It came as no surprise to me that we were booked for our final round on Jekyll Island at the magnificent Pine Lakes course. With the combined wisdom of Jessica Scott at the Jekyll Island Authority and Director of Golf Spencer Brookman they saved the best for last. Team work seems to be an obvious feature of working with both of these individuals.
A joint effort by Dick Wilson and Joe Lee back in 1968 and a renovation in 2002 by Claude Johnson makes it the premier course of the three we played on Jekyll Island.
For those of you coming to play at this golfing paradise I suggest it’s what you and your group of any size do.
Start with moderately challenging round at Indian Mound then up your game to the well designed Oleander and then put on your best golf outfit and tee it up at Pine Lakes imagining it’s the final round in a three day golf tournament.
The 23 years between my last trip here and this one had slightly affected my memory and it is indeed Pine Lakes that is my favourite of the three although Oleander ranks a very close second.
The redesign in 2002 included all 18 greens being dug up and re-designed. There is a significant difference in the greens at Pine Lakes from the traditional Bermuda greens on the other two golf courses and they are more conducive to what we would play up in Canada.
The nap of the grass is much shorter with very little grain to contend with therefore making them run much quicker and truer. That was evident by the fact that Myra and I for the first few holes could not stop the ball by hole.
Pine Lakes is also a very pretty looking golf course with small ponds and lakes throughout and a whiter fluffier sand in the bunkers, it is very pleasing to the eye. Again the par fives for me personally are the best of all the holes.
When you stand on the tee box you can almost instantly picture how to attack the hole right up to the green.
The par three’s replicate this same exciting feeling when looking at the flag and the par fours are a mixture of straightaway holes and reasonably curved doglegs. The bunker sand is that beautiful fluffy texture which gives you confidence no matter how many times you may land in them.
It wasn’t until the 18th a long stunning par 4 that I found my first bunker of the day, green side on my second shot.
Myra had a few forays into the beach but with some renewed confidence she went six out of six in getting out of the bunker in one for the last two rounds.
With a fairly high level of humidity in this area during our stay I was consistently one club short in most of my approach shots and it showed in my mid-80s score on Pine Lakes. Bear that in mind if you com to play here and hit an extant club or two.
Myra struggled on the front nine and then shared with me she had a talk with herself at the turn. It paid off as she had a really solid 53 on the back nine and I pointed out to her that if that was coupled with the 47 she had on day one it would be 100 right on the nose.
Spencer, Myra and I had talked about the dilemma of running a facility like Jekyll Island Golf Club. When I expressed to Spencer that it was not recognized by many people I had associated with up in Canada he referred to it as a “hidden secret”.
On one hand for the benefit of the members he said it would be nice to keep it that way but from a business standpoint the more people who play it the more revenue it would glean.
Although Myra and I tend to focus exclusively on the activity of golf when we travel let me tell you there is a mountain of activities for couples and families on Jekyll Island.
Next to the golf course is a vibrant and frequently used tennis club, you see numerous people on rented bikes pedaling around the island there’s a fun mini golf that we passed each day and a myriad of other activities for any holidaymakers to enjoy.
I would suggest having a look at www.jekyllisland.com and seeing a more comprehensive list of features of this island that was once the holiday home to some of the world’s wealthiest business people.
You can imagine how many great places there are between Vancouver island on the West Coast of Canada where we live and Jekyll Island here on the East Coast of the southern Atlantic.
Bearing that in mind, undaunted we are going to return here if not next year no later than the following year for a two-week holiday.
It is without a doubt one of the friendliest and professionally marketed retreats in North America.
Thank you once again for all the great people who helped put this together for us headed up by Jessica Scott from the Sales and Marketing Department at the Jekyll Island Authority to the wonderfully, charming Spencer Brookman and his very capable and friendly team at the golf courses. Hats off to Kevin, Matt and Samantha in the pro shop plus all the cart attendants and starters, Jim, Don, Rick, John and a host of greenskeepers and maintenance staff who not only keep the course in great condition but are dealing with hundreds of downed trees and debris from Irma. She obviously isn’t a golfer!
Jekyll Island I brought Myra here because you were always on my mind and I will bring her back because now you’ll always be on our mind.