In this section learn more about the history of the course and its hometown, see a selection of historic and current images of the course, learn about what the course is like today, and discover nearby historic sites.
The Bobby Jones Golf Club is located in the City of Sarasota in Sarasota County. Sarasota is known as “The cradle of American Golf” thanks to the contributions of Scottish-born Colonel John Hamilton Gillespie. In 1886, Gillespie arrived in Sarasota and built a practice course consisting of two greens and one long fairway between what is now Main Street and Ringling Boulevard. That course is one of the oldest recorded golf courses in the nation. By 1888 the number of golf holes increased to four and a practice range was added to the mix. By 1901 the 4 hole course increased to nine holes and a clubhouse, and by 1906 a full 18-hole course was in operation. A year after Gillespie’s death in 1923, the golf course was sold and developed.
The Sarasota City Commission adopted an ordinance in 1925 for the issuance of City bonds in the amount of $150,000. The ordinance was intended to acquire 290 acres of land for park purposes, and improvements to that land for a municipal golf course. Renowned golf course architect Donald Ross was hired to design the 18-hole layout and in 1926, the Sarasota Municipal Golf Course was officially opened. In 1927, the City renamed the municipal course the Bobby Jones Golf Club. A crowd of over 1,000 gathered to watch Bobby Jones personally dedicate the course and play in an exhibition game where he went on to shoot a 73.
Nine holes were added in 1952 and another nine in 1967. The original Donald Ross course was split in half, with nine holes contributing to the North 18-hole layout and nine holes contributing to the South 18-hole layout. The resulting North eighteen holes were designated the American Course and the South eighteen designated the British Course.
In 1930, Bobby Jones accomplished one of the most amazing feats in sports history, the Grand Slam of Golf. In honor of these championships the American Course honors Jones' championships in the U.S. Amateur at Merion and the U.S. Open at Interlachen. The British Course front nine is named for his British Amateur victory at St. Andrews and the back nine for his British Open success at Hoylake. Jones is the only golfer to have won all of these major championships in the same year.
In 1977, a 9-hole, executive course named in honor of Col. John Hamilton Gillespie, was designed by Lane Marshall and added to the Bobby Jones Golf Club.
The Bobby Jones Golf Club is a 45-hole golf complex consisting of two 18-hole golf courses and a 9-hole, par-30 executive course. The 18-hole, par-71, American Course features four sets of tees playing from 4,300 to 6,000 yards and is a shotmaker's course with water and trees frequently coming into play. There are also many out-of-bounds stakes lining the fairways. The 18-hole, par-72, British Course features four sets of tees playing from 5,200 to 6,700 yards. The British Course is more open and includes plenty of sand bunkers. To play all 18 holes of the original Donald Ross golf course, golfers have to play the back nine of the American and British courses.
Be sure to check out the impressive Bobby Jones and Colonel Gillespie display on the inside wall of the club house, along with historic photographs, trophys and hickory golf clubs. Gillespie’s personal putter from the 1870s is also on display.
The short street leading into the Bobby Jones Golf Club was named Paul Azinger Way by the City of Sarasota in honor of local golf legend Paul Azinger, who attended Sarasota High School and played for Florida State University. A 12-time winner on the PGA Tour, including the 1993 PGA Championship, Azinger played on four United States Ryder Cup teams and captained the 2008 winning team.
Circus Sarasota –In 1927 John Ringling made Sarasota the Winter Quarters of the Ringling Bros and Barnum & Bailey Circus. Offering year-round performances, Circus Sarasota shares the entertainment and enrichment that circus arts provide. Their professional performances have been acclaimed around the globe for world-class artistry and entertainment, whether showcased in one-ring European-style big tops, the unique arena facility or an intimate historic theater. Visit Circus Arts for more details.
1000 Circus Boulevard
Sarasota, Florida 34232
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