Duffer Dan at Cimarrone Golf Club
We went to the First Coast of Florida last month to play the ‘Wild One’, Cimarrone Golf Club. The course is located about half way between Jacksonville and St. Augustine on Highway 210 just 2 miles west of I-95. They are celebrating their 20th anniversary this year and have recently resurfaced the greens with Seaside Paspalum, a new grass that requires less watering, stays greener and does not require winter overseeding. David Postlethwait designed the course in 1988, and incorporated 17 water features that come into play and requires some thoughtful decisions on ball placement particularly off the tees.
Upon arriving at the bag drop we were welcomed by the very knowledgeable attendant who told us some history about Cimarrone, explained the many nuances of the layout and directed us to both the practice areas and the prop shop. The Golf Club is in a gated community and is open for public play. After hitting some balls on the large driving complex, we found our way to the first tee where we were met by General Manager Mike Rich and Head Golf Professional Patrick Ashe who are with the Kemper Management Team. They told us about some of the improvements at the club and made us feel right at home. Because of the diversity of our foursome, we played from 3 of the 5 tee box locations, so we got a different look at how the ’Wild One’ challenges players of various handicaps. The course measures 6891 yards from the championship tees with a 73.5/137 course rating/ slope. We all had good drives on the par 5, 530 yard dogleg right 1st hole, where water runs all along the right side. You shouldn’t have a problem cutting the corner and reaching the green unless you are a duffer, then the water could cost you strokes.
Our first par 3, the 199 yard 2nd, skirts water on the right from tee to green, so a shot to the left side of the green could keep your ball safe unless you are a duffer. Some of the Gang came away with par. By the way the greens are small in size but accessible and not too tough to putt. The next 3 holes play along the front of the property with moguls and a tree line on the left and water on the right. If you play to the left center of the fairway and keep the ball in play you can score well on the two par 4’s and the par 5, 5th. The 6th hole is a short par four dogleg right with a pond to cross that you take as much as you think you can carry, which will leave you a short iron to a green protected on either side by bunkers.
I felt like Jimmy Buffet with water to the right of me, and then water to the left at #s 7 & 8, both par 4’s with greens well protected by bunkers. The #1 handicap hole is the 423 yard 7th which we all played well and was not the most difficult in our estimation. The short par 3, 9th plays over a marsh area and is surrounded on the back and left side by 5 bunkers. We all hit our shots to the right for some reason, and got away with bogies and pars.
The front nine brings you back to the lovely clubhouse, which has enough room and dining for full field tournaments. After a brief stop for some much needed refreshment, we were off again to experience Cimarrone’s challenging back nine which winds its way through the community of attractive single family homes that are usually on the opposite side of the water hazards. The par 4, 10th has a comfortable landing area to hit to, from which you have to maneuver over water to a well-protected green with a line of cypress trees, bunkers and water surrounding it. Let’s just say bogie was a good score for all of us. The longest par 3 on the course is # 11 at 215 yards, but not the hardest of the four, so we all got away with bogie at worst. The par 4, 12th has the ever-present water running down the left side which one of the Gang members found while the rest played the hole well. Holes 13 and 14 are both par 5s. My suggestion to all you duffers is avoid the water and bunkers if you can, and play within yourself to keep from scoring with all your fingers. The par 4, 15th has the water on the left and the moguls and tree line on the right so being in the middle of the fairway or favoring the right will give you a good shot into the green.
One of the toughest holes is the long par 4, 16th, which requires a very exact shot into a very narrow green. Can you say marsh, bunker and collection area in one breath. On 17, the shortest par 3 at 155 yards from the tips, a good shot to the green, avoiding all the previously mentioned problem areas, will have you walking away with par or better.
The 18th is probably one of the best finishing holes on the First Coast and in our personal estimation the toughest at Cimarrone. Water runs down the right so baling to the left on this 439 yard par 4 puts you in a hillock on the left side, with another precise shot needed to a green well protected with bunkers and water. What a fabulous and ‘Wild’ day at a superb layout with a multitude of challenges for the Gang.
For your own special experience at a great golf course call 904-287-2000 or log on to www.CimarroneGolf.com.