Once called Ocean Hammock Golf Club, the Ginn now seems to have been distilled and dropped in another re-branding exercise by Hammock Beach Resort, but this is the one and only beachfront property that lies on the Atlantic coast a few miles to the south of historic St Augustine.
Oceanfront holes are in relative short supply in Florida – despite the Sunshine State boasting more than 1,000 miles of coastline – but they “Dream Bigger” in this neck of the woods and the Jack Nicklaus-designed signature Hammock Beach Ocean course has been rated very highly since it opened its five tees for play in 2000.
Great golf courses “that you can play” are invariably successful in a country where the very best courses are exclusively reserved for the club membership and their lucky guests. Hammock Beach is one of the standard bearers in the “courses you can play” category (but you must be a guest at the resort to play the course) and the 7,201-yard Ocean course has increased its popularity since Bernhard Langer – with Stefan, his son, on the bag – won the Ginn Championship here on Jack’s Ocean course in 2008. Keith Fergus won the inaugural 2007 event before the sponsors pulled the plug on the fledgling tournament.
With six holes that play close to the edge of the Atlantic Ocean, the Ocean course at Hammock Beach has developed a likeable reputation. Known as “Bear Claw”, the closing four holes herald the start of a tough Ocean course climax, especially in a freshening breeze.
Jack Nicklaus reckons: “As it relates to the East Coast in the United States, you are not going to get any better than you have right here.”
There is a second contrasting course at Hammock Beach designed by Tom Watson and unusually named Conservatory. We reckon Hammock Beach may even exceed the sweetest dreams.