“There’s no place like home! There’s no place like home!” While that line is what young Dorothy Gale (played by Judy Garland) recited while clicking her ruby red slippers during the 1939 movie classic The Wizard of Oz, those words may well be the most appropriate way to summarize how members feel about the chance to play golf year round at Jonathan’s Landing Golf Club in Jupiter, Florida. At Jonathan’s Landing, there is no yellow brick road, but the grass’s rich hue of green might make you think you are near the Emerald City.
Founded in 1996, members have access to not one, not two, but three of the most well-designed, well-maintained, well-manicured, fun, and fair golf courses in the country. Members of Jonathan’s Landing will probably agree that they are spoiled for choice when it comes to golf. Those three courses are the Fazio, the Hills, and the Village. If asked to use one word to describe the golf experience at Jonathan’s Landing, ‘nirvana’ is an accurate term. Each course has its own identity and was designed to give single handicappers a golf experience that they expect, while also being a fair and satisfying outlet for the mid to high handicapper. Very few golf clubs have courses where they have achieved that competitive balance. As a result, it truly keeps all the people happy all the time.
This 54-hole golf club actually has two geographic locations. The original Jonathan’s Landing Golf Club is located not far from the Atlantic Ocean. That’s where you’ll find the main clubhouse and the Village course. The Fazio and Hills courses – located side-by-side at nearby Jonathan’s Landing at Old Trail – are 13 miles west of the Village course or an easy 25-minute journey by car.
On each course at Jonathan’s Landing, the tees are raised and flat, giving you a level stance for your tee shots. The bunkers are tournament-ready. The greens are true, smooth, receptive, and quick but not too fast. Those putting surfaces are as close to perfection as is humanly possible. If you can pinpoint your putt’s line, you will make a few 25-footers during your round. The fairways will give you an ideal lie after every tee shot. As for the rough, it’s intended to give you some inconvenience, but you will always find your ball.
The three courses are so delightful that members are probably reluctant to play golf anywhere else – seriously. Each course was created to test your mettle and allow you to experience the joy of a well-struck shot. Because of the brilliant design of each course, there are some great shot-making moments to be enjoyed at Jonathan’s Landing. At the Fazio, Hills, and Village courses, well-executed shots always get their just reward.
Like all great golf courses, the experience starts on the driving range. At Jonathan’s Landing, only Pro V1 Titleist balls are used on both ranges. When you step on the tee box, you are given a liberal amount of room to find the fairway with every tee shot. The two exceptions are the par-5 15th at the Fazio and the par-5 2nd on the Hills. There’s little room for error on both tee shots. The Fazio’s 15th is a little tight and requires a right-to-left ball flight from the tee. Tee shots that drift right are still usually playable. Tee shots that drift too far left are rarely right, no pun intended. The 2nd at the Hills is a double dogleg where your tee shot must follow a left-to-right ball flight. Your second shot is influenced by marshy wetlands on your left. This hole deserves its #1 handicap rating.
At the Hills course, there’s a memorable stretch of five holes – the 12th through the 16th – where you have your best chance to put together a string of pars and possibly a birdie or two. The 12th, 13th, and 15th are medium-length par threes that are defended by bunkered, raised, and rolling greens. The 14th is a three-shot par 5, where birdies are possible, despite it being ranked as the #2 handicap hole. The 16th is a left-to-right par 4 which measures just 323 yards from the tips and is flanked on the right by water from tee to green. The club choice from the tee is influenced by how long of an approach you want to hit to a raised, plateau-like green.
The Fazio course is the jewel of Jonathan’s Landing, as it features 18 distinct experiences. This is one of Tom Fazio’s finest worldwide creations. It has a natural flow that allows you to enjoy many Mother Nature moments, especially the trek along the wooden bridge through the foliage from the 2nd green to the 3rd tee. Two of the great holes are the 7th and the 11th. The 7th is a 314-yard, right-to-left par 4, where you are hitting to a raised green. The 11th is a 380-yard, par 4 where the trek from the tee to the cup is uphill, made more difficult when it’s played into a breeze. Brains at 7 and brawn at 11 are required for a pair of pars. After playing the Fazio, it leaves you wanting to play this golf course again – immediately, if possible. Simply put, it’s special. Golf purists will agree.
While you cannot see the ocean from the Village course, you can usually feel the breeze. At the Village, it opens like a lamb and closes like a lion. The first two holes are a pair of manageable, dogleg par fours. The 3rd hole is a par-5, which ranks as the #1 handicap hole, but really plays easier than it appears on paper. The 4th hole is a straightaway par 3. The Village closes with a par-3, par-5, par-4 combination, where there’s a significant carry over water on each hole. A great round at the Village can ‘drown’ in the water of the last three holes if you lose your focus. The 17th, a left-to-right dogleg, serves as the Village’s signature hole. In addition to having two water carries on the 17th, you get to cross the second section of water on a small ferry—big enough for two golf carts. It’s a one-of-a-kind golf experience. Make sure to enjoy the view during your 60-second ‘cruise.’
While playing the Village, grab a snack at The Tern. And then, enjoy a bite to eat after your round at the Landing, located inside the clubhouse. You have an option of dining inside or outside. You will have a great view of the course, the practice putting green, and the driving range. For lunch, you can’t go wrong with the reuben or the mahi-mahi. Afterwards, your server will bring along a plate of freshly baked cookies, if you have a modest sweet tooth, but don’t want to order a full dessert.
“The best part of Jonathan’s Landing is the people and the way they interact and get involved with club activities,” says Neil Lockie, Director of Golf at Jonathan’s Landing. “Everyone enjoys both clubs and supports the events. New members have the easiest of times fitting in, getting a game and making new friends. As I say, they get sucked in like a vacuum and their calendars fill up faster than they can keep track! The facilities all speak for themselves, but it is the way that they are used and enjoyed by the members which makes Jonathan’s Landing such a great club,” explained Lockie.
As an interesting sidebar, every tee marker at Jonathan’s Landing is inscribed with the date 1696. That’s a tribute to Jonathan Dickinson, a Quaker merchant from Jamaica, whose ship (Reformation) was shipwrecked and ‘landed’ along the shores of what is now the greater Jupiter area – back in 1696. The club pays tribute to its local history by naming its streets and clubhouse rooms after those on board the ship, such as Captain Kirle Drive, Barrow Road, and the Dickinson room. In 1696, the local Indians referred to Dickinson and those on board his ship as ‘Nickaleers,’ thus the Nickaleer Lounge inside the clubhouse. For more information on Jonathan’s Landing, visit www.jonathanslanding.com