There are multiple ways to experience the respective influences of Jack Nicklaus and Arnold Palmer when visiting the World Golf Village in St. Augustine. The first, of course, is at the World Golf Hall of Fame, where the careers of these two — winners of 25 major championships between the two of them — are celebrated accordingly.
With no disrespect meant toward historians, the better way to celebrate this pair might be to play the King & Bear Course at the resort. Both greats put significant effort into golf course design as their playing careers slowed down, amassing more than 650 courses designs between them. King & Bear is their only collaboration.
The course website makes no bones about the importance of a solid driving game if looking to score here, citing its designers’ talent from the tee. That said, being Florida, it doesn’t hurt to be accurate as well. Water hazards abound, including numerous forced carries to isolated par three greens, or across channels upon approach.
Those who enjoy this course may also want to try the Slammer & Squire Course at the resort, designed in partnership with Sam Snead and Gene Sarazen.
The complex of World Golf Village is a nice spot to drop in and play 36. The King and Bear is a solid Florida round. Conditioning is always very good and the course is a joy to play. It's worth a day out and play em both.
It was my second time playing this course being the previous one in 2017 during The Players Week and surprised I had not reviewed it. It was played the day after we played Slammer and Squire so it is perfect to do the contrast between both of them, where K&B stands a little bit higher in course quality and design plus some memorable holes.
The first fact is these 2 courses are just a couple of miles apart from each other and the color of the grass was totally different, where in this one it was stronger green like emerald while at S&S it was kind of grey green, to the sight K&B was a lot nicer.
It was played during a 32 golfers outing for one week in the area and again the organization was perfect, crew very helpful and everything in place at the right time. The only black dot I would put is this is a “play at your own risk property” signal they have in the proshop. We had a huge thunderstorm and play was stopped for 2hs on our own, because the Marshalls will not. I feel being in an area where storms are common, this should be addressed.
My feeling about the course improved from my first visit in 2017, I liked it a lot. Very well kept, greens rolling at a very good speed, fairways in very nice shape and some really good golf holes:
- The stretch of par 5 th, par 3 6th and par 5 7th is just spectacular, the first one with 2 carries over water, then the short 3 and a good birdie chance plus tough 7th where going in 2 is possible but it is very tough to hold the ball there.
- Par 4 9th plays very similar to same hole at PGA West Stadium course, long and tough.
- 15th and 16th where the 2 holes chosen by Arnold and Jack as their favourites, first one a short 4 where going for it needs a carry over water and 16th has a very demanding second shot.
Many classic features from both The King Arnold and The bear Jack make this course special, you are close to the Hall of Fame and 30mins from TPC Sawgrass. During The Players Week this is a must play.