Jacksonville Beach, Florida Muni re-opening


#21

A post from the architect, Harrison Minchew:

My latest project Jacksonville Golf Club will open this weekend. The stars have lined up to allow Jax Beach Golf Club to become one of the very best public golf courses on the entire east coast. I am not one to post on Facebook but thought it best to put the entire story out before the exciting and sold out grand opening weekend.

The project started the initial planning phase spring of 2017. Jason Phitides the newly hired Director of Parks got on board with my idea to renovate the entire facility to allow it to be economically viable. The Jax Beach City Council supported the project and unanimously approved the Master Plan I created last November.

Like any change in life there were some boisterous naysayers initially and throughout the process. But the general public and the strong golf community embraced the improvements that were being put in place to what is a wonderful place to play golf…just 10 blocks from the ocean.

The improvements included totally redesigned green sites and in many cases new locations for the greens. Several hole were shifted by relocating tees and greens with the biggest changes on 6-9 &16-18. 16&17 have new green and tee locations and #18 uses the old 17 green, 11 fairway and old 16 green to make a wonderful par 5 finish.

The stars lined up for this project from start to finish. --Beginning with City Councils unanimous approval then to MacCurrach Golf Construction, a local premiere golf construction company that has put in place all changes at TPC Sawgrass. Alan MacCurrach’s staff lead by Brian Almony and Andy Alcorn were truly superstars.

Then half way thru construction Trevor Hughes, who had been at Ponte Vedra Inn and Club for 20 years came on as the new greens superintendent. As he was being hired he was voted the best Greens Superintendent in N. Florida. His work ethic and expertise are the best I have seen in my 30 years of experience watching golf course grow ins. His somewhat small staff are the very best!!!

Jason Phitides then convinced the city to spend extra money on several items such as an artificial turf tee strip on the driving range and landscape material. Then Jason and the City Mgr. Karen Nelson postponed the opening from September until this weekend so the clubhouse could be improved and to allow Trevor to have time to get the turf in excellent condition.

The final star that lined up has been the hiring of Bruce Mohler as the Facility Manager, one of the most respected golf professionals in NE Florida . He brought David Lingerth to be Head Golf Professional. David left Pablo Creek the local ultra private golf club to come to Jax Beach.

Shaun Murphy and I started the Jacksonville Beach Golf Association a 501 c 3 our mission is:

“Grow the game of golf at the Beaches to benefit and promote public golf at the Jacksonville Beach Golf Club. Provide the leadership from the vast wealth of knowledge of local golf industry leaders to develop and implement innovative methods to grow public golf in NE Florida and to enable the Jacksonville Beach Golf Club golf facility to thrive and be an example of a world class economically viable golf facility.”

I have been putting on the greens the last several days and as Trevor promised has the new Platinum Paspalumm on the greens is rolling 10+. Paspallum is new to Trevor and his ability to get them in excellent condition is a testament to his tremendous expertise.

Everyone is going to be amazed at the conditioning. The greens contours are subtle but interesting. Probably collectively the best I have done. Wait til next fall Trevor will have the course in even better condition!!!

I have been blessed to have worked under the likes of Ed Seay and Arnold Palmer. They allowed my passion for golf and golf course architecture to flourish. I am very proud to have brought my experience and passion for golf to the Jax Beach Golf Cub. Public Golf at the beach has been elevated to the level appropriate for the Home of the PGA Tour.


#22

Anybody go to the Shotgun Opening Day? How is it playing?


#23

Have a client in Jacksonville they I don’t make it down to see quite enough…and he happens to be a golfer and quite the stick.

Sounds like I have a great excuse to grow this relationship.


#24

I’ve lived here almost a decade and playing the course tomorrow for the first time (weather permitting)


#25

Played today. Don’t want to get too crazy, because NLU will have lots of stuff to come. But this place is good. The hype is real. In a 20-30 mph wind today, it was a lot of golf course at barely 6000 yards. Greens are incredible. Short-grass abounds. I had a smile on my face the entire round.


#26

We were at Safe Harbor today and the wind was pretty intense. Glad to hear the course is as good as advertised!


#27

So happy to hear this, can’t wait to get home and play, thinking maybe friday after Thanksgiving.


#28

Nevermind on day after Thanksgiving, all tee times booked.


#29

Hopefully Platinum Paspalum is different than Paspalum. Because if not, Every. Putt. Is. Straight.

To get around this, courses have to build rollercoaster contours on greens just to get putts to break. Seriously, it’s ridiculous.

I can deal with the wheel shimmy on the cart, but yeah, putting is strange.


#30

Played in the opening day shotgun with Uncle @Tron and, echoing @jwfickett’s comments, we were giggling the whole time. It’s actually jarring to think that it’s still the same place. Part of that was because it was buzzing with energy, it was totally full, there was music going, etc., but it extends to the golf course too. If you had ever seen it before, you know that there were long stretches where many of the greens (1, 2, 4, 6, 10, and so on), were more top dress than grass. Every inch of the fairways and greens were in perfect shape for opening day. (Much of that was because the place was never irrigated properly to begin with, a problem that’s been fixed in this reno. So hopefully that remains the norm.)

We had been out there a few times during the construction/shaping/grassing and my only concern was that the greens were going to be a little too boring/benign. Granted, I don’t spend much time on courses under construction, so I wasn’t sure how the sand would translate to grass. But that was gone as soon as we started. The greens are wild enough to have some incredibly cool pins (Tron holed a 100-yard bunker shot by throwing it 15’ past the pin and using the slope to feed it back down and in). But they never get close to feeling gimmicky or overdone.

Beyond that, all of the… stupid… parts of the golf course have been taken out. No more pointless forced carries, the 7th hole has gone from the worst hole in FL to one of the cooler ones on the course. The finish of 16, 17, 18 is phenomenal as well.

10/10, would recommend


#31

Just got done playing it and loved it. They were forcing everybody off the whites, so it was a bit short for me, but I didn’t have my best ball-striking day so it worked out.

17, the short par 4 was playing straight down-wind, which made it particularly fun.

I wasn’t a fan of 7 or 15, but maybe would have been a bit more fun from proper tees.

I loved the fairways and mounds around the greens. Again, I never played there pre-reno, so I don’t know what it was like before, but a lot of fun/creative chips around the course not typical of courses in this area. #10 I lost my drive to the right on the side of the hill and had a tree right in line, so I bailed out to the mounds on the right, and was able to do a perfect 3-wood chip to a couple feet for a tap-in par.


#32

Count me in, I’m a local so any date would work. Been waiting for Jax Beach to re-open.

They used to have a great Wednesday afternoon skins/points game that was a lot of fun.


#33

The US Southeast Chapter of the Royal & Ancient Company of Dishonourable Golfers is eyeing Jacksonville Beach Golf Club for its inaugural Shut championship, not uncoincidentally, in March. Much like Daytona is the first event of NASCAR, this will be the inaugural tournament for the Chapter. Details on that society here:

Plenty of room, and we’ll travel all over the Southland. Hope to see you aboard!

JDinDelray
US Southeast Interim Captain
RACDG


#34

Whoop whoop! :slight_smile:


#35

Loved the idea of the Herman Cain Game that was mentioned in the live feed! 9/9/9


#36

Played Saturday and can confirm that the course is great. The greens are spectacular and certainly fast enough to please.

The ridiculousness of hole 7 is gone, replaced with a much more reasonable tee shot and approach.

Hole 18, while it doesn’t fit my shot shape from the tee, is a great finisher.


#37

Playing this Sunday, can’t wait. Sounds like the greens are a total 180 from what they were. I live just a couple miles away but rarely played there because of the past conditions. If it’s as everyone is saying, I’ll get a membership too. I think it’s only like $125 a year for beaches energy customers. Not sure what a membership gets you though.


#38

Folks around on 12/9? We’re noodling on an event that day.


#39

image https://www.reactiongifs.us/wp-content/uploads/2013/06/raining_david_tennant.gif


#40

I’ll re-phrase…JAX folks