The South Florida Report
On January 9-12 the Donald Ross Society met at four different venues under the sunny and warm Florida skies.
January 9th was an outing that had been scheduled with Friends of Bobby Jones Golf Course president and Donald Ross Society Member Shawn Pierson. The purpose was to introduce the idea that the two nines that were designed at this Sarasota Municipal should be reunited and restored while the other two nines (built in the 1950’s) should be modernized. Bobby Jones Municipal is a very popular venue ringing the register some 120,000 times a year. The clubhouse is under serious consideration for replacement which would open the option of returning some of the original ground for the Ross opener. Earlier in the week Shawn Pierson and Ross Society Captain Michael Fay presented this plan to the City Council.
In support, some 24 golfers playing with hickory and modern clubs played the two Ross designed nines. One of the highlights was Ross member Marla Flinn making the deuces on the four par threes. A good time was had by all.
On Friday the 10th John Falcone and the membership of the Dunedin Golf Club in Dunedin Florida welcomed the Donald Ross Society to their course. Dunedin is a stern 1927 Ross designed test. The opening holes must be met with low expectations or the player could well be thrown into a tailspin. The conditions were very good and the greens putted true. Eighty five year old Al Nuzny led the charge along with a good contingent of Ross Members from the Brookside Country Club in Canton Ohio. Also included in the group were Ross Society President Mike Miller and Vice President Derek Dobbs.
The 11th of January was bright and sunny and 28 Ross Society members were directed by Jim Slattery, the able Professional of the Belleair Country Club to the West Course at Belleair. Jim explained to the assembled group that Belleair had a six hole course in 1895 making it the oldest ground on which golf had been continuously played in Florida. The two eighteen hole Ross designed courses were opened in 1915 certifying the Belleair claim that it is the oldest Club in Florida. The golf was very good as the conditions were near perfect. Golf was followed by cocktails and a lovely dinner served in the Terrace Room of this elegant Club.
The 12th brought more sunshine as the members of the Society met for breakfast at the Belleair CC. The group played the East Course at Belleair. The enthusiastic group was treated to lunch afterwards, before heading back to the cold and snow in the North.
Michael J. Fay