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Ponte Vedra Inn & Club’s Ocean Course Featured as Florida Historic Golf Trail Course of the Month

Tallahassee –

Secretary of State Ken Detzner announced today that Ponte Vedra Inn & Club’s Ocean Course has been chosen as the featured course on the Florida Historic Golf Trail for the month of May. The Ocean Course is located in the unincorporated community of Ponte Vedra in St. Johns County.

“We are pleased to feature the historic Ponte Vedra Inn & Club Ocean Course as a partner on the Florida Historic Golf Trail,” said Secretary Detzner. “May is National Historic Preservation Month, and so it is fitting that we honor one of the state’s premiere historic golf courses, recognizing its contribution to Florida’s golf heritage and the history of golf in our nation.” 

In the late 19th century, the area known today as Ponte Vedra Beach was sparsely populated, but in 1914, minerals were discovered and the area developed into a mining community known as Mineral City. The company built a 9-hole golf course and 12-room log clubhouse for the use of their employees. The mining company eventually shifted its focus to the creation of a resort community and Ponte Vedra emerged in the early 1920s. 

In 1928, golf course architect W.D. Clark of Chicago designed and built a new golf course named the Jacksonville Beach Golf Links for the mining company. Due in part to prevailing ocean breezes and natural hazards, the course was considered just as difficult as the Lido Course in Long Island, the nation’s most challenging course at the time.

 Image Courtesy of Pontevedra.com

In 1931, British golf course architect Herbert Strong was hired to develop and build an 18-hole golf course on the site. Roy Landrum, Sr. was the superintendent for the job. The Florida Times-Union reported in 1932 that, “Thirty men are employed in the construction of the new half-million dollar golf links to be known as Ponte Vedra.” Strong used 100 mules dragging slip pans to shape course contours, dredge lagoons and build up a series of earthen mounds that dot the fairways creating dramatic undulations. The new 18-hole layout opened in 1932. 

High praises have been showered on the Ocean Course from the very beginning. A 1938 Golf Magazine article features Ponte Vedra's Ocean Course, Pebble Beach (CA), Oakmont (PA), and Pine Valley (NJ) as the "Hardest Courses in America." In 1942, after playing Ocean Course, golf legend Bobby Jones commented, "it's a course to challenge professionals.” 

In 1947, golf course architect Robert Trent Jones redesigned the Ocean Course in an attempt to reduce some of the course's severity. In 1951, the Course hosted the Ponte Vedra Women's Open, drawing a powerful field of professionals such as Patty Berg, Louise Suggs and its winner, Babe Zaharias. Much of the original architect's intent and design that had been lost over the decades was restored in a renovation by Bobby Weed in 1998.

Today, the18-hole, par-72 Ocean Course features five sets of tees playing from 4,900 to 6,800 yards. The Ocean Course's 99 strategically positioned sand bunkers enhance the beauty and challenge of the golf experience. 

“The Ocean Course of the Ponte Vedra Inn and Club is honored to be May’s featured course on the Historic Trail,” said Jim Howard, Director of Golf.  “Our staff welcomes all golfers to stay in our AAA Five-Diamond hotel and experience the Herbert Strong designed and Bobby Weed-restored Ocean Course. Atlantic breezes and unforgettable greens make the Ocean fun and challenging for all.”

For more information about the Ponte Vedra Inn & Club’s Ocean Course or the Florida Historic Golf Trail program visit Ponte Vedra Inn & Club, Florida Historic Golf Trail or Facebook.com/FloridaHistoricGolfTrail.

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About The Florida Historic Golf Trail Florida's golf history, recognized as one of the oldest in the nation, dates back to the 1890s when a number of early courses were created along with the development of railroads and hotels in the state. The Florida Historic Golf Trail is a collection of more than 50 historic, publicly accessible golf courses throughout the state that can still be played on today.Through the Florida Historic Golf Trail, golfers can play on courses designed by world-class architects and played by famous golfers such as Bobby Jones, Walter Hagen, Gene Sarazen, Babe Zaharias, Arnold Palmer and Jack Nicklaus.  Information about the history and current day contact information for each partner course can be found at FloridaHistoricGolfTrail.com.  Find the historic course near you and Come Play on History!

About The Division of Historical Resources The Florida Department of State’s Division of Historical Resources (DHR) is responsible for preserving and promoting Florida’s historical, archaeological, and folk culture resources. DHR directs historic preservation efforts throughout the state in cooperation with state and federal agencies, local governments, private organizations, and individuals. The director of DHR serves as the State Historic Preservation Officer, acting as the liaison with the national historic preservation program conducted by the National Park Service. The Division is comprised of two Bureaus or major program areas: archaeological research and historic preservation. For more information, visit flheritage.com.