Jacksonville Beach Golf Club is more than just a walk in the park

JACKSONVILLE BEACH, Fla. -- The first thing you notice about Jacksonville Beach Golf Club is how many people are walking the course.

Not just juniors, mind you, or golfers with a death wish in the middle of the First Coast's hot, humid summers, but all kinds of people, especially elderly.

They do this, of course, for the exercise and maybe to save on cart fees. But they do this mostly because it's not that difficult.

Designed by Robert Walker and Sam Snead in 1960, the golf course was done during an era when greens and tees weren't that far apart. It's also a municipal, which means it's not spread out to support a real estate development. The combination of timing and limited land has led to a course that's easy to walk.

But while it might be easy to walk, it's anything but easy, especially for those who like to try to overpower a golf course.

Jacksonville Beach Golf Club: Placement over power

At 6,500 yards, you don't have to be long to play this course from the tips, but you do have to be accurate. There's water, it seems like, on just about every hole, including the first.

The tired but true axiom of course management really does apply here. Avoid the water, miss greens on the correct side and basically hit it where you aim and you'll do fine.

And while you won't confuse Jacksonsville Beach Golf Club with a high-end country club, it's also worth noting that the course has received updates in recent years, including renovated greens after a city project added retention ponds to the course for flood easement. By late summer in 2012, they were in pretty good shape, and the public has been responding, as it's one of the busiest public courses in the area.

There are plenty of really good holes at Jacksonville Beach Golf Club, too. The par-4 eighth, the No. 1-handicap hole, has significant carries over water both off the tee and to the green, which is almost completely surrounded by the wet stuff.

The 354-yard 10th has water all down the left side, which curls around to the front of the green. And the par-5 13th, even though it's just 520 yards, has plenty of trouble throughout the hole.

Jacksonville Beach Golf Club: The verdict

Jacksonville Beach Golf Club isn't fancy golf, but it's enjoyable for the everyday player. It's also just minutes from the beach, so you feel the constant sea breeze.

When that breeze whips up, Jacksonville Beach Club can become a bear, no matter what level of player you are. Bring a few golf balls.

Still, what makes the club so much fun is that everyone can enjoy it. Couples golf is extremely popular, and juniors play here quite a bit, too. And it won't break the bank.

Mike Bailey is a senior staff writer based in Houston. Focusing primarily on golf in the United States, Canada, the Caribbean and Latin America with an occasional trip to Europe and beyond, he contributes course reviews, travel stories and features as well as the occasional equipment review. An award-winning writer and past president of Texas Golf Writers Association, he has more than 25 years in the golf industry. Before accepting his current position in 2008, he was on staff at PGA Magazine, The Golfweek Group and AvidGolfer Magazine. Follow Mike on Twitter at @MikeBaileyGA and Instagram at @MikeStefanBailey.
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Jacksonville Beach Golf Club is more than just a walk in the park
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