DAYTONA BEACH:
GREAT FOR RACING, BUT BETTER FOR GOLF

Story by: Mike May

In life, there’s an old adage:  ‘Great things happen in bunches of threes.’  That mantra definitely applies to beach lovers who also enjoy playing golf and watching motorsports.  For golfers who like motor racing and are planning to visit Daytona Beach, Florida to watch a car race or two, they should be prepared for beach walks, birdie putts, and bumper-to-bumper racing at the Daytona International Speedway. 

The Daytona Beach Golf Club follows some of the original routing laid out by renowned golf course architect Donald Ross back in the early 1920s.

Miles of hard-packed sand await all beach walkers to the ‘World’s Most Famous Beach.’  The three big car races on Daytona’s calendar every year are the Rolex 24 at Daytona in January, Daytona 500 in February, and the Coke Zero Sugar 400 in August.  And, golfers in Daytona Beach have access to three Florida Historic Golf Trail courses, too:  the South Course at the Daytona Beach Golf Course, Riviera Country Club, and the New Smyrna Beach Golf Course.  As stimulating and exciting as the beach walks and car races may be, the golf along the Florida Historic Golf Trail will be the highlight of your visit to Daytona Beach for a number of reasons.

The par-71 South Course at the Daytona Beach Golf Club (PH:386-671-3500) features three sets of tees that range from nearly 5,200 yards to just over 6,200 yards. The course follows some of the original routing laid out by renowned golf course architect Donald Ross back in the early 1920s.

The tee shots on the South Course can be very forgiving, but the approaches are somewhat demanding if players want to go pin-seeking.

A passing train is a common sight on the South course, since the 4th, 5th, and 6th holes are separated from the main golf course by the railroad tracks.  And, the 12th, 13th, and 14th holes are bordered on their right by those same tracks.  The railroad tracks are clearly marked as being OB.

FYI: Ben Hogan, Byron Nelson, Sam Snead, and Jimmy Demaret played a challenge match on this course in 1946.  Demaret shot 64 to secure the win. The other three shot 67, 67 and 69, respectfully.

Riviera’s greens are in absolutely perfect condition – true, consistent, quick, smooth, and fair.

The Riviera Country Club (PH: 386-677-2464) in Ormond Beach was originally a nine-hole course in the 1930s but later expanded to 18 holes in 1954.  At Riviera, golf is treasured, celebrated and enjoyed every day of the year.  As the club’s brochure states, the Riviera Country Club has a “relaxed, comfortable atmosphere” which “welcomes golfers from around the world to enjoy.”

In 2014, all 18 greens were replaced.  Now, Riviera’s greens are in absolutely perfect condition – true, consistent, quick, smooth, and fair.  And, there are as many as nine different pin positions on every green.

FYI:  At Riviera, tee times are not required.  Simply show up, pay and play.  Walking is allowed.

The New Smyrna Beach Golf Club measures from 4,700 yards to 6,500 yards and was completely renovated in 2006.

The New Smyrna Beach Golf Club (PH: 386-410-2693) measures from 4,700 yards to 6,500 yards and was completely renovated in 2006.  In 2016, all the greens were replaced with platinum paspalum grass and the bunkers were softened.  The greens were also enlarged to give more pin positions.

Here, all four par fives are birdie opportunities as two of these par fives are under 500 yards long.  Water comes into play on eight holes.  The signature hole is the 2nd hole – a medium-length par four which features a lake to the left and out-of-bounds to the right.

FYI:  Of the 18 putting surfaces, only one green – the 13th – is bunker free.

Daytona Beach confirms that the old adage is true:  ‘Great things happen in bunches of threes.’ 

#   #   #