LandMar promises to upgrade three Palm Coast courses

By Tim McDonald, Contributor

Jacksonville-based LandMar Group has bought three golf courses in and around Palm Coast, with promises to upgrade the courses that are already known as some of the finer in the area.

LandMar paid an undisclosed amount for the Cypress Knoll Golf Club, Matanzas Woods Golf Club and Pine Lakes Country Club, all semi-private courses.

"They're all eight to 12 years old," Landmar regional manager Jim Cullis told "They're all good courses, but technology changes so fast, so our plans are to come in and renovate all three of them over a three-year period."

The acquisitions bring to six the number of courses owned by LandMar in the area. The company also owns Grand Haven, a Jack Nicklaus-designed layout, as well as North Hampton in Fernandina Beach, South Hampton in Jacksonville and Osprey Cove in St. Marys, Ga., a Mark McCumber design.

The company plans to build new clubhouses and renovate existing ones at the Palm Coast courses. There are no immediate plans for residential development, though LandMar has an option to buy land to the north of one of the courses.

"Palm Coast has become just a mecca for some great golf," Cullis said. "We're going to bring up these three courses to the standards of some of the other golf there."

Renovations are scheduled to start late this fall, and the company said it will only re-do one course at a time.

"That way, the members will have at least two golf courses to play at any given time," Cullis said. "We won't close one down until we get finished with the first."

LandMar said its new acquisitions should help to alleviate some of the pressure on Grand Haven, which has been experiencing heavy demand.

"Grand Haven has been going bananas," Cullis said. "We're selling 400-500 transactions a year, between lots and homes. Membership is almost full, and we're still only about halfway built out."

Matanzas Woods is one of the most popular courses around Palm Coast, not least because of its famous architect - the course was designed by Arnold Palmer and Ed Seay.

Built in 1986, the semi-private course features rolling fairways and quite a bit of water, including a much-photographed island green on No. 18.

The fairways are wide, pleasing to big hitters and high handicappers; the course, which hosted the PGA Tour qualifying school in 1999 and 2000, has the nickname, "beautiful monster."

Measuring 7,894 yards from the back tees, Matanzas Woods was awarded four stars by Golf Digest's Places to Play, and has a great collection of par-5s. The front nine is relatively flat while the back nine has some elevation and a lot of water. As on most semi-secluded Florida courses, there is abundant wildlife, with egrets, herons and hawks usually around.

Cypress Knoll is considered underrated by many. At 6,591 yards with a championship tee slope of 127 and designed by Gary Player, it's tight and demanding.

The course, built on wetlands and lakes, won praise from The Audubon Society. Many holes feature natural water hazards, and the course demands accuracy, particularly off the tee. Course management is the name of the game here.

There is also abundant wildlife here, and a feeling of rural seclusion, though there are some houses built along the course. It has an excellent collection of par-3s, and small to medium-size greens.

Pine Lakes is another Palmer-Seay collaboration. It measures 7,074 yards, has water on 11 holes and strategically placed white sand bunkers, including high-lipped bunkers protecting the greens, which are large and undulating.

Four sets of alternative tees give a little more room to work off the tees than other Palm Coast courses.

The sales agreement has a clause that allows Ocean Hammocks Resort members playing privileges at all three courses.

The company has done a lot of residential development throughout Northeast Florida, and also developed Southern Hills, a Pete Dye course in Brooksville, near Tampa. In addition, it has projects in Fort Myers, St. Augustine, and Tampa.

Tim McDonaldTim McDonald, Contributor

Veteran golf writer Tim McDonald keeps one eye on the PGA Tour and another watching golf vacation hotspots and letting travelers in on the best place to vacation.

Reader Comments / Reviews Leave a comment
  • Cypress Knoll Golf Course Pic

    Julia Walthall wrote on: Apr 8, 2006

    Hello -
    Not to burst anyone's bubble, but Cypress Knoll is closer to the Intracoast than the Atlantic - the caption you have on the photo with an ocean background is grossly misleading. Perhaps this is Ocean Hammock, the only golf course on the seaside of Florida's east coast? (As far as I know, that's a Centex property, not LandMar's. Really, doesn't the picture looks more like the Bear's course than Gary Player's?)
    I could be wrong - it's been awhile since I've played these courses in my home town. To be honest, I'm glad that Palm Coast is getting recognized; I've spent most of my life telling people that I grew up in a town (not city till '98) that's halfway between Daytona and St. Augustine,and yes, where that blue water tower is on 95. To see that it's finally mentioned as the beautiful place I've always known it to be is a great feeling. Thanks for the article -
    Julia Walthall