Golf Course Architecture - Issue 75, January 2024

line but also offering a reward on the far side of the carry with fairway for additional roll. The greenside bunkering is not at all a frontal assault, and where there is one side protected by sand the other is likely left open within clear view. The TifEagle bermuda greens offer considerable contrast. They average 5,880 square feet, but in doing so they vary considerably, with the putting surface on the short par-four fifth hole the smallest on the course at only 3,004 square feet; while the green at the mid-length par-four second hole is the largest at 10,525. Hanse calls it “one of the favourites I have ever built” for its wild contours that make one think of the fourteenth green at Augusta National – a green and surrounds complex that, by the way, has more elevation change than all of Harbour Town Golf Links on Hilton Head, South Carolina. There is a lot of stutter-stepping and shifting rhythms to be encountered out there. The course starts with a long par four that takes players to the back of an old Hacienda-style ranch home that will serve as a temporary clubhouse until the main clubhouse on the West side is ready. The short, dogleg right par-four fifth hole calls for a tee shot along an inlet that empties out into the Okeechobee Canal. From there, the front nine turns inward, to the 618yard, double-dogleg par-five sixth with a second shot across a ‘Hell’s HalfAcre’ bunker. The shortest hole on the front nine, the 155-yard par-three eighth, plays to a green perched well above grade that falls off all around. The contrasts continue on the back nine, with the long par-five tenth followed by a short par four. Then comes a very long par four at the twelfth to a green whose entrance is obscured by a Mackenzie-style short carry bunker that is actually 60 yards short of the green but looks like it is set right up against the putting surface. Another short par three follows, the 135-yard thirteenth, followed by the most tempting hole on the West course, the 321-yard par-four fourteenth to a massive, potato-chip of a green; it is readily in reach from each of the respective tees and offers the prospects of a green that seems to steer putts into unfathomable corners. The hole proves that ground-game intrigue can appeal to players of every skill level. The course does not look or feel like most other Florida layouts. Water is not in play. There are shot-making options in terms of playing angles and the ground game. Every hole presents an opportunity to exercise not just physical skill but also mental ability in terms of judgment. It is a golf course that provides diverse stimuli and that engages a golfer’s full sensory capacity. For Apogee, the West is only the start. Each of the two follow-on courses will offer varied terrain, look and strategic demands. Small wonder the list of founding members is already growing. This article is adapted from Bradley S. Klein’s newly published book, APOGEE: Reaching New Heights (Duck Pond Press, Melville, New York, 2023) APOGEE WEST Photo: Apogee 65 The West course opened in 2023. The South, by Tom Fazio II and Mike Davis, is in construction, and the North is being designed by Kyle Phillips