Sara Bay Country Club - Receives National Recognition as a "Game Changer"

A Game Changer in the History of American Golf

Bobby Jones & Walter Hagen with referee. Jones & Hagen played for “The Championship of the World” at Sara Bay CC in 1926There are some courses that are highly acclaimed for the challenge or for the beauty, but there are few that are credited for contributing to defining moments in the history of golf. Sara Bay Country Club is one of them. While both beautiful and challenging, a recent article in Golf Digest lists Sara Bay along side some of the most famous courses in the country as one that has made a big impact on the game of golf.

In the article “Game Changers” by Senior Architectural editor Ron Whitten, (Nov 2010) he and his staff took a decade-by-decade look at American golf courses and their affect on the way we play the game. Whitten points out that “The impact of some courses-Pinehust and Augusta National, for instance is well known. But others have gone unnoticed.” Early in his article he cites Whitfield Country Club (now Sara Bay C.C.) built in 1926 by the Dean of American golf course architects, Donald Ross. Whitten calls the 1920’s “the Golden Age of Golf Design, when Ross, Mackenzie, and Tillinghast emerged as giants.”

Tommy Armour Sara Bay’s first golf professionalShortly after the club opened, it was the site of the fabled match between the world’s best amateur, Bobby Jones, and the best professional, Walter Hagen. Jones recalls in his autobiography that it was the worst “drubbing” he suffered in his career, but went on to say that he regarded the “Whitfield Estates course as one of the best in America.”

Bobby Jones thereafter held the title of Assistant Sales Manager while playing challenge matches to promote the new club. To add to the historic significance, “The Silver Scot,” Tommy Armour winner of 25 PGA tournaments was chosen to be the club’s first Golf Professional.

Today, Sara Bay Country Club exists as a vibrant and exclusive private golf club. It’s a venue where the past, present and future come together; where classic, timeless golf course design and tournament heritage meets 21st century course conditioning and immaculate playing surfaces.

Most important golf courses of the “Golden Age of Golf Design”
A Game Changer in the History of American Golf1921 - Los Angeles C.C.
1923 - Winged Foot G.C. N.Y.
1924 - The Olympic Club, CA
1926 - Oak Hill C.C. NY
1926 - Whitfield C.C. (Sara Bay C.C.)
1926 - Yale University G.C., CT
1927 - Riviera C.C. CA
1928 - Aronimink G.C. PA
1928 - Cypress Point Club, CA
1929 - Seminole G.C., FL

Ron Whitten, Golf Digest Nov 2010

Sara Bay’s membership is diverse, drawing from many year-round and seasonal residents. Because of it’s location just minutes from downtown Sarasota members come to play from downtown, Longboat, Lido, Siesta and Bird Keys. Though the members of Sara Bay hail from many locales, they share much in common. They enjoy the course’s history, its exceptional design and pristine conditioning. They appreciate the fact that the number of memberships is limited to 300, allowing them greater access to play a course that is not overcrowded and where rounds of four hours or less are the norm. They also enjoy the unrestricted walking policy and the fact that there are no homes between holes to spoil the natural setting. But most of all, they enjoy the camaraderie of sharing all of this with fellow enthusiasts who share a passion for pure golf.

The club offers an active golf tournament and league schedule as well as fine dining or casual lunches in the elegant clubhouse. An active social schedule is filled with parties, dances and holiday celebrations. The members of Sara Bay have also made a point to give back to the community and pass on the golf legacy by hosting The Donald Ross Memorial Tournament each year for high school golfers from the tri-county area. The Joe Turnesa Memorial Scholorship Tournament has awarded 46 college scholarships since its inception. Sara Bay Country Club offers a full range of membership options from Full Golf Owner Membership to Executive Golf (under 50 years of age), Associate Golf and Dining. They are currently offering very attractive incentives to new golf members.

Sara Bay Country Club - Receives National Recognition as a “Game Changer”

You may learn more about the club by visiting : For membership information or to arrange a personal inspection, please contact Gavin Darbyshire, PGA at (941) 355-7658 or


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