It’s not always fair to review a travel destination built around golf courses out of season. Now, most people don’t think Florida has seasons — high, wet, quiet or otherwise. But, there are transitional periods in the Florida climate as there are in most other regions of the world. If a golfer catches a Florida course during such a transition, the track can play a little rough.
I caught Omni Amelia Island Plantation off the Jacksonville coast during one of those seasons. March brings a lot of wind and rain across Florida as the Spring change toward the heavy summer heat takes hold. Florida fairways take a bit of a beating in winter without the consistent humidity that turns the Bermuda grass a lush green come summer.
Despite all of these meteorological musings, I found a rain-free afternoon along the Florida course to try the Omni Amelia Island Plantation Resort’s Ocean Links course. Already facing seasonal challenges, the week’s weather was doing the round any favors, hitting the course with storms off and on for days. It rained the morning before I played and poured all of the following day.
The course takes its name from the front nine run of holes #4, #5 and #6 running along the ocean. On those holes, the fairways and greens run parallel to the beach on Amelia Island and involve plenty of sand and reeds studding the terrain. On the day, ocean winds were beating us down — but the views remained stirring.
Away from the sea, Ocean Links turns to a marsh wetland vibe. In total, the course steers through six miles of sand dunes and seaside terrain. The sight lines are open, and the fairways welcoming, making for a proper resort-style course. At a short yard total of 6,300 yards, the track is walkable and playable in under four hours.
Despite all of these factors, Ocean Links offered this traveler a great round on a course that had all of the essentials on the rails. For example, the fairways were rough in spots — but the scuffs, scars and tight lies were minimal. The tee boxes were a bit worn, but the greens were immaculate. Across the board, the crew running Ocean Links (and the entire three-course lineup at Omni Amelia Island Plantation Resort) deserves credit for keeping the course fully playable in the weeks leading up to prime golf season in Florida.