Duffer Dan – August 2009

Duffer Dan

One of the newer courses in the First Coast, Panther Creek Golf Club is tucked away in the Northwest corner of Jacksonville near I-10 and Chaffee Rd. Designed by Andy Dye, (Pete’s nephew), nothing was left to the imagination to provide 18 holes of “WOW”. With only a few houses visible on 3 holes, the rest of the course is a wonderful preservation of a gorgeous natural habitat including vast dunes, water, and waste bunkers.

There’s no grip it and rip it on Panther Creek. It dares the player to cut a corner, fly a waste bunker, or carry water. You can make pars without being daring. Birdies can be made taking the dares, but there is a high price if the gamble is not carried out perfectly. If managed properly, this will be one of the best golf experiences you will have. Panther Creek provides many circumstances that will require serious thought on how to play your next shot. And that’s what golf is all about.

The fairways are wide with plenty of room for your tee shot to land provided you don’t gamble. The greens are larger than average, but extremely undulating. Just hitting on to the green without regard to pin position can put you in 3 putt range.

There are 6 tee positions for every hole to accommodate all skill levels. Check with the pro shop for a tee that matches your handicap and game. We found their recommended tee lengths to be right on the money.

Par 5’s are reachable in 2 with perfect shots, but penalties for imperfect shots are high. Going for eagle could end up with a double bogey in a heartbeat. This is what par 5’s are about and makes the par 5’s here quite strategic, fun and daring. Par 4’s range from a short and challenging 280 yards to big league par 4’s that will take 2 strong shots.

Panther Creek’s par 3’s are tremendous. #3 is officially called Lunar Landing but some call it “The Elephant burial ground” with huge undulations on the massive 10,000 square foot green. #6 is a gorgeous island green with a comfortable front bailout area. #17 is a semi island green, all carry over water with a generous bailout area for the faint of heart. All you see from the tee is a limestone wall and the flag. It doesn’t get better than that.

For shear beauty of totally undisturbed nature, and a design to fairly test every part of your game, Panther Creek is a major success. For sure, you will use every club in your bag. It is not a drive/ wedge course.

Open to the public with very reasonable rates, Panther Creek is a “must play” golf experience. You can visit their website at www.panthercreekgolf.com. By Stephen Trendler