In a state that boasts over one thousand golf courses and clubs, redundancy is the norm in the sunshine state. Sailfish Point Golf Club is one that truly stands out in its location and lifestyle. A private member owned club that’s ranked among the best residential golf courses in Florida and the U.S, Sailfish Point is located 45 minutes north of the Palm Beaches in the tranquil town of Hutchinson Island. The 532 acre parcel that encompasses the Sailfish community, features 5 miles of shoreline stretching along 3 surrounding bodies of water – the Atlantic Ocean, St.Lucie inlet and the Indian River (Intracoastal waterway).
The 7,088 yard par 72 Jack Nicklaus signature layout weaves its way along each waterway changing directions throughout, challenge comes in the form of persistent coastal winds that can shift and change in an instant. Although water is in play on several holes, the landing areas offer generous fairways from the tee with few forced carries. Nicklaus, who’s been a South Florida resident since 1970, knows the importance of exactly when and where to use water features for aesthetics, site drainage and when to apply as in-play hazards. The layout is a bona fide second shot golf course set in a zero elevation landscape.
The 420 yard gentle dogleg right fifth is one of five holes where water doesn’t come into play on the approach, this oblong green narrows severely in back section.
The routing makes good use of the natural elements, and caters to those who can shape shots and control trajectory. Although a par 5, the 614 yard fourteenth is the brute of the layout, featuring a lengthy approach into the prevailing southeast breeze – 5 here is a good score.
The greensite views on 14 are about as good as it gets.
The Golf Club is led by their superb Director of Golf Vic Tortorici, who hails from Syossett, N.Y where his golf career began in the PGA Met Section before arriving at Sailfish Point over 32 years ago. Tortorici gave me the scoop on the upcoming Nicklaus renovation that will take place in the spring of 2021 (plans above). The routing will remain unchanged, here’s what’s on the agenda: new turf throughout (trials of several different Bermuda varieties and paspalum are presently being grown on hole 17 to track wear, aesthetics, growth habits, etc), re-designed greens, bunkers, an updated irrigation system. A few major tweaks will take place, the 3rd green will be shifted to its new location – 20 yards closer to the river. The 11th green will also be shifted slightly left of its current location and the 14th green which sits right on the inlet will get a slight alteration to its green complex as well with the addition of a new (much needed) bunker behind the green.
The clubhouse is the epicenter of onshore activities, and what’s more enjoyable than savory food and fine spirits after a day on the links. Truly great vibes are in play at the Terrace Grill, Oceanside Beach Club ( I highly recommend the shrimp tacos) and the aptly named Cross Roads Cafe that is ideally positioned at the intersection of the tenth tee and the driving range/practice area. Golf is the headliner, but the club’s Spa, Fitness Center and Tennis Center deserve praise for outstanding facilities and their seasoned professional staff.
Boating and fishing is quite naturally part of the culture at Sailfish Point, boasting one of the largest privately owned full-service marinas in the Sunshine State. Anglers will find the inlet teeming with Trout, Tarpon, and Snook, while the Gulf Stream offers Sailfish, Wahoo, Kingfish and Dolphin.
“The Window on the Sea” is the 443 yard finisher that plays directly towards the coastline. The green here is slated to be raised slightly during the renovation to provide better views of the ocean. Big kudos to 15 year Superintendent Scott MacPhee and his staff for providing outstanding playing conditions to the members and guests everyday.
The 266 golf members never have to worry about tee times, they don’t exist at the club (Saturday’s are typically the busiest day). Tortorici and his golf staff typically hold 100 member events during their season that concludes in mid-May each year.
Perhaps our biggest takeaway from our experience at Sailfish Point Golf Club beyond the atmosphere, spectacular scenery and fine lifestyle was simply the unassuming and friendly nature of the members and staff at the club.
Certainly, not all oceanfront property is created equal.
For more information visit: https://www.sailfishpoint.com/sailfish-point-golf-club