Though Pete Dye is generally credited with first using the waste area as a hazard—at his 1969 Harbourtown course, another 1969 also makes use of this feature. Half the holes at Jupiter Hills are bordered by firm sandy waste areas that make for a gentle hazard, i.e. they may cost you half a shot, but they won’t ruin your round. There is, however, nothing gentle about the topography. This part of Florida is characterized by the Seminole Ridge, a land feature that appears at Seminole and then again at Palm Beach Country Club. At Jupiter Hills, the ridge is not uniform, rather it includes a number of humps and hollows—a sort of miniaturized version of New Hampshire’s Presidential Range. Architect George Fazio used every one of these high spots to site a green and the result is a very un-Floridaesque golf course that plays longer than its yardage. The clubhouse sits on the highest point of land, boasting a view of the ocean. Water, however, is not a common feature, here, though one of the finest holes--# 15—is a lovely Cape hole with a small lake running from tee to green. While Jupiter Hills is a Fazio course (Tom worked on it in his early 20s), it’s primarily the work of his uncle George. George was a pretty good golfer, extending Ben Hogan to a playoff in Hogan’s famous 1950 US Open win at Merion. Fazio had owned a Ford dealership outside Philadelphia and that connected him to William Clay Ford. When Ford decided to build a golf community in Jupiter, he asked Fazio to design it. Fazio had worked at Pine Valley and the 9th is his paean to that course, an uphill par 3 that can extend to over 200 yards of carry over a wasteland of sand and scrub. The line of charm is very much in evidence from the tees at Jupiter Hills, forcing the golfer to think about where to place the tee shot for the optimum angle to the green. And despite the elevated greens, there are plenty of opportunities to play a variety of approach shots. The greens are nicely contoured and putts left above the hole will test the player’s skill and nerve. The routing is a bit convoluted, with long cart rides to half a dozen tees and so there’s not much walking done here, but those were the only faults I found. Jupiter Hills is one of my half dozen favorites in the state, right up with the Streamsongs, Mountain Lake, TPC Sawgrass, Black Diamond Ranch and Seminole.
Date: April 03, 2016