt and incorporated five of the old holes in to the new design. Several of the new holes were laid out in an orange grove on higher ground.
During World War II, a labor shortage resulted in six holes being removed and replaced with orange trees. The Highland Park Club remained a 12-hole layout until 1990s, when the golf course was bought and restored back to its 18-hole configuration.
The Highland Florida Golf Club features three sets of tees playing from 5,100 to 6,100 yards. The scenic, rolling hills of the Lake Wales Ridge provide the setting for the beautiful links of the Highland Florida Golf Club. With elevation changes of more than 110 feet from top to bottom, there are interesting features to challenge any golfer’s game.
One of the most picturesque holes designed by Wayne Stiles and John van Kleek for the Highland Park Golf Course in 1927 was the 11th hole, affectionately called ‘elephant ears.’
Standing on the tee of this 360-yard, par 4 hole, the fairway sloped from right to left. Players would look directly into two intimidating bunkers that constricted the fairway in half. If you were lucky to clear the fairway bunkers, then your approach shot, anything from a mashie to a spoon* would have to be well struck. The front of the green was protected on both sides by two large and deep bunkers, which gave the hole its name, elephant ears! Once on the green, you were challenged with a back to front-sloped green that made for an exciting putt. Today, the 11th hole plays from 368 to 397 yards and follows the same routing.
*See page 7 of our Florida Historic Golf Trail guide at https://bit.ly/2PHqo4v on “Hickory Golf Clubs – What’s in a Name?”
Spook Hill - Located just 10 minutes north of the golf course, Spook Hill has been a unique, and free, tourist attraction for over 50 years. Spook Hill has gained worldwide notoriety as one of the most confounding, potentially haunted, locations in existence. Visitors park their cars at the bottom of Spook Hill and experience the mysterious force that seems to defy gravity as the car is pulled to the top of the hill. Visit Spook Hill, park your car at the white line, put it in neutral, and see the results for yourself! Visit Spook Hill for more details. #ComePlayOnHistory!
1503 N. Highland Park Drive
Lake Wales, Florida 33898
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