October 31, 2014

Golf

A Hole in 18

18 Florida leaders tell us about their favorite golf holes.

Margaret Downey

Director of training, CSX Transportation, Jacksonville

Handicap: 27
Favorite Hole: No. 18, Ocean Hammock Golf Club, Palm Coast, 370 yards, par 4
Course Designer: Jack Nicklaus, 2000

"There's just something soothing about playing along the ocean and hearing the surf crash as you approach the 18th green. It's a long and challenging hole for women because of the distance and the raised green, but the atmosphere couldn't be better."
No. 18, Ocean Hammock Golf Club, Palm Coast

No. 10, Key Biscayne Golf Course, Miami
Miguel Angel Barbagallo

Principal, B Developments, Miami

Handicap: 13
Favorite Hole: No. 10, Key Biscayne Golf Course, Miami, 501 yards, par 5
Course Designer: Robert von Hagge and Bruce Devlin, 1972; redesigned by von Hagge, 1993

"The mix of challenge, design and the fact that I can go walking from home."

Ronnie Watts

Co-President, Edwin Watts Golf, Fort Walton Beach

Handicap: 8-10
Favorite Hole: Old No. 8 (now No. 7), Eglin AFB Golf Course, Niceville, Eagle course
395 yards, par 4
Course Designer: William B. Langford & Theodore J. Moreau, 1925 (originally funded by Al Capone)

"This is where Edwin and I grew up caddying. Your first shot is over water, and the second is up a steep embankment. The hill is so steep that there's a rope you could use to help pull yourself up."

Lewis (Lew) Hay III

Chairman, president & CEO, FPL Group, Juno Beach

Handicap: 14
Favorite Hole: No. 3, Old Marsh Golf Club, Palm Beach Gardens, 170 yards, par 3
Course Designer: Pete Dye, 1988

"It's the shortest par 5 in Palm Beach County. Even though it's a par 3, you come away with a par 5 on the scorecard. I had a hole in one at that hole playing with my son. I remember it clearly. I said, 'I don't think I've ever hit the green before on that hole' and then I put the ball on that green."

No. 9, Bay Island Golf Course, Bonita Springs
Dave Aronberg

State senator, District 27, Greenacres

Handicap: 23
Favorite Hole: No. 9, Bay Island Golf Course, Bonita Springs, 589 yards, par 5
Course Designer: Arthur Hills, 1994

"It's a monster of a hole on a gem of a course within my Senate district. The hole is very much southwest Florida, as it runs along beautiful Estero Bay while bordered by mangroves and other natural hazards. Although it keeps my handicap higher than it should be, the challenging 589-yard hole with an
elevated green is fun to attack and a delight to conquer."

Bobby Bowden

Football coach, Florida State University, Tallahassee

Handicap: 18
Favorite Hole: No. 18, Kelly Plantation Golf Club, Destin, 549 yards, par 5
Course Designer: Fred Couples

"It's just a great finishing hole with water covering the front half and side of the hole."

Penny Hulbert

Senior V.P., RBC Centura Bank
President, Executive Women's Golf Association, Tampa

Handicap: 16
Favorite Hole: No. 9, Cheval Golf and Country Club, Lutz, 410 yards, par 5
Course Designer: Steve Smyers, 1986

"This used to be No. 18, but they switched their nines. It's a large par 5 and very challenging. If you survive that hole, and you have a good score on the front nine, then it doesn't really matter what your score on the back is because you will always remember that great front nine."

Chris Sullivan

Chairman, Outback Steakhouse, Tampa

Handicap: 7
Favorite Hole: No. 16, Old Memorial Golf Club, Tampa, 507 yards, par 5
Course Designer: Steve Smyers

"It's a short par 5. The third shot to the green is very challenging. You have to get two good shots to get a third shot. It's a tight golf hole. You have to hit it straight and long off the tee."

No. 6, Old Palm Golf Club, Palm Beach Gardens
Richard Hellawell

Past (retired) president & COO, Braman Motorcar Dealerships, Palm Beach Gardens

Handicap: 16
Favorite Hole: No. 6, Old Palm Golf Club, Palm Beach Gardens, 149 yards, par 3
Course Designer: Raymond Floyd

"Even though the green is guarded in the front by water and a treacherous bunker, there is still a generous approach area on the left to bail you out on those days you just don't have it. Also, because of the unique shape of the green, the pin placements can be very challenging, which keeps me on my toes every time I play. It's a beautiful setting. From the tee box you look directly into a water feature and a small creek, so at least the view's good even when my game is not."

Robert Coker

Senior V.P., U.S. Sugar Corp., Clewiston

Handicap: 13
Favorite Hole: No. 17, Trump International Golf Course, Palm Beach, 152 yards, par 3
Course Designer: Jim Fazio

"It's an extraordinarily beautiful hole. There's a 60-foot waterfall behind the green, and you're usually hitting into the wind. If you can hit this hole, you'll be back."

Pam Swenson

V.P., marketing, Executive Women's Golf Association, Palm Beach Gardens

Handicap: 24
Favorite Hole: No. 12, Tradition Course/Ibis Country Club, West Palm Beach, 519 yards, par 5
Course Designer: Steve Nicklaus

"Sand traps are like magnets to me, so I have to remember to hit behind the ball, just like I am lifting up a dollar bill that is sitting underneath the golf ball and then flying it out of the bunker onto the green."

Bob Dickinson

President & CEO, Carnival Cruise Lines, Miami

Handicap: 28
Favorite Hole: No. 2, Riviera Country Club, Coral Gables, 178 yards, par 3
Course Designer: Donald Ross, 1924; redesigned in 1993 by Brian Silva

"It's an easy par 3 for me." Situated south of the University of Miami's greenbelt, this private golf course features difficult to read but fast greens.

No. 18, Gold Course, Doral Golf Resort and Spa, Miami
Joe Oglesby

Editorial page editor, Miami Herald, Miami

Handicap: 17
Favorite Hole: No. 18, Gold Course, Doral Golf Resort and Spa, Miami, 375 yards, par 4
Course Designer: Originally designed by Robert von Hagge with the Devlin Design Team; renovated in 1995 by Raymond Floyd

"I don't know if it's my favorite, but it certainly is challenging. It's a par 4, not a terribly long hole, 375 yards, with an island green, so the second shot has to go over water. There's not a lot of green. Out of bounds on the right, woods on the left. You have to have a straight ball off the tee. There's not much room for error."

No. 2 Interlachen Country Club, Winter Park
Stephen R. Walsh

Managing partner, Broad Street Partners, Winter Park

Handicap: 25
Favorite Hole: No. 2, Interlachen Country Club, Winter Park, 373 yards, par 4
Course Designer: Joe Lee, 1985

"It's a very challenging hole, and I like a challenge."

No. 2, North Course, Mediterra Golf Club, Naples
Bill Merwin

President, Florida Gulf Coast University, Fort Myers

Handicap: 18
Favorite Hole: No. 2, North Course, Mediterra Golf Club, Naples, 191 yards, par 3
Course Designer: Tom Fazio, 2002

"This Tom Fazio-designed hole features a slightly elevated green that is guarded by deep bunkers on the left side and a large fall-off to the right. Once on the green, the player is challenged by a large putting surface that has many different levels. Par is a good score on this hole, and it will certainly get your round off to a solid start."

Jennifer Cully

Member, PGA of America and LPGA Teaching & Club Pro Division
Resident Pro, Apollo Beach Golf Club, Apollo Beach

Handicap: Professional
Favorite Hole: No. 18, Eaglebrooke Golf Course, Lakeland, 350 yards, par 4
Course Designer: Ron Garl, 1997

"I like a challenging finishing hole. For me as a competitive golfer, it often comes down to that last hole. For my students, I try to instruct them to hang on and have some oomph at the end."

Gov. Jeb Bush

Handicap: 15
Favorite Hole: No. 18, Key Biscayne Golf Course, Miami, 475 yards, par 5
Course Designer: Robert von Hagge and Bruce Devlin, 1972; redesigned by von Hagge, 1993

"While I find the 7th hole at Key Biscayne the most challenging, I have been lucky enough to birdie the 18th hole twice in a row, which has given me a particular fondness for that hole."

No. 9, Old Memorial Golf Club, Tampa
Fred S. Ridley

Partner, Foley & Lardner
President, U.S. Golf Association, Tampa

Handicap: Scratch golfer
Favorite Hole: No. 9, Old Memorial Golf Club, Tampa, 550 yards, par 5
Course Designer: Steve Smyers

"It's a risk/reward type of hole. Steve (Smyers) is known for medium-length par 5s. You have to decide on your second shot whether to lay up on the cross bunkers or get over them, or you'll have to hit an 80-yard bunker shot, which is pretty hard."

Tags: Dining & Travel, Around Florida

Digital Access

DIRECT DIGITAL ACCESS
Add digital to your current subscription, purchase a single ditgital issue, or start a new subscription to Florida Trend.

TABLE OF CONTENTS
An overview of the features and articles in this month's issue of Florida Trend.

ACCESS THIS ISSUE »

Florida Business News

Florida Trend Video Pick

Colleges Are Tracking When Students Work Out at Rec Centers
Colleges Are Tracking When Students Work Out at Rec Centers

Officials on college campuses are turning to usage data and student feedback to shape fitness programs, hoping it will entice more students to develop healthy habits. 

Earlier Videos | Viewpoints@FloridaTrend

Ballot Box

Do you give - or get - an annual performance review?

  • Yes - and I hate it
  • Yes - and it's OK - there's some value in the exercise
  • Yes - and I find it very valuable
  • No (thank goodness)

See Results

Ballot Box
Subscribe