Nobody knows the suffering from natural disasters unless they are witnesses but it is heartwarming to hear and see the recovery experiences. Such is the case of the resurrection of the beautiful Ocean Course of Hammock Beach.
As the sign on hole 16 reads, “Renowned for our six ocean holes and closing stretch dubbed ‘The Bear Claw,’ the Ocean Course was closed on October 6, 2016 after high winds and extensive storm surge from Hurricane Matthew caused substantial salt water intrusion and flooding to the majority of the course. The resort’s owners and management team took a long term view of conditioning and opted to conduct a complete course resurrection in conjunction with Nicklaus Design. Staying true to Nicklaus’ masterful design the 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 to its original specs.
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 offering golfers some of the most stunning ocean views in Florida.” While conditions are a work in progress, it feels like a masterpiece rebuilt not just for golfers but onlookers dining at the Atlantic Grille or resort guests gazing on from their balconies. Their view of 18 can be entertaining as golfers must gauge the wind and pick their swing for an uphill battle as the crescendo of crashing waves peak at the clubhouse next to the beach boardwalk.
Members and guests may enjoy the rare stretch of pristine sand with gentle waves, where turtles hatch and starfish sparkle between kokimo rocks. Take long walks or lounge the day away, as a few surfers maneuver to catch their perfect wave.
The dramatic drive lined with tall palms presents a palatial welcome to Hammock Beach Resort. The balcony views, rich amenities and friendly staff make it hard to leave. Sheila Johnson’s business brilliance meets fine golf on the northeast coast of Florida.
In addition to Jack Nicklaus’ design, the Conservatory Course by Tom Watson is a swell course. Literally, the swells in the fairway seem like ski moguls and on the crispest of winter days we looked like we were geared more for the white slopes rather than the greens. Nothing would have stopped us from our sunny round on the longest course in Florida at 7776 yards from the tips but with tee box combinations to facilitate the “Tee it Forward” concept. It is one of our all-time favorite natural settings.
Brad Hauer, Director of Golf originally came for the $20m quest for the best built course and often warns about the bunkers, “If you get in a bunker, please take a wedge. They are so deep you may need ropes to get in and out.” Number 13 has a waste bunker layout like a tuning fork, from tee to green. It’s not elementary, dear Watson, but it is a grand design. Hammock Beach, A Salamander Resort is a very special treat for lifelong memories.