In my next installment of “top 5 in Jup,” I have one that’s kind of interesting to me. Growing up in such a small town, golf was never anything too important to the community. There were people who played, but the game really didn’t take any form of precedents. After moving down here it was interesting to me that the city of Palm Beach and County-owned golf courses. My next course is tucked into one of the local parks, hidden back off of Forest Hill Blvd in West Palm. Okeeheelee Golf course really surprised me when I finally played it. I knew the park was there, but I had no idea there were 27 holes of character packed golf on the back end of this property. The county itself owns a hand full of courses, ranging from Okeeheelee which is a full 27 hole facility with all the fixings, to John Prince Golf Center, which is a full-sized driving range, with a very nice little pro shop/bar, and 3 practice holes on site. I think it’s awesome that the community itself has invested in the game of golf down here by giving people great tracks to play at very reasonable rates. Not only that, the layout at Okeeheelee truly grabbed my attention from the get-go, and satisfied all the senses. From sprawling landscapes that are right on par with being carved out of a state park, very polite staff, and the local inhabitants on the golf course, this place is a lot of fun (I’ll get to them later).
The course itself is a fun little test, nothing too crazy, but to be honest far more than I expected when I was only charged $25 in the shop. The back tees on the 3 different 9s are 3301, 3372, and 3510 so you can stretch it out pretty good if you would like. With that being the case though I don’t think that is necessary due to the beautiful and challenging design. What blew me away out here were the flowing changes in elevation and unbelievable incorporation of natural elements while the course guides you through this beautiful state park. I grew up playing in the northeast, so elevation change isn’t a big deal, but after a few years in Florida, I kinda forget just how much it affects the game and how fun it is. Elevated greens, forced carries to elevated fairways, considerable drop-offs causing the ball to run out a bit different than expected, and the friendly fairways that would roll out an extra 20 yards or so. Then you have to deal with all the natural elements, the huge trees that line some of these fairways, very large bodies of water that are very much in play the whole way around, and one of the more interesting natural elements I’ve ever seen at any course anywhere…the giant iguanas…I had heard stories about these guys out here, but when I finally saw just how many and how big they were I thought it was nuts and a very cool natural addition to a very unique and fun track.
All jokes aside I purely enjoyed my round out at Okeeheelee. I’ve always viewed getting out on the course not only as a way to compete but a way to escape the world and recharge the batteries. Down here that can be tough to accomplish with how busy it is everywhere. Okeeheelee gave me that opportunity by disconnecting me with the busy world and putting me in touch with nature like a State Park is meant to. I kept catching myself while I was riding around going “wow this is beautiful” or “man, what a pretty golf hole”. At the end of the round, I was kind of kicking myself for it taking so long for me to find this little gem, because in a sense of self-satisfaction and appreciation for the game in its natural habitat Okeeheelee gave me all of it and more. So give yourself a full day and go pull a marathon of 27 holes, you won’t regret it one bit. Just be sure to keep an eye out for the locals running around out there, those lizards are awfully big and quick!