Florida’s most prestigious oceanfront country club, the AAA Five Diamond Ponte Vedra Inn & Club held a grand opening ceremony of its newly reimagined Ocean Course this past week. Famed golf course architect, Bobby Weed whose headquarters are in Ponte Vedra, was selected to transform the layout which has been a cornerstone amenity of the Club for over 90 years.
The picturesque Ocean Course is one of two 18 hole courses at the Club. Originally designed by well-respected British architect and professional golfer, Herbert Bertram Strong, the course was built without the help of construction equipment- 100 hundred mules were used to dredge lagoons and shape the moundings throughout the course. This is the third remodel, the first being completed by Robert Trent Jones Sr. in 1947 and again in 1998 by Weed.
As the course approaches its centennial anniversary the comprehensive capital improvement included many enhancements: new turf grasses throughout, improvements to course playability with the addition of a new hole, expansion of the practice and teaching facilities, and upgrade to the infrastructure.
“I would like to thank Herbert Peyton, CEO of Gate Petroleum, for entrusting our team to update their layout,” said Weed. “As a long-time area resident, I receive great gratification in equipping the Ocean Course with a strong foundation for the next generation of members and resort guests.”
Now playing to a par of 71, the Ocean Course at 6800+ yards captures the essence of a modern seaside design with expansive fairways grassed with Celebration bermuda, strategically placed bunkers and lagoons with newly designed green complexes covered by TifEagle ultradwarf bermuda and TifGrande on the tees. Expansive swaths of non-turf screening areas were introduced with coquina reducing irrigation and eliminating grass rough while adding a striking visual contrast and unique seaside value to the layout.
One major design change was lower green complexes. The par 4 hole #2 green pushes closer to the surrounding lagoon. Hole #9, a par 3 with its historic island green, where Alice & Pete Dye got their inspiration for the infamous 17th green at TPC Sawgrass, has been visually enhanced to provide a better view of the putting surface from the clubhouse. Giving way to the new practice facility the par 4 10th hole was eliminated to make way for a new par 3, # 13 hole with yardages ranging from 99 to 178 and palm trees framing the low profile green, reminiscent of the “dell” hole at Lahinch Golf Club in Ireland. Hole #14 offers players a completely new look from the tee making it a longer and more challenging par 5. Hole #17, a par 4, now features an enlarged lagoon bordering the right side of the hole.
A full-service practice facility was created by tripling teeing grounds and adding double-sided practice targets. The new footprint of the range stretches beyond 300 yards and is accompanied by a new short-game area to be used for private instruction and corporate events. The first tee was cleverly transformed into a 20,000 square foot multi-use space of tightly mown bermudagrass that will serve as both the tee box and a pristine outdoor event venue.
The all-encompassing renovation included rebuilding 20 USGA putting surfaces and methodically restoring bridges, bulkheads, and irrigation. “We are delighted that Bobby Weed Golf Design has upgraded our Club for a bright future,” said Dale Haney, President of Gate Hospitality Group.
“Bobby’s innovative thinking around maintainability, environmental practices, and strategic shot values will endow the Ocean Course with exciting attributes for years to come.”
The Ponte Vedra Inn & Club and the Lodge & Club have combined to bookend a stunning stretch of oceanfront beach on Florida’s First Coast of Golf in the idyllic seaside setting of Ponte Vedra Beach. For almost a century the Club has set the standard for elegant and refined recreational experiences all with gracious touches of southern hospitality. The resort welcomes guests year round as well as exclusive membership offerings.
Visit PonteVedra.com for more information.