Sanford Golf Design creates reversible nine for Florida muni

  • Sailfish
    Art Cicconi

    Sanford Golf Design has created a reversible nine-hole layout for Sailfish Sands golf course in Florida

  • Sailfish
    Art Cicconi

    The Sands 9 Black arrangement plays clockwise at 3,368 yards, while Sands 9 Gold plays anticlockwise at 2,868 yards

Richard Humphreys
By Richard Humphreys

Sanford Golf Design has completed work on a reversible nine-hole course at the former Martin County Golf Course in Stuart, Florida, part of a plan that will see the former 36-hole facility reduced to 27 holes.

The new course at the municipal facility, which has been renamed Sailfish Sands, uses portions of the former Red and White nines.

A planned second phase will see the facility’s Blue and Gold nines, now known as Sailfish 18, rebuilt and regrassed.

“When Martin County decided to reduce the number of holes from 36 to 27, Kevin Abbate, the Parks and Recreation director, challenged the architects by having them consider unique design approaches like a reversible nine-hole course, double greens or a new modern approach to draw new players to the course,” said John Sanford. “Other challenges were to design the course to be family friendly, minimise water usage, and use the natural terrain and native landscape. We understood that we needed to create a new dynamic approach to this project, and we believe we exceeded the project scope.”

Working with contractor TDI Golf, Sanford Golf Design reduced the overall footprint of the 18 holes, originally designed by William Langford in 1920, to approximately 60 acres.

The Sands 9 Black arrangement plays clockwise at 3,368 yards, while Sands 9 Gold plays anticlockwise at 2,868 yards. “Both routings feature a nice variety of par threes, fours, and fives with multiple playing angles so that all players can enjoy the reversible experience,” said Sanford.

The practice range has been redesigned so that it can also be used as a modern “golfertainment” venue. The driving range will be powered by Toptracer and includes shot-tracking technology and target greens set at varying distances.

“This is cutting-edge thinking on the part of the Martin County parks department,” said Sanford. “I can see entire families coming out to enjoy the games available on the range alongside avid golfers using the facilities to hone their skills with swing analytics and statistics.”

“Martin County residents expressed how important having a refreshed and affordable public golf course is for our community, and we listened,” said Abbate. “We made sure that the improvements made to the golf course would not only address sustainability from a maintenance standpoint, but also provide a great experience for players of all ages and skill levels.

“The idea of a reversible course was perfect, as now our golfers will get two different experiences under the same footprint with additional putting greens to practice their game. We are very pleased with the design Mr Sanford and his team proposed for the nine-hole course, transforming our vision into a reality. They also did a fantastic job adapting the design of the driving range to accommodate the Toptracer Range Technology; everything we asked for, they delivered!”