Erik Larsen’s Renovation of St. Johns Golf Club Unveils Nov. 29

The St. Johns County Golf Club has scheduled its reopening on November 29 at 1 p.m., following a renovation by the architect Erik Larsen.

The municipal course renovation project has taken seven years since a feasibility study by the St. Johns County Commission. The course has been closed since last year.

Drainage, irrigation, playing surface and training areas were part of the overall project.

The course opened in 1989 as a 27-hole facility. The county considered developing the property for residential use, but ultimately approved the $8 million project with money from recreation impact fees, a transportation trust fund, d a utility fund, a bed tax and a general fund.

The county will use the excess 80 acres to build new fire and sheriff stations and establish amenities to be determined.

“St. Johns Golf Club is a terrific example of accessible, public golf and engaging architectural work coming together to make the player experience that much more fun,” Larsen said in a statement.

One of the changes was to bring the first and 18th holes and practice facilities closer to the clubhouse for more social interaction.

In consultation with the long-time golf manager WesTucker, Larsen designed a new routing for the course which includes wider fairways, Biarritz, Punchbowl and Redan green designs and low maintenance square bunkers.

The greens are in TifEagle bermudagrass, the fairways in TifTuf bermudagrass and the faces of the bunkers are in Zoysia grass. The par will be 71 and the length will range from 4,803 from the front tees and 7,009 from the tips.

Larsen, a Ponte Vedra Beach resident and former executive vice president of Arnold Palmer Golf Design Company, previously carried out the renovation project of the Atlantic Beach Country Club.

The county commission set green fees from $25 for the afternoon walk to less than $60 for out-of-state visitors.

“This course is one of the true gems of St. Johns County,” said Henry Dean, Chairman of the St. Johns County Commission, in a statement. “It’s a wonderful piece of equipment and the crowd showed it, with about 35% of the rounds coming from outside the county. We were able to fund that not from the general ad valorem tax that hits landlords, but to use the 7 million visitors a year that we see here. As Commissioner, I would be irresponsible to walk away from this golf course.

The Palencia team wins

The Palencia Club pro team Santiago Cavanagh and amateurs Larry Baker, Tom Cassady and Dannie Wilson won the Jacksonville Area Golf Association/Northern Chapter PGA Club Tag Team Championship at the King & Bear, shooting an 18-under 126 on a two-best clean ball format.

The Palencia Club team at the Palencia Golf Club won the Jacksonville Area Golf Club Team Championship.  From there are Tom Cassady, Santiago Cavanagh, Larry Baker and Dannie Wilson.

They beat the Deerwood Country Club pro team Mitchell Haley and amateurs Sal Randisi, Melissa Heaton and Mat Nemeth by three strokes. Three teams tied for third, another fight back: Andy Heartz (pro), Jeff Elledge, Ron Jerin and Ron Mullis the Palatka Golf Club; Leonard Thompson (pro), John Caden, Bob Long and chuck smith Sawgrass Country Club and Jake Etherton (pro), Rich Regan Henry Chambliss and Max Norgart Slammer & Squire.

Deerwood Assistant Mitchell Haley was the low pro with a 66 and the host pro Etherton had a 69.

The tournament featured 25 teams of four players from JAGA member clubs, with one PGA member and three amateurs.

UNF’s Gabrelcik nominated

University of North Florida Junior Nick Gabrelcik is one of three finalists for the Ben Hogan Award for Golfer of the Month for October presented by the Hogan Trophy Award Foundation, the Friends of Golf and the Golf Coaches Association of America (GCAA).

This is Gabrelcik’s second Hogan Golfer of the Month Award. He was a finalist in February 2022.

Gabrelcik, a two-time ASUN Player of the Year, finished second at the Quail Valley Collegiate Invitational, finished first at the Isleworth Invitational, and finished solo second at the Ka’anapali Classic. He was a cumulative 42 under and averaging 67.0 strokes in those three events.

He set his career-low 18-hole three times and his 16-under 197 in Hawaii was the UNF record for 54 holes. He also broke the program records for career top five (14) and career innings in the 60s (38).

Gabrelcik was also named ASUN Male Golfer of the Week twice in October.

The other two nominees are David Ford from North Carolina and Drew Salyers from Indiana.

Libby elected to PGA Board of Directors

hidden hills owner russ libby was elected to the PGA Tour Board of Directors as Director of District 13 at the PGA’s 106th Annual Meeting last week in Phoenix. Libby will serve a three-year term, representing the Georgia, North Florida and South Florida PGA Chapters.

Libby served the PGA of America at the chapter, section and national level for 25 years, including a term as president of the North Florida PGA Section from 2003 to 2005. He was also a member of the PGA Board of Control from 2007 to 2011.

Contact Garry Smits at [email protected] and follow him on Twitter @GSmitter

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