$21 (cart included), played on Friday, December 2015 at 10:42 AM
The American Course plays 6,032 yards to a par of 71 and carries a course rating of 69.6 with a slope of 119. It's very popular among women and seniors and combines gently rolling fairways and terrain with sparkling lakes and a stream that meanders throughout the layout. Although only four tee boxes show up on the scorecard, a set of "hybrid" tees have been added and is very popular among the men's leagues at Bobby Jones. To use the hybrid tees, just play from the yardage circled in red on the scorecard on each hole. There are also square green tee markers on each tee box to help out. According to my calculations, the hybrid tees play 5,543 yards. With all of these yardages to choose from, the American Course has a yardage that can accommodate golfers of all skill levels and abilities.
Just because of its short length, don't let the American Course lull you into thinking it's a pushover. Remember that meandering stream I mentioned? It comes into play on a minimum of 5 holes; more if you spray it. Take number 9 for example, a par 5 that plays a mere 460 from the back tees. The stream comes into play here and to drive it, you would need to carry it at least 290 yards, so for most, that's not an option. Should you hit a good drive and decide to go for the green in two, it will require a pinpoint approach shot; anything right is likely to find the water and left will find trees. In the words of Head Professional Christian Martin, "you can make 3 here, but you can just as easily make 7."
Number 11 is the only hole on the American course that requires a substantial amount of carry over water from the back tees. The fairway narrows in the landing area of your layup shot. Long ball hitters that are tempted to go for the green it two face some very penal pot bunkers short of the green in the middle of the fairway as do others who hit approach shots short. The green is small with more sand right.
Number 14 is one of the longer par 4's on the American Course at 379 yards. It's a slight dogleg left, so a draw off the tee will go a long way in doing well. Anything too far left and you're either OB or in the woods; right and there's a good chance you're wet. The approach shot is to a small, postage stamp green with water right and sand left. It's another hole that you may want to leave the driver in the bag.
In the near future, I think you'll see big changes at The Bobby Jones Golf Club. I can foresee them building a new clubhouse and working out of a trailer for a year or so while a new one is built. The golf courses themselves are in good condition and a great value for the price.
According to a recent article in the Sarasota Herald-Tribune, a city-appointed study committee recommended $14.5 million in capital improvements, including a do-over of both courses, a new clubhouse and a player development/teaching center. The task force also suggested that greens fees be increased by an average of $7.50 a round, a small price for golfers to pay for such big improvements.
Both regulation courses at the Bobby Jones Golf club offer golfers of all levels and abilities a fair test of golf. Granted, they may not be the toughest courses around, but no one here is looking to win the US Open either. What Bobby Jones offers is a well-kept municipal course, with a very friendly staff and reasonable rates. The food at the snack bar is good and the beer is cold. If you're showing up to play for the first time, there are a number of hospitable groups for both men and women and someone's bound to invite you to play. For more information, visit them online at www.BobbyJonesGolfClub.com or give them a call at (941) 365-GOLF (4653).