A Stunning Turnaround - Lagoon Course Re-Opens as Bobby Weed Design

Ponte Vedra Lagoon CoursePonte Vedra based designer Bobby Weed continues to bring the fun back into golf course design with his amazing transformation of the Lagoon Course at the Ponte Vedra Inn and Club that just re-opened for play after Thanksgiving. Area golfers will be giving thanks for this interesting and exciting experience for years to come as the Lagoon Course takes its place as the perfect complement for brawnier Ocean Course that Weed re-designed in 1998.

Longtime players at the Ponte Vedra Inn and Club will recognize some of this Robert Trent Jones original that was later tweaked by Joe Lee, but what Weed’s done to the Lagoon course, in an almost unheard of five months, and despite 44 inches of rain during construction, is truly remarkable. Low handicappers will still be challenged by the par-70 layout, despite its scorecard length of just over 6000 yards from the tips. The rest of us will get all the test we want, but also an element often missing in new course designs, the fun of a mental challenge.

Bobby Weed loves his courses to be tests of “stepping on and off the gas,” the theory behind his so-called “halfpar” holes. With par-4s as varied as the driveable 265-yard second and 320-yard 11th balanced by the monstrous 414-yard sixth, par-5s measuring less than 490-yards and as long as 580-yards, Weed gives you many options for playing most of his holes. And yet those options are very rarely forced. Every type of player can have success at the Lagoon Course.

That on-and-off-the-throttle philosophy is even in-play on individual holes, like the 360-yard par-4 fourth, where a 75-yard-wide fairway is flatter the closer you risk hitting the lake on the right. The “safe” side is quite undulating, with numerous fairway hummocks, creating the “deferred strategy” of a more challenging tee shot, or approach. The hole also features two other Weed-design characteristics found throughout the layout, “fore bunkers” that appear to be greenside, but are actually 25-40 yards away from the putting surface, and greenside mounding that can help steer balls close to the flagstick for the slightly-offline shot.

Weed lowered most of the oncequite-elevated greens, raised some of the greenside areas and opened up the approaches, the tradeoff being that some of those putting surfaces are now a little smaller. And again, the greenside areas bring about a variety of recovery options, from putting, to bump-and-runs to flop shots. Over 15 acres of coquina shell areas are in-play and numerous oak trees have been planted to complement the beautiful maritime oak hammocks that, along with the undulations in the fairways, frame the Lagoon Course.

While it covers only a little more than 80 acres (about half the area of most full-sized courses), you’ll never feel the presence of a group on an adjacent fairway. And the breezes blowing off the nearby Atlantic will make every round a different test of your skill and patience. Despite its name, “only” 12 of the 18 holes have water essentially inplay, adding to the visual appeal without making the course any more diabolical than the quality of our own games.

The variety of holes and shots at the "new” Lagoon Course at the Ponte Vedra Inn and Club is such that you’ll likely learn a new way to play it every time. To experience it first-hand, visit www.pvresorts.com or call (904) 285-1111.

 

 

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