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.