The course at Talis Park Golf Club, formerly known as Tuscany Reserve Golf Club, is the result of an unlikely collaboration between two bold designers, Pete Dye and Greg Norman. It was at the Medalist – another excellent Floridian track located at Hobe Sound – where Dye and Norman first worked together back in 1994.
Tuscany Reserve opened its tees for play in 2006 and was groundbreaking in its total use of hybrid Sea Dwarf Paspalum grass. When the design duo turned up for an opening match with the residents of Tuscany Reserve in February 2008 – Rocco Mediate is reported to own a home here – they were mightily impressed with the salt tolerant turf and the impeccable conditioning.
We don’t normally utilise extracts from official club websites but we smiled knowingly when we read the Tuscany Reserve homepage text and couldn’t help but run the quote… “The championship course is highlighted with cross bunkers and interwoven along terraced hillsides with watercourses slowly spilling over aging stone walls into narrow finger-lakes and channels. A picturesque farm-like landscape allows for a variety of uphill and downhill holes, while providing images of a course that could easily be set in the picturesque valleys of Tuscany, Italy.” Wow… can we join the club immediately?
Probably not… even though the troubled building firm WCI sold out to overseas investors, Talis Park is beyond our means.
The course itself is really a tale of two halves but there’s a theme running right the way through and that’s water. No. 14 is the only hole on the course without water but there are only two holes on the course that demand forced carries. The front nine has a park-like feel while the back nine has been moulded into the image and likeness of Tuscan farmland. At this point we must state that there is nothing agricultural about the back nine whatsoever.
The one-shot holes are especially captivating and none more so than the short, thrilling but penal par three 13th. The peninsula green is protected by an insidious pot bunker which sits smugly in the middle of the approach to the green. There are no prizes for being short on this hole.