Review: St. Joseph’s Bay Golf Club
The St.Joe course is located in a wooded setting a few miles south of Port St. Joe Florida just off the Gulf Coast Scenic Drive (Highway 30A). It’s fairways are tree-lined and water comes into play on fourteen of its eighteen holes. The terrain is mostly level, but grass mounds, water, and groves of trees add variety and challenge. It is a pretty course and for the season (early March) the fairways and greens were in good condition – and mostly green.
Features we particularly liked.
Tee boxes. There are four sets of tees ranging from 6665 yards to 5039 providing challenge for the lower handicap golfer but some relief for those who aren’t long hitters. My wife Jo is a fairly new golfer (and a senior) so we like courses where the Red (Ladies) tees are less than 5000 yards, so St. Joe’s course was close to that. The Red tee boxes were also in good condition (some courses we’ve played neglect their shortest tee boxes).
The greens. The greens had some slope to them and were in good condition. We also found they putted true; there were no gimmicky pin placements or crazy undulations to add challenge.
The course layout. The cart paths are paved and the layout of the holes make it easy to navigate from the greens to the next set of tee boxes. Some courses have a layout that has golfers new to the course wandering around trying to find the next tee boxes. If you are walking, like we often do, it can be time-consuming and tiring when the course layout doesn’t have a logical and somewhat linear path from green to the tee boxes of the next hole.The clear layout and it being fairly level terrain also make it a very walk-able course.
While there are thick woods surrounding the course, the holes are laid out such that a slice (for a right hand golfer) puts the ball in the trees or rough between the holes where you can easily find it as the rough is pine straw (not long grass) under the trees. However, a slice on a few holes will risk losing some balls due to the location of the water hazard.
Course Fees. The golf course is at a Country Club so there are member and non-member green fees. The guest fees are reasonable; we paid $16 to walk 9 holes. The guest or non-member rate for green fees and cart for 18 holes is $43.25 (2018 prices); a fair price based upon our experience at other courses of similar quality.
The club house has a lounge, a snack bar that has a limited lunch menu, a full bar, and an outdoor patio off the snack bar. Friendly service and reasonable prices.
Hotel and motel lodging is a few miles away in Port St. Joe. There is a private RV Park and Marina about two miles away . . . but somewhat pricey in our estimation. Camping at St. Joseph Peninsula State Park is 13 miles away, but we prefer the Indian Pass RV park and campground which is about 10 miles from the course on the road to Apalachicola.
Course Rating & Condition.
Since writing this article, I had an opportunity to read some course reviews on Google and many of them were unfavorable – particularly noting the condition of the fairways. As we were golfing early season when most courses at this time in more northern Florida weren’t fully greened out, we wouldn’t have focused on the quality of the fairway grass. If we play there in 2019, I should pay closer attention to the emerging grass and see if it looks poorly.
Another note. The course was damaged by Hurricane Michael but will be re-opening soon, 9 holes in December and another 9 by January – – – roscoe Nov 26, 2018