By now most of us need a break from our summer. The kids are home all day, the boss has doled out too much work because he or she is on vacation, and everything else just seems to be piling up.
Luckily, you don't need to go far to get away from the craziness. In fact, you can roll the family car out of the driveway, take a short drive and enjoy a weekend away from it all.
The Hutchinson Island Marriott Beach Resort & Marina in Stuart offers everything you need to recharge your batteries without making a long trip to do so.
Located on 200 acres between the Atlantic Ocean and the Indian River Lagoon, the resort offers 274 deluxe accommodations, unspoiled beaches, a marina, fine dining and bars, a BBQ and picnic area, babysitting services, fitness center, tennis courts, three swimming pools, wave runner and kayak rentals, bicycle rentals, and much more. There are even plenty of activities designed just for the kids so that you can truly "get away".
The Ocean Club Course, designed by Charles Ankrom and renovated by Dick Gray, is the jewel of the resort. This 18-hole track recently underwent renovations to all of its greens. Just over two years ago the greens complexes on the front-nine were completely torn -up and rebuilt. This past winter, it was the back-nine's turn. The results are phenomenal and the course's friendly staff is rightfully proud.
I was invited out last weekend to play the course and compare it to other resorts in the area. The work on the greens may have interrupted the busy winter season for the resort's members and guests, but it was well worth it. The new greens are as close to perfect as I've seen in some time. They hold and track well. In fact, my putts rolled as if on a pool table with just enough undulations to make things interesting.
Of course the greens are young and will take a little while to get into perfect condition. The staff is being careful not to cut them too short and risk stressing the young grass or allowing it to burn in the heat.
There are three sets of tees on this par-61 track that measures just over 4,000 yards from the tips. The front nine plays out to the Indian River Lagoon, while the back-nine takes you out toward the Atlantic Ocean.
At The Ocean Club, 12 par-3s await you. There are five par-4s and the finishing hole is a wonderful 485-yard par-5. While the shortest par-3 plays just 120 yards from the back, there are two long par-3s as well to test your game. Four of the par-4s play to the cardinal points on the compass. This means that where the wind may help you on one hole, the next it could be in your face, or coming from your right or left. This course has enough teeth to test better players, yet remains fun for the true recreational golfer.
If you play form the correct set of tees, Ocean Club will surely test your game. If you can play to your handicap around this track, you have had a solid round. There is a great variety of holes here. I hit eight different clubs off the tee on the par-3s. Looking back at my round, I hit nearly every club in my bag, except for my short wedges, at least once from the tee.
Every hole is well framed and laid out. The villas surrounding the course do not come into play, but do make for tricky wind patterns that add to the difficulty of the course. Being so close to the ocean and river, means that there is nearly always a breeze, and it can change from hour to hour.
The 18th hole here is a great hole. It's not often that we recreational golfers get a chance to reach the green on a par-5 in two. Playing under 500 yards long, a solid tee shot will leave most of us with a fariway wood or hybrid second shot to the green. Of course, it's not an easy shot with water lurking in front and left of the green. Fortunately, the green is very deep and receptive to long shots. Then there is always the way I played it. Hit a poor tee shot to the left and have to layup and then hit a wedge into the green.
For more information on playing the ocean Club Course or enjoying a weekend at the Hutchinson Island Marriott, visit www.marriott.com/stuart or call 772-225-3700.
James Stammer has been an avid golfer and golf enthusiast for nearly 40 years. He hosts the Thursday Night Golf Show on WSTU 1450-AM. Contact him at email@example.com.