FX Excursions

FX Excursions offers the chance for once-in-a-lifetime experiences in destinations around the world.

Florida’s Pelican Pointe Golf and Country Club Review

by Francis X. Gallagher

Apr 23, 2020

Pelican Pointe Golf and Country Club © FRANCIS X. GALLAGHER

April 2020

IT SEEMS FITTING TO REVIEW Pelican Pointe Golf and Country Club in our Green Issue, as the course architect, Ted McAnlis, did everything possible to save his own “green” by not paying his federal income taxes. McAnlis believed it was unconstitutional and used common-law trusts, a fake church, contrived Social Security numbers and a bank account in the Bahamas to avoid paying. He was, however, a prolific golf course designer in Florida and designed the Waterford Golf Club, reviewed in the July 2019 issue of Global Traveler.

I was a guest of Wayne Tallman, a GT Advisory Board member, and we teamed up with Bob Golm and his son, John, from Michigan and Ohio, respectively. We nicknamed Bob “The Father” and John “JoeJohn” or sometimes “BobJohn.” We shared a lot of laughs and a fun time on a chilly start one morning in February.

Pelican Pointe — or Pointy, as I called it when speaking with the bartender after the round, without getting a single laugh — is a large golfing machine with 27 holes made up of three nines: the Meadows; the Preserve, opened in 1995; and Hatchett Creek, opened in 2002. Mixing up the nines makes for a wide variety of play. The gated community includes more than 1,300 homes with easy access past the security guard. When I told him I was there to play golf, he simply said, “Have fun,” and I was in without a name or a secret handshake or password.

Once I picked up my rental set, which became my excuse for the day, I hit balls at the range to the constant sound of “next on the tee box” from the starter. The place appeared packed, but we never waited and we hardly saw the group in front and no one behind. The course gets an “A” for timing each tee-off on the 27 holes. We played a combination of the Meadows and the Preserve for our 18-hole round.

MEADOWS

HOLE 1 | 353 yards, par 4
The day was windy and warming up to 46 degrees but still quite cold considering I was wearing shorts. After exchanging introductions with our new friends, I teed up and sent a drive, trying to avoid the water on the left but heading too far right toward a clump of trees. Wayne drove perfectly, using his tried and tested clubs, right down the center. The Golm boys had respectable first tee shots. The Father obviously had played a lot of golf and had a decent swing — he even looked like a golfer. BobJohn had the benefit of youth and a powerful swing. My lie was fine, far enough from the tree for a complete swing. My ball traveled right to left, landing on the collar. Two putts secured the only par in the group, albeit a little sloppy.

HOLE 7 | 521 yards, par 5
This is the longest hole on the Meadows nine, and if you can hit a straight ball, you might have a shot. Off the tee box I slammed one down the middle — not as far as my teammates but dead center. This allowed me to take out my rental TaylorMade 3-wood and hope I could connect one and keep it in play. I needed a recovery hole. The shot was glorious, met with cheers from our new twosome of friends. Wayne lost a ball in the pond on the left on his approach shot, but I landed on the back of the green, just off, saving par. BobJohn killed his approach, hoping to land in two on the green, but the ball vanished forever. He walked around like he’d lost his puppy, hoping to find the ball.

HOLE 9 | 448 yards, par 4
The wind picked up, but, fortunately, so did the heat. We were now playing with windbreakers off as the temperature rose to about 65. Hole 9 leaves little room for error as trees and scrub line the left side, with a bunker and water all along the right. My drive nearly made the water and just sat on the edge. Since I still had a shot, I took out my rental TaylorMade 3-wood and tried to bring home a miracle shot to the green. Unfortunately, the well-hit ball sliced a palm tree and ricocheted into the water. That cost me a shot and left me with a double bogey. Wayne also had a “chili dip” after a great drive, and BobJohn hit a drive which disappeared — he thought it landed in the parking lot, but it most likely sank in the water as well. Not the best closing for the Meadows nine.

PRESERVE

HOLE 15 | 414 yards, par 4
This tricky little par-4 dogleg right has houses on the left (BobJohn hit one squarely on a beautiful Spanish-tiled roof) and woods and brush on the far right. I took a more rightward trajectory but was saved by the trap. Wayne also went right but landed in the rough with an easy shot to the green. The Father hit into the woods, though not far enough to be unplayable, and made a nice out to bring him back into play. Bogeys were our just rewards for our errors.

HOLE 18 | 450 yards, par 4
The final hole of the day, but we could have easily added the third nine of Hatchet Creek, as the weather became glorious. Hole 18 has an intimidating shoot to clear before you reach the fairway, but the thick trees left and right along with marsh and scrub did not pose an issue for our foursome. Four nicely placed drives peppered the fairway left and right. I landed near a large tree on the right side and had to hit a low shot just short of the green. Wayne came from center fairway to hit the green in regulation, putting for a nice closing par. BobJohn and The Father played a decent final hole. As we walked off the green, BobJohn was intent on selling me a set of Andersen Windows … maybe one day, I said, as we all laughed after a fun day. Golf can do this: bring people together for four hours as if they are best friends.

Pelican Pointe Golf and Country Club

499 Derbyshire Drive
Venice, FL 34285
tel 941 496 4653
pelicanpointeclub.com

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