Amelia National Golf and Country Club: The First Coast's Next Great Golf Home

Amelia National Golf & Country ClubThere have been a couple of rare opportunities like this before. But they’re rare indeed. A golf community considered by some to be on the fringe of convenience, yet by others to be on the cutting edge of golf lifestyle. The latter group was the progressives, who foresaw the fabulous future and pulled the trigger on literally the deal-of-a-lifetime. You know those people, might even envy them a little for their vision. But now you can become an active part of your own little slice of paradise at Amelia National Golf & Country Club.

What makes Amelia National unique from any other private club on Florida’s First Coast? Actually, it is a combination of elements with a common theme, first class style and service, with the laid-back sophistication and enviable leisure attitude of Amelia Island, all done in a marvelously convenient location, and in an order that reflects the priorities of the club-- challenging course, then classy clubhouse and relaxing residences set back from the fairways, most with lake vistas added to the golf views. But you don’t have to be a homeowner within Amelia National to be a member, just someone who appreciates a great golf atmosphere and superior service.

Amelia National Golf & Country ClubAmelia National begins with a spectacular layout designed by the architect with more Golf Digest Top 100 courses than anyone, Tom Fazio, that’s been open for play since late April of 2006. Fazio’s charge from the owners of Amelia National? “Make the best members’ course you can.” He went through 19 different routings before settling on the finished product, an already-mature-feeling masterpiece that actually looks and plays like it’s finished, even though there are hundreds of thousands of dollars in additional landscaping, including colorful lugustroms, crepe myrtles, azaleas, magnolias, redbuds and white dogwoods that will keep the course awash in a variety of colors all summer long. The course’s “flavor” is one of relaxed, Lowcountry elegance.

Though carved through natural forests of tall pines, live oaks and sweet bays, trees are really not one of the hazards of this course defined more by its Fazio signatures--big bunkers, bigger landing areas, and some of the biggest greens you’ll see at any private club, lending a level of variety to each round that will give members and their guests a new and different challenge every time they play. Fazio didn’t even move that much dirt, only about half the amount of many Florida projects, to create the lush TifSport fairways and TifEagle greens, overseeded with a blend of ryes and fescues in the winter months. Risk-reward bunkers abound, tougher and deeper the more aggressive line you choose. If you do stray into the trees, much of the underbrush has been removed, allowing you to play out from the pine straw borders. The oversized greens come with multiple plateaus, and you’d be wise to hit as many as possible because of the variety of run-off areas and gnarly rough surrounding them.

Did we say variety? Par-3s are often a designer’s least imaginative holes, but Fazio’s at Amelia National range from 233 yards at the tips, to 206, to 177, to 145 yards at the 17th. Thirty yards difference from one tee to the next, and different green shapes and bunker complexes? Now that’s variety!

Amelia National Golf & Country ClubYet it’s the challenge of the par-5s that might really set Amelia National apart. All of them offer you an opportunity to play “bombs-away” off the tee to a generous landing area, but all of them narrow at the approaches with great bunkering the closer you get to the green. #11 and 15 also bring water into play as you try to think your way onto the elevated greens that feature a variety of plateaus.

The 16th and 18th holes are the shortest, longest, and probably most talked-about par-4s. Head professional Todd McDonald loves the 343-yards-from-the-tips dogleg left 16th with its forced carry off the tee and well-bunkered, 45-yard-deep, table-top green. And General Manager Andy Crowe can’t stop talking about the 460-yard-from-the-tips 18th with its series of four bunkers to the right off the tee, its water left from 135-yards in, and narrow opening to another deep green in a stadium-type bowl, all of it viewable from the spectacular new French Provincial clubhouse with wraparound veranda that’s springing up beside the water at the conclusion of an exciting round.

That clubhouse, on a schedule for completion by September of 2007, will be the centerpiece of the Amelia National community. Along with the spectacular views of the course, it will feature fine dining and casual camaraderie with a sparkling pool complex set among lushly landscaped gardens and a trio of tennis courts for a change of pace.

But with all the challenge from the 7,166-yard tips comes a playability from the 6,800-yard gold tees, the 6,440-yard middle (blue) tees and the white tees that measure just under 6,000 yards. Besides the generous landing areas, most of the holes offer not only room to bump the ball up to the massive greens, but bail-out areas to one side or another. Sometimes, those safe harbors are in the form of close-cropped run-off areas, sometimes they’re pitchable rough. Always, they add to the variety of shot-making options at Amelia National.

To practice those shots, you’ll be wowed by the football-field sized tee box on the 7-1/2 acre practice facility that guarantees you’ll never have a scruffy lie. A chipping green is available for short and longer bunker shots and the putting green is large enough to practice those lag putts you’ll need to master for the large greens.

Amelia National Golf & Country ClubWith 10-minute tee times spacing actually improving the pace of play, visiting this enclave as a member or guest is a well-earned treat. But living inside the only private, gated community between Jacksonville and Sea Island, Georgia is a lifestyle all its own. Only the first 80 of the 740-or-so planned homes and townhouses are currently in one phase or another of construction. The four preferred builders at Amelia National will actually improve the ambience of the golf experience through the design and landscaping of their variety of floor plans in one and two story, 3-6 bedroom and 3-4 bath models ranging in square footage from 1,900 to over 4,000 and in price from the low-$400’s to over $1-million. Social membership at the club comes with property ownership that can be easily upgraded to a full golf membership. And yes, a limited number of memberships are available to area residents who don’t live at Amelia National.

Another way to enjoy the amenities of Amelia National is through affiliation with the Private Quarters Club that will operate 20 townhomes for its members, who’ll have membership privileges at Amelia National.

Whether a resident within the gates, or someone looking for pristine private golf, Amelia National’s location is a winner. Located away from the sprawl south of Jacksonville, within 20 minutes of Jacksonville International Airport, within 30 minutes of downtown, and within 5 minutes of the relaxing Atlantic beaches at Amelia Island, the members of Amelia National have the best of all worlds.

For more information on Amelia National Golf & Country Club, visit www.amelianationalgolf.com or call them toll free at (877) 600-0907 or the golf shop at (904) 652-0660. You may have seen a rare opportunity like this before. You may even be on the waiting list for one. But you can join the Amelia National family now. And who knows when an occasion like this will come along again.

 

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