Situated within a beautifully forested site that backs onto the St Johns River, the course at Timuquana Country Club is a 1923 Donald Ross layout that has been extensively altered over the last nine decades, first by Robert Trent Jones Snr, then by George Cobb, followed by David Gordon.
It wasn’t until Bobby Weed was called in to restore the course to its former glory during the mid-1990s that the layout assumed much of its intended classical style. Weed had no blueprints to refer to; indeed he had only a World War II aerial photograph from the adjacent Jacksonville Naval Station to guide him.
Much of his remedial work involved clearing back bush and felling trees which, over time, had encroached onto the fairways, greatly narrowing the playing corridors. Once holes had been widened, golfers were once again able to play the angles on the layout as originally envisaged.
The course hosted the 2002 USGA Senior Amateur Championships, an event won by Greg Reynolds when he defeated Mark Bemowski 4&3 in the Final match.In Ocotober 2011, after months of renovations, which included re-turfing greens, tees and approaches, Timuquana Country Club course re-opened for play.
What a golf club. Perfection. I played Timuquana this past Thursday and it is without question the best golf course that I have played in Florida, and I've played a couple ranked in the top 10 and many others over the years. The classic clubhouse and the perfect routing made this a memorable experience for me. Outside of Holston HIlls in Knoxville, I cannot think of a better routed Ross (that I have played).
The first hole starts out with a welcoming par 4. I kind of toe bombed one up the left side and still got out of there with a stress free par. They say Ross like to start his rounds with a gentle handshake. Timuquana is a perfect example of that. From there the course was like a symphony of great holes building up to the ninth which takes you back to the clubhouse.
The members I played with spoke to me about the thousands of trees that had been removed on this course over the years. Its funny because there are still thousands left. Most of the holes are tree lined. But I did not find it to play incredibly narrow., I played the entire round with the same ball and while I did hit a couple of pines, my ball either kicked back into the fairway or straight down into the rough.
It was very apparent to me by the course conditions and the work that has been put into the course over the years that the history of this club means something to its membership. It was a very special place. There were so many great golf holes, frankly there was not a weakness in my opinion. My two personal favorites were #9 and #18 coming back to the clubhouse. It also had arguably some of the best par threes I've played. They are simple but all unique in there own way.
Timuquana was a fantastic experience from start to finish. Never pass this up if you get the opportunity.
Timuquana Country Club is a hidden gem in Jacksonville that most folks have never heard of. Timuquana opened in 1923 and is a Donald Ross design. It’s storied past include Bobby Jones playing there during WWII as he was stationed at the Jax Airbase, David Duval growing up on the course, as his father was the head pro. The club has gone through multiple redesigns over the years and in the mid 1990s Bobby Weed, using old aerial pictures, did his best to make what is old new again. It starts with the drive in and seeing the classic old clubhouse situated on the banks of the St. Johns river with the Jacksonville skyline in the background.
One of the challenges over the years is that trees get bigger. This creates much tighter fairways and less than optimal grass growing conditions. Even with the redesigns, the thinning of the trees and hurricane damage, this course is tight. Additionally, you will be surprised how few water hazards there are. The most noticeable is probably the signature hole, par 3 5th. It is 192 yards carry over water to a miniscule green. This water feature was added by Robert Trent Jones, Sr in the 1950s.The greens at Timuquana are tiny. Another water hazard was added on 6th and change it from a par 4 to a par 5. Another hole of note is the par 5 12th. At 540+ yards, not easy to begin with but there is an optical illusion at work on the green. There is a pair of bunkers on the left that make you believe that the green slopes from the right front to the back left. It is completely the opposite, judge your approach appropriately. I would play Timuquana again
Given a long, narrow piece of land to work with, it would have been easy for an ordinary architect to fashion a course of straight, parallel holes. But Donald Ross was no ordinary architect and here he managed to route many doglegs and to set them at slight angles to one another so that there’s little sense of repetition.
He also makes sure that a properly placed tee shot is rewarded with a better angle to the green. Most of the challenge is avoiding the ubiquitous pines that line the fairways, giving the course a Carolina, rather than a Florida feel. Timuquana’s un-Florida vibe is also the result of its paucity of water hazards—only one comes into play. The greens are nicely contoured as well and most are sufficiently open in front to allow a variety of approach shots.