The third and final day of our golf adventure was played on the Ocean Course at Amelia Island Plantation. For three days we had looked down on the course from our condo’s balcony, watching golfers hit along the fifth fairway, and now it was our turn.
The course is certainly challenging. The first few holes begin deep in the marsh forests. Water hazards play a major role in course management decisions. (I lost a ball or two to the alligators.) At the fourth hole, the course turns towards the ocean and for next three holes you must contend with the wind off the ocean, sand dunes and beach grass that seems to eat golf balls. Once a ball disappears into the thick brush there is little chance you will find it, much less play it out. (Reminded me of my golf on the links of Ireland.) As for the winds off the sea, they vary dramatically, depending on the time of day and the weather. Our group lucked out. The winds were mild and I didn’t hear of anyone losing a ball off to the beach.
At the seventh hole play turns back to the marsh forest, and the course continues with water hazards and deep fescue lining the fairways, until the dramatic 15th hole which leads you back to the ocean side of the course.
Ocean Links can be an intimidating course to play but as long as you play with confidence and trust your swing, the course is a joy to play.
From the course website: Winding along a coastal Atlantic dune ridge, Ocean Link #4, #5, #6, #15 and #16 provide golfers with five oceanfront golf holes. The fairways and greens are parallel to the beach of Amelia Island and meander through a unique coastal maritime hammock. Named by Golf for Women as one of the “50 Best Courses for Women,” this close proximity to the ocean and the ever-changing sea breeze provide the golfer with exhilarating views and intriguing play.
Ocean Links has 10 holes that feature lagoons and marsh wetlands, in addition to concluding with a par three whose green is placed strategically in the waters of Red Maple Lake. The course winds through six miles of the natural sand dunes and seaside terrain that make Amelia Island so special. It can be said that this course offers as much a nature tour as a round of golf. The course yardage of 6,300 is somewhat deceiving since small greens, narrow fairways and prevailing winds make the course play much longer. At par 70, this 18-hole combination provides a challenge to golfers of all levels.
Have you ever played a course that is ocean side? What was your experience? Add your comment in the space below.