Thirty years have passed since Tom Watson and Jack Nicklaus went toe-to-toe in their epic “Duel in the Sun” at the British Open. And while Palm Coast, Fla., is a long way from Turnberry, Scotland, the two legends are battling again, though this time only bragging rights are at stake.
The Watson-designed Conservatory at Hammock Beach opened in November
at the Ginn Hammock Beach Resort, which was already home to Nicklaus’ Ocean
Hammock layout. Unlike the Bear’s course—which boasts a fistful of holes that play
along the Atlantic—the Conservatory is an inland layout, but what it lacks in coastal drama it makes up for in beauty and challenge. A hefty landscaping budget helped
create significant elevation changes, 76 acres of lakes and an arboretum’s worth
of new trees and flowers. Creeks, waterfalls and 140 coquina-shell and white-sand
bunkers make for an eye-catching layout. You’ll want your digital camera handy
at No. 8, a 170-yard par 3 that plunges 10 stories downhill to an island green.
The Conservatory is 7,746 yards from the
tips. Don’t expect to see the Champions Tour
pros hike to the back tees there during the
Ginn Championship this month, but to win
they will need to outduel the architect.
Greens fees: $175
For tee times call 386-246-5500
or visit hammockbeach.com