Story by: Mike May

While Hollywood, Florida may be best known as a traditional south Florida beach town with a one-of-a-kind beachfront promenade (Hollywood Beach Broadwalk) which entertains visitors (and locals) throughout the year, this city is also the home of one of the oldest golf courses in Florida, which also entertains visitors (and locals) throughout the year.  It’s the Hollywood Beach Golf Resort, which has been catering to golfers for nearly a century.  In fact, the Hollywood Beach Golf Resort (1600 Johnson Street, Hollywood, FL; 954-927-1751) is now one of 53 golf courses in Florida which is part of the Florida Historic Golf Trail.

This course is pure, picturesque, a pleasure to play, and it puts a premium on golfers staying in the moment.  Because this golf course has a few narrow fairways, various water hazards, and many strategically placed bunkers, golfers who lose their focus may end up dropping a few shots and losing a golf ball or two.

Today, the Hollywood Beach Golf Resort (www.hollywoodbeachgolfresort.com) is a par 70-layout which measures 4,900 yards from the forward tees and 6,300 yards from the back tees.  There are four sets of tees on each hole so it won’t be difficult finding your comfort zone at the Hollywood Beach Golf Resort.

The roots of this course can be traced to the early 1920s.  Back then, this property was being used to grow tomatoes.  Now, it produces a different kind of yield -- holes-in-one, albatrosses, eagles, birdies, pars, bogeys, and the occasional double bogey (or worse). 

Under the leadership of golf course builder Charles Olsen and Wallie Nelson, the first nine holes were opened for play in early 1922.  By early 1923, the other nine holes were finished.  After all 18 holes were open for play, golf course builder Ralph Young, was hired to correct the course’s rough edges and fine tine the course’s playability.  He did just that.  The locals also say that golf course architect Donald Ross also played a prominent role in the design and construction of this golf course.

“The greens play like Donald Ross greens,” says Josh McCumber, director of golf, Hollywood Beach Golf Resort.  “It has elements of his design and fingerprint.” 

The course does feature a number of raised greens which is a characteristic of a Ross design.  The false front at the rear of the 6th green is also especially Ross-like.

For this golf course to be as relevant today as it was back in the 1920s is a credit to those who played a role in designing it, whether it was Olsen, Nelson, Young, Ross or all four of them.  To say that they were visionaries is an understatement.  Without a doubt, this course has truly stood the test of time and will continue to do so in the coming years.  It is worth noting that the current 7th hole used to be the 10th hole.  And, the current 11th hole was originally the 1st hole on this course.

The course opens like a lamb and closes like a lion.  At the outset, there are two par fives which measure less than 500 yards, so it’s quite possible to get off to a fast start with a birdie or two on this historic layout’s first two holes.  At the 2nd hole, four significant fairway-based bushes act as sentries for the green, perched 80 yards from the green, which serve as gatekeepers to the putting surface.  It’s also possible to close with two birdies on the front nine as holes 8 and 9 are a pair of relatively short par threes.  The difficult section of the front nine is when you play holes 4 and 5.  Both have a forced carry over a pond-like water hazard that crisscrosses each fairway. There’s no shame in going bogey-bogey at the 4th and 5th. 

At the turn, you can quench your thirst and satisfy your hunger by stopping at Pauly’s Dog House.  Pauly’s has character plus great snacks, soft drinks, and cold beer. 

On the back nine, there is another set of back-to-back par threes (holes 13 and 14), though they are longer than the back-to-back par threes on the inward half.  Pars are precious at 13 and 14.

Hollywood Beach’s lion-like close features a pair of long par fours, which measure more than 400 yards from the black and white tees.  A par-par finish is a powerful feeling.

Another special attribute of this course is the McCumber Golf Academy, which is located onsite.  The Academy, partly owned by 10-time PGA Tour winner Mark McCumber, offers a number of on-course instructional lessons and outings to willing listeners and interested pupils.

After walking off the 18th green, head to Rudy’s Pub & Restaurant for a bite to eat and the libation of your choice.  The waterside view from the patio of the course is priceless.  You’ll see turtles swimming, birds wading, and iguanas sunning.  Voted the winner of “Best Casual Dining” award in Hollywood, you have a plethora of delectable options – ranging from standard fare like hot dogs, cheeseburgers, and reubens to the spinach & artichoke turkey melt, spinach strawberry salad, and grilled pesto caprese.  Rudy’s slogan is very appropriate – “There’s a little bit of something for everyone at Rudy’s.”  It applies to every meal they serve – breakfast, lunch, or dinner.

For those looking for a stay-and-play experience in Hollywood, there are 30 rooms on site which provide a convenient place to ‘hang your hat’ after you play.

As you can see, the Hollywood Beach Golf Resort is a complete south Florida golf getaway which is a pleasure to play and stay every day for visitors (and locals).

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