Saturday, July 26, 2014

Bobby Jones Golf Complex in Sarasota , Florida - How good is it? Round played July 25th 2014

I play Bobby Jones Golf Complex often. As a matter of fact, over the past 4 years I played almost every week one round of golf there.

Bobby Jones Golf Complex is a course with history. It was opened in 1927 and from there on was a place where all kinds of golf greats competed. This history was one of the reasons I actually went there the first time.

It is always exciting to walk a course where you know some of the most accomplished golfers in history have walked.

But back to the course. Yesterday I was back on Bobby Jones yet again for a game which is played there for over 30 years.

The pro shop and sign in:

My first way was to the pro shop. This shop has not the biggest selection of products, but you will find the most needed things for a round of golf. Also some shirts, bags, clubs and shoes. There was no long line, so I was up right away. The staff is a little slow and certainly not cheerful. A smile here and there would be nice, but yesterday I did not find that.

Right now the summer rate after 12 pm is 17 $ with cart. I had my nephew with me and had to pay 10 $ for him riding the cart. A little much for a 13 old who was not playing. The reasoning was that they could rent the cart space otherwise. Nonsense I thought, I would walk if not for my guest. Also, there was about 20 people on the entire golf course and an empty parking lot.

We bought some balls for the range as well. 3 $ for a small bucket is reasonable. Do not expect great balls though.

The Range:

I picked up my cart. The carts are always in good shape and clean. The cart boys are great. Friendly, always a joke on their lips and always helpful.

We drove to the range. A short range ( about 200 yards), mats only, no woods unless you are a short hitter. There is a few target pins. This time I got lucky with the balls. Plenty of lost golf balls of the course. So my warm up was good.

The course:

We played the British Course. This is the longer track ( Blue tees are 6700 yards). I have not played in a few weeks there. The last time I was on the course I was not to thrilled about the upkeep. So My hopes were high. The chipping green was in OK shape and the putting green improved a lot. So there was a good start. Signed in with the starter. All starters are retired staff members. They are friendly. A little more cheerfulness would help though.

On the tee box I noticed that they did put some effort in getting them in better shape. Looking at all tee boxes the staff succeeded on some. Over all they are OK but could use some leveling and seed. You will be able to get a good stand after looking for it.

The fairways were in good shape I though. Grass well grown and for the most part you find good lies. However, there are many sandy spots in front of greens, along cart path and at times in the fairway. Those lies do not help to enjoy the round any more. For the most part you should move the ball to a better lie to actually have a chance for a good golf shot. Some of the areas should be ground under repair.

The greens were mixed. The front 9 greens seemed to be better and in much better shape than just a few weeks ago. Not very fast, but they had some roll. Still bumpy. The back 9 greens were green, but oh boy where they slow. When you walked up to the green you could actually see the grass height. Not sure if they cut them at all on that day. They were all green and looked healthy for the most part, but they were not cut. So we were putting more on a lawn than a putting green.

I was in some bunkers and I think they have partly improved. But the traps are not of great quality. When it is wet, they are not playable. Just not enough sand. The rakes they had need to be replaced. Some of them are broken and all of them are very old.

The landscape on the course was taken care of. There were many nice old trees and bushes which are for the most part seem to be original. Some ponds add to the over all look of the course and a couple of them actually come into play.

I would say the course is not the toughest challenge, but has some very nice holes. It is wide open so it accommodates all kinds of players.

The 19th hole:

After the round we stopped by the restaurant for a drink. They offer all kinds of draft beers, pops, wine and they have a full bar. If you want to snack something, You will find all kinds of things there from nuts to chocolate bars and so on. There was free popcorn as well.

If you get hungry you might consider looking at their menu. We were not very hungry, but I did order some fries. In the past I had some fries which were not exactly tasty and of different quality every time I ordered them. I asked if the current fries are good and was told they were. That is why I ordered them.

This time we got fries which were the same like at Checkers. Brown and crispy. Not very tasty. In short. We did not like them to much. Ok to eat, but not my favorite.

In the past I had chicken wings there and hot dogs. Both I did not order more than 1 time. Self explanatory I guess. Prices for drinks are good. Beer is cold, pop is mixed well and the drinks are good quality. They have a wonderful bartender/server who takes great care of everyone, is very cheerful and always smiles. Very positive.

What I liked most was that you have a nice view of the golf course and putting green. So it is a good place. The restaurant could be improved.


If you want to play for a good price, Bobby Jones Golf Complex might the course you are looking for. They offer 2 different courses ( British and American ) and a par 3 course ( which I did not try out yet. The British course is for the most part wide open which allows players with all kinds of handicaps to enjoy the round.

Do not expect top quality. It is a city course and it shows. But it is not in super bad shape either. It is reasonable for the price. The staff and marshals are not the friendliest but do their job. Bobby Jones Golf Complex to me is a good place to pay with your family and kids and a track which I will continue playing as long as summer rates apply.

In season rates go up to app 40 $ to 50 $ and for that price I would not play.

If you are in Sarasota I think you should check it out. The American course is a nice challenge as well, but I have no knowledge about the shape at this point. Same accounts for the par 3 course.

Have you played Bobby Jones Golf Complex? Tell us about your experiences. Maybe you have some older fun stories as well. I will follow up on this round in a few months and see how the course developed.

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