More expedient options would allow the Hurricane Matthew-damaged Signature Jack Nicklaus Ocean Course to open sooner, but Salamander Hotels and Resorts is taking the prudent alternative.
PALM COAST, FL – December 6, 2016 – Salamander Hotels & Resorts has announced plans to restore its Signature Jack Nicklaus Ocean Course which remains closed since Hurricane Matthew passed in early October. Salamander’s press release was preceded by an announcement of plans to Club members in late November.
HAMMOCK BEACH RESORT
Though little reported, the Hammock Beach Resort’s Ocean Course suffered heavy damage from Matthew. Salt water breeched the dunes and inundated most of the course, destroying grass and vegetation and contaminating the soil and lakes with salt. Water levels quickly returned to normal, but the salt remains; in both the soil and in the lakes that are used for irrigation. For the most part, all 18 holes were affected by Hurricane Matthew. The wind, rain, and storm surge were strong enough to destroy most of the fairways and bunkers, along with over five hundred trees and the irrigation satellite controllers.
Rain will dilute the salt content of the lake water over time and gradually leach out the salt left in the soil, but there has been no appreciable rain since the hurricane. Salamander been treating the soil to neutralize the salt, but there is no substitute for the missing rain.
Short-gap measures that would have allowed reopening the course sooner were considered; like over seeding with rye grass. However, when the rye died out in the spring, the underlying salt-contaminated soil and dead vegetation would remain. In the end, the final solution (close the course for a total restoration) would be inevitable.
“After numerous expert analyses and recommendations, we determined that a full restoration was best to ensure that The Ocean Course will re-open as one of the finest resort courses in America,” said Terry Bechtold, Hammock Beach Resort’s managing director. “Upon completion, we will be able to offer one of the finest grass surfaces on which a golfer can play.”
The Ocean Course is famed for its six Atlantic Ocean-hugging holes and thrilling closing stretch named “The Bear Claw.” The extensive restoration work, which is being undertaken in conjunction with Nicklaus Design, includes re-grassing all fairways, greens and rough with the salt-tolerant Platinum Paspalum as well as reconstructing each tee box, bunker and green complex. The course is scheduled to re-open in October 2017. Hammock Beach’s other championship layout, the highly-rated Conservatory Course, continues to accommodate member and guest play.
[I hope that the 16th green will be reconfigured to make it more receptive to a mid-iron or long-iron approach shot. But then, it is said that golf was invented by a sadist to be enjoyed by masochists.]
The Ocean Course restoration work follows several enhancements at Hammock Beach. The resort recently reimagined its grand lobby to now feature beautiful new flooring, contemporary furniture and lighting, and a brand-new sushi bar. It also upgraded 75 of its spacious one-bedroom suites, including installation of new carpet, furniture, updated artwork, flat-panel televisions and reconstructed kitchenettes. All 15,000 square feet of Hammock Beach’s indoor meeting and event space were also updated with new carpet, wall coverings and lighting. In addition, the resort has refreshed the décor in its Delfinos Italian restaurant and is currently updating the interior design in its Loggerheads Lounge.
Nestled along northeast Florida’s shoreline in Palm Coast, Hammock Beach Resort features more than 300 spacious accommodations, including a 12-story tower of luxury suites. In addition to its golf experience, the amenity-rich resort offers a rejuvenating ocean-inspired spa and fitness center, multiple restaurants and bars, a multi-level pool complex with adult and children areas, and one of the most relaxing, unspoiled beaches in the state.