A visit to Miami Shores yesterday affirmed its position as the number 1 option.
While selling me range balls, Club pro Kyler Booher confirmed for me that they are still selling their partial memberships. Doing the rough math, the pass justifies itself after the 25th round. A full membership would require 75 rounds before that would pay off.
It remains a concern how often I'd be able to get out. Miami Shores was stem-to-stern again yesterday and Kyler said that only two tee times remained open for Thursday (today). However, on my way to the range I ran into a ray of sunshine named Ralph. He's a retired fella that I've played with on half a dozen occasions. It seems anytime I play the course I'll eventually hear him yell "Hello William" from the next fairway over. Anyhow, he's got a standing 2 p.m. tee time and says I can join him and his buddy Bob whenever I'd like.
The course itself is pretty basic, but is normally in decent shape for a muni. It's got a lot of straight holes with wide fairways. There is only one water hazard and the green-side bunkers are generally off to the sides instead of in front of the greens. Instead of fairway traps it has some "natural areas". Basically these are chunks of real estate they let grass and weeds grow. A ball is often just as dead in that stuff as if you splashed it. The greens are probably the most challenging aspect of the course. They are reasonably fast and undulated. If you end up above some of the holes, its a likely three putt.
So affordability? Check. Course difficulty (or lack there of)? Check.
Seemingly putting Miami Shores over the top is proximity. It's a five minute drive from home. The worst case scenario is a shut out, but that disappointment is more easily dealt with when you aren't making much of a drive. I could walk there if I had to.
This card is just a bit dated as it still has Ken Green's name on it. But the course specs are all the same.