Golf Course Review: Oak Marsh, Amelia Island 

    There are days when every muscle locks up, every putt reads wrong, all the breaks uniformly go against you, every fairway lie seems to be a bad one, and lip-in is not part of the equation (but lip-out is very much so).  Okay, that was me yesterday at the tough but fair Oak Marsh course at Amelia Island Plantation, from the double bogey on the first to the same fortune on the last.  The only thing that kept me from verbally embarrassing myself -- beyond the embarrassment of my golf game -- was Jerry and Shirleen, the nice folks from St. Louis we were matched with (Bill Miller, friend and faithful subscriber to HomeOnTheCourse, our advistory newsletter, also was witness to my self destruction).  I didn't want to act up in front of them.
    Jerry and Shirleen return to Amelia every year for the month of March, and occasionally add the month of February as well.  Clearly they like the island's golf courses and are enthusiastic advocates for resort golfing; when I asked if they had considered a retirement home in a golf course community, they replied "Never" in unison.  They much prefer to have one home and various vacation spots.  Their credentials as golf course afficionados are impeccable; their home course in St. Louis, Bellerive, has hosted the U.S. Open and PGA Tour Championships and is one of the most heralded clubs in America.  They know of what they speak.
    Thanks to them and Bill for putting up with me.  We'll follow up soon with some comments about the Amelia Plantation courses; today we play Bobby Weed's Ocean Links course, and tomorrow it's the highly rated Long Point.

Not only was my golf game atrocious yesterday, but my picture-taking skills took the day off as well.  Apologies to, left to right, Bill, Shirleen and Jerry.

Par 3s at Queen's Harbour aren't long, but don't be short.

    Golf is not first in the club's name, but the course at Queen's Harbour Yacht and Golf Club is very good.  The Mark McCumber layout has its peculiarities -- for example it sets up much better for the player who draws the ball than the one who fades -- but it is a fair test, not easy by any means, but if your mid irons are working, you will score well.  And Monday through Thursday, the course is available to outside play for the ultra-bargain price of $49.
    We will have more to say about Queen's Harbour in coming weeks here and in HomeOnTheCourse, our advisory newsletter, but for the moment I want to thank the three Florida guys who put up with my erratic play and frenetic picture taking.  Ed and Chris are from Orlando and Kyle is a superintendent at the Hale Plantation in Gainesville and a graduate of the University of Florida's turf management program.  He wore his Gators hat proudly, and his golf bag bore the university's name and logo.  Must be nice to be an alum of a school with a national basketball championship.  (Nice to have his good golf swing as well.)
    Thanks to the guys and to Jon Kitchen, director of golf and general manager at the club for making my arrangements (and for his understanding why I needed to pay for my greens fees, as I do everywhere I play; objectivity has its price).

Left to right:  Chris, Ed and Kyle rounded out my foursome.