The Ocean Course at Hammock Beach Resort Review

Texas Outside Rating: 9.3

Golf - Resort Private Course · 18 Holes · Par 72
Palm Coast, Fl

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The Ocean Course at Hammock Beach Resort Review

 The Ocean Course at the outstanding Hammock Beach Resort is a Jack Nicklaus signature course and Florida's first ocean side course since the 1920's.  The Ocean Course opened in 2000 and plays past some beautiful homes, swaying palm trees, pristine wetlands, sparkling lakes, dense natural areas with closely packed Florida fauna, elevated mounds, cinnamon colored bunkers with native coquina sand, and 6 holes along the Atlantic Ocean with the waves crashing in the background. 

With the ocean trade winds, water on 11 holes, 79 bunkers, dog legs, risk reward opportunities, 5 sets of tee boxes, native sand waste areas, elevated tee boxes, and challenging green complexes coupled with  superior service,  The Ocean Course offers golfers everything that makes golf fun, aesthetically pleasing,  and memorable and keeps us playing this frustrating and expensive game.  Even riding along the cart path through the dense palm and tree forests, beside wetlands, and past some stunning homes is fun.  And it's not surprising that The Ocean Course has won a number of prestigious awards and accolades, some of which include:

  • #53 in Conde Nast Traveler's "Top 100 Golf Resorts"
  • Golf Digest's "America's 100 Greatest Public Golf Courses (#57)" and #60 in the "Top 75 Resorts"
  • #22 in Golf For Women's "Top 50 Golf Courses for Women"
  • Golf Magazine's "Top 100 Courses You Can Play in the USA (#78" and  Silver Medal Golf Resort
  • Golfweek's "Best Courses You Can Play in Florida (#9)" and #48 in "Best Resort Courses"

The front nine is an outstanding layout and home to some great holes that will throw a little bit of everything at you like #6 a 526 yard par 5 with a great risk reward shot to see how much of the lake and a natural sand bunker you would like to try and fly to shorten the hole which leads to a challenging approach shot to a green with water surrounding 80% of it plus a big white sand bunker that slopes into the water or #9 that plays along the Atlantic Ocean leading to a big uphill shot to a raised green with little room for error and a great view of the ocean.  

To us the back nine was even more exciting, fun, and memorable and specifically the thrilling last four holes dubbed "The Bear Claw."  #15 has a forced carry over the lake and wetland and up a narrow pinched  fairway (thanks to a couple big bunkers and mounds) to a dramatically raised green;  #16 has a good risk reward shot over the lake and bunker to another raised green with a false front and false side that will take your ball 30 yards back down the hill if you miss the green; 17 is a beautiful 174 yard par 3 with an elevated tee box and requires a precise shot to hit and hold the green with a huge bunker and the Atlantic Ocean as a backdrop; and 18 is a fantastic finishing hole that plays along the Atlantic with a wide sweeping fairway leading to a huge uphill green, a great restaurant, a balcony with a stunning view that's a great place to settle your bets, and the pro shop where you can sign up for another tee time.  You won't forget these last four holes and you'll be anxious to play them again.

The Ocean Course has 5 sets of tee boxes with yardages ranging from 7201 to 5115 yards, giving you an opportunity to pick a set that fits your game.  The back tees have several forced carries and risk reward opportunities that you won't find on the two forward tees.  The fairways are ample and forgiving with a wide rough.  The Ocean Course is very fair and gives you an opportunity to have a relaxing, fun, and low scoring round.   Everything at the Ocean Course at Hammock Beach Resort is in near perfect condition and very well manicured and maintained which enhances the overall golf experience.   

The greens were near perfect, rolled fast and smooth, and are relatively flat with some slope and undulation.  Most are raised, well guarded, and on the small side. 

The bunkers range from huge to small pot bunkers and most are very steep faced.  The sand is ok - a little gritty but thick and good to play out of.  You'll also encounter a lot of natural sand bunkers - some would call them waste areas but we think they are much too pretty with trees, smooth sand, palm trees, and brush to be called that. 

The Ocean Course is a private resort course that is playable by members, member guests, and resort guests.  Hammock Beach Resort is fantastic and has an excellent stay and play package - read our review of Hammock Beach Resort.  In addition to being able to play The Ocean Course, you can also play the outstanding Conservatory Course -read our review of The Conservatory at Hammock Beach Resort.

The Ocean Course


SM is a private resort course, open to members, their guests and resort guests.


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Course Slope & Ratings

Tee Box Yardage Rating Slope
Black 7,201 75.5 144
Blue 6,371 71.7 135
White 5,811 69.0 126
Gold 6,723 73.8 141
Red 5,115 65.5 117

Course Information

Course Architect:
Tom Watson
Greens Type:
TIF Dwarf
Greens Condition
Greens Difficulty
Fairway Condition
Bunker Condition
Course Map
Beware of water on 11 holes and the 79 sand traps.

Texas Outside Rating

Overall Rating:
9.3 out of 10
Fun to Play:
Front Nine Rating:
Back Nine Rating:

Service is impeccable - everyone seems to enjoy their job and the course and wants to make sure your round is pleasurable. The pro shop is well stocked and the practice range is outstanding - the driving range is set up like a wide fairway with a rough and several targets. The Atlantic Restaurant is above the pro shop and has a wide selection of very good food for breakfast, lunch, and dinner and a stunning view of the 18th hole, Atlantic Ocean, and the sunset.



Here's How Texas Outside Determines the Scorecard Rating

The Texas Outside rating scale ranges from 1 to 10 – a perfect 10 course would be something like this:  links along a cliff overlooking the Pacific ocean and bordered by tall trees; lush fairways on rolling hills with lots of natural hazards; water (which is crystal clear) on most of the holes; immaculate greens (but they are undulating and tough); lots of variety and character (each hole is completely different and includes blind shots, elevation changes, doglegs, and significant challenges); perfectly manicured traps with the whitest and prettiest sand you’ve ever seen; a nice club house with great food and a 19th hole; a GPS; plenty of beverage carts or your own cooler and ice; and it only costs $40 bucks! What this means is that you probably won’t find any 10s in Texas – try Cabo San Lucas, Pebble Beach, or some of the Hawaii courses! 
Texas Outside rates courses on the following:

  • Beauty – tall trees, rolling hills, beautiful houses, waterfalls, and similar stuff would score high; a 1 would be flat, bushes or cactus instead of trees, and some grass but mostly weeds
  • Difficulty – a straight, 300 yard par 4 with no traps or hazards, no out of bounds or water would probably get a 1; if it is a 460 yard par 4 over two ravines, with water along one side, natural hazards on the other, strategically placed traps or that dreaded tree right in the middle of the fairway, we are talking a 10. 
  • Variety – what would you give a course where all the holes looked and played exactly the same (“I thought we just played that hole!”); were side-by-side, which is good for finding or dodging other people’s balls, but not much fun; and you can see the flag from every tee box?  That’s right, it gets a 1.
  • Fun Scale – a 10 is where you walk off the course and say “now that was fun” and you can’t wait to get back, or you immediately turn around and play another 18 holes
  • Value – a 5 is $50 to $60, a 10 is $20 to $30, and 1 is $200 or so – of course all of this is dependent upon how you liked the course.  For example, if a run down, boring municipal course, with six players on each hole was only $10; it would still get a value rating of 1.
  • Condition – this one’s pretty easy – what condition are the fairways. A 10 commands very lush perfectly manicured fairways, compared to a 1, which has fire ants, weeds, and more dirt than grass!
  • Condition of Greens and Difficulty – very hard to read greens with lots of undulation and tough pin placement, rate very high on the difficulty scale.  Condition is self-explanatory.  

All of the above determines the overall score for the golf course.  In other words, we like courses that are pretty, fun, very challenging with a lot of variety, and fairways and greens in excellent condition – all for $40.  We also tend to play the courses that are affordable for the masses, which means in the $30 to $80 range. We rate hard and we haven’t found a 10 in Texas yet – don’t worry we haven’t given up and we’re still looking.