A chance to walk The Concession

 Given the opportunity to see and walk The Concession on opening day in 2005, I jumped at it.  Co-designers Jack Nicklaus and Tony Jacklin put on an exhibition for the members, invited guests and for the Golf Channel.

It was a spectacular and very memorable day.

Seven years later, the public has its chance. The Concession Golf Club, an exclusive private club in East Manatee County, is allowing the public to see and walk the course Friday and Saturday.

 This is an unusual opportunity because you normally would not be permitted on the course unless you were a guest of a member.

The occasion is the 2012 Big Ten Match Play Men's Championship. The Jack Nicklaus/Tony Jacklin designed course in East Manatee County is hosting the conference's match play event on Friday, Feb. 10 and Saturday, Feb. 11.

The Concession golf course rests on pristine land that is dotted with huge two hundred year-old oak trees and pines, some as tall as 150 feet.

A "core" design, the golf course utilizes 520 acres and will feature adjoining enclaves of estate-like homes. The Concession is the only Jack Nicklaus Signature Golf Course in the Sarasota area.

Major amenities at The Concession include a large practice area, traditional caddie program, junior golf programs, a golf-oriented main clubhouse with exceptional dining, locker rooms, card room and billiard room.

In the past year, two large Rolex clocks have been added to the grounds.

Admission is free and no tickets are required. Club officials only ask that patrons call in advance and give their names so the guard shack can be informed to permit those patrons onto the grounds.

The Concession, named for the 1969 Ryder Cup where Nicklaus conceded a short  putt to Jacklin to make the event a tie, was named best new private club by Golf Digest Magazine in 2006.

After the NCAA Golf Championship format changed in 2009 to include match play, the Big Ten coaches organized their own match-play tournament to help provide their teams with more match play opportunities.

 When the teams face off Friday, two-time defending champion Northwestern will be looking to defend its back-to-back Big Ten titles, according to a news release sent by The Concession.

 "The Concession invites golf fans from Sarasota/Bradenton to come see some of the best Division I collegiate golfers tackle the course in match play," said general manager Bruce Cassidy, Jr.

I have walked and played the course and believe me it is a treat. As Paul Azinger said, it is the only course in the area that rivals a PGA Tour course.

For more information, or to plan to attend, call the club at 941-322-1465.


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