The design philosophy for Amelia Island Plantation — a 1,350-acre resort replete with 72 holes of golf — was to honor its natural Florida landscape. One element of that environmentally friendly plan involved its irrigation system, which uses recycled resort water in combination with water from the Floridian aquifer that runs under the island. Another course design feature — the strategic placement of birdhouses for kestrels, owls, wood ducks, purple martins and a variety of songbirds — earned the resort a stamp of approval from the New York Audubon Society Cooperative Sanctuary System.
Pete Dye and Bobby Weed designed Amelia Island Plantation’s Ocean Links and Oak Marsh courses. Tom Jackson designed Royal Amelia, the newest addition to the Amelia family, and Tom Fazio designed the resort’s signature Long Point course.
Completed in 1987, Long Point was laid out with the local topography in mind and incorporated many of the natural features of the area, including marshland and dunes, as hazards. The course boasts tight fairways and elevated greens, with magnificent ocean views from Holes 15 and 16. The narrow fairways wind through three different environments, including an oak-and-pine forest area, sea marshes and oceanfront dunes. Natural waste bunkers line the fairways and help shape them as you approach the undulating greens, which are quite large and seeded with TifEagle Bermuda grass to enhance speed. Drives off the tee need to carry water hazards on eight of the 18 holes.
Golfweek named Long Point one of the “Top 50 Courses in Florida,” and Golf Digest honored it as one of the “Best Places to Play.” The course has also hosted the Florida Women’s Amateur, Men’s U.S. Open and the U.S. Amateur qualifiers.
Hole 2 (424 yards, par 4)
The key play off the tee is to aim for the lone palm, which will put you in position to make your approach to the green on the dogleg right. The salt marsh runs the entire left side of the hole and continues to the green. Choose the proper club for your second shot and be sure to avoid the left side, where the marsh will catch long shots.
Hole 4 (438 yards, par 4)
Don’t be tempted to cut the corner of this hole, which is designed as a dogleg left. Your best bet is to aim toward the bunker off the edge of the right fairway at the bend, leaving you a middle-iron approach to the green. This green consists of a two-tiered layout, and pin placement will determine your iron selection.
Hole 6 (522 yards, par 5)
Bring out the “big dog” and swing away, if you dare. Depending on your distance, the water on the right side of the fairway might be reachable, as it comes in at about 250 to 278 yards off the tee. A waste bunker lines this lake, which you might catch first. Fazio! The best approach is to drive one right down the middle for your second shot with a fairway wood. Continue to avoid the right side, where the lake follows the fairway all the way to the green and along its right side. Remember “Golf 101”: Putts on the green break to the lake.
Hole 9 (440 yards, par 4)
Bring your SUV, because this is a bumpy ride to the green. Moguls fill the narrow fairway, which reaches its thinnest part at the landing area. Beware of a bunker on the right side that will catch those power fades off the tee. The green has a false front, so make sure you check the yardage — and believe it — for your club selection.
Hole 11 (540 yards, par 5)
“Down, boy!” That will be your reaction to this long par-5 dogleg to the right. It’s a narrow fairway, and you’ll need to take a deep breath and get in the zone for your perfect tee shot down the middle. Spraying this shot can be a disaster — unless your goal is to study the mating habits of certain amphibious creatures. Your ball will be all wet in the marshland. As you approach the green, heed its small size and the trouble (traps) that surrounds its left side.
Hole 12 (348 yards, par 4)
Humpty Dumpty comes to life on this difficult green, where the hole has a hump in the middle of the green to greet you. Off the tee, take an iron and place it right of the fairway for your approach. Make sure you have an accurate knowledge of the pin placement that day.
Hole 15 (166 yards, par 3)
The beach to the right and the surf crashing against it are your backdrop for Holes 15 and 16. Depending on the wind conditions, this can be a tricky shot — your ball can be blown off-course to the trouble and out of bounds on the right, or to the beach and brush on your left. The green demands accuracy, as it slopes up and to the back.
Hole 16 (158 yards, par 3)
This is another hole next to the ocean and beach, with a sunken green. Again, wind conditions can cause problems, but the views on 15 and 16 are some of the best on the course. Make sure you take the time to enjoy the vista.
AMELIA ISLAND PLANTATION
6800 First Coast Highway
Amelia Island, FL 32034
tel 904 261 6161, fax 904 277 5945
Though air travel slowed as airports temporarily closed and borders shuttered to stifle the spread of coronavirus, the airline industry — led by oneworld alliance member airlines — enacted enhanced protective measures to reduce risk and protect passengers.
I had just taken off my sandals, stepping onto the white-sand beach for a late-morning walk to a secluded spot I heard about from a front desk clerk, when I glanced down and saw the time on my phone. It had just turned 11 a.m., which meant it was only 7 am back home, the perfect time to call and say good morning to by husband before he left for work. Not quite ready to head back to my room, I decided I’d test the WiFi signal and made the call as I continued walking toward the shoreline.
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