Jacksonville Gem: Bobby Weed-designed The Golf Club at Fleming Island

By Travel ArticlesFebruary 7, 2012, 5:00 am

FLEMING ISLAND, Fla. -- Course architect Bobby Weed has done some fine work in northeast Florida.

The Ponte Vedra Beach resident has designed some high-profile public tracks in his backyard. His Amelia Island Ocean Links is short on yardage but long on beauty, featuring several holes along the Atlantic Ocean. His Slammer & Squire Course complements the more celebrated King and Bear Course by Jack Nicklaus and Arnold Palmer at the World Golf Village in nearby St. Augustine.

Surprisingly, some of Weed's best holes can be found on a relatively unknown place south of Jacksonville called The Golf Club at Fleming Island, a residential course that's popular with the locals. Some might even argue Fleming Island is the best of the three. There aren't many houses to detract from its natural setting among the pines and swamps.

'Weed did the Slammer & Squire, and we hear this is just as good or better at one-third of the price,' said Troy Albers, the general manager at Fleming Island. 'That's not a knock on the Slammer & Squire. That's just what we hear from customers.'

Fleming Island's tough greens

The par-71 Fleming Island doesn't have championship length from the tips at 6,688 yards. For the crowd it caters to -- the aging snowbirds and the average joes -- the 6,410-yard blue tees and more forgiving 5,888-yard white tees are a perfect mix. The whites take the bite out of some of the course's most demanding tees shots. The three amigos -- the fourth, ninth and 14th -- are all long par 4s with water up the left side.

'Bobby did a good job of designing a fair, fun golf course,' Albers added.

Hitting greens in regulation remains the secret to unlocking the course record (a 61) or any other respectable score.

Weed propped up many of his greens with edges that drop off into bunkers, wetlands and all sorts of tricky side-hill lies and collection areas.

'The elevated greens play havoc with me,' admitted Doug Seeley, who lives near the course. 'You have to hit the perfect shot or you pay a penalty. If you are off the green, you need to be in the planned access route or have some flop shots (ready to use).'

Weed's most creative hole plays as drivable par 4 of 294 yards (from the blues). Players who miss up the left side of the horse-shoe fairway at No. 12 face a blind shot over a massive bunker built into a hillside. The euphoria of a birdie often fades quickly at No. 13, a 449-yard par 4 that plays like a par 5 from the blue tees. A 3-5-3-5 finish beginning at No. 14 ends the day with variety and more scoring opportunities.

The Golf Club at Fleming Island: The verdict

Every golfer I interviewed during my recent four-day swing through the courses south of Jacksonville liked Eagle Landing at Oakleaf Plantation in Orange Park the best, followed quickly by Fleming Island as the second choice.

They're both in a similar price range and both well conditioned. I think the difference has to be that Eagle Landing plays several shots easier than tricky-tough Fleming Island.

What average golfer doesn't love shooting lower scores?

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What's in the bag: CareerBuilder winner Rahm

By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 22, 2018, 10:37 pm

Jon Rahm defeated Andrew Landry in a playoff to earn his second PGA Tour title at the CareerBuilder Challenge. Here's what's in his bag:

Driver: TaylorMade M4 (9.5 degrees), with Aldila Tour Green 75 TX shaft

Fairway wood: TaylorMade M3 (19 degrees), with Aldila Tour Green 75 TX shaft

Irons: TaylorMade P790 (3), P750 (4-PW), with Project X 6.5 shafts

Wedges: TaylorMade Milled Grind (52, 56 degrees), Milled Grind Hi-Toe (60 degrees), with Project X 6.5 shafts

Putter: TaylorMade Spider Tour Red

Ball: TaylorMade TP5x

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Strange irked by Rahm-Landry friendly playoff

By Jason CrookJanuary 22, 2018, 9:45 pm

Curtis Strange knows a thing or two about winning golf tournaments, and based on his reaction to the CareerBuilder Challenge playoff on Sunday, it’s safe to say he did things a little differently while picking up 17 PGA Tour victories in his Hall-of-Fame career.

While Jon Rahm and Andrew Landry were “battling” through four extra holes, Strange, 62, tweeted his issues with the duo’s constant chit-chat and friendly banter down the stretch at La Quinta Country Club, where Rahm eventually came out on top.

The two-time U.S. Open champ then engaged with some followers to explain his point a little more in depth.

So, yeah ... don't think he's changing his perspective on this topic anytime soon ever.

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Randall's Rant: The Euros won't just roll over

By Randall MellJanuary 22, 2018, 9:36 pm

The Ryder Cup may not be the King Kong of golf events yet, but you can hear the biennial international team event thumping its chest a full eight months out.

As anticipation for this year’s big events goes, there is more buzz about Europe’s bid to hold off a rejuvenated American effort in Paris in September than there is about the Masters coming up in April.

Thank Europe’s phenomenal success last weekend for that.

And Rory McIlroy’s impassioned remarks in Abu Dhabi.

And the provocative bulletin board material a certain Sports Illustrated writer provided the Europeans a couple months ago, with a stinging assault on the Euro chances that read like an obituary.

McIlroy was asked in a news conference before his 2018 debut last week what he was most excited about this year.

The Ryder Cup topped his list.

Though McIlroy will be trying to complete the career Grand Slam at Augusta National come April, he talked more about the Ryder Cup than he did any of the game’s major championships.

When asked a follow-up about the American team’s resurgence after a task-force overhaul and the injection of young, new star power, McIlroy nearly started breaking down the matchup. He talked about the young Americans and how good they are.

“Yeah, the Americans have been, obviously, very buoyant about their chances and whatever, but it’s never as easy as that. ... The Ryder Cup’s always close,” McIlroy said. “I think we’ll have a great team, and it definitely won’t be as easy as they think it’s going to be.”

McIlroy may have been talking about Alan Shipnuck’s bold prediction after the American Presidents Cup rout last fall.

Or similar assertions from TV analysts.

“The Ryder Cup is dead – you just don’t know it yet,” Shipnuck wrote. “One of the greatest events in sport is on the verge of irrelevancy. The young, talented, hungry golfers from the United States, benefitting from the cohesive leadership of the Task Force era, are going to roll to victory in 2018 in Paris.”

European Ryder Cup captain Thomas Bjorn won’t find words that will motivate the Euros more than that as he watches his prospective players jockey to make the team.

And, boy, did they jockey last weekend.

The Euros dominated across the planet, not that they did it with the Ryder Cup as some rallying cry, because they didn’t. But it was a heck of an encouraging start to the year for Bjorn to witness.

Spain’s Jon Rahm won the CareerBuilder Challenge on the PGA Tour, England’s Tommy Fleetwood started the week at Abu Dhabi paired with American and world No. 1 Dustin Johnson and won the European Tour event, and Spain’s Sergio Garcia won the Singapore Open in a rout on the Asian Tour.

And McIlroy looked close to being in midseason form, tying for third in his first start in three months.

Yes, it’s only January, and the Ryder Cup is still a long way off, with so much still to unfold, but you got an early sense from McIlroy how much defending European turf will mean to him and the Euros in Paris in September.

The Masters is great theater, the U.S. Open a rigorous test, The Open and the PGA Championship historically important, too, but the Ryder Cup touches a nerve none of those do.

The Ryder Cup stokes more fervor, provokes more passion and incites more vitriol than any other event in golf.

More bulletin board material, too.

Yeah, it’s a long way off, but you can already hear the Ryder Cup’s King Kong like footsteps in its distant approach. Watching how the American and European teams come together will be an ongoing drama through spring and summer.

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Quail Hollow officials promise players easier conditions

By Rex HoggardJanuary 22, 2018, 9:14 pm

Quail Hollow Club - a staple on the PGA Tour since 2003 - debuted as a longer, tougher version of itself at last year’s PGA Championship, receiving mixed reviews from players.

The course played to a lengthened 7,600 yards at last year’s PGA and a 73.46 stroke average, the toughest course in relation to par on Tour in 2017. As a result, it left some players less than excited to return to the Charlotte, N.C.-area layout later this spring for the Wells Fargo Championship.

It’s that lack of enthusiasm that led officials at Quail Hollow to send a video to players saying, essentially, that the course players have lauded for years will be back in May.

The video, which includes Quail Hollow president Johnny Harris and runs nearly five minutes, begins with an explanation of how the first hole, which played as a 524-yard par 4 at the PGA, will play much shorter at the Wells Fargo Championship.

“I had a number of my friends who were playing in the tournament tell me that tee was better suited as a lemonade stand,” Harris joked of the new tee box on the fourth hole. “I doubt we’ll ever see that tee used again in competition.”

Harris also explained that the greens, which became too fast for some, will be “softer” for this year’s Wells Fargo Championship.