In January 2013 we played the Legends Trail in Florida. Nine courses all owned by the Salamander Hotels & Resorts, the luxury hotel company founded by Sheila C. Johnson. The courses included three at Reunion Resort in Orlando, four at Innisbrook in Palm Harbor including the famous Copperhead Course and the two courses at Hammock Beach in Palm Coast.
This past February we returned to Hammock Beach to see the devestation caused by Hurricane Matthew in October of 2016. Ocean waters had spilled over the dunes and inundated the Ocean Course, a Jack Nicklaus Signature design that is famed for its six holes that hug the Atlantic. The salt water and debris destroyed all the grass on the greens, tees and fairways on those six holes and the result was a course that looked like a sand pit.
It was sad to see the condition of this beautiful course, but as we toured the course with the head professional and spoke to the superintendent, you could see that the restoration work was already starting.
The extensive work, undertaken in conjunction with Nicklaus Design, included re-grassing all 18 fairways, greens and rough with the salt-tolerant Platinum Paspalum grass that has become very popular in low-lying areas near the ocean throughout the east coast and Caribbean. Each tee box, bunker and green complex was reconstructed as well. The course is scheduled to reopen on November 2, so it will be ready for all those New Englanders who head south for the winter.
“The Ocean Course will re-open as one of the finest resort courses in America,” said Terry Bechtold, Hammock Beach Resort’s managing director. “Upon completion, we will be able to offer one of the finest grass surfaces on which a golfer can play.”
Nestled along northeast Florida’s shoreline in Palm Coast, Hammock Beach Resort features more than 300 spacious accommodations, including a 12-story tower of luxury suites. In addition to its golf experience, the amenity-rich resort offers an excellent spa and fitness center, multiple restaurants and bars, a multi-level pool complex with adult and children areas and a beautiful beachfront.
Located less than an hour south of Jacksonville, Hammock Beach offers a second course called the Conservatory Course located 10 minutes from the resort across Route 95. This Tom Watson-design is the longest in the state with dramatic elevation changes and undulating greens. With 12 sets of tees, all rated and sloped, you can pick the right distance for you and your playing partners. There are 140 bunkers (three are sod-faced), and it has the feel of Scottish designs favored by Watson. The fairways are hard and fast, so you will get much more roll than the typical Florida courses. The course is expansive and the beautiful clubhouse and conditioning will make this course one that you will not forget.
Combine the Conservatory Course with the rebuilt Ocean Course with its final four holes called “The Bear Claw” and you have a great destination for golf, relaxation and wonderful accommodations. For more information call Hammock Beach Resort at 866-841-0287 or visit www.hammockbeach.com.