Robert Tyre Jones, the man, the myth, the legend is alive and well. Well, maybe not the man himself, but the legend lives on at Bobby Jones Golf Club in Sarasota, FL. History abounds at the club that features the American 18; British 18; and the Gillespie Executive 9. Our round today today took us to the Gillespie Course and we were greeted by
a sign that read, “Danger – Alligators are common in this area. They can be dangerous and should not be approached, frightened, or fed. Please give them the respect they deserve. KEEP YOUR DISTANCE.” I did, but I sent my caddie ahead to survey the first hole. Bad idea since my caddie is also my wife!
Being the trooper she is, she inspected the ponds that surround Hole #1 and gave me the thumbs-up. I moved from the safety of the cart and blasted one down the middle of the fairway. Knowing that she had secured the area must have been a boost to my confidence! This hole is one of the par 4s on the par 30 course. Hole #2 is a short, 102 yard par 3. Don’t be long or you could find your ball resting in the cemetery that sits just behind the green. That’s exactly where I found my bladed wedge shot!
Hole #3 is the second par 4. It is a slight dogleg left with a small drainage canal to clear with your drive. When you reach your drive, you are presented with two greens/flags in the distance. Which one is green #3? Here’s a thought – why don’t I consult the scorecard. Sure enough the diagram shows the green to the right is my correct destination. I should use the scorecards for more than recording my bogeys!
Hole #4 starts a run of five consecutive par 3s. It’s 156 yards and all you need to be concerned about is the canal that’s out there at about 140 yards. Hole #5 – 130 yards with a big, old Live Oak and Spanish Moss to avoid on the right. Hole #6 – 108 yards with the canal wrapping around the back of the green. Hole #7 – 108 yards (again) with the canal to carry (again). Hole #8 – 158 yards with the canal to carry (again) about 130 yards out there. If you are really wild left, you might find your ball resting in a pond. I would suggest a good supply of balls for the high-handicap golfer or a beginner who doesn’t get much loft on their ball.
I wish I had my drive back at Hole #9. Houses define the left side of the fairway, so I bailed with a very weak drive into the only group of trees to the right – WEAK!
Par: Bobby Jones spent many winters in Sarasota and dedicated the original course at this complex in 1927. Colonel John Gillespie, a native of Scotland, is known as “The Father of Sarasota” and is credited with introducing Florida to the game of golf.
If you are looking for a day of golf, there is plenty to keep you busy with the two 18-hole courses and the Gillespie 9. There are many fun things to do in this area but our choices were: Big Cat Habitat & Gulf Coast Sanctuary; Mote Marine Aquarium; and The Ringling. The evening concluded with shopping and dinner on St. Armands.
1000 Circus Blvd., Sarasota, FL 34232; 941-955-8041; www.bjgc365.com