You can almost see men in their plus-four knickers and women in their flowing skirts playing down emerald fairways guarded by palm trees at the Ponte Vedra Inn & Club. Opened in 1928, this historic golf mecca maintains the elegant decorum of golf played by ladies and gentlemen.
From the time you enter the graceful lobby to sit down and register with the extremely courteous personnel, you will feel as if you’ve stumbled upon a place from a bygone era where the guest is king and the staff feel honored you’ve chosen their resort. When you arrive at the Ponte Vedra Inn & Club, you really feel as if you’ve arrived.
Ponte Vedra Beach (just east of Jacksonville) was not much more than a mining town in the early 1900s. But that all changed in 1928, when the Ponte Vedra Inn & Club opened for elite guests to enjoy the sun, surf and golf. The inn still uses much of its original lobby and gathering areas – such as the Great Lounge and the shops from that time period (albeit stylishly updated) – giving the space a feeling of historic significance.
In 1928, Herbert Strong designed the Ocean Course, crafting a true links course. I have seen layouts such as this in Scotland – without the palm trees, of course.
Head PGA professional Bruce Mohler gave me a tour of his favorite golf holes on the par-72 Ocean Course, which Robert Trent Jones redesigned in 1947 and golf course architect Bobby Weed restored in 1998. Bruce selected holes 3 and 4 – a back-to-back par-5 and tough par-4 combination that will test your skills. This entire course has some undulating greens with distinct sections, requiring you to not only hit the green but also stop your ball on the correct section to allow a chance at birdie. You have to factor in the ocean breeze as well.
There are five sets of tees ranging from 6,811 yards from the tips to 4,967 from the red tees.
The “newer” 18 holes make up the Lagoon Course. It’s made up of two nines – one done by Robert Trent Jones in 1961 and the other by Joe Lee in 1977 – then Bobby Weed came in to restore the course in 2007, making it the fine track it is today. As you may guess, water is a main factor here. Although the par-70 course appears short on the yardage card (6,022 from the back tees), it is a real test. For his favorite picks, Bruce first chose the sturdy No. 3 203-yard par 3 – a good carry over water. The No. 12 par 5 has water protecting all the way up the right side to a smallish green, making it very difficult to reach in two shots.
Both layouts make for a challenging day of golf. Chosen by such publications as Golf Digest, Golfweek and Golf & Travel as one of the best resorts in the country, Ponte Vedra Inn & Club guarantees a terrific round.
No top resort would be complete without superb rooms. The Ponte Vedra Inn offers multiple styles of accommodations, from the opulent penthouse suite to the magnificent oceanside and historic inn-style quarters. Just outside the back door of your room, waves crash on the beach as the palm trees sway in the Atlantic zephyr. The rooms provide openness and luxury.
The inn provides plenty of places to dine after an invigorating day of golf. The Golf Club restaurant offers a great menu for before or after your game, and several lounges and bars located throughout the property serve meals, snacks or drinks. But for the very best in dining, go to Seahorse Grille atop the Surf Club and overlook the beach while eating wonderful entrees by a world-class chef.
Every member of the staff at the Ponte Vedra Inn seems to know your name and would do anything to make your stay more pleasant. When you visit the Ponte Vedra Inn & Club, you know your search for a five-diamond golf resort that treats you like a longtime member of its classy club has ended.
Contact the Ponte Vedra Inn & Club at 800-234-7842 or 904-285-1111, or visit its website at pontevedra.com.