Ocean Links Course

Amelia Island, Florida

16th Hole / 430 Yards / Par-4

Architect: Bobby Weed (1974)

Ocean Links

Photo credit: Courtesy of Omni Amelia Island Plantation

When land and water intersect with one another the possibility for design magic can be something glorious to behold. Although there’s plenty of golf in Florida with the Sunshine State leading the nation with the most courses, there are not many occasions where golf holes have the imprint where such a fascinating melding takes place.

Named after Princess Amelia, daughter of England’s King George II, and known as the “Isle of Eight Flags,” Amelia Island is the only territory in the United States to have been ruled under eight flags of sovereignty. The close proximity to Jacksonville in the northeast corner of the State provides Amelia Island the best of both worlds — close enough to a major metro area but far enough away to provide a rejuvenating getaway.

Three courses comprise the resort’s golf menu. The Ocean Links layout is not a long course — roughly 6,100 yards from the tips. It is also not a true links but it’s close proximity to the Atlantic ensures a steady diet of shifting winds where the velocity can make for challenging circumstances. Five holes are located in prime position with the Atlantic and it is the 16th that truly provides a lasting memory.

The 16th is parallel to the Atlantic and routed in a southerly direction. More than likely the golfer will encounter a prevailing headwind or crosswind pattern off the ocean. Even on those rare circumstances when the wind is helping the challenge provided at this strong par-4 remains constant.

A series of tee pads is provided — be mindful in choosing the appropriate one reflecting your true ability level. Being frank about one’s golf game level is crucial in order to reap the bounty from well-played shots. The 16th does not suffer fools gladly. Simply standing on any of the tees gives players a real scenic wonder. The pounding of the surf from the nearby Atlantic Ocean is an exhilarating moment.

The tee shot is challenged for both length and placement. Unlike so many holes in Florida where the width of landing areas can be especially cramped there’s sufficient room here at the 16th but at no time is the wild play welcomed with open arms. Architect Bobby Weed placed a fairway bunker on the right side — 278 yards range from the back tees — in order to keep players honest from using that side as an escape vehicle from the sand dunes that run parallel on the entire left side of the hole. For those feeling bold there’s an alleyway of fairway that tapers considerably down the left side. The prudent play? Play as near as possible to the left side without entering the sandy dunes.

Playing one’s approach from the left side also provides an ideal approach angle. The putting surface provides a sufficient target of 4,117 square feet but when wind speeds accelerate can be a real challenge to hit and hold. The green has a high shoulder on the right — those missing too far in that direction face a daunting situation to escape with par. A left frontal pin location can be most demanding but when placed in the rear areas — either right or left – can be even more daunting.

The 16th mandates shotmaking of the highest order — a tour de force test calling upon utmost will and flawless execution.