JACKSONVILLE BEACH, Fla. - Accessible, playable, and viable.
Those are the goals that Harrison Minchew would like to achieve in the re-design of the Jacksonville Beach golf course. Minchew, a long-time Ponte Vedra resident, has been a course architect on more than 75 properties on his own and has contributed to more than 200 course constructions and renovations in his career. It all started as a course designer and architect with Arnold Palmer and Ed Seay at Arnold Palmer Course Design in Ponte Vedra. Of all of those properties Minchew says that this one could be special. That’s saying something coming from somebody who’s designed courses all over the country and is a single-digit handicap.
"The golf course is a diamond in the rough," said Minchew as he surveyed the property. "You have the sea breeze coming from the east predominantly and it is just a really, really nice place to play golf. Now that we will have all of the turf issues sorted out, some of the playability issues sorted out as well, it's going to be a very good facility for the public that will attract all kinds of players."
If you know some of the layout of “Jax Beach,” here are some of the changes that Minchew has designed for the new layout:
-The 6th hole is shortened to a par 4 instead of a par 5
-The 7th hole is a more gentle dogleg to the left.
-You do not have to hit your approach shot over the water on the 8th hole. Harrison moved the green to in front of the pond.
-The 16th hole is shortened to a par 4 instead of a par 5
-The 17th green has been moved further away from the houses on the left side of the hole
-The 18th hole is now a par 5 playing to the old 16th green.
Minchew says that there is not a tee box or green area on the whole property that will be the same. However, he hopes the three finishing holes players will remember.
"Sixteen is going to play about to a par 4 and a half, then 17 is going to be a short par 4 that will typically play easier than par. Finally 18 is going to be a par 5 that will be a very scoreable hole."
In addition to the course improvements Minchew has planned an extensive putting green/course that can be over 15,000 square feet, a short game practice area that the old course did not have, and room for the clubhouse to expand to a private enterprise that could stay open in the evenings after the course is closed.
"I'm just thrilled. The fact that it is public golf. I grew up playing public golf and it is just going to provide access to people to come and play the game. That's what we are trying to do."
Barring any delays, the new Jacksonville Beach golf course is aiming for a September 1st re-open date.
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