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 Eglin Golf Course's Eagle Course is located in the City of Niceville in Okaloosa County. Although the golf course is located within the city limits of Niceville it was originally associated with the town of Valparaiso. In 1922, Chicago businessman James E. Plew (founder of the Chicago Towel Company), came to Valparaiso and became one of Northwest Florida's pioneer developers. He founded the Bank of Valparaiso and constructed the Valparaiso Inn. At the same time, he organized the Chicago Country Club of Valparaiso, which constructed the golf course. Memberships were marketed to Chicago businessmen, doctors and lawyers who came to the area. The golf course operated as a 9-hole course until 1927 when the firm of William Langford and Theodore Moreau was hired to design an 18-hole course. In November of that same year, 200 golfers left Chicago aboard a special deluxe train to attend the formal opening of the golf course. Noted golf writer John Healy wrote, “Facing a landlocked bay down in the Gulf Coast country, on the Vale of Paradise, where the sun shines and shines, where the breezes are balmy and gentile, lies as ‘sporty’ an 18 hole course as may be found south of the Mason-Dixon line.” Like the fate of many private golf clubs of the late 1920s, the country club went bankrupt in 1929, and the name was changed to the Valparaiso Country Club.
The Valparaiso Inn and the Valparaiso Country Club operated as a resort throughout the 1930s, advertising in the 1939 Okaloosa News Journal as having “Beautiful Grass, Greens and Tees, 6,350 yards, 5 water Holes, with fees of $1.00 per day.” Shortly after, the course was reduced back to nine holes and left to nature’s devices for nearly a decade.
In 1934, Plew offered the U.S. government a donation of 1,460 contiguous acres for a bombing and gunnery range that became known as the Valparaiso Bombing and Gunnery Range. In 1937, the base was re-designated Eglin Field in honor of Lieutenant Colonel Frederick I. Eglin, U.S. Air Corps, killed on January 1, 1937, in an aircraft accident. In 1949, the Plew family sold the course to the government and the course was renovated and re-established as an 18-hole course. The Eagle Golf Course (named after the F-15 Eagle fighter aircraft) is one of two 18-hole courses at the Eglin Golf Course Complex.
The Eagle Course has two unique holes, number 6 and 7, both require a blind tee shot over a hill. After playing the second shot, golfers must ring a bell to alert the players behind them that it’s safe to tee off. On number 6 players ring the bell once and on 7 they ring it twice. No. 7 used to have another very unique feature for a Florida golf course - a rope tow. To help golfers “climb up” the steep approach to the 7th green, a powered rope tow (similar to ones seen on a snow ski course) was installed. It also helped golfers who carried their clubs or used a pull cart. It was removed several years ago but the crumbling asphalt path is still evident.
Stand-Up-Paddleboarding-The sport of stand-up-paddle boarding (SUP) has exploded since the mid-2000s. Popularity has spread beyond beach towns to inland, where SUPs can now be seen at the beach, bay, lake or river. An SUP features the stability of a kayak and the fun factor of a surfboard, for a variety of activities including racing, exploring and fishing. Some form of stand up paddling has been around for thousands of years. Florida ’s own Seminole Indians poled and paddled their dugout canoes from a standing position in the Everglades. One of Florida’s first SUP companies, YOLO Board East Coast Shop, is located a short drive from the Eglin Eagle Golf Course and steps away from the beautiful white sands and emerald green waters of the Gulf of Mexico. Visit YOLO Board for more details.
1527 Fairway Drive
Niceville, Florida 32588
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