There is plenty of public golf in the Golden Isles, not to mention great weather, which probably explains why over a dozen PGA tour players live in the area. Jekyll Island Golf Club has 63 holes, Sea Palms has 27 holes, and the Sea Island Golf Club has 72 holes. In October there’s a PGA Tour event, the McGladrey Classic, at Sea Island’s Seaside Course. When it comes to getting up and down from the gnarly Bermuda rough, Seaside ranks as the second most difficult course on the PGA tour. There are also several private courses including Ocean Forest, which used to be in Golf Digest’s Top 100.
Today I played the King and the Prince golf course, located at the opposite end of the island from the hotel. At first glance its 6,462 yards from the tips seem short and even easy. Then you look at the rating of 71.7 and the slope of 140 and you realize it can’t really be easy, and it’s not. The King and Prince course was renovated in 2009 with new grasses: Zoysia framing the bunkers, Century Bermuda in the fairways, and best of all, Mini Verde on the greens, which run fast and true with no noticeable grain. The greens are so firm that there are dramatically fewer ball marks than I expected. Over half of these greens are 35 yards deep or more, making for up to a three-club variance on your approach shots. Only two greens are 25 yards deep or less. I love them.
This island course is framed by towering oaks, salt marshes, lagoons and, of course, the Atlantic Ocean. You’d better hit it straight. This is a course that seems to boast not one but four signature holes. On holes 12,13,14 and 15 (see the flyover link below) you ride over boardwalks to reach holes built on small islands engulfed by marshland. Then it is back to the clubhouse through lush forests on 16,17 and 18. It’s a challenge and a treat to play, and one more reason this area is a great place to consider for your next golf trip.
The best place to stay on St. Simons is the King and Prince Resort. It has undergone a wonderful renovation earlier this year and its the only hotel on the island located directly on the beach