HAMMOCK BEACH RESORT (OCEAN)
Course Architect: Jack Nicklaus
Year Opened: 2000
Location: Palm Coast, Florida
Slope: 147. Rating: 77.0
Hole-by-Hole: 1 - Par 4 380 Yds 10 - Par 5 522 Yds
2 - Par 5 540 Yds 11 - Par 4 384 Yds
3 - Par 4 414 Yds 12 - Par 3 225 Yds
4 - Par 3 192 Yds 13 - Par 4 433 Yds
5 - Par 4 434 Yds 14 - Par 5 551 Yds
6 - Par 5 526 Yds 15 - Par 4 450 Yds
7 - Par 4 458 Yds 16 - Par 4 399 Yds
8 - Par 3 185 Yds 17 - Par 3 174 Yds
9 - Par 4 468 Yds 18 - Par 4 466 Yds
Par 36 3,597 Yds Par 36 3,604 Yds
Key Events Held: Ginn Championship (2007-present),
Amateur Golfers Tour Championship (2004),
USGA Senior Amateur Qualifying (2004),
U.S. Women's Amateur Public Links Championship (2003),
Georgia Seniors Golf Association Championship (2003),
U.S. Open Qualifying (2001).
Awards Won: Ranked #10 by Golf Digest - Best Courses you can play (FL) (2013),
Ranked #3 by Golfweek - America's Best State by State (FL) Public
Access Courses (2004-2006),
Rated 4 1/2 stars by Golf Digest - Best Places to Play (2006),
#78 by Golf Magazine - America's Top 100 You Can Play (2006),
Top 50 Golf Course for Women by Golf For Women (2002-06),
Rated #1 course on Florida's First Coast by Travelgolf.com,
AAA Four-Diamond Award (2004-06).
HISTORY: It's not often you find a piece of land on the Florida coast that has
not been developed, but when Jack Nicklaus heard about the property at Ocean
Hammock, he jumped at the chance.
Opened in the winter of 2000, Ocean Hammock Golf Club is the first oceanfront
course to open in the Sunshine State in over 70 years. The Nicklaus Signature
layout features eight holes that overlook the Atlantic Ocean, including the
spectacular ninth and 18th holes.
This is Nicklaus at his best, with long and risk-rewarding par fives,
sensational and challenging par fours and thrilling and demanding par threes.
Doglegs reign supreme, along with plenty of water hazards, pines and palms
and, surprisingly, uphill and downhill holes. The putting surfaces are equally
challenging, as they range from as little as 23 paces deep to over 40 yards in
length. But that's not the half of it, as the speed and undulations are quite
Upon completion of the layout, the Golden Bear called Ocean Hammock, "The
Pebble Beach of the East Coast." Although biased, it is certainly high praise
from the greatest golfer of all time.
Accolades have certainly been thrust upon Ocean Hammock since its opening,
such as being named one of the top-100 Courses in America You Can Play by Golf
Magazine and rated 4 1/2 stars by Golf Digest.
The United States Golf Association certainly wasted no time in adding Ocean
Hammock to its docket, as it awarded the resort the 2003 U.S. Women's Amateur
Public Links Championship. Teenage sensation Michelle Wie's rise to stardom
began at this event, as she became the youngest champion of an adult USGA
championship at the age of 13, when she defeated Virada Nirapathpongporn in
Nirapathpongporn was the medalist after the stroke-play portion, carding
rounds of 72-69, while Wie completed the 36 holes at even-par 144.
Nirapathpongporn's road to the final was rather easy, as she defeated her five
opponents before reaching the 17th hole. In fact, her semifinal match was a 5
& 4 thumping of Beth Allen, who has played on the LPGA Tour the past two
Wie on the other hand struggled at the onset, as she posted back-to-back 2 & 1
wins in the first two rounds before heating up. Wie then won her next three
matches by 5 & 4, 6 & 5 and 5 & 4 scores. Wie's quarterfinal win came against
Becky Lucidi, who captured the 2002 U.S. Women's Amateur.
In an amazing championship match, Wie outlasted Nirapathpongporn in a 36-hole
match, 1-up, for her first and only title outside her home state of Hawaii.
After dropping the second hole of the match, Nirapathpongporn won five of the
next six holes to take a 4-up lead on the opening nine. Wie, however,
responded by winning four of the next six holes to square the match. The duo
halved the next four holes and were even after the opening 18.
Nirapathpongporn reclaimed the lead by winning two of the next four holes, but
the advantage was short-lived, as Wie captured four of the next five holes to
take a 2-up lead with just nine holes remaining. Nirapathpongporn responded by
taking two of the next three to even the match once again with five holes
left. Wie then eagled the par-five 32nd hole (14th), as she sank a 20-foot
putt for a 1-up lead, but again Nirapathpongporn evened the match with par on
The final turning point in the match came on the 35th hole, as
Nirapathpongporn missed a three-foot par putt on the par three and the two
players halved the last, as Wie became champion. Wie was a stroke-play
equivalent of seven-under par for the 36 holes while Nirapathpongporn was six-
The course played just over 6,000 yards for the championship with the cut
coming at 14-over par. During the opening round of stroke-play, Cindy Skilton
of Pennsylvania recorded a double-eagle on the par-five 14th, when she holed
her five-wood second shot. When Wie made eagle on this hole, she used a six-
iron for her second.
REVIEW: Standing on the first tee, take a look behind to take in the scenery
of the Atlantic Ocean. It will be seven holes until you return to Mother
The course opens with probably the easiest hole on the layout, a simple dogleg
right par four of just 380 yards. The shortest four par on the course can be
had, as the large fairway is quite accessible. Avoid the trio of bunkers down
the right side and you'll have a simple wedge to an elevated green. The
putting surface does have some slope to it, as it rolls from back to front. A
back-left pin can be tough to get at, especially with the bunker left of the
The first of four outstanding par fives, the second is a solid 540 yards from
the black buttons. Water comes into play down the left side, jutting in and
out several times. Once again, the landing area is quite wide, so try and cut
off some of the water down the left. All you'll need is 225 yards to carry the
inlet and you might be able to give it a go in two. This is where the brain
should take control of the brawn. The fairway tightens drastically from 100
yards in with woods and two pot bunkers left and a sandy waste area right.
Going for the green in two will require precision, as the putting surface is
guarded by two deep traps in the front. Although just 29 paces deep, the green
is wide and undulating. With a short pin, use the back stop to place your
pitch close to the flag for birdie.
After a pair of real birdie chances, the third is a fairly long and tight par
four. The key is the tee shot, which must split woods left and right and the
two fairway bunkers on either side. A medium iron will remain to a very
difficult green. An outcropping of four bunkers block the left portion of the
putting surface, while another quartet of sand traps guard the rear. At 23
yards deep, this is the smallest putting surface on the front nine and one of
the most demanding. When the wind is up, this hole can be a bear.
One of the finest holes on the course, the fourth is a great par three,
stretching a modest 192 yards. The tee shot travels over water to the green
and to the right. Four strategically placed bunkers surround the putting
surface, which is very wide and undulating. A par here will be a very good
Next up are the boomerang fifth and sixth holes, which bend sharply left
around water hazards. The dogleg par-four fifth requires a draw off the tee,
hugging the left side as much as possible to set up a mid-iron approach. It's
not a bad play to miss your opening shot to the right, as the fairway is
bunkerless, thus avoiding the water. The putting surface is quite large with a
deep bunker fronting the green and two pot bunkers deep.
Talk about your ultimate risk-reward par five, the sixth is only 526 yards
from the tips and bends to the left. A big tee ball down the left side over
the corner of the lake will set up an opportunity to go for the green in two.
One word of caution: The putting surface is surrounded by water, so you're
200-yard-plus second will be all carry to the promised land. The green is long
and two-tiered with sand guarding the left. It's a great hole to get one back
with a birdie. By the way, if you're playing the conservative way, you must
avoid the handful of bunkers down the right side of the fairway off the tee.
Snapping back to the right, the dogleg seventh is a robust 458 yards from the
tips, thus earning its No. 3 handicap ranking. The key here is avoiding the
trees lining the right side of the fairway. The landing area is generous,
although water and a sandy beach blanket the left side. A medium to long iron
will remain to an undulating green with sand and grass bunkers abound. Making
par here is like stealing one on the scorecard.
Playing back toward the ocean, the eighth is a fantastic par three that is
dramatically effected by the wind. Listed at only 185 yards, this hole can
play three or four clubs differently on any given day, especially when Mother
Nature blows. The elevated green is quite narrow and undulating with a pair of
deep bunkers to the right that sit well below the putting surface. The green
runs right up against the beach, featuring a nice view of the Atlantic, but
devilishly close to OB, making club selection crucial.
One of two holes on the course that run alongside the ocean, the ninth is by
far the hardest hole at Ocean Hammock. At 468 yards, it's also the longest of
the par fours and requires two well-struck blows. Two bunkers, one right and
one left, must be avoided to have any shot at getting home in regulation. The
landing area is quite generous, as it plays slightly downhill from the tee.
Playing down the right side will shorten your approach to the uphill putting
surface, but you will still be left with a long iron or hybrid. The green is
long, slick and undulating from back to front and sits in full view of the
The back nine opens with the easiest par five on the course, however, don't be
fooled. From an elevated tee box, the straightaway 522-yard 10th features a
tree-lined fairway down the entire right side, a narrow landing area and a 25-
yards-deep bunker down the left, which is quite reachable off the tee. There
are two rules of thumb for your next play: Go for the green -- that is, of
course, if you hit a big tee shot -- or layup in the 100-yard range for a
simple third. Either way, you must avoid the quartet of bunkers, short and
near the green. The most dangerous of the four are the duo that stand by the
elevated green. Both are very deep and difficult to recover from. The putting
surface is very shallow at 25 paces, and quite undulating. The ridge in the
center will direct balls left or right, so control of your approach is of the
utmost importance. So, yes, one of the simplest on the course, but demanding
Coming up next are two of the finest holes on the course, the dogleg-left par-
four 11th and the lengthy par-three 12th. Not the longest of par fours, the
11th is only 384 yards from the tips, however a large lake runs down the
entire left side of the hole to the green. There are two trains of thought on
the tee box: 1) Play towards the right-center of the fairway with a three-
metal to the widest portion of the landing area, thus setting up a 150-yard
approach to the green and taking all the trouble out of play, and 2) The more
risky option is to go with the big stick and try to cut off as much of the
water as possible, also avoiding the 20-yard bunker in the left-center of the
fairway, as this will set up just a short wedge to the green. What's left is a
slightly-elevated putting surface just 23 paces deep, but quite long with sand
left and deep running towards the lake. The undulating green is quite
challenging, especially with a back-left pin.
The 12th is the longest of the quartet of par threes at Ocean Hammock,
reaching a whopping 225 yards from the black markers. The carry to the green
is all over water to a 41-yards-wide putting surface fronted by a beach-type
bunker and a deep trap built into the hillside on the right. With wind
affecting your shot off the tee, this could be one bear of a hole, especially
with another back-left flag. It's hard to pick favorites and signature holes
on this course, but No. 12 certainly stands out.
One of the more difficult driving holes, the 13th is anything but lucky. Trees
and out of bounds run down the entire left side, while a large stand of trees
guard the right landing area. Let's not forget the 35-yard bunker down the
left that pinches the fairway at the 200-yard marker. If you're strong enough
to fly the bunker and reach the landing area, you'll be left with a mid-iron
to a very shallow, but relatively flat, green. Chipping areas surround the
surface and a deep bunker, front-right, must be avoided to have any shot at
par. Who knows, maybe you will get lucky.
The longest hole on the course is the par-five 14th at 551 yards. The so-
called easiest hole with a No. 18 handicap rating, this monster bends to the
right around a large body of water that comes into play on all three shots.
Although the fairway is the widest on the course, two bunkers, one right and
one left, must be dissected to give yourself any shot at birdie. A big blast
down the right side can give the player a shot at getting home in two,
especially with a helping breeze. Bypass the tall palm tree by the water and
slip past the greenside bunker and, who knows, maybe you will make a three or
The final four holes at Ocean Hammock are affectionately known as "The Bear
Claw." Course designer Nicklaus commented that "they should rank among the
game's more memorable finishing foursomes." It comes as no surprise that the
final quartet are rated as four of the top-eight most difficult on the course.
First up is the robust, straightaway par-four 15th. It measures a rugged 450
yards from the tips and plays uphill to the green and towards the ocean, so
expect a head wind. Even with a big tee ball, the player is still left with a
long iron or hybrid to a green that's perched a good 30 feet above the
fairway. There are no greenside traps to mess with, just a steep grade to an
undulating putting surface that overlooks the Atlantic. A par here would be a
great start to the "Claw."
The narrowest of fairways, the 16th provides plenty of drama as you stand on
the tee. From an elevated box, this short par four sweeps to the left around
another finger of water. Three-metal or a long iron should be the play from
the start, thus avoiding the water and the 50-yard beach bunker on the left. A
medium iron should remain to a slightly-elevated green that slopes sharply on
all sides. The bunker that guards the left portion of the putting surface is
difficult to get up and down from, so the bottom line...You better be precise
or your short game will be subject to scrutiny. A word of caution: Stay away
from the right side, as trees guard the entire ride to the green.
With the ocean on the horizon, the par three 17th is as good as it gets. Over
water and sand, this one-shotter is all about club selection. With the wind
blowing off the water, picking the right stick will be of utmost importance,
as two deep traps guard the front along with a large beach bunker. Of course,
any shot long could reach the dunes by the Atlantic, so beware.
Although similar to the closing hole on the front nine, the 18th plays
completely different than its predecessor, as the ocean and the wind are on
the left side and the hole bends ever so slightly to the left. A very generous
landing area is afforded the player off the tee, however, a 40-yard bunker
stands guard down the right and of course the beach and dunes flank the left.
Whether you split the fairway or find the rough, you will still find yourself
with a fairway metal or long iron to the two-tiered, elevated green that sits
precariously close to the beach. A very deep bunker protects the front-left,
so if you're going to err, miss right by all means.
FINAL WORD: Phew! You'll definitely need to catch your breath after completing
Ocean Hammock Golf Club and "The Bear Claw." Ocean Hammock has it all, from
sensational scenery to outstanding conditions and a terrific track.
You can't go wrong when several holes play up to and alongside the Atlantic
Ocean. Water comes into play on all but two holes, although with the ninth and
18th, you'll be hard-pressed to reach the ocean, unless of course it's high
With all of the different angles, wind directions and yardage fluctuations,
this course is really a strategic, shotmaker's venue, not a bomber's paradise.
Take, for example, the par-five sixth or the par-four 11th, both requiring
placement off the tee and both rewarding the aggressor or the conservative
Don't get me wrong, you still need to move it out there, as the course
stretches to over 7,200 yards, but you must be accurate. Despite its whopping
148 slope and 77.0 rating, Ocean Hammock is for all levels, as the course
yardage starts at 5,115 with five sets of tee boxes. Since 2002, it has been
rated as one of the top 50 courses in the United States for women.
Let's talk about some of the amenities at Ocean Hammock. The first-class
practice facility sits between the first and 10th holes and can handle a small
army of players. The halfway house features a chicken salad sandwich that's to
die for and the pro shop is fully stocked with all of the latest apparel.
But the piece de resistance is the Lodge at Ocean Hammock. With just a handful
of rooms -- 20 to be exact -- the Lodge sits above the 18th green and affords
all guests views of the Atlantic Ocean. The food at the Atlantic Grille is
exceptional and the relaxed atmosphere and sensational staff will make your
Just a short drive from Jacksonville, Ocean Hammock is conveniently located
off A1A in the small town of Palm Coast, situated between Daytona Beach and
St. Augustine. Let's not forget the relatively minimal distance to Mickey and
Minnie at Disney World and of course the PGA Tour headquarters at Ponte Vedra
This is a top-notch destination that will only get better with age. Trust me,
Ocean Hammock is one course you need to start planning to get to. The word is
certainly out about Ocean Hammock and it'll be just a matter of time before
getting a reservation at this haven of leisure and recreation will be hard to
All you need to know is this comment by the greatest golfer ever after
designing the course: "As it relates to the East Coast in the United States,
you are not going to get any better than you have right here." No, it's not
Pebble Beach, but it's awfully good.