NORMANDY SHORES GOLF CLUB:
THE MIRACLE IN MIAMI
Story by: Mike May
Years of sweat and hard work were necessary to transform a mangrove-covered piece of property in Biscayne Bay into what is now Miami Beach’s Normandy Shores Golf Club (2401 Biarritz Drive, Miami Beach, Florida). To see how this course developed from a concept to a reality is nothing short of a miracle.
While this golf course opened for play on December 18, 1941, its roots can be traced to the early 1920s when developer Henry Levy and his associates started a massive dredging and landfill project in Biscayne Bay. After completing South Island and renaming it Normandy Isle, to honor Levy’s French heritage, attention then turned to building North Island, later named Normandy Shores, also in honor of Levy’s family French connections. But, it took a little longer for North Island/Normandy Shores to become a reality, as dredging and landfill efforts continued into the late 1930s. By July 1937, enough progress had been made so that golf course architects Howard Toomy and William Flynn were hired by the City of Miami Beach to build a golf course on Normandy Shores. Construction took longer than expected because dredging continued and it wasn’t easy growing grass on soil dredged from the bottom of Biscayne Bay.
|Mayor Elliott Roosevelt teeing off at Normandy Shores - December 16 1966.
When the course opened a week before Christmas 1941, Edgar Reed, a tourist from Maryland, completed the first round on the 18-hole golf course. He shot 97. Reed’s initial course-record round didn’t last long. The course record is now 60, set by Juan Jose Guerra in 2017.
After opening in 1941, the course was later redesigned by Mark Manahan in the mid-1950s. After Manahan’s work, Normandy Shores started attracting some of golf’s greatest names such as Sam Snead, Arnold Palmer, and Australian Peter Thomson. It also attracted some of the best local golfers such as Charlie the Blade, Three-Iron Ward, and Stork.
In 2008, Normandy Shores GC was renovated, again. Golf course architect Arthur Hills was hired to conduct the renovation. He did a great job.
Given the hard work, perseverance, and vision it took to build Normandy Shores GC, this course has earned the distinction of being a member of the Florida Historic Golf Trail.
Nowadays, the Normandy Shores GC (www.normandyshoresgolfclub.com) is all things to all people. According to Normandy Shores GC’s website, the club promotes itself as being “Your Family Friendly Course,” the home of “Sunday Family Fun Day,” and a place where women and juniors are always very welcome. Clearly, Normandy Shores provides the ‘red-carpet treatment’ to all visiting golfers.
|On the course, water comes into play on 12 holes.
“Normandy Shores is fun to play and is a member-friendly layout,” said Trace Allison, head professional, Normandy Shores GC. “We have exceptional customer service. We take pride in in how we treat people. Also, our superintendent keeps the course in tip-top shape.”
On the course, water comes into play on 12 holes. On the 6th, 7th, and 8th, water lurks at the back of those three putting surfaces. Don’t airmail those three greens. When you play the 11th, 12th, 15th, and 17th, water protects either the front or one side of the green.
Each December, Normandy Shores and the nearby Miami Beach Golf Club are the co-hosts of the South Beach International Amateur, now the 5th largest amateur tournament in the world. Each April, Normandy Shores also hosts the Battle at the Shores, a 16-team intercollegiate golf tournament.
The clubhouse restaurant serves breakfast, lunch, appetizers, and dinner. The grilled chicken wings are a popular pick.
Before playing Normandy Shores, check out the course’s website which contains a PGA Professional Tip on how to play each hole. Here, you can accumulate some local knowledge before you step foot on the first tee.
Finally, not having golf clubs is not an excuse to not play Normandy Shores, as you can rent TaylorMade and Cobra golf clubs from the pro shop.
To reserve your tee time at Normandy Shores, the pro shop awaits your call: 305-868-6502
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