Developers plan to add water park, RV campground to Callahan golf course

Proposed additions would reduce 18-hole golf course to 9 holes

CALLAHAN, Fla. – Big changes are planned for a Nassau County golf course.

Local developers are in the process of purchasing the Deerfield Lakes Golf Course, off of Lem Turner Road in Callahan, with plans to add a water park and a recreational vehicle campground.

The additions will bring an economic boost, along with jobs, and create a more family-friendly environment, according to developers. 

The Deerfield Lakes Golf Course has been sitting on 265 acres in Callahan since 1964.

"It looks a little old. It's very flat," one golfer told News4Jax on Thursday. "But it looks nice."

In a few months, the golf course will have a new owner -- Greene & Grogan Properties, LLC -- that plans to give it a facelift, including the addition of an RV campsite.

"The campground pads would stroll through here on the back nine of the course with other amenities -- rec center, zip line, things of that sort," said Greene & Grogan Properties Manager Chad Grogan.

The plans also include a 10-acre water park, which would replace the driving range, and a new restaurant.

"I think it's a good idea. I think it will draw more people here, with a water park for the kids," a Ponte Vedra Beach resident said.

It's an effort to create a more family-friendly environment. But there's a catch: The 18-hole course will be cut in half to nine holes.

"They'll probably lose a lot of the members," said Cecil Conner, a member of Deerfield Lakes Golf Club. "They say they're going to make it nine holes. I'll probably be dead and gone before that happens."

According to Green & Grogan Properties, the shorter course will be easier to maintain with upgraded fairways and a new drainage system.

Project developers admit that not everyone is on board with the project. They've already had two community meetings addressing some of the concerns neighbors had, such as noise concerns.

"We have about 300 feet of woods around the entire project, so noise should be good," Greene & Grogan Properties Manager Kenneth Greene said. "There were some worried about crime, but we started checking into it. Crime is a very small issue at RV parks, smaller than the regular community."

There are also concerns about heavy traffic on a residential two-lane road that currently leads to the golf course.

"We have a road we're going to build here, and it's going to come in through the woods and enter into the golf course," Grogan said. 

The $7 million tab includes the cost of buying the property.

Construction is expected to begin early next year and the project managers plan to keep parts of the course open for golfers during construction.