Monday, March 12, 2018

Florida Trip Review

I recently spent five days in Sunny Florida. I played 11 golf courses in five days, 10 new courses, which put me at an even 100 golf courses played in Florida.  This is the fourth state where I have reached 100 courses played, NC, PA, & VA being the other three.  SC should join the list this year or next year, but I digress.

The first stop of the trip was Hyde Park in Jacksonville.  Hyde Park is an old Donald Ross Municipal course that looked like it had the original greens as they were very large and undulating and didn't appear to have lost any original green pads.
1st Hole

Sign on 6th tee

3rd Hole
Not so humble brag, lowest nine hole score in a few years!

Second stop of the trip was another Ross municipal course, The South course at Daytona Beach Golf Club.  I really enjoyed playing this course.  The greens have obviously shrunk over time from the Ross originals but they still had plenty of interest and undulation.
7th Hole

12th Hole
Third course on the trip was the only course I have played before, the Blue course at Streamsong.  I believe this was my 11th trip around the Blue and it gets better every time I play.  Seminole is the best course in Florida, but Streamsong Blue is my favorite course in Florida.  It also contains one of my all time favorite Short Par 4's, the 13th hole.  Any time you get to dew sweep at a golf course is an amazing experience and being able to do it at the Blue was an extraordinary treat, thanks KH.
2nd hole in the early morning light

8th hole
Next stop on the trip was Pinecrest on Lotela.  One of my goals is to play every golf course designed by Donald Ross.  I use the Ross Society list as my guide and this course appears on that list.  However the list hasn't been updated in 4 years and it has been proven that the course was designed by Birdie Way, who also designed the South course at Firestone.  Even with this knowledge, I still felt the need to play the course.
1st Hole

10th Hole
Fifth course on the trip was a course only a golf architecture nerd like me could love, Highland Florida golf course, formerly known as Lekarica in Lake Wales.  Lekarica was designed by Styles & Van Kleek and when it opened in the 20's, it was probably one of the best courses in Florida.  Unfortunately, the course declined over many years and has been closed and re-opened a couple times over the last few years.  The routing is basically the same as when it was designed and some of the bunkers are still there.  The course could really benefit from a chainsaw more than anything else as seen below in the picture of the 2nd tee:
2nd tee, in major need of tree work

7th Hole
The sixth course on the trip was the first private club of the trip, John's Island Club in Vero Beach. John's Island has two courses at its main clubhouse, North & South, and another course at a separate location, the West course.  I played the West course about 6 years ago and hadn't played the North & South.  We began our day on the South course.  The North & South are both early Pete Dye designs and they reflect his slightly restrained early period before he got bold with some of his bunkers and greens
7th Hole

18th Hole looking back
After a quick 2 hour and 45 minute round behind 2 twosomes we played the North course at John's Island.  The North is 300 yards longer than the South and obviously the "championship" course at John's Island.  
4th Hole

7th Hole
Next on the itinerary was the biggest surprise of the trip, Hawk's Nest Golf Club in Vero Beach.  Officially the course is called Hawk's Nest at The Moorings, as it was bought by The Moorings Club a few years ago.  Hawk's Nest is a Jim Fazio course that I really enjoyed.  My experiences with Jim Fazio in the past have not been great so I was really shocked at just how good this place was.  The routing was tremendous.  He got maximum use out of a very good piece of property.
9th Hole

11th Hole
The ninth course I played on the trip was Old Corkscrew in Estero, Florida.  I admit that I have a bias towards dis-liking Jack Nicklaus designed courses.  In my opinion his courses are way too hard and borderline unplayable for high handicap players.  With that being said, I thought Old Corkscrew was a solid course.  The greens were a little difficult but I found it to be playable with some very good holes.
2nd Hole
First time I've seen them put this on the GPS System, made me a little nervous

10th Hole
The tenth course I played on the trip was West Bay Club in Estero.  West Bay is a Pete & PB Dye design.  The course is in the early stages of a total renovation where they will re-grass and soften parts of the course to improve playability.  Typical for a course where PB is involved, it is a touch on the unfair side on several holes but overall a very enjoyable course.
6th Hole

12th Hole
The final course I played on the trip was San Jose Country Club in Jacksonville.  San Jose was designed by Donald Ross and most of the routing remains intact.  The course has gone through several renovations so it's difficult to tell what is Ross and what is not, but what is there is very good.  The greens are wonderfully undulating and fun and the fairway bunkering, while clearly not Ross, is also very well done.
5th Hole.  This is one of the holes not part of the original Ross design.  Still a very good hole

8th Hole

No comments:

Post a Comment

New York Spring Trip

In the Spring of 2016 I decided to do a quick four day trip to the New York area to play several courses I never got the chance to play when...