Duffer Dan – March 2007

Duffer Dan and the Undercover Gang at Club de Bonmont

No, we didn’t go to France but I do own a beret. Actually we just took a short ride up to the charming seaside town of Ormond Beach to visit Plantation Bay Golf & Country Club. This private gated ICI Homes community just north of Daytona has been around for 20 years and boasts 45 gorgeous holes of championship golf. Club de Bonmont was recently renovated by world recognized golf course architect Steve Smyers. The original 18 matchless holes designed by George Clifton were redone flawlessly and every time you step up to the tee box, you see a different picture.

After I passed through the guardhouse, I noticed on the left land being prepared for the 7,000 square-foot Spa & Fitness Center, which will be adjacent to the 10 court tennis facility. There are two clubhouses to service the courses, de Bonmont and Prestwick, but there are plans for a new breathtaking 18,000 square-foot Plantation Bay Club that will be a central meeting place for members with outstanding dining.

We reached the current Clubhouse and were greeted by a friendly gentleman who took care of our golf bags, directed me to the pro shop and went out and picked up the rest of the Gang where they parked their cars. After some much needed directions and fresh water, we headed out to the newest 9 holes called Westlake. They are in the planning stage for an additional 9 holes, which will give them three complete 18-hole championship courses.

Westlake is a masterfully sculpted nine that is tied into the original 18 of Club de Bonmont to create a diversity of play for pure golf enjoyment. We chose not to warm up on the expansive practice range, which was a mistake. The first hole is an easy par 4, but we made it play like a tough hole with errant drives from the whole Gang. We didn’t do much better on the next par 4, but then the Duffer ‘got his groove’ on the 3rd, a 175-yard par 3 over water. Where is the closest to the pin contest when I hit a good one? Yes, two feet from the pin for an easy birdie while the Gang was trying to get the ball near the green. I could already taste the free ones at the clubhouse. With the confidence from that one, I parred the #1 handicap hole on this nine, the par 5, 4th, while the Gang was using both hands to count their scores. We all missed the green on the par 3, 5th and settled for bogey. Westlake is the shortest of the 3 nines with 3488 yards from the tips. If that length does not suit you, there are 5 sets of tees to make the course playable for anyone with the forward tees at 2491.

With a nine shot lead, I was ready to go play the North (the longest) and not stop for any driver juice. Sure enough,another par on the 1st par 5 had the Gang reeling because they were putting up numbers nowhere near the Duffer. The whole course was immaculate. Greens were quick, undulating, but smooth so the ball ran true. The dormant bermuda rough contrasted well with the overseeded fairways and made for easy definition to shoot for the green stuff. We were all playing well and even scored well on the #1 handicap hole, the 462 yard, par 4, 5th, but then came the par three 6th. Why does a little water give so much trouble? We all went swimming, and it was February. Only mad golfers and Yankees swim in the winter. Needless to say, we did not score well. Luckily, no one was doing any better so my lead kept up. With a double bogey on the last hole I lost one shot, but still got to enjoy my freebies.

If you have not been to Plantation Bay and are looking for the total package in a community, you need to take a look here.