Good Golf & Good Fun at Stillwater!

Bobby Weed, Hampton Golf, and Lennar; what a winning combination!

Stillwater Golf & Country Club, the Newest Active Adult Community in St. Johns County, Florida!

Let’s tee it up, keep the water still and make some birdie putts along the way on this the new Bobby Weed Signature Design!

I loved Stillwater from the moment she opened her gates to me. With the silhouette of a golfer prominently displayed on the right side column of the entrance and knowing the work of Mr. Weed this creation will no doubt be an ode to the history and traditions of the game. This is the first golf course to be built in St. Johns County in ten years!

That was what I wrote in a Facebook post back in February, 2022 after attending and participating in a pre-opening Media Day. A day so designed to give the world a taste of what was coming on the course and off the course at Stillwater. I liked what I saw and tasted! The first nine was basically done! How educational and fun it was to drive around with Bobby Weed and get the inside scoop of his innovative design!

Only one thing could keep me away from the Grand Opening in August and that was a road trip north to my hometown to start a new chapter in my life. But I was back by late November and first on my list, of course, was to tee it up at Stillwater which I did on December 1st!

Wow, Wow, Wow!!!

Bobby pointing out the subtleties of revetted bunker design as Garry Smits, longtime sports write for the Florida Times-Union captures the moment!

I remember how important it was for Mr. Weed to point out the use of recycled synthetic grass from athletic parks on the revetted bunkers. Quite natural looking for sure and good for our environment now and for future generations. I also remember how Bobby got down into the bunker green side on the par-3 second hole to point out that the wall of these bunkers slope away at the bottom so that golf balls will likely roll to a good lie albeit still in the bunker. Obviously a great benefit to the active and shall I say older, more mature, golfer like me at Stillwater!

I chuckled to myself while playing this Weed Masterpiece with no weeds in sight that he also sloped the fairway contours to these historic bunkers so that their engagement areas are in actuality much larger than the bunker itself. Also there is similar sloping towards the water hazards. A matter of appreciation in that it is there for all to see and quite fair and honorable. Thus play Stillwater with a historic appreciation to make your experience even more fun and enjoyable. One might not always get a member’s bounce but rest assured that nobody will be entrapped by any unfair design flaw at Stillwater!

Still I am quite sure that Mr. Weed smiles a bit just like Old Tom Morris did at the Old Course in St. Andrews back in the day when an unsuspecting golfer does not recognize the enormity of all that goes into the design of a great golf course!

Let’s tee it up, keep the water still, and make some birdie putts at Stillwater Golf & Country Club!

Take an aerial tour of the first six holes at Stillwater Golf & CC

No need to go to that other place, you know where, as Stillwater has Top Tracer in all its glory right there on the practice range adjacent to the first tee. Play your electronic games in reality as the trajectory and distance of every shot is measured. Practice made fun and even more fun with great food and a full-service bar. Upscale at every point of imagination is Stillwater and oh yes that humped practice putting green will give you a ‘Himalayas-like’ experience and well prepare your for your round!

Aerial by the AGTD Drone showing the TopTracer Driving Range to the right and the first fairway above.

In addition to the reuse of synthetic material for the nearly vertical faces of the bunkers, millions of gallons of water are being conserved through wise design choices such as specifying TifTuf bermuda grass fairways and incorporating non-irrigated areas. Aesthetically, the no-rough, all fairways cut with the contrasting centipede grass native areas looks very engaging and gives a framework to one’s impending golf shot, especially from the teeing grounds!

The crushed shell for cart paths take one back to the natural footpaths of St. Andrews where they say the game was first invented by sailors knocking around something round with a stick into rabbit holes on their way home from the docks to the village. Like the spongy grass lies in that part of the world, it seems most every lie at Stillwater is clean cut awaiting your swing and good contact of the golf club with the golf ball. Indeed the old is new and lovely to be enjoyed at Stillwater.

What an honor and privilege to spend a morning with Bobby Weed!

Another one of Weed’s modern design breakthroughs is the innovative routing at Stillwater. Sometimes we have time to play 18 holes, sometimes we do not! Tee off No. 1 and play 6, 15 or 18 holes. Or tee off No. 7 and play 9 holes through No. 15 or 12 holes through No.18. Or just tee off No. 16 and play the last 3 holes. Many options at Stillwater- play as you like—3,6,9,12,15, or 18 holes from and to the clubhouse area. With the permission of the starter, of course!

With a great golf course designed by Bobby Weed, expertly managed by Hampton Golf, and enveloped with spectacular homes built by Lennar. Stillwater Golf & Country Club is indeed a new playground that awaits her residents and those fortunate enough to visit as guests.

I want to be ‘bundled’ like the residents at Stillwater that have full access to the Golf Course and all the other amenities with the purchase of a new home. No additional cost. Bundle me please!

Right now, as of this posting in January, 2023, there is a special invitation to play Stillwater Golf & Country Club called “Be First to the Tee.” This great deal is only available for a limited time through Hampton Golf.

Play well and remember to let the waters remain still and make a few birdie putts along the way!

Central Florida’s Sebring International Golf Resort is the Future of Golf!

Central Florida’s Sebring International Golf Resort is the Future of Golf!

Helmut 'H3' Wyzisk III is demonstrating the Future of Golf at the Sebring International Golf Resort!

Helmut ‘H3’ Wyzisk III is demonstrating the Future of Golf at the Sebring International Golf Resort!

Meet Helmut Wyzisk III, visit Sebring International Golf Resort, and play “The Twelve” and you can see, feel, and start to experience the Future of Golf!

Known as ‘H3,’ Wyzisk is a dynamic personality, the face of the Orlando family and the Signature H Property Group intent on transforming the 352-acre Sebring International property and in so doing be a showcase for where the game of golf is going—in terms of playing grounds, residential communities and golf tourist destinations, and additional amenities!

CLICK HERE for Video Interview with Helmut ‘H3’ Wyzisk.

The vision is all-encompassing—the transformation of a 45-hole property with so much room one can easily get lost—future residential and commercial development to complement the existing community of 4,500 people.—and future new amenities in terms of sports fields such as Boccee Ball, Shuffleboard, Pickleball to complement the new and present golf course called “The Twelve!”

2The Twelve is a short course with front tees ranging from 43 to 101 yards and back tees ranging from 65 to 148 yards. The Twelve reminded me on The Nine at Augusta National Golf Club that hosts the annual Wednesday Par-3 contest to kickoff The Masters competition in most years, hopefully again this year in April 2021!

But The Twelve, unlike the Augusta short course, has some teeth in it courtesy of slopes on and around the greens and runoff areas. Don’t expect every ball hit on the green to come off the back or sideboard and roll into the hole. Bowl-like creampuff hole locations are limited! But as ‘H3’ says in the interview it is a lot of fun to play and there are some hole locations that are surely receptive to an ace! My first shot on the first hole ended up as a gimmie and I have the video and pics to prove it!

CLICK HERE to see Andy nearly ace the first hole on The Twelve!

The Twelve is a course for juniors to learn to play the game or maybe even have a first date on a warm leisurely evening when they crank up the outdoor sound system embedded throughout the course. Seniors will come out swinging to Frank Sinatra too! Play a round in an hour or play around and take a little bit more time between the strokes! This is relaxed, entertaining, and fun golf! Golfer—woman and men or mixed—trips take notice of the onsite lodging and be sure to have a drink with you while playing The Twelve to finish off any unfinished business from an earlier round of 9, 18, or 27 on the remaining Panther and Cougar holes.

So much has been done in such a short period of time since the purchase in 2019!

H3 sharing his vision from the high point of the 'New Nine' which is being reconfigured, changed, and upgraded!

H3 sharing his vision from the high point of the ‘New Nine’ which is being reconfigured, changed, and upgraded!

Next time you Google Sebring Twelve, The Twelve Holes of Golf are as likely to come up as the Twelve Hours of Sebring on the nearby Sebring Raceway!

What is even more intriguing was the safari-like golf cart tour that took us past one particular large alligator as we seemingly went along all 17 miles of canals on the property to a very special ‘H3’ spot. Upon a high ground that surveys most the acreage, H3 pointed here and there to describe the new championship 9 holes that will be emerging from some of the current tees, fairways, and greens. It reminded me of when I toured the Olympic Golf Course with Gil Hanse and his Merry Man in early 2014. At the time it was a well-designed sand box. The new Sebring Nine is already green, already envisioned, and like The Twelve will become a reality sooner-or-later,

Our time at Sebring International was limited. I was intrigued of talk about the repositioning of a second clubhouse and nine holes for large-scale private parties and corporate events. I look forward to returning to see the Future of Golf as it emerges at Sebring International!

Here is some more background information from the Sebring International Golf Resort and Signature H websites:

As the resort enters a new chapter, it is being re-branded as the Sebring International Golf Resort. This new name provides the foundation to become the premier golf resort in Sebring, while attaining prominence through the US and internationally. The new logo reflects the natural property’s abundance of trees, waterways and paths. Additionally, the checkered accent pays homage to the impactful racing history established at the neighboring Sebring International Raceway.

Signature H Property Group formed a strategic partnership with XUDE Hospitality, lead by golf industry veterans Mike Miraglia and Jerry Moore, to manage resort operations. The XUDE team has a proven track record in revenue generation, membership growth, operating efficiency, construction and renovation in properties of all sizes – including golf courses, country clubs, resorts, hotels, and real estate developments.

Our fantastic golf courses – 27 holes of championship and the brand new 12-hole Short Course, The Grille and The Pub for your drinking and dining pleasure, the conveniently located villas where you can stay close to all the action, and our friendly staff all combine to make your experience here a memorable one.

Sebring International Golf Resort offers a wide selection of equipment and apparel to compliment your game. Stop by our fully stocked Pro Shop before or after your round and browse through our name brands.

Our friendly staff will help you make start times, rent golf carts, and register you and your guests before each round of golf. An excellent selection of merchandise is sold in the Pro Shop, and golf lessons are available. Contact the Pro Shop for assistance, or to make an appointment for lessons.

Sebring International Golf Resort offers a putting green and driving range for practicing before your round or honing your skills anytime when you are not on the course.

Sebring International Golf Resort has staff available for lessons. What better way to take your game to the next level this year? Make time to perfect your swing and improve your golf game today. Simply contact our Pro Shop to speak with our professional staff and schedule your lesson with our PGA Professional, Craig Bendall.

Weddings & Banquets–a buffet table is sets up for a banquet at Sebring International Golf Resort

Our team at Sebring International Golf Resort is committed to the success of your event. From the planning, implementation and final wrap-up, we are here to serve you. We offer a variety of complete hassle-free event packages to choose from or we will customize one to fit your specific needs.

Sebring International Golf Resort is a 27-hole (9 holes are under renovation) destination resort also including a 12-hole Short Course centrally located in Sebring, Florida.

We are conveniently located within 3 miles of Sebring International Raceway, Sebring Airport, and Lake Istokpoga; the 5th largest freshwater lake in the State of Florida. We are midway between the Atlantic Ocean and the Gulf of Mexico and equally close to Orlando, Tampa, Sarasota, Fort Myers, and the Palm Beaches. We currently feature the 18-hole Cougar Trail Golf Course.

A 12 hole Short Course opened in October 2020, as well as another 9-hole championship course currently under renovation. We offer villas with all the comforts of home, so you can stay where you play! Our travel experts are ready to help you plan an unforgettable golf trip.

Golf Packages can be arranged by contacting the Sebring International Golf Resort Villa Rental office. Our privately owned villas are all fully furnished 2 and 3 bedroom units with screened lanais, full kitchens, living rooms, and laundry facilities.

A variety of bedding configurations are available. Some units are also pet friendly. Our villas are within a half-mile of everything you need, The Grille, The Pub, The Pro Shop, driving range, putting green and the golf course.


Play River Greens GC in Avon Park, Florida: The Heart of the Citrus Golf Trail!

Rodney Davis, Owner & Operator of the River Greens GC in Avon Park, Florida.

Rodney Davis, Owner & Operator of the River Greens GC in Avon Park, Florida.

River Greens GC is one of those golf courses that when you play it, for all the right reasons, you know it is family owned and operated! Meticulously groomed, cared for and operated by the husband-wife team of Rodney and Lisa Davis this is one to play on the Citrus Golf Trail in Avon Park, Florida.

I enjoyed interviewing Rodney but have to admit he saved the day! After rolling in a grapefruit gimmie, he whipped out his jack knife to extract the grapefruit from the hole for me! A ‘Jack-of-All Trades,’ Rodney is one of those self-made successful Entrepreneur Extraordinaire!

Lisa Davis manages the golf shop and I am sure lots of other parts of the operation too!

Lisa Davis manages the golf shop and I am sure lots of other parts of the operation too!

Back in West Lafayette, Ohio Rodney and his brother had to convince their farmer father to build the first nine holes by first answering Dad’s first question—”What the hell is a golf course?” After building the first nine holes, it was evident the very next year that it was a success and another nine holes should be built instead of planting corn! A third nine was built up at the brother course in 1994. Enough said about the River Greens golf course in Ohio!

After the on-the-job experience of building 18 golf holes Rodney’s plan was to go to Penn State for Turf Grass. A wise professor assessed that he knew nearly as much as his graduating students and told him to walk out the door and never look back! He did just that and arrived in Florida at age 18!

The inaugural Citrus Golf Trail Open will be played December 2nd through the 5th, 2021! Register now!

The inaugural Citrus Golf Trail Open will be played December 2nd through the 5th, 2021! Register now!

He was wise enough to hire the pretty girl with pigtails to work in the pro shop and then even wiser to marry her! The golfers living 60 miles south of Disney in the Sebring—Avon Park—Lake Placid area and those smart enough to book a trip on the Citrus Golf Trail have benefited even since!

Just thinking how exciting it would be to compete in the inaugural 2021 Citrus Trail Open (December 2nd to the 5th, 2021) playing River Greens where the 3 of the last 4 holes are par-5s!

This is a link to the Rodney Davis River Greens interview.

Enjoy the pics! Go play River Greens as soon as possible!

This is a link to register for the Citrus Golf Trail Open!

Here’s Your Invitation to Come, Stay & Play at the Newly Renovated Ponte Vedra Inn & Club!

20200922_073646In Northeast Florida, on what local folks call the First Coast of Florida, there lies on the Atlantic Ocean an enchanted destination called the Ponte Vedra Inn and Club. One who has come to Ponte Vedra Beach before knows that there is the Old Ponte Vedra and then there is New Ponte Vedra. Both have transformed themselves in ways related to golf.

The Ponte Vedra Inn and Club sits in the center of the Old Ponte Vedra. Discovered in the early 20th Century, Ponte Vedra Beach was once called Mineral City because of the titanium and other mineral gems found here. Ironically, in the 1970s titanium would transform the performance of driving clubs in the game of golf. Boosted by the growth of the game, the PGA TOUR would seek a new permanent place to call home and find that home in the New Ponte Vedra.

20200923_195354The Heart of Ponte Vedra Beach is the Ponte Vedra Inn and Club. This AAA Five-Diamond rated resort kept on beating since its birth in 1928 and is stronger than ever with its latest transformations. As it nears its centennial celebration, the Ocean and Peyton Houses—oceanfront accommodations—have been torn down and rebuilt to include 41 ultra-modern and extremely comfortable rooms and suites. Just across the street the Southeast’s favorite driving dream destination has now completed its renovation of the Ocean Golf Course. Remember that this historic links was the first golf course in Ponte Vedra Beach with the very first par-3 island green in the entire world!

20200923_200840The Ocean Course was renovated by famed golf course architect Bobby Weed, who incidentally renovated the sister, shorter yet as sporty, Lagoon Course in 2007. Though a resident of Ponte Vedra Beach, its favored architect son is known throughout the world through his work at the PGA TOUR in the early 1980s. The ‘architect of architects’ Weed built from scratch the design and construction force which would became known as the TPC Network of golf courses. Now numbering 32 golf courses, the PGA TOUR branded clubs host 20 PGA TOUR events over its six tours! None of them more major than THE PLAYERS CHAMPIONSHIP on the Stadium Course at TPC Sawgrass in Ponte Vedra Beach!

CLICK HERE for VIDEO Interview with Bobby Weed!

With Bobby Weed at the Ponte Vedra Inn & Club,

With Bobby Weed at the Ponte Vedra Inn & Club,

Since Weed left the PGA TOUR in the mid 1980s he has designed four additional TPC courses. He left to rejoin the legendary Peter Dye after first working with him as an apprentice. Now a Dye collaborator, Weed’s relationship with Dye would number 45 years until Pete’s passing earlier this year. Since being on his own, Bobby has designed over a dozen new courses, most notably Michael Jordan’s course—The Grove XXIII, and renovated another twenty or so including the two at the Ponte Vedra Inn and Club.

While the modern pedigree of the Ocean and Lagoon Courses is unquestionable, so too is it’s ancestry. In fact, the design of the Ocean Course has roots in the very Coming of Golf to America. The man who laid out the golf course in 1931 was the Englishman Herbert Strong who was a charter member of the PGA of America in 1917 and its first treasurer. In 1961 the first nine holes of the Lagoon Course were designed by the legendary Robert Trent Jones Sr., the second nine in 1977 by the prolific Joe Lee who mentored under the tutelage of the legendary Dick Wilson.

Photo Credit: Society of Golf Historians (Twitter).

Photo Credit: Society of Golf Historians (Twitter).

The Ocean Course was poised to host the 7th Ryder Cup, the first time that it was to be contested in Florida, in November 1939. The captains—Walter Hagen for the United States and Henry Cotton for Great Britain (pre-European Ryder Cup days)—had already selected most of their players before it was canceled on September 3rd by the British PGA because of the Declaration of War with Germany. Rumor has it that Captain Hagen vowed for the Ryder Cup to return to Ponte Vedra but it never did. Restarted in 1947 in Oregon with the financing of a Portland businessman, the Ryder Cup eventually came to Florida in 1983 at PGA National Golf Club in Palm Beach Gardens.

On a personal note, the Ponte Vedra Inn and Club was the focus of my attention when I first arrived in Ponte Vedra Beach in 2008. I went there first to watch high school golf and later in 2012 to report on a World Junior Golf Series event being hosted personally by Herb Peyton—the local philanthropist, owner, and patriarch of the Ponte Vedra Inn and Club. At the evening banquet, while Mr. Peyton welcomed and entertained the young amateur golfers from around the world by proudly whistling for them without moving his lips, Ty Votaw from the PGA TOUR wondered out loud and asked the assembled princesses and princes of golf a poignant question: How many of you will compete in the 2016 Golf Olympics in Rio de Janeiro or more likely, because of their age, in the 2020 Golf Olympics in Tokyo?

Soothing motorcycle rides down Ponte Vedra Beach Boulevard during the pandemic...

Soothing motorcycle rides down Ponte Vedra Beach Boulevard during the pandemic…

Of course I was the youngest-at-heart person in the room and a seed was planted that would germinate in me the following spring when the idea came to me at The Masters to take a ‘Journey to Olympic Golf.’ The thought of a golf writer to visit previous Olympic cities to extract the Olympic Spirit, then combine it with the history and tradition of golf, to define the Spirit of Olympic Golf, something no one on earth had experience in over one century of time. So in October of 2013 I embarked on a 100-day, 14-country, 18,471-mile odyssey that culminated in walking the new Olympic Golf Course with architect Gil Hanse and his team. In 2016, I would return to Rio for a month to envelop myself in the Summer Olympics to experience every moment of the men and women’s Olympic Golf competitions!

The 18th hole in mid April during the renovation...

The 18th hole in mid April during the renovation…

More recently, in this year of pandemic with social distancing and isolation setting in, a sun-setting motorcycle ride down the mansion-lined Ponte Vedra Boulevard through the graceful and palm tree-lined Inn & Club property brought stability, warmth, and hope into my life. I watched as the sandy dunes of the three finishing holes were again transformed into lush green fairways! While riding along I would envision how I would play the tricky par-3 16th hole, the difficult par-4 17th with its mountain of a green, perhaps the highest point in St, Johns County, certainly east of the Intracoastal Waterway, and the straight-away par-18th, a welcoming home hole felt like no other. The Heart of Ponte Vedra Beach kept my heart beating too!

So when I was asked to join in on a media day to play and experience the Bobby Weed newly renovated Ocean Course of the famed Ponte Vedra Inn and Club I was not only delighted but overjoyed too!

 CLICK HERE for a VIDEO of the famed Island Green par-3 9th Hole on the Ocean Course!

The new 178-yard par-3 13th hole!

The new 178-yard par-3 13th hole!

As for the actual renovation of the Ocean Course it is rather simple to state: it is glorious and extremely well done! I will defer to the glory to the pictures taken and shared below and your own future playing experience. I will simplify the layout changes made—the 10th hole was replaced by a world-class practice facility and a magnificent 178-yard par 3 13th hole was added on the north end of the property between the now split up to-and-from par-5 holes. Pristine land was consumed to make a better golf course in the wealthiest county in all of the state of Florida. I hope Mr. Peyton gets credit for this as one of his continuing philanthropic endeavors. The now 88-year old heck-of-a-regular guy unlike you and me commented after hammering his ceremonial course-opening first tee shot that he would no longer need to address any questions of an inferior practice range associated with a world-class golf course.

Make no mistake, this renovation was a complete renovation both above ground and below ground. In fact the renovation including moving ground as several greens were lowered. Most notably the island green on the par-3 9th hole has been visually enhanced making it easier to focus in on the target and then, if the ultimate success presents itself, to witness one’s ace of a lifetime!

All par shooters on the new 13th green (from Left to Right: Andy Reistetter, Mike Carroa, Rick Coffey, and Adam Schupak)!!!!

All par shooters on the new 13th green (from Left to Right: Andy Reistetter, Mike Carroa, Rick Coffey, and Adam Schupak)!!!!

I took note of one of Weed’s subtle design features as I prepared for my pitch into the par-5 12th green. There is a ridge that traverses the fairway about 15-20 yards short of the putting surface. The ridge appeared to me to be similar in shape to the ones created when the receding waters of the ocean hit the incoming waves on the glistening beach. Mesmerized a bit, I realized that it was the fairway equivalent of a false front of a green—hidden fairway that makes a shot appear shorter than it is in reality. Now thinking that I would not be deceived by the optics, I swung with grace but muffed my pitch eventually making a bogey instead of birdie. Golf is a game of instinct and minimal reaction. The beauty of golf course architecture is to be consumed yet not thought upon prior to the playing a stroke!

The pictures included speak of the beauty of this course renovation and the words of the video interview with Bobby Weed afterwards reveals some of his genius and perspectives of the two courses he has renovated at the Ponte Vedra Inn and Club. When I noted that everyone in our foursome—golf writer and biographer Adam Schupak, radio personality ‘Caddie Mike’ Corrao, Golf Channel National Sales Manager & Ringer Rick Coffey, and Yours Truly—had parred the new par-3 13th hole he responded in a Dye-less manner something like ‘Good Job.’

A heartfelt welcome from Michael Gordon, Vice-President and Resort General Manager. I am sure he will do the same for you!

A heartfelt welcome from Michael Gordon, Vice-President and Resort General Manager. I am sure he will do the same for you!

Come, stay, and play golf with your titanium driver at the Gem of Ponte Vedra Beach—at the Ponte Vedra Inn & Club and its beautiful Ocean and Lagoon Golf Courses! Then when you go home you will take the memories of wonderful family times, romantic couple getaways, and magnificent golf in your mind and heart!

I would like to thank Michael Gordon, Vice-President and Resort General Manager and Jim Howard. Director of Golf for hosting Andy’s Golf & Travel Diary; Barbara Karasek of Paradise Advertising and James Cramer of CBJ for arranging! What a notable day in the history of the Ponte Vedra Beach Inn and Club!


Pictures from the renovated Ocean Course! Check out the wildlife!

Below the pictures are posts and selected comments from Facebook!


(Facebook Post with 30 Pics; 9-23-20; Andy Reistetter; 63 Likes; 24 Comments; 6 Shares):

Magical day at the AAA Five-Diamond rated Ponte Vedra Inn & Club playing the newly Bobby Weed renovated Ocean Course. The course always was a test of golf and fun to play; more so now even in a brutal 2-club Nor’easter cross wind! Only par on the first nine was a par on the par-5 3rd hole courtesy of a Rahm/DJ-like 30-footer! My injured right heal loosen up for the second none as I managed 5 pars and a respectable Phil Lago-like score of 40. The greens run true and the fairways are well-grassed so it is hard to believe the course just opened up last Friday after a one-year renovation!

Designed originally by PGA of America charter member Herbert Strong, once redesigned by Robert Trent Sr, and now twice by famed architect Bobby Weed. If you know the TPC golf course network then you know Bobby Weed who started up and managed both the design and construction business for the PGA TOUR in the early 1980s. He just finished Michael Jordan’s golf course in Hobe Sound called The Grove XXIII. This course is posed to be a classic for another century!

The culinary experience under Chef de Cuisine Erik Osol were as exceptional as the golf! The blackened Mahi-Mahi sandwich was outstanding and of course the Arnold Palmer refreshing after a morning of swinging, wind, and sunshine!

Much more will be written about this ‘Play-Write’ golfing and dining experience. Obviously from the score you can tell I missed the warm-up at the new Practice Facility! Everyone in our foursome parred the new par-3 13th! What a day!

Many thanks to Vice President and Resort General Manager Michael Gordon; Head PGA Golf Professional Jim Howard and James Cramer of CBJ Communications and Barbara Emener Karasek of Paradise Advertising for hosting Andy’ Golf & Travel Diary!

Selected Comments:

Phil Lago: Andy, great article and pictures! You have captured the excitement we have experienced since Friday. The course is a true gem… I feel blessed to be able to play this course at least three times a week. I am looking forward to playing it without the northeaster wind that has been around this past week. 🙂 I second your kudos to Bobby Weed and wish to thank Jim Howard and his amazing staff. As good as the course his is, the men and women take such good care of us… I only hope they know how much we appreciate it.

Stan Lisk: I think I played there in the 70’s. Had the first Island green?

Mitch Laurance: Great stuff, Andy. Bobby is the real deal. 👍


(Facebook Post with 1 Video; 9-23-20; Andy Reistetter; 50 Likes; 12 Comments; 2 Shares):

CLICK HERE for VIDEO Interview with Bobby Weed!

Great interview with famed golf course architect Bobby Weed about one of the best golf & vacation destinations in the world right here in our back yard!🙋

Selected Comments:

Ann Dye: Bobby is a family favorite, Andy!

Phil Lago: Good interview. The ocean course had become old and tired. Bobby breathed new life into it and gave it some modern lines and a health that will carry it for a long time to come.

Pate Clarson: Great work!


(Facebook Post with 1 Video; 9-23-20; Andy Reistetter; 51 Likes; 25 Comments; 0 Shares):

 CLICK HERE for a VIDEO of the famed Island Green par-3 9th Hole on the Ocean Course!

Island Green Par-3 9th Hole… Ponte Vedra Inn & Club… Bobby Weed Renovation… deceptive… fake news… listen for the ‘kaplunk

Selected Comments:

Steve Johnson: Ya need more club ! LOL Andy, love PVI&C…two fun tracks…!

Gary Denman: I play an 8 iron on that hole . I like the new funnel in the middle of the green

Michael J. Corrao: It was at least a 3-club wind Andy! Great day my friend!


(Facebook Post with 1 Link; 10-7-20; Andy Reistetter; 5 Likes; 2 Comments; 0 Shares):

CLICK HERE for the LINK to the Bobby Weed Interview on the Bobby Weed Golf Design website!

Nice to be credited by Bobby Weed Golf Design @weed_golf

Ocean Course Media Day – Andy’s Golf & Travel Diary

Long-time area resident Bobby Weed spoke with golf writer Andy Reistetter at the @pontevedrainnclub’s Ocean Course.

Weed shared his insights on this fun, year-long capital improvement project.

Video credit: Andy’s Golf & Travel Diary


(Facebook Post with 7 Pictures; 9-21-20; Andy Reistetter; 85 Likes; 20 Comments; 3 Shares):

Selected Comments:

Michael Kaufmann: If God said, “Mike, you can only play one golf course for the rest of your life,” it would be hands down the Ocean Course.

Phil Lago: Andy, you are going to enjoy it. Bobby Weed did a nice job updating this grand old course. Besides the comments you made about the old 10th hole and the new par 3 on the back… Bobby lowered the greens… which is good for right now. As you know new greens are quite firm and at the moment they are very difficult landing a ball on the greens. But the new grass is spectacular and will get even better as they age. I love it! I have played it twice and will play it again almost every day this week. What time are you playing tomorrow?

Michael J. Corrao: Need a fourth Andy Reistetter? I am media after all

Very excited to play the newly renovated Ocean Course tomorrow at the Ponte Vedra Inn & Club as part of a Media Day!

Home of the original Island Green circa 1931!

Sounds like Bobby Weed has made some big changes to the practice area and adding a new par-3 13th hole/eliminating the short par-4 10th!

I know member Phil Lago has already played it and there was a Ponte Vedra Inn & Club/Bobby Weed Design Company Grand Reopening last Friday with Herb Peyton hitting the ceremonial first drive! Who else has played it already over the weekend?

I love Bobby Weed’s work at the Slammer & Squire in St. Augustine and his renovation at the Medalist Club in Hobe Sound… I need to get out and play more golf as I am embarrassed to say I haven’t played any of his other 16 golf courses or 16 renovations listed on his website!

FORE, Now Driving, Andy’s Golf & Travel Diary!

PRESS RELEASE below. Note ALL Pics credited to the Ponte Vedra Inn & Club!

New Par-3, 13th Hole Among Changes to Golf Course and Infrastructure

PONTE VEDRA BEACH, Fla. (September 21, 2020) — Ponte Vedra Inn & Club Ocean Course, one of Florida’s oldest and most iconic golf courses, has reopened after being closed for renovations over the past year.

The project, which was the third major renovation to the Ocean Course in its history, since 1928, was overseen by celebrated golf course architect Bobby Weed and included significant enhancements to the golf course and the practice facilities.

It is wonderful to be able to celebrate the reopening of the Ocean Course,” said Michael Gordon, Vice President and General Manager of Ponte Vedra Inn & Club. “Today marks a culmination of hard work and tireless efforts to provide our members and resort guests the finest of golf experiences. The Ocean Course has long been a jewel of golf in the area and these enhancements will ensure that this continues for years to come.”

The upgrades included the expansion of the practice area into a full-service facility to hone all aspects of a player’s game, and the updating and modernization of golf course infrastructure. Notable is the addition of an exciting new hole on the back nine, the par-3, 13th.

Improvements to the practice areas include the teeing ground on the existing south tee being tripled in size and the addition of a teeing ground on the north end for PGA professional lessons with access to double-sided target greens and short-game precision greens. Just off the new 10th tee is a state-of-the-art short-game practice facility.

The updates to the practice facilities allowed for changes to the routing of and realignment of the golf holes on the golf course’s back 9. Along with the other changes, the former par-4, 10th hole was eliminated allowing for the construction of the new par-3, 13th hole on the north end of the property. With this change, the Ocean Course will now play to a challenging par of 71.

Other design changes to the golf course include lower green complexes and additional screening areas. The green at the 2nd hole was moved closer to the surrounding lagoon. The 9th hole, with its historic Island Green, has been visually enhanced to provide a better view of the putting surface, while the 14th hole offers players a completely new look from the tees making this hole a longer and more challenging par-5. The 17th hole now features an enlarged lagoon bordering the right side of the hole.

Enhancements to the infrastructure of the golf course included having all 18 greens rebuilt to meet current USGA standards and grassed with TifEagle Ultradwarf bermudagrass. The project saw all tee boxes rebuilt and grassed with TifGrand bermuda grass and all in-play areas were re-grassed with Celebration bermudagrass.

Additionally, golf course bunkers were rebuilt and reconfigured with an emphasis on strategy, overall aesthetics, and maintainability. Expansive swaths of non-turf screening areas were introduced, reducing irrigated and maintained rough grasses while adding a striking visual contrast and strategic value to the design of the Ocean Course. The renovation also included the rebuilding and refurbishment of bridges and bulkheads and a complete overhaul of the irrigation system.

The Ocean Course, which was designed by British golf course architect Herbert Strong, opened in 1931 and had subsequent major renovations in 1947 by Robert Trent Jones and in 1998 by Weed. The course was selected as host of the 1939 Ryder Cup Matches, but the competition was cancelled due to the start of World War II. The Ocean Course has also served as the site of the U.S. Open qualifying five times and has been the host of the Gate Invitational since 1985.

In addition to debuting the renovations at the Ocean Course, the resort also unveiled two new beachfront buildings as part of its repertoire of 262 rooms. Modern beachside luxury is now the ultimate lure for guests at the Ocean House and Peyton House. Steps away from the Ocean Course and The Racquet Club, the new 41 guest rooms and suites provide guests the luxury indulgence of an ocean-front boutique destination. These well-appointed accommodations, some featuring room connectors, are designed in a chic, southern coastal fashion that honors the spirit and heritage of this memorable resort. Each room and suite seamlessly extends to generous private terraces or patios that lead directly to our world-renowned beach.

Images available here: GOLF / FULL RESORT

Opened in 1928, the historic AAA Five-Diamond Ponte Vedra Inn & Club is the paramount Northeast Florida luxury escape. For over 90 years, the resort has set world-class standards as the picture of quiet grandeur, grace and story. Ponte Vedra Inn & Club and The Lodge & Club Ponte Vedra Beach bookend a stunning 1.5 mile stretch of beach on the Atlantic Ocean, providing a picturesque oceanside setting that is at once elegant and approachable.

Ponte Vedra Inn & Club boasts 262 lavishly-appointed guest rooms and suites, inclusive of the new Ocean House and Peyton House. Resort beachfront rooms open directly onto the beach, allowing guests the delight of stepping right onto the sand with only a short walk to the surf. Featuring elegant, coastal-inspired décor, each room seamlessly blends sophistication and comfort, complete with striking views of the ocean, natural lagoons and famous island green. A sanctuary for adults and a playground for children, Ponte Vedra Inn & Club is an ideal destination for family vacations, romantic excursions, golf getaways, weddings, corporate meetings, and group retreats alike.

Celebrated for its year-round recreation and world-class amenities, the resort features two championship golf courses – the iconic Ocean Course, newly renovated in 2020, and the water-lined Lagoon Course – a sprawling 30,000 sq ft spa, The Racquet Club tennis facilities, three pools, an 8,000 square foot fitness center with direct ocean views, the Surf Club and its endless beach and outdoor activities, as well as a wide range of culinary options by Erik Osol, celebrated Chef de Cuisine.

Conveniently situated 20 miles southeast of downtown Jacksonville, a 35-minute drive from Jacksonville International Airport (JAX), less than two hours north of Orlando, and six hours by car or one hour by air from Atlanta Hartsfield International Airport (ATL).

Additional information can be found at

An Honor to Play with Veterans & Patriots at the CC of Gwinnett outside of Atlanta!

1Even though our scores don’t always reflect it, things usually work out in golf!

Whenever Andy’s Golf & Travel Diary travels to Atlanta a great golf outing at a great golf course always seems to present itself!

Definitely so on the people side of golf if you know a guy like Bob Thibodeau! Bob is well established in the Atlanta golf community as the Veterans Outreach Director at the Adaptive Golf Association with ties to the Georgia State Golf Association. A Vietnam Veteran himself it was an honor to play with him and a Veterans Play Group on Patriot Golf Day—Labor Day Monday—at the Country Club of Gwinnett just outside of Atlanta!

Most golfers are aware of Patriot Golf Day. A fundraising day of golf to support the FOLDS of HONOR scholarships and PGA HOPE.

What an honor to tee it up with these Veterans on Patriot Golf Day!

What an honor to tee it up with these Veterans on Patriot Golf Day!

Those FOLDS of HONOR scholarships to spouses and children of America’s fallen and disabled members of the Military Service number 3,802 this year and total 28,000 since 2007 when Lieutenant Colonel Dan Rooney started the charitable organization. One fateful day he was on a commercial flight that landed with the pilot requesting all passengers to remain seated until they first removed the casket of a fallen soldier. Dan watched as the deceased’s twin brother walked somberly alongside the flag-covered casket to meet his family including a young son. Over half the passengers could not be bothered and disrespectfully got up and walked off the plane without acknowledging the tribute. The Folds of Honor Foundation; a 501C-3 nonprofit organization, was born that day and their motto says it best—“Honor Their Sacrifice. Educate Their Legacy.”

PGA ‘HOPE’ which stands for “Helping Our Patriots Everywhere,” is the flagship military program of PGA REACH, the charitable foundation of the PGA of America. PGA HOPE introduces golf to Veterans with disabilities to enhance their physical, mental, social and emotional well-being.

According to the PGA of America’s website, the program introduces the game of golf through a developmental 6-to-8 week curriculum, taught by PGA Professionals trained in adaptive golf and military cultural competency. All programs are funded by PGA REACH and supplemented by PGA Section Foundations, so the cost of programming is free to all Veterans.

Don was and is our rock!

Don was and is our rock!

But what happens after a veteran completes the PGA of America programs? Once introduced to the game of golf, where do veterans with disabilities play the game in a way that maintains or improves their health? That’s where Bob Thibodeau comes into the picture. Bob T. or Mr. T as I like to say, worked with lots of folks earlier in the year to make the Veterans’ Play Group a reality at the CC of Gwinnett. This group included L&J Acquisitions, the owners of the CC of Gwinnett; the club’s General Manager Doug Cartin and Heidi Mitchell, LPGA /Adaptive Golf Instructor. Bob also teamed up with the veterans themselves including Tony the leader of the Veterans’ Play Group at Gwinnett and Don, a fully disabled veteran who we teed it up with on Patriot Golf Day.

The informal outing, spirited scramble format, and par-3 proximity competitions were all pretty normal except some of the guys had pieces of titanium where I have flesh. There was definitely a patriotic spirit present, lots of camaraderie and some good golf too!

The CC of Gwinnett was the first Steve Melnyk design I have ever played and I liked it very much. The first nine meanders upward from the clubhouse out-and-back in a clockwise manner on beautiful slightly sloping golf land! On the first, a short risk-reward par-4, I took the risk with no reward while Don layed up short of the creek and pitched a nice one onto the green. I was fortunate to make the 30-footer and we were off to a great start!

Beautiful lake! Beautiful vistas! Has the East Lake flair about it in terms of beauty, history, & golfing traditions!

Beautiful lake! Beautiful vistas! Has the East Lake flair about it in terms of beauty, history, & golfing traditions!

There are many memorable holes on Melnyk’s Masterpiece; as memorable as his United States and British Amateur Championships! Though he played in 19 Majors and 335 PGA TOUR events, Melnyk never won on tour though he parlayed that experience into a notable golf broadcaster for 22 years with CBS Sports, ABC Sports and ESPN. He even had the nickname of Jim Furyk’s caddie Mike Cowan before he did. The memorable holes to me are the short downhill par-4 4th hole (they can’t all be uphill) with a distinctive hedge behind the green and the uphill par-3 6th hole which has Georgia rock outcroppings short and long of the green. Especially challenging with a left hole location as it was on the day we labored on holiday around the CC of Gwinnett! I also found the intact stone fireplace with missing house an interesting curiosity on the left side of the 7th fairway.

With Doug Cartin and Bob Thobodeau (center)!

With Doug Cartin and Bob Thobodeau (center)!

A large lake divides the first and second nine. I am curious if the lake was part of the golf course design or created previously though I was unable to reach Steve for comment. While within 10 miles of Stone Mountain and with rock outcroppings to prove it, the lake and Melnyk’s counterclockwise routing around it with the 13th, 14th, and 15th holes stacked on the far side reminded me of East Lake Golf Club which is another 10 miles past Stone Mountain to the West.

While it is the type of golf course where you remember all the holes, the memorable ones to me on the second nine include the par-4 12th where the tee shot needs to be layed up short of an inlet from the lake and the par-3 16th hole with an elevated tee shot to the green defined short, left, and beyond by lake water! Great design throughout and in great condition too!

Heidi is a LPGA world class teaching phenomenon!

Heidi is a LPGA world class teaching phenomenon!

I love, respect, and honor all women and men that serve in our military. My older brother David was a Navy ROTC officer and served during the Vietnam War. It wasn’t until later in his life that my father shared the details of his military service during World War II. He lost his brother Paul in the war and suffered like so many even after he returned home victoriously. We all know a veteran and that patriotic feeling if not oneself a veteran then from someone close to you. Veterans are memorialized by war while at times also immobilized spiritually, emotionally, mentally and/or physically. The reality is that most wounds of war are unseen. That is why it is good for veterans to get up and get out with other veterans. Also why it is good for us nonmilitary to be around veterans disabled or not to show our gratitude for their service to us and our country and to share some good times in a country that they protect and preserve!

During my ongoing 13 years on tour the single most impactful moment to me happened on Saturday, July 4th at the Congressional CC during the 2009 AT&T National. I was working the last group as David Feherty’s cart driver. It is an easy job since he walks most of the time and drinks little water during the round. But on the 17th hole he told me to go up to the 18th tee and make sure ‘the guy in the wheelchair was ready to go.” The guy was Army Spc. Brendan Marrocco, who less than four months earlier had lost all four of his limbs to an Improvised Explosive Device in Iraq, was “ready to go.” After the players teed off, Tiger Woods came over and gave him a “fist bump” and then David Feherty wheeled the disabled veteran down the 18th fairway ahead of the golfers. There was tremendous applause from the gallery. Marricci had come home to an appreciative country!

Good day. Inspirational day! Thank you Bob & Don for making it so special! Thank you to Doug Cartin & the CC of Gwinnett for hosting Ansy's Golf & Travel Diary!

Good day. Inspirational day! Thank you Bob & Don for making it so special! Thank you to Doug Cartin & the CC of Gwinnett for hosting Ansy’s Golf & Travel Diary!

People, all people, including disabled veterans just want to be treated same as we like to be treated; as a human being, different yet no different; diverse, yet the same on the golf course and with camaraderie… drives, irons and putts… the ball does not know who swings the club; why should we care? Let’s enjoy the game and the camaraderie especially on Patriot Golf Day!

Oh by the way, Steve Melnyk’s nickname is ‘Fluff,’ We closed with a 6-under 65 and Yours Truly won proximity on the rock outcropping hole!

Good day. Inspirational day!

Thank you to ALL our veterans! We salute you!


Play Hampton Golf Village in North Georgia; Experiencing The Trifecta of Golf in Atlanta!

Play Hampton Golf Village in North Georgia; Experiencing The Trifecta of Golf in Atlanta!

5How good is it to be a golf & travel writer! I met a new friend Bob Thibodeau from Atlanta earlier this year at the 2020 PGA Show in Orlando. I went to Atlanta to visit my son, daughter-in-love, and grandson in Atlanta. Bob Thibodeau sets up a golf game at Hampton Golf Village in Cumming in North Georgia. A beautiful part of the state where one can go directly north from the Atlanta metro area, touch the Blue Ridge Mountains, and enter North Carolina directly while bypassing South Carolina. Pure Paradise! Nothing against South Carolina, in fact I love South Carolina too! I am a Hilton Head Hillbilly! Just a piece of geographical trivia! Bob Thibodeau’s friends Gary and Bob S. make it a memorable foursome on an impressive golf course on a day I played my best in many years!

Experience the Trifecta of Golf—playing a great golf course—playing with three other good guys (or women too!)— and scoring well—at Hampton Golf Village in Cumming, Georgia on a perfect Spring day!

Granted it was a social golf outing for the most part. First time seeing the course and first time playing with these guys. In the midst of a work week of doing some hard labor helping my son remodel his home. Expectations were high for having a good time but low in regards to playing well. Hey I am 60 now but then again I think the Bobs may be in their early 70s and I know Gary is 85 years young! I was the young puppy in the foursome!

1After a brief warm up and socially distanced pic of the foursome, we teed off right on time. I think one instinctively knows a well-run golf course from the little bits and pieces of gathered subconsciously from arrival to clubhouse to pro shop to getting cart to practice facility to meeting the starter and teeing off. I can tell you two things about Hampton Golf Village—it is a well-run golf operation and business has been booming since the COVID-19 Pandemic. We played Hampton Golf Village on Day No. 33 of the Recovery after the seven weeks of being quarantined yet able to exercise in a healthy manner while playing golf! A couple of days before they had 310 golfers all playing, as we did in about four hours or less!

Immediately the golf course fit my eye! It is true what the professional golfers say and do when a golf course fits their eye. It is easier to go low whether that is a run at breaking 60, 80 or 100! Just look at these pictures! Definitely a golf course that looks hard but plays easier, at least the first time you play it and have no clue where the danger is! Ours was a positive foursome, we dreamed of keeping it in play, making some pars, and maybe even scoring a birdie or two along the way! On a day when all the bounces seemed to be back into the fairway or onto the green we all enjoyed our round of golf!

2Hampton Golf Village is a varied and interesting layout. A little up and down though not extremely so. A little over here and then over there though the routing finds its way back to the clubhouse for the turn. The second nine seems to flatten out a bit more and open up a bit more yet concludes with a difficult, tight hole with a forced carry at the green. A driver, hybrid-4 and a missed eight-footer for birdie ended my round there with absolutely no regrets. But I am getting ahead of myself.

Clyde Johnston, the architect who designed Hampton Golf Village, is in my 1981 first edition of Cornish and Whitten’s “The Architects of Golf.” That is a good thing! Hampton Golf Village, opened in 2000 is not but there are 20 or so golf courses listed that Clyde designed anew like Hampton or remodeled or expanded. Remember that snapshot was taken 40 years ago! Son of onetime Wake Forest coach Johnny Johnston, Clyde has collaborated on a few golf courses with Fuzzy Zoeller. I bet there are a few stories there! Hampton is a thoroughbred of a golf course to say the least!

10Per the ‘Clyde Johnston Designs’ website—Johnston has now completed over 75 golf course design projects, both new designs and redesigns. Johnston has received awards for several of his designs including Cherry Blossom GC, Heather Glen Golf Links, Jacksonville Golf and Country Club, Old South Golf Links and Covered Bridge Golf Club, owned and co-designed by Fuzzy Zoeller. I am surprised that he did not win an award for Hampton Golf Village as it was a nominee for Golf Digest’s Best New Public Course of 2000!

Great golf course… What more can you ask for?

How about a great foursome?

9Gary, the youngster at 85, seemed to go about his golf game as I imagine he did his family and career—with vigor, focus, determination and success all while enjoying it immensely! As a teacher-turned-Warden of the Students- a.k.a. known as my Pal the Principal you could tell he placed emphasis on learning and learning how to play the game right since taking it up in his mid 50s! A college basketball player who played for Jacksonville State in Alabama when six-foot-three guys could play center. This man putts like an inspired-the-right-way demon with a Scotty Cameron his wife bought him 4-5 years ago.

Bob S. and Gary have been friends for the last 20 years or so. They lived in the neighborhood together but became good friends when their wives took up golf. A career that reached the highest levels of civil service for the United States Government, Bob S. was the comptroller for FEMA, but with his solid game no disaster relief was needed on the day we teed it up together! We spoke of our travels to New Zealand where unbelievably he played no golf. A smart man, with a lovely wife, that must be obeyed!

24I knew Bob Thibodeau to be a man of great integrity when I first met him at the PGA Show. He along with others responded immediately to my plea for help to get a friend with an amputated right leg back up and out and playing golf again. Sadly my friend has since passed but God and the golfing god has presented me with a new golfing and life friend!

Bob Thibodeau, a Veteran who served his country in Vietnam is a man on the move involved and actively pursuing a lot of meaningful initiatives!

First and foremost is the way I met him as an Outreach Leader & Coach for Adaptive Golf—a way designed for adults, juniors, and veterans of all generations with any physical, cognitive and/or sensory impairments such as: stroke, spine injury, limb loss, TBI, PTSD, MS, MD, joint replacements, cerebral palsy, macular degeneration, Parkinson’s, spina bifida, low vision/blind, hearing loss, orthopedic, arthritis, diabetes and more such as autism to get out and play golf for the physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual health benefits.

0 Shoot Your AgeBob Tthibodeau is writing a book on Adaptive Golf in conjunction with the United States Golf Association and the Georgia State Golf Association. He also has a draft for his book on ‘Shooting Your Age (SYA)!’ All of which, obviously, has endeared me more to him since we first met!

Not if but when will you shoot your age?

Gary does it regularly; the Bobs are getting close and it is a dream for me but certainly an addition to the Life’s Bucket List! Hopefully and maybe even before my date with par in my life in twelve years! Something to bring into focus and work on!

Bob Thibodeau met Bob S. and Gary as part of the “Carter Group” at the Hampton Golf Village. Carter is a guy that has amassed a group of what I can tell of about 50-60 golfers that play in a somewhat organized way at Hampton Golf Village. Something tells me my experience and knowledge of the golfing experience at Hampton Golf Village may be somewhat limited until I get a chance to meet and play a round with the somewhat mysterious Mr. Carter!

Great golf course… Great foursome… What more can you ask for than a Daily Double?

A great golf score- right?

30Let’s suffice it to say my focus for the round was to have fun, get to know these great guys, and enjoy a great golf course. I certainly did that! A funny thing though happened on the 8th hole while enduring my fifth bogey in a row. A little voice inside my head said that with a little more focus on playing my golf shots in the midst of enjoying my social golf that I could possibly score well on the remaining eleven holes. Possibly break 80… So I did and the rest is written on the scorecard, signed, and attested! Ten pars and a birdie on the way past and then back to the clubhouse! One under par on the second nine and a remarkable (for me) and rememberable (for me hopefully) golf score of 76!

Indeed, I played Hampton Golf Village and experienced The Trifecta of Golf!

I hope you will too!

Thank you to Head PGA Golf Professional Shaun Kelley for hosting Andy’s Golf & Travel Diary!



Hammock Beach Resort Nicklaus Design Ocean Course: Florida Oceanfront Golf at its Best!

Hammock Beach Resort Nicklaus Design Ocean Course: Florida Oceanfront Golf at its Best!

The beautiful par-3 8th hole!

The beautiful par-3 8th hole!

After seven weeks of the COVID-19 Pandemic Stay-at-Home restrictions and two weeks into the Recovery it was time for me to go back to ‘work’ as a golf & travel writer! With one of the best oceanfront golf courses in the world right in my backyard, the invitation came to play the Ocean Course at Hammock Beach Resort! Given the hospitality, a Jack Nicklaus Signature Design, the condition of the golf course, and the weather this was one of my best golf outings ever!

I put hospitality at the top of the list because this was the first time in my life that I played a gold course and the beverage cart attendant knew me by name. Yes, knew me by name before I even introduced myself to her! Now I will always remember the Hammock Beach Resort and her name too which was Kara!

Her name is Kara! My name is Andy!

Her name is Kara! My name is Andy!

From the ladies in the pro shop to Nancy who handles accommodations to Brad Hauer the Director of Golf/General Manager to Billy from Mine Hill, New Jersey out on the range to Kara who serves drinks and snacks this is a family affair and you are the invited and welcomed guest!

Even a white egret greeted us on the 2nd tee and led us all the way to the 12th green before leaving us! Flocks of pelicans on the ocean holes and little sanderlings scampering around on the wet sand on the beach!. Spectacular wildlife at Hammock Beach Resort!

The white egret that joined us all the way from the 2nd tee to the 12th green!

The white egret that joined us all the way from the 2nd tee to the 12th green!

We are all recovering from the COVID-19 Pandemic in some way. If you like comeback stories than you will like the Ocean Course and Hammock Beach Resort!

In October 2016 Hurricane Matthew struck the Ocean Course with its high winds and storm surge. Flooded with salt water the course underwent a Nicklaus Design course renovation complete with a changeover to salt-tolerant Platinum Paspalum.

Pandemic Golf... upscale gizmo to lift the ball out of the hole!

Pandemic Golf… upscale gizmo to lift the ball out of the hole!

Now, nearly four years later, I have to say this course is in excellent shape and could easily hold a PGA TOUR event. Back in 2008 the resort did host a PGA TOUR event but held the golf competition on the Tom Watson-designed Conservatory Course. Slightly further inland, this links-style golf course is also a gem that I have played several years ago. Given the ocean wind, the 77.0 Rating and the 147 Slope of the old Ocean Course the pros were smart to play the Conservatory Course! I am sure that Ryan Palmer the 2008 Champion would agree!

I can attest to the impact of playing in a strong consistent ocean breeze of about 15 mph. I broke 90 but five throw-up holes including the last three made breaking 80 a remote possibility for this day. What amazed me is that the wind came from due west into our faces on the practice range and by the time we came to the 15th hole it was coming from due east directly off the ocean!

Windy but gorgeous day to play golf on the Ocean Course at the Hammock Beach Resort!

Windy but gorgeous day to play golf on the Ocean Course at the Hammock Beach Resort!

The weather was gorgeous. In the 80s that felt like the 70s with the strong breeze. Sunny all afternoon it was a day to wear sunscreen and sunglasses! The course conditions were pristine, firm and fast or slow depending on the wind direction! I love the routing where you go inland away from the Atlantic Ocean to start and then come back to it on the 183-yard par-3 8th. The straight away 468-yard par-4 9th parallels the dunes and is the No.1 handicap hole on the scorecard. I managed to par the brute with an amazing chip-putt from the front left runoff area to a tight hole location.

The 6th hole! One of four fun-to-play right-to-left cape holes on the Ocean Course (Nos. 5,6,11, & 16). How much will you dare to cut off?

The 6th hole! One of four fun-to-play right-to-left cape holes on the Ocean Course (Nos. 5,6,11, & 16). How much will you dare to cut off?

After the ocean turn the 10th hole, like the 1st hole heads west inland away from the ocean. You come back to the ocean for the last four holes, first with the 447-yard par-4 15th hole, a beauty with no green-side bunkers because well she is beautifully shaped with hillocks left and right well short of the green. I hit a solid hybrid-4 from 150 yards because the wind was a 3-club wind directly in our face!

After seeing the Hurricane Matthew marker the 16th lays out before you from an elevated ocean-side tee. With lake left this is a beautiful 387-yard cape hole narrows down to a testy green complex where I chipped one into a bunker!

My third shot at the daunting 9th green! Change in Elevation is the most underrated hazard in golf!

My third shot at the daunting 9th green! Change in Elevation is the most underrated hazard in golf!

After a short cart ride, with the same orientation as the 8th hole; the 174-yard par-3 17th faces the ocean and it is another beautiful ocean view from another elevated tee.

Then there is the home hole, the No. 2 handicap hole on the scorecard. At 465 yards it is another straight away brute that plays tough! Unlike No. 9 this one got the best of me as in a 3-putt double bogey.

I must say that while the six holes along the mile-long stretch of the Atlantic Ocean with the expansive view are dramatic and fun to play the other 12 are just as fun and challenging with no letdown. In fact the break from the rawness and strength of the ocean breeze is welcomed.

The green on the reachable par-5 6th hole. Unfortunately all I reached was the water!

The green on the reachable par-5 6th hole. Unfortunately all I reached was the water!

The 5th hole, a 433-yard par-4, is a beautiful right-to-left cape hole. As is the 520-yard par-5 6th hole with the added risk-reward feature of an island-like peninsula green. On the second nine, the 398-yard par-4 11th is a right-to-left cape hole and the green on 545-yard par-5 14th is reachable in two strokes with a gutsy long carry over still more water. It is obvious that with three right-to-left cape holes that the predominant tee shot is a strong fade. I wonder who designed this golf course?

Our friend the white egret bid us goodbye on the par-3 12th hole. Presumably to go fish for dinner than watch us play golf!

Our friend the white egret bid us goodbye on the par-3 12th hole. Presumably to go fish for dinner than watch us play golf!

Eight of the twelve inland holes feature a spectacular water feature that needs to be taken into account and navigated around, over but not into to score on the Ocean Course. With the wind coming in from the ocean and the presence of sand dunes in between it is difficult to plop one into the ocean. However with the lakes it is really easy to find the water. Maybe the name of the course should become the ‘Ocean & Lakes Course?’

Oh yes, for the records which my friends like to keep on me; I did not play from the Level Vi tips of 7.176 yards. I opted for the Level III/IV combination of 6,102 yards. I did break 90 and had the time of my life!

The beauty of the land slope, the beauty of the Atlantic Ocean up close and personal... hard to focus on golf on the Ocean Course at Hammock Beach Resort!

The beauty of the land slope, the beauty of the Atlantic Ocean up close and personal… hard to focus on golf on the Ocean Course at Hammock Beach Resort!

Under new ownership and managed by Troon Privé since the first of this year, one would not notice any bump in the operation. Two months into the new venture, the COVID-19 Pandemic necessitated a two-day shutdown to thoroughly sterilize the resort and golf courses. All COVID-19 precautions are in place as we have come to expect. This golf resort is humming and the lodging open to outside guests by now.

Don't forget to turn left and enjoy the beach for a while after finishing the 18th!

Don’t forget to turn left and enjoy the beach for a while after finishing the 18th!

My insider tip is to turn left and head to the beach after completing play on the 18th. Take off your golf shoes and let the excitement of playing the ‘Ocean & Lakes’ Course at Hammock Beach Resort sink in. What an experience!

At Hammock Beach Resort, play the Ocean and Conservatory Resort and Country Club Courses where everyone knows you by your name, even the Beverage Cart Attendant! Thank you to Brad, Billy, and Kara for hosting Andy’s Golf & Travel Diary!



Visiting South Florida after the 2020 PGA Show!!!

2A memorable trip to South Florida after the PGA Show! Sunshine, warmth, & beauty! Great Show, now lots of follow-up to do! 2020 will be a monumental year for Andy’s Golf & Travel Diary! Thank you to all who hosted AGTD, entertained AGTD, fed AGTD, & had fun with AGTD! Off to Pebble Beach, California for my 12th straight AT&T Pro-Am. TROML Baby (an exclamation of Joy and Gratitude)!!!   (Andy Reistetter; Facebook Post with 30 Pics; 1-27-20)

2019 Myrtle Beach World Am Play Write Article: Founders Club at Pawleys Island

4Well it’s ‘Sunday’ of the 2019 World Am for me—the 4th of four consecutive days of World Am golf’s 72-hole tournament! Today I drove south to play the Founders Club at Pawley’s Island! I loved this course with its waste bunkers outlining nearly every fairway! It was in great shape and a lot of fun to play! I started the day T12 hoping for a backdoor Top-10 but fell one stroke short after shooting an 88! Oh what could have been!

Congratulations to Jim Grinestaff who won our Flight 16 and went on to compete for the overall title on Friday! William Welch (West Islip, N.Y.) shot a net 69 (gross 85) to win the Flight Winners’ Playoff at Barefoot Resort’s Dye Course.

23Welch bested James Juden (Lancaster, Calif.) by a shot to emerge from a field of 3,215 golfers and claim the title of World Champion. Patrick Yoe (Athens, Ga.), Michael Thompson (Columbia, S.C.) and Paul Carrier (Cumming, Ga.) finished in a three-way tie for third at 1-under par on a day when only five players broke par.

Christopher Reina (Frisco, Tex.) shot a final-round 75 to secure a one-stroke victory over Kyle Rector (San Diego, Calif.) in the Gross Division.

3After the round I continued south (missing the last 19th Hole; imagine that!) arriving home in Ponte Vedra Beach after the 4-month, 7,685-mile, 2019 East Coast Golf Journey!

What a journey it was! Thank you to all I met along the way who helped make it all so special!

Time to rest up a bit and then…


(Andy Reistetter; Facebook Post with 30 Pics; 8-29-19)

2019 World Am: EnneaGolf Determines AGTD is a No. 3 ‘Accomplisher’ Personality!

27So here is the detailed process I went through to get to my Enneagolf personality of “The Accomplisher!” In order of the cards presented and chosen as indicated by my finger in the picture… note that one of three cards presented three times there was a selection of one of those three chosen ones! Very difficult to make selections both on the good/likable me and the not so good/not so likable me! Given the results at the end (presented in order selected) of what I am looking for in golf and life and what I need to do to get there I would say this Enneagolf&life System is highly accurate!

So for those of you who “know” me whatcha think???


(Andy Reistetter; Facebook Post with 30 Pics; 8-29-19)

_Andy Closeup