Ocean Course at Hammock Beach Resort (866-502-6228)
Florida golf course review
Located just a short drive from St. Augustine and Daytona Beach, Hammock Beach Resort is a full service luxury resort featuring some of the finest golfing opportunities available
in Northeast Florida. The 36 holes of championship golf on property have been created by some of the game's greatest designers and players - Jack Nicklaus and Tom Watson -
with a third course designed by Fred Couples to open in 2008. The resort features fitness facilities, pools and spa, fine dining, banquet/special event/meeting facilities and a
variety of accommodations at the Lodge, or in villas, condos and furnished homes, as well as walkways along beautiful oceanfront properties, with opportunities for viewing
abundant native wildlife. For more information on Hammock Beach Resort - click here.
THE OCEAN COURSE REVIEW
The Ocean Course is the shining jewel of the Hammock Beach Resort- and of NE Florida, with 8 holes featuring play overlooking the Atlantic Ocean. It is Florida's first oceanfront
course to open since the 1920's, and is set in an upscale environment with its own lodge - housing guests in 20 luxurious rooms with first class amenities including a beautiful
pool area and fitness room. Lakes, dunes and forested terrain form the framework of this design which has garnered recognition as a "Top 100 You Can Play" by Golf Magazine.
Other honors include being named as: "One of the Best New Courses" by Golf Digest, as "a Modern Classic" by Golf Magazine", and as one of the "Top Ten New Courses You Can
Play" by Golf Magazine. Ocean views, natural wetlands, coastal dune formations and dense native shrubbery combine to make this a visually stunning golf experience - and one of
the best Florida has to offer!
The clubhouse opened in 2001 and features a pro shop with golf accessories and logo attire, and an incredible restaurant/lounge and patio with spectacular views of the 18th
hole and the Atlantic Ocean. There also are men's and ladies locker rooms and a spa treatment facility on property. The range and practice green are complimentary for golfing
guests, and a short game area with practice bunkers plus chipping and pitching greens are available for use during golf lessons. The conditioning from tee to green is as good
as it gets in Florida, and the scenery all along the course will make you appreciate that you are there.
At 7,201 yards and with a 147 slope (77.0 course rating), scratch golfers will have all they can handle from the tips. Alternative tees measure 6725 (142 slope), 6371 (135 slope),
5811 (130 slope for men/141 for women), and 5115 yards from the forward tees with a 131 slope. Playing from the middle (blue) tees, the average male golfer will need his best
game to score his handicap. The toughest holes are all long par fours on numbers 5, 9, 15 and 18 - with the two finishing holes on the front and back being real attention grabbers
. A key to scoring well here rests in your iron play, as the four par threes can net some good scores - and also in your ability to handle the wind.
The opening holes provide an opportunity to start well - a short par four followed by a reasonable par five. Be wary of the huge sand waste area located about 110 yards out along
the right side on the approach to the second green. Number 3 requires an accurate tee shot between two fairway bunkers, and an approach that avoids the moguled bunkers left
and grass depressions around the perched green. A pretty par three is next -to a wide putting complex fronted by pot bunkers and a daunting lake. Be careful not to cut off too
much on the par four 5th, as the banks that border the lake will funnel balls hit close run down to the hazard...Par here is a great score. The sixth features more water which comes
into play off the tee and especially on the second shot - and appears quickly along the left side. A lay up to the right side will find plenty of fairway, leaving a short iron or wedge shot
to the beautiful peninsula green. Again water comes into play along the left on seven, but the true challenge rests in the green-side bunkers and grass hollows that protect the
putting surface. Wind may play an important role on the par three 8th, as it leads to an elevated green that sits directly in front of the ocean. Ditto for number nine, which also plays
uphill and runs parallel to the Atlantic.
The back side begins with a reachable par five along a narrow tree lined fairway. Avoid the bunker left and those fronting the green and birdie/par is a good possibility. Cut off as
much as you can on 11, which bends left beside another lake. Just left of the middle fairway bunker is a good spot to be in - as it will leave a short iron or wedge approach.
Number 12 is the longest of the par threes, and provides some bail out room on the right. Right of the fairway bunker leaves a good angle for a clear approach on 13, which is
protected by a deep bunker short right and a grass hollow left and deep. The left side is the safe play all the way to the green on the par five 14th. Take the water out of play and
birdie/par is possible. Adventure seekers can aim towards the peninsula type fairway along the right, and go for the green in two.
The closing holes on the Ocean Course are designed to leave a lasting impression and have been dubbed "the Bear Claw" by Jack Nicklaus. Fifteen demands a short carry over
water off the tee, with an uphill approach towards the blue Atlantic. Missing the green in the grass hollow short right (as I did) creates a difficult up and down. Take enough club on
the second shot! The par four 16th is not long, but demands an accurate tee shot over or just to the right of the fairway trap that hugs the lake. Trouble awaits shots hit through the
fairway. Water awaits shots missed left, and there is not much room right either on one of the most demanding approaches of the day. 17 is a beautiful par three over water set
against the dune and the Atlantic Ocean. Wind may be a big factor here. The finishing hole begins innocently enough, to a wide fairway which runs parallel to the ocean. The
approach is uphill with deep bunkers protecting the left side and grass swales behind. The clubhouse/lodge forms a great backdrop...
What a great day and a wonderful Christmas morning! After 75 degree temperatures for 2 days in a row I was met by windy conditions and highs in the 50's for my round on the
Ocean Course. No matter...golfing here on any day under any conditions would be a treat. The price is very upscale - but there are not too many courses out there with this
combination of beauty, diversity, conditioning and challenge that can compare. The sheer beauty of the surroundings grabs your attention - making it easy to lose focus. This is a
wonderful experience and highly recommended!
Click here to visit the Two Guys Who Golf Detailed Information page with a link to this course's web page