YOU START TO get a glimpse of the character of this course on the first hole, which opens off the tee a little left to right. The cypress trees on either side of the fairway and the variety of grasses—TifEagle, paspalum and St. Augustine—provide definition. St. Augustine, a grass that Donald Ross used on the old Gulfstream golf course in 1923, frames every hole, and, in my opinion, is a grass that has been overlooked on many south Florida golf courses for a long time.
There’s a lot of mulch scattered on either side of the fairway, so if your ball gets in there, don’t worry; it will roll. The whole philosophy of this course is to get you around without losing a bunch of golf balls, but on this first hole, hang left—it’s your best chance to get a good shot at the green. From any place in the fairway, you’re going to be all right, but you’ll be much better off staying left.
Once you’re in the landing area, you’ll see that the green sits a little opposite of your tee shot. The hole sets off right to left, but there’s a lot of room for your second shot, especially to the right of the green, which opens that way. So hang right on your second shot. There’s a little lagoon on the left, but it should be out of play as long as you keep your ball right. This green is large for a par five, but as this is the opening hole: The object is to get you up and running.