2019 East Coast Golf Journey: A Full Day Sightseeing in Manhattan

Great box seat to see the Book of Mormon on Broadway!

Great box seat to see the Book of Mormon on Broadway!

Full day in Manhattan! After mass at St. Patrick’s Cathedral I walked down to Times Square & caught the matinee of the Book of Mormon which was pretty funny but ended with an upbeat spiritual message. Then I checked out some futuristic home exhibits. Went down to the World Trade Center to pay my respects & see the view from the Freedom Tower. A bit disappointed in that it was purely an observation tower with no storyline about or a message of freedom. Missed opportunity in my spirit & mind. Rainy overcast day so lucky to see a decent view. Oculus was pretty cool inside. Then I went back to Times Square to catch the evening performance of Mean Girls which was good too! Also a strong spiritual message to live by the Golden Rule! Double Feature TROML Day! Heading out to Bethpage tomorrow for PGA Championship Week. GO Tiger!!!   (Andy Reistetter; Facebook Post with 30 Pics; 5-13-19)

2019 East Coast Golf Journey: Hello New York City from the Verrazzano Bridge!

5Per Wikipedia… named for Giovanni da Verrazzano, who in 1524 became the first documented European explorer to enter New York Harbor and the Hudson River. Never gets old coming across and seeing the Manhattan Skyline! Heading into the city tomorrow… FREEDOM Tower; Mass at St. Patrick’s Cathedral; Broadway Show and surely much more in the greatest city in the world! TROML Baby (an exclamation of JOY)!!!   (Andy Reistetter; Facebook Post with 10 Pics; Saturday, 5-11-19)

 

AGTD Experience Kissimmee, Florida: Kayaking at the Paddling Center!

When you are on an Experience Kissimmee, Florida weekend you experience what they want you to experience which is a good thing! I know TPC as the THE PLAYERS Championship in Ponte Vedra Beach but now also know it as The Paddling Center in Kissimmee!

I knew I would enjoy kayaking but I never thought I would enjoy it as much as I did! It’s golf—beautiful, immersion into nature, and good exercise—without ANY stress of performance! Likely due to having a great guide in Alex—properly trained, knowledgeable of and lover of nature, and a great guy too! Case in point when I was going a bit wayward into the brush on the side of Shingle Creek, Alex yelled out “don’t lean!” I didn’t and stayed upright and in the kayak and not the water!

One added unexpected benefit of kayaking in the morning is that my upper body was loose for swinging a golf club in the afternoon ending the day with a Birdie 4 on the difficult 18th hole on the Nicklaus Course at Reunion Resort!

Kayaking at The Paddling Center on Shingle Creek is now on my “Must Do List” for Central Florida! Enjoy!

A BIG thank you to George McNeilly & McNeilly Communications for organizing this weekend with Experience Kissimmee, FloridaReunion ResortReunion Vacation Homes,
Mystic Dunes Resort & Golf Club, and Celebration Golf Club! It was an amazing experience!

Please consider signing up to play in the Kissimmee Family Golf Classic in June!

(Andy Reistetter; 1/27/19; Facebook Post with 40 Pics)

Play Laurel Island Links in Kingsland, GA; Interstate-95 Golf at its Best!

Here is my ongoing experience playing the Laurel Island Links Golf Club which is less than 3 miles from the GA Exit 6 on Interstate-95 just across the Florida border. This is a club that you can call home whether you play it once a year, a handful of times a year or are a member! The Bogey’s Grille is the golfing equipment of ‘Cheers.’ Be sure to say hello to new owner (purchased in October 2017) Ron Tyre for me or better yet let me know when you are coming and I will tee it up with you! Good golfing!

So here is my Facebook posting log and three photo albums: 1) Aerial Pics from my Buddy Drone; 2) People of Laurel Island and the Food of Bogey’s Grille Pics; and 3) ground level Golf Course Pics.

Facebook Log:

Another great round of golf on the Laurel Island Links & Bogey’s Bar & Grille followed by a good time at Bogey’s! Some more aerial pics by my Buddy Drone! When was the last time you played Laurel Island Links? When will be your first time playing Laurel Island Links? Enjoy! (Facebook Post with 30 Pics; Andy Reistetter; 11-3-18)

Always a good time at Laurel Island Links! A Davis Love III design gem, challenging shot values, FUN golfing experience, beautiful salt marsh vistas, great people & then there is always Bogeys for some delicious food afterwards! Some aerial pics from my Buddy Drone! Only 3 miles off Interstate-95, Exit 6 in Georgia, just north of Jacksonville & the Florida State line. Come by sometime & tee it up, you will be happy you did! #IGolfI95   (Facebook Post with 30 Pics; Andy Reistetter; 10-29-18)

Another great golfing experience in South Georgia! You were right Tony Jr. Vizzie! Laurel Island Links Golf Club is a fun, challenging, & spectacular Davis Love III design! Salt marsh views on the first nine, pine trees embraced by honeysuckle on the second nine. Never felt more genuinely welcomed at a golf course than by owner Ron Tyre with Brendan & Pat in the golf shop, and Patty & Brittany in Bogeys, both a golfers & family friendly restaurant. Beer-battered fish was very tasty! Within 3 miles of I-95 Georgia Exit 6. Great way to break up a trip north or south on I-95 or visit from Jacksonville or Savannah! Maybe I should write an I-95 golf column? What would it take to entice people to take Exit 6 and play & experience Laurel Island Links & Bogey’s Bar & Grille? Thanks Ron Tyre for hosting Andy’s Golf & Travel Diary! PS Ron Ruckdeschel another good golfing opportunity in Georgia!   (Facebook Post with 30 Pics; Andy Reistetter; 4-27-18; feeling fabulous at Laurel Island Links & Bogey’s Bar & Grille in Kingsland, GA) ·

Aerial Pics:

People & the Food of Bogey’s Grille Pics:

Golf Course Pics:

I Golf I-95; Exit 1 GA: The Lakes at Laura S. Walker State Park (Waycross, GA)

The par-4 9th and par-4 18th encircle one of three lakes on The Lakes! Very scenic golf course!

The par-4 9th and par-4 18th encircle one of three lakes on The Lakes! Very scenic golf course!

Found another golfing gem in SE Georgia, less than an hour from Interstate 95! One of the best State Park golf courses in the nation! With Okefenokee Swamp Park & the Laura S. Walker State Park adjacent to the course, this is definitely a nature & golf travel destination. My golfing experience was made even more special teeing it up with the beautiful & spirited Merri Daniel! Less than an hour from I-95, check it out next time you are crossing the Florida-Georgia border. I golf Interstate-95, do you? #IGolfI95 Thank you to Head PGA Golf Professional David Sikes, Wesley, & the fishing lady for hosting Andy’s Golf &Travel Diary! See you again sometime soon!   (Facebook Post with 30 pics; Andy Reistetter; 10-7-18)

From the Lakes at Laura S. Walker Golf Course website:

Another spectacular & enjoyable round with Merri Daniel. Hosted by Head PGA Golf Professional David Sikes!

Another spectacular & enjoyable round with Merri Daniel. Hosted by Head PGA Golf Professional David Sikes!

Welcome to The Lakes at Laura S. Walker

The Lakes Golf Course was designed by Steve Burnes and features native sand for the many bunkers and waste areas. This coastal Georgia course has three large lakes and is very close to the Okefenokee Swamp. Popular for great course conditions and mild weather. Voted the 2011 “Hook A Kid On Golf” Best New Site of the Year in the Nation. Voted 2009 Best Municipal Golf Course in Georgia by Golf Digest.

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Osprey Cove- A Residential Golfing Paradise in St. Marys, Georgia!

Found a little piece of Paradise just north of the FL/GA border at Osprey Cove in St. Marys! A Mark McCumber Signature golf course with the best of everything that I have ever seen in a Southeast coastal salt marsh golf course! Beautiful vistas, interesting, challenging, & fun routing; and a double 9th & 18th green! Osprey Cove looks like a great place to live too! Very warm & friendly people, a real peach of a place! Thanks Mike, Rob, Carolyn, & Mosaic Clubs & Resorts for hosting Andy’s Golf & Travel Diary! I will be back for sure!   (Facebook Post with 30 pics, Andy Reistetter, 3-12-18)

 

Innisbrook: Be Charmed Like I Was, Not Bitten, by the Snake Pit!!!

CLICK HERE for Andy’s FEATURE ARTICLE on his golf trip to the Innisbrook Resort!

I will likely be snake bitten next time but for now I am treasuring my back nine 36!

I will likely be snake bitten next time but for now I am treasuring my back nine 36!

WOW, what a visit to Innisbrook Golf Resort! It seems like everything had been redone and upgraded; the golf courses, the accommodations, and the restaurants and entertainment! Played all four courses; Copperhead, North and South, and the Island Club in three days. My only wish? That there was one more golf course to play as I did not want to leave! PS: More will be written about this experience… and I was actually charmed, not bitten, in the Snake Pit with a back nine 37!

Florida is flat….coming up US 19 North from Clearwater… there is a big dip that marks your entry into the beautiful rolling hills of Innisbrook, perfect topography for golf courses! Lawrence Packard designed four of them here! We played Copperhead, the host course for the Valspar Championship on the PGA Tour! Snake Pit? Not today! Snake my convoluted golf game… went 49-37! Beautiful accommodations, cuisine & live entertainment with Kerry Olivia and Peter Vann, the Backstreet Band… North & South tomorrow, then the Island Course Monday Morning before heading home to Ponte Vedra Beach… Grateful, life is good… TROML Baby! #Innisbrook #Copperhead #SnakePitSelfie   (Facebook Post with 30 Pics, Andy Reistetter, 1/27/18).

58Thirty-six holes on North & South today then CBS/GC’s Torrey Pines five-hole playoff… I am pooped! Storyline… picture of Osprey behind check-in desk at Osprey Clubhouse… Osprey nest up high behind North No. 2 green… driver, 3-wood, made four footer for eagle on North No. 10… I mean Osprey! Get it? Eagles are Ospreys at Innisbrook! Morning with Bruce, Dan, & John… Afternoon ‘two tie, all tie’ competition with Greg, Rick, & Tom! Who do you think won with nine skins on the back?Tain came late, last three holes! Hey who won at Torrey Pines? I fell asleep! Island in the morning at sunrise! TROML Baby! #Innisbrook #Copperhead #SnakePitSelfie   (Facebook Post with 28 Pics, Andy Reistetter, 1/28/18)

62Finished up the Innisbrook trip with a round on the Island Course with my GTWA buddies Tommy & Jamie! What a picturesque, challenging & fun golf course to play. The Innisbrook real estate around it is blooming! My only regret is that they don’t have a fifth golf course and that it is time to go home! Thank you Ramona Herald & all the folks at Innisbrook for an exceptional golfing experience & hosting Andy’s Golf & Travel Diary! I can see why Rory (McIlroy) is coming to play in the Valspar Championship! #Innisbrook #Copperhead #SnakePitSelfie   (Facebook Post with 30 Pics, Andy Reistetter, 1/29/

Rev Up Your Game for Golf in Daytona Beach, Florida!

CLICK HERE for the PLAY-by-PLAY on Social Media of Andy’s Daytona Golf Trip!

_AGTD Featured Image 640 X 420 Daytona BeachYes, we all know Daytona Beach for the Daytona International Speedway and the Daytona 500!

But did you know that Daytona Beach is also a Golf Hotspot in a state that is Golf Heaven?

In fact, the only thing that is the same these days in Daytona Beach is the 23 miles of the world’s most famous beach!

Not even the iconic Daytona International Speedway is the same anymore! Always home to the Daytona 500 and other races year-round, the speedway is no longer standing alone. ONE DAYTONA, a new lifestyle and entertainment center is located right across International Speedway Boulevard. ONE DAYTONA opened in December 2017 and is 70 acres BIG with all the fun, entertainment, culinary, and lodging experiences you could ever want with even more on the way! In fact, ONE DAYTONA is a vision of tomorrow—you can live and work there too!

The GTWA Gang with Nancy Guran in the lobby of the brand spanking new Fairfield Inn & Suites at ONE DAYTONA!

The GTWA Gang with Nancy Guran in the lobby of the brand spanking new Fairfield Inn & Suites at ONE DAYTONA!

My “Speedway to Fairway” visit was quite thrilling as our Golf Travel Writers’ (GTWA) group was part of the official opening of the 105-room Fairfield Inn & Suites. This hotel is an over-the-top Marriott property with its Daytona themed lobby bar plus the comfort, convenience and high-touch service you expect of Marriott. Additionally, The Daytona, a Marriott Autograph Collection Hotel with 145 rooms will be opening later in 2018.

Enough of the Speedway, let’s get to the Fairway!

Our Daytona Beach visit started with a Friday afternoon round on the signature Arthur Hills ‘Hills Course’ at LPGA International. We’ll save the companion signature Rees Jones ‘Jones Course’ for Sunday at the end of our visit! Bookended with two world-class golf courses at LPGA International is our weekend vacation in Daytona Beach! It doesn’t get much better than that especially when you see where we played in between!

A forced carry on the sporty dog-leg-right par-4 4th hole on the Jones Course!

A forced carry on the sporty dog-leg-right par-4 4th hole on the Jones Course!

The Hills course opened in 1997 three years after the Jones Course and it is spectacular! Classic design, yet modern in playability, like the Jones Course the Hills Course comes equipped with Tift Eagle Bermuda greens. There is a wide range of challenging shots on this Arthur Hills masterpiece as it takes you through natural wetlands and narrow fairways cut through pine forests. The greens are reasonable in size but appear small from the fairway thanks to the genius of Arthur Hills. Strategically located water hazards can be the challenge on this golf course!

My first round of the year played with my GTWA golfing buddies Gregg DeWalt and Danny Scott ended nicely with a 30-footer finding home and a birdie-3 on the 9th hole, our last. No better feeling than to play golf in Florida in mid-January and get to feel that unique golfing spirit within!

'The Riv' awaits and welcomes you!

‘The Riv’ awaits and welcomes you!

Saturday was a spectacular day! Instead of revving up my golf game I ‘Riv’d’ it up a bit by playing ‘The Riv,’ the historic Riviera Country Club! Playing ‘The Riv’ is a must-do if you find yourself anywhere near Daytona Beach.

This golf course is golfing history, a golfing tradition that cannot be duplicated anywhere in the world. There is golfing challenge, nostalgia, and fun lining these fairways and the golfers and staff that you meet will make it a special day without a doubt!

Originally opened as a nine-hole golf course in the late 1930’s, the Riviera Country Club has been owned since 1953  by four generations of the Meyers family—Franklin—Bill—Eric—and now Ryan with his Mom Charlotte! Seeing the future of golf Franklin Meyers immediately expanded the golf course to 18 holes in 1954. Architects Mark Mahana, Dave Wallace, and most recently Lloyd Clifton have all contributed over half a century to make ‘The Riv’ what it is today—an engaging golfing experience!

With Charlotte and Ryan Meyers in the well stocked pro shop at 'The Riv!'

With Charlotte and Ryan Meyers in the well stocked pro shop at ‘The Riv!’

Ryan Meyers was an exceptional junior golf as was his friend Matt Every. Every went on to play golf at the University of Florida, the Nationwide Tour (now Web.com), and ultimately the PGA TOUR. His back-to-back wins in the Arnold Palmer Invitational at Bay Hill being his greatest golfing accomplishment to date. Palmer memorabilia and the Matt & Ryan friendship add to the allure of playing golf at ‘The Riv,’ if for only one time as a tourist! Here is a golf course with no tee sheets and a place you can call home if only for one day!

Playing with the GTWA Captain Bruce Vittner and fellow member Greg Wise is always an experience and this round was no different! I managed to shoot a 79 as I did on the Old Course in St. Andrews, Scotland way back when. Playing ‘The Riv’ with these guys was a beautiful experience!

Daytona Beach has been home to the Daytona International Speedway and the Daytona 500 since 1959, the most prestigious race in NASCAR. After enjoying the atmosphere of ONE DAYTONA for a night it was back to the LPGA International to play the Jones Course on Sunday morning.

The opening par-5 1st hole on the Hills Course at LPGA International.

The opening par-5 1st hole on the Hills Course at LPGA International.

A traditional links-style course, the Jones is a great complement and contrast to the Hills Course. Playing with GTWA associates John Dyson, Alice Scott, and Greg Wise, we teed off in a brief downpour. It was one of those disorienting starts on a well-designed dis-orienting golf course! After double-bogeying the wet first, I settled down with two birdies on the 7th and 9th holes, a 9-iron to gimmie range (though I putted the golf ball into the cup as I always do!) and another 9-iron that hit the flagstick stopping 10 feet away; respectively. With no birdies on the second nine. the strategic mounding, expanses of sand bunkers, natural marsh areas, beautiful lakes and undulating greens that is the Jones Course had its way with me.  I ended up posting a disappointing but promising 82.

But isn’t that life and golf? Start off in the rain, end in the sunshine, with a few birdies along the way!

From “fairway to speedway” this GTWA golf trip was an amazing experience!

Daytona Beach, Florida: Golf Destination or ONE DAYTONA?

Both and plenty more!

CLICK HERE for real-time posts from my visit to Daytona Beach!

The beautiful & luxurious Fairfield Inn & Suites at ONE DAYTONA!

The beautiful & luxurious Fairfield Inn & Suites at ONE DAYTONA!

Our threesome at 'The Riv!'

Our threesome at ‘The Riv!’

Walking along and playing some golf at 'The Riv!'

Walking along and playing some golf at ‘The Riv!’

 

 

Daytona Beach, Golf & ONE DAYTONA: “From Fairway to Speedway”

 

CLICK HERE for Andy’s FEATURE ARTICLE on his golf trip to Daytona!

Walking along and playing some golf at 'The Riv!'

Walking along and playing some golf at ‘The Riv!’

I enjoyed a great weekend of golf in Daytona Beach with an introduction to ONE DAYTONA! Here are the highlights via my social media posts and pictures! More will be written, stay tuned and keep those engines revving!

Enjoying Daytona Beach! Left Binghamton, NY on Wednesday at 4 pm… drove 17 of next 26 hours… 16 hours turnaround at home in Ponte Vedra Beach… teed it up at 1:12 pm today Friday on the Hills Course at LPGA International… Golf Travel Writers Association fam trip courtesy of Daytona Beach Area Convention and Visitors Bureau… staying at brand spanking new Fairfield Inn & Suites by Marriott at One Daytona across from the Speedway… nice 30-footer for birdie on the last! TROML Baby! #DaytonaBeach   (Facebook Post with 30 Pics, Andy Reistetter, 1/19/18)

32Played ‘The Riv,’ a must experience if ever near Daytona Beach… a golf course of challenge, nostalgia, & fun! Four Meyers generations since 1953- Franklin-Bill-Eric-and now Ryan! Home of Ryan and Matt Every junior golf… Every & his Bay Hill triumphs & Arnold Palmer have a strong presence here. Great place, no tee sheets just PGA professional Mike Boss, pic with kids on practice putting green a tribute to the Myers legacy. My competitive benchmark for Ely Park GC, if given the opportunity…   (Facebook Post with 30 Pics, Andy Reistetter, 1/20/18)

1Great Sunday round on the Jones Course at LPGA International to wrap up the GTWA Daytona Beach “fairway to speedway” golf trip! Great golf & super accommodations at the Fairfield Inn & Suites at ONE DAYTONA! Started off in the rain, ended in the sunshine, with a few birdies along the way! Onward to the PGA Show in Orlando!   (Facebook Post with 30 pics, Andy Reistetter, 1/21/18)

The Ocean Course at Hammock Beach Resort: A Magnificent Restoration!!!

Not only did I survive but I thrived playing the Ocean Course in the wind!

Not only did I survive but I thrived playing the Ocean Course in the wind!

Mark Twain once said: “The two most important days in your life are the day you are born and the day you find out why.”

Andy Reistetter now says: “The two most important days in a golf travel writer’s life is the day a golf course re-opens after a restoration project and the day I get to play it.”

For the fabulous Ocean Course at Hammock Beach Resort those days were November 2nd, 2017 and November 15th, 2017.

This is the 174-yard par-3 17th, part of the famed closing stretch named “The Bear!"

This is the 174-yard par-3 17th, part of the famed closing stretch named “The Bear!” Claw,”

On the afternoon of Friday, October 7th, 2016 the eye of Hurricane Matthew passed by Palm Coast churning at 120 mph, which is designated as a Category 3 hurricane.

Amazingly this tragic event with its devastation to the golf course was not only reversed but improved upon over a 13-month period.

As detailed in the press release below, “the Hammock Beach Resort owners and resort managers—Salamander Hotels & Resorts—  took a long-term view regarding conditioning (of the golf course) and opted to conduct a complete course restoration in conjunction with Nicklaus Design.”

'Joey' Burch is the kind of guy you want to meet (and interview if you are a writer) when you visit the Hammock Beach Resort... Joey said something simple, profound, and heartfelt to me- "It's good to see golfers on the golf course again!" I could not agree more!

‘Joey’ Burch is the kind of guy you want to meet (and interview if you are a writer) when you visit the Hammock Beach Resort… Joey said something simple, profound, and heartfelt to me- “It’s good to see golfers on the golf course again!” I could not agree more!

“Staying true to Nicklaus’ masterful design, the Ocean Course restoration has included the re-grassing of all fairways, greens and rough with the salt-tolerant Platinum Paspalum, as well as the reconstruction of each tee box, bunker and green complex.”

Having played the golf course before and after the restoration it is my opinion that they took a great golf course and made it even greater with subtle design changes and the best grass that money can buy and grow next to an ocean!

Scoring 46-37 as I transitioned from a somewhat sheltered (and shattered)  first nine to a wide open second nine in a 25-30 mile Nor’easter wind I would have to say “let her blow!”

Perfect day for clam chowder which kicked in to enable me to start the second nine with two birdies!

Perfect day for clam chowder which kicked in to enable me to start the second nine with two birdies!

The greens were ultra-pure and ultra-fast both uphill and downhill and into the wind and downwind too!

I say bring back the PGA TOUR or invite the LPGA and let those men and women give it a go too! Actually the PGA TOUR Champions played on the second more inland resort course designed by Tom Watson—the Conservatory Course. Watson did not win but Bernard Langer did in 2008 while Keith Fergus won the inaugural event the year before.

The Salmon Burger with House Made Chips!

The Salmon Burger with House Made Chips!

Besides playing the magnificent Ocean Course I was treated to a delicious lunch in the signature restaurant of the Hammock Beach Resort—The Atlantic Grille. I went with a bowl of the New England Clam Chowder and the Salmon Burger on a Brioche Bun. The tasty, the sweet, and the meat sustained me throughout the afternoon round of sunshine and challenging winds!

It was a great day playing the renovated and newly improved Ocean Course! Though I missed Opening Day the press release and great pictures below, including Lee Elder, the barrier-breaking, four-time PGA TOUR winner and Tennis Hall of Famer Ivan Lendl, make me feel like I was there!

Bravo Salamander, as this type of commitment and dedication is unparalleled!

Ocean Golf at its finest, at least on the second nine for Andy Reistetter!

Ocean Golf at its finest, at least on the second nine for Andy Reistetter!

The Florida Golf Collection of Sheila Johnson, the founder of Salamander Hotels & Resorts, goes west from Palm Coast through Orlando via the elegant Reunion Resort which is embellished with Nicklaus, Palmer and Watson Signature Course designs and then a bit south to the famed Innisbrook Resort in Tampa Bay, which has four golf courses and hosts the a PGA TOUR event on its Copperhead Course.

Playing any one of the nine Salamander golf courses is a treat but why not start at the Ocean and Conservatory Courses in Palm Harbor and play them all?

 

Ocean Course at Hammock Beach Resort Re-opens after 13-month Restoration Project

Jack Nicklaus Signature Design now features new salt-tolerant greens, fairways and rough

11 / 02 / 2017

PALM COAST, FL – The famed Ocean Course at Hammock Beach Resort, a Jack Nicklaus Signature Design, today re-opened after a 13-month restoration project.

The ceremonial first foursome at the re-opening of the Ocean Course at Hammock Beach comprised (from left to right): Paul Propis, the resort’s golf committee chairman; Lee Elder, the barrier-breaking, four-time PGA TOUR winner; Brad Hauer, Hammock Beach Resort’s director of golf; and Tennis Hall of Famer Ivan Lendl Photo Credit: Gregory Heck

The ceremonial first foursome at the re-opening of the Ocean Course at Hammock Beach comprised (from left to right): Paul Propis, the resort’s golf committee chairman; Lee Elder, the barrier-breaking, four-time PGA TOUR winner; Brad Hauer, Hammock Beach Resort’s director of golf; and Tennis Hall of Famer Ivan Lendl
Photo Credit: Gregory Heck

A ceremonial event, attended by golf, tourism and elected officials, featured a first tee foursome consisting of Lee Elder, the barrier-breaking, four-time PGA TOUR winner; Tennis Hall of Famer Ivan Lendl; Brad Hauer, the resort’s director of golf; and Paul Propis, vice president of the resort’s board of governors and golf committee chairman.

The Palm Coast, FL, resort is managed by Salamander Hotels & Resorts, the luxury hotel company founded by Sheila Johnson, and is part of the Salamander Golf Collection.

Renowned for its six Atlantic Ocean-hugging holes and closing stretch named “The Bear Claw,” the Ocean Course has been closed since October 2016 after high winds and storm surge from Hurricane Matthew caused damage across the majority of its holes. The resort’s owners and Salamander took a long-term view regarding conditioning and opted to conduct a complete course restoration in conjunction with Nicklaus Design.

Renowned for its six Atlantic Ocean-hugging holes and closing stretch named “The Bear Claw,” the Ocean Course at Hammock Beach Resort, a Jack Nicklaus Signature Design, re-opens after a 13- month restoration project. Photo Credit: Ryder Haske

Renowned for its six Atlantic Ocean-hugging holes and closing stretch named “The Bear Claw,” the Ocean Course at Hammock Beach Resort, a Jack Nicklaus Signature Design, re-opens after a 13- month restoration project. Photo Credit: Ryder Haske

Staying true to Nicklaus’ masterful design, the Ocean Course restoration has included the re-grassing of all fairways, greens and rough with the salt-tolerant Platinum Paspalum, as well as the reconstruction of each tee box, bunker and green complex.

The new salt-tolerant grass was tested by high winds and storm surge caused by Hurricane Irma in September, but the turf stood up well and the restoration project completion was only pushed back a few weeks.

“Today, the Ocean Course reclaims its position as one of the finest golf courses in the country,” said Salamander Founder & CEO Sheila Johnson, who also serves as an executive committee member of the United States Golf Association. “The location is unique, the views are exquisite and the conditioning now matches the spectacular locale. We thank Lubert-Adler, the resort’s owners, for its commitment to the game of golf, and are honored that the Ocean Course rejoins the rotation within our Salamander Golf Collection.”

The Ocean Course at Hammock Beach re-opened on November 2 after a 13- month restoration project. Photographed, from left to right, are: Prem Devadas, president of Salamander Hotels & Resorts, Terry Bechtold, managing director of Hammock Beach Resort; Sheila Johnson, founder and CEO of Salamander Hotels & Resorts; Amy Wilde, president of ACP Communities; Brad Hauer, director of golf at Hammock Beach Resort; and Neill Faucett, managing principal of Lubert-Adler. Credit: Gregory Heck

The Ocean Course at Hammock Beach re-opened on November 2 after a 13- month restoration project. Photographed, from left to right, are: Prem Devadas, president of Salamander Hotels & Resorts, Terry Bechtold, managing director of Hammock Beach Resort; Sheila Johnson, founder and CEO of Salamander Hotels & Resorts; Amy Wilde, president of ACP Communities; Brad Hauer, director of golf at Hammock Beach Resort; and Neill Faucett, managing principal of Lubert-Adler.
Credit: Gregory Heck

In addition to the Ocean Course, Salamander is also re-opening its North Course at Innisbrook Resort near Tampa Bay on November 3 – just 24 hours later. The course, designed by Larry Packard, had been closed for four months for a renovation of its greens.

As one of only a handful of courses in the Southeast to feature Platinum Paspalum, the Ocean Course’s new surface features thick, short grass blades. Tolerant of all seasons, the grass is able to withstand seasonal temperature changes yet maintain a beautiful verdant year-round look. The addition of new and bright white Angle-G sand has also significantly brightened the already visually appealing course.

The course’s dune line, which is over a mile long, continues to be carefully restored ­to state conservational specifications. Newer and stronger dunes are forming, which offer greater environmental protection while also offering golfers some of the most stunning ocean views on the East Coast.

“By replacing Bermuda grass with the salt-tolerant Platinum Paspalum, we now offer golfers one of the purest surfaces in the game,” said Brad Hauer, director of golf at Hammock Beach Resort. “And, in addition to improved playing conditions for golfers of all levels, the views of the Atlantic Ocean are simply incredible.”

Hammock Beach Director of Golf Brad Hauer hits a ceremonial first tee shot at the re-opening of the Ocean Course at Hammock Beach Resort. The course re- opened on November 2, 2017 after a 13- month restoration. Photo Credit: Gregory Heck

Hammock Beach Director of Golf Brad Hauer hits a ceremonial first tee shot at the re-opening of the Ocean Course at Hammock Beach Resort. The course re- opened on November 2, 2017 after a 13- month restoration. Photo Credit: Gregory Heck

The Ocean Course originally opened in April 2000. And, while the integrity of the original design has been retained through the recent restoration, new forward tees have been added to each hole, making six on each. This allows the par 72 course to play as short as 4,100 yards, but retain a challenging overall length of 7,201 yards from its back tees.

Throughout the Ocean Course’s restoration project, Hammock Beach’s other championship layout, the highly-rated Conservatory Course (Tom Watson), has continued to accommodate guest and member play.

The restoration of the Ocean Course follows a number of previous enhancements at Hammock Beach Resort. The resort has recently renovated its grand lobby, refurbished all 15,000 square feet of indoor meeting and event spaces, and re-opened its signature restaurant, The Atlantic Grille.

In mid-November, it will launch its boutique accommodation option: The Lodge at Hammock Beach, which offers an intimate accommodation option overlooking the Ocean Course. It features 20 guest rooms, direct beach access and provides guests with the unique “Lodge Experience” – a VIP service including amenities and daily breakfast. With spectacular ocean views, the Atlantic Grille, led by new Executive Chef Kevin Luque, is serving “Shore to Table” cuisine, highlighting local, freshly caught seafood.

Just south of historic St. Augustine, Hammock Beach Resort presents true luxury nestled among nature and offers an upscale escape surrounded by scenes of Old Florida, with more than 300 luxurious and spacious accommodations. There are numerous golf and social membership options available at the coastal oasis, which operates as both a private club and resort. It offers storybook experiences with two highly renowned and ranked golf courses designed by legends Jack Nicklaus and Tom Watson, a 10,000-square-foot ocean-inspired spa and fitness center, multiple restaurants and bars, a multi-level pool complex with adult and children’s areas, oceanfront meeting space, a marina and tennis center, and miles of coquina-laden coastline.

For more information, call Hammock Beach Resort at 866-841-0287 or visit www.hammockbeach.com. Hammock Beach Resort is located at 200 Ocean Crest Drive, Palm Coast, FL 32137.

 

About Salamander Hotels & Resorts

Salamander Hotels & Resorts is a privately owned and operated company based in Middleburg, VA, just outside Washington, D.C. Founded by entrepreneur Sheila Johnson in 2005, the company has a luxury portfolio featuring two distinct collections. The Signature Collection includes the stunning Salamander Resort & Spa in Middleburg, a 340-acre equestrian-inspired property near Washington, D.C.; The Henderson, a 170-room grand beach resort in Destin, FL; NOPSI New Orleans, a new 217-room luxury historic hotel re-imagined which opened in July 2017; and Hotel Bennett, a 179-room luxury hotel in Charleston, SC, opening in summer 2018. The Golf Collection includes the famed Innisbrook Resort in Tampa Bay, which hosts an annual PGA TOUR on its Copperhead Course; the elegant Reunion Resort in Orlando, which includes Signature Course designs from Nicklaus, Palmer and Watson; and the recently renovated oceanfront Hammock Beach Resort in Palm Coast, FL, home to layouts by Nicklaus and Watson. All Salamander properties are members of Preferred Hotels & Resorts. For additional information, visit www.SalamanderHotels.com.