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Loblolly Pines Golf Course

Hobe Sound, Florida

By: Michael Norfolk

Appeared in March 1995 LINKS

In October 1987, as John and Susan Sullivan, were realizing their dreams, watching heavy machinery move earth on the site that would become Loblolly Pines in Hobe Sound, Florida, the dreams of millions others took a big hit as the Dow Jones Industrial Average plummeted on what became known as Black Monday.

Despite the difficult economic climate of 1987–88, the Sullivans were on site daily to watch the construction of Pete and P.B. Dye’s design. After months of arduous, dusty and expensive work, the figure-eight course routing came together.

The Sullivans succeeded in accomplishing their three primary objectives with the design and construction of Loblolly Pines. First, the golf course had to be demanding with a variety of holes, three or four of which must be truly memorable, playing in various directions. Second, the course must be walkable and a first-rate caddie program installed to maintain this vital element of the golf experience. Third, residential real estate considerations, while essential to the success of the club, would come second to the design of the course. No more than one side of any hole would contain homesites.

The layout begins with three exacting holes: No. 1 is a 400-yard par 4 with a generous landing area doglegging left to a tumultuous, horizontally oriented green guarded by bunkers left and right. No. 2 is a 173-yarder once again into the prevailing winter wind and requiring a carry from the elevated tees to a green nearly surrounded by sand. At the 3rd, you begin to wonder when the let-up will come. No. 3 is a 457-yard par-4 playing north into the prevailing winter wind and doglegging right to an elevated and crowned green.

The second nine begins to the south with a distractingly short 150-yard hole that, due to its small green and tight bunkering, probably sees as many bogeys as any hole on the course. At the 13th, Loblolly begins its crescendo. Turning to the west, a 269-yard par 4 borders the southern edge of the property and tempts the player to go for the hidden green which is protected by trees, mounds, bunkering and long grass. However, those who play a mid-iron to the fairway still find themselves required to play an exacting pitch shot.

The 14th and 15th are both north-playing par 4s but differ in length by 100 yards and at least one shot in difficulty. The home hole turns 180 degrees to the south, playing 440 yards back along the opposite shore of the lake on No. 17 to a strategically tucked and undulating putting surface in the shadow of the clubhouse.

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