Featured Golf Course
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 A.C. Read Golf Club complex is located within the gates of Naval Air Station Pensacola in Escambia County. Naval Air Station Pensacola is known as the "Cradle of Naval Aviation" and occupies over 5,000 acres in Northwest Florida.
Many years prior to having their own golf course on base, servicemen stationed at Naval Air Station Pensacola (NASP) formed a golf team and played regularly in tournaments. The servicemen would play their home matches at the Pensacola County Club and later at Osceola Golf Course. In 1936, the Navy hired Rockwell Scalley from Pensacola Country club to serve as the base’s golf professional. Scalley was in charge of the newly constructed driving range and putting course. The range was located south of Quarters 22 and 23, where the track is today.
By the early 1940s, NASP decided to construct an 18-hole golf course in order to provide recreational activity for the naval personnel stationed there. On May 3, 1942, nine holes opened for play with a golf tournament. In the first group was Captain A.C. Read along with Commander W.D. Sample, Lieutenant Commander W.K. Rhodes and A.C. Blount of Pensacola. Four months later, the second nine holes were opened with another golf tournament. The original 18-hole golf course was divided by Duncan Road (formally known as Army Road), with holes 1-9 on the east side of the road and holes 10-18 on the west side.
In 1949, legendary American professional golfer Bryon Nelson was invited to play in an 18-hole exhibition golf match. The base held a golf tournament to determine who would play with Nelson. Representing the enlisted personnel would be Bud Scheleter, the officers, Commander Fred O. Borries, Jr, and the midshipman would be Marvin Braddock. After the match Nelson conducted a golf clinic which included an exhibition of shots. The match and clinic were open to the public. Nelson stayed a few more days in Pensacola with Lieutenant Commander a V.C. Sanderson and his wife.
In 1954, the golf course was named in honor of former base commander, Rear Admiral Albert Cushing Read. Read was an avid golfer and a graduate of the first aviator class at Naval Air Station Pensacola. (see more on Read under the Local Knowledge tab)
Nine new holes were added in 1962 on the west side of the golf course. Golf Course Architect William Amick blended the new holes in and around the existing nine and redesigned some of the holes. This gave A.C Read a total of 27 regulation holes. Two years later, the original 9-holes on the east side of the road were turned into an 18-hole, par 60 short course consisting mostly of par 3 holes and a few short par 4s. The regulation 18-hole golf course would lie completely on the west side of the road.
In the early 1990’s, nine more holes were added to the regulation course. They separated the 27 holes into three distinct 9-hole layouts.
In 2003, former U.S. Open champion and Pensacola native, Jerry Pate was awarded the contract to renovate the golf complex. Pate and his team, including Steve Dana, modernized the strategy of the golf course while maintaining the existing routing through the old growth long leaf pines and naval oaks.
The A.C. Read Golf Club is a 27-hole golf complex consisting of three 9-hole courses that are played in 18-hole combinations (Bayou, Lakeview, and Bayview). Each 9-hole course features three sets of tees playing from 2,600 to 3,200 yards and the 18-hole combinations play from 5,400 to 6,600 yards. The Bayou course is routed among two salt water bayous and is the most scenic of the three nines. The Bayview course offers views of Bayou Grande and Pensacola Bay and is the newest of the 27 championship holes. The Lakeview course is characterized by the Live Oak lined fairways and includes seven of the original 18-holes.
The A.C. Read Golf Club also includes an 18-hole, par-60 executive golf course featuring three sets of tees playing from 4,000 to 4,300 yards. The executive course was built on top of a portion of the original holes and incorporates several of the original fairways.
In 1954, Naval Air Station Pensacola (NASP) held a ceremony to dedicate and name the golf course in honor of Rear Admiral Albert Cushing Read. In attendance was Admiral Read and his wife Bess, who were both avid golfers. He was a former base commander at Naval Air Station Pensacola from 1940 to 1942.
Read was a graduate of the first aviator class at NASP. After he soloed in 1915, he was designated Naval Aviator No. 24. In 1918, Read married Elizabeth “Bess” Anderson Burdine in Miami. Bess’s father, William, was the founder of the Florida department store chain named Burdines.
Read was the commander and navigator of the United States Navy Curtiss flying boat, NC-4, when it arrived at the harbor of Lisbon, Portugal on May 27, 1919, becoming the first airplane to cross the Atlantic Ocean. The flying boat was designed by aviation pioneer, Glenn H. Curtiss, who also developed the Miami Springs Golf and Country Club (a partner course on the Florida Historic Golf Trail).
Read served in the Navy from 1907 to 1946, in which he held many positions and commanded numerous military bases and ships. He received several prestigious awards and medals over his career including the Congressional Gold Medal, the Navy’s Distinguished Service Medal, The Legion of Merit Award, the Commenda de Torre d’ Espada (Portugal), and the Air Force Cross by the Government of Great Britain. In 1965, Read was inducted into the National Aviation Hall of Fame.
In a 1946 newspaper article, Read commented that he planned to play a lot of golf in his retirement. Read and his wife were members of several golf clubs including the Chevy Chase Club in Washington and the Princess Anne Country Club in Virginia Beach.
After moving to Miami in the late 1950s, they became members at the historic Indian Creek Country Club. They both played in numerous golf tournaments and even won a best ball tournament together in 1958.
Read passed away in 1967 at age 80 and is buried alongside his wife at Arlington National Cemetery in Virginia.
Inside the Leather
In order to raise the public’s interest in naval aviation and boost Navy morale, Admiral Chester Nimitz, Chief of Naval Operations, created a flight exhibition team in 1946. The new U.S. Navy Flight Demonstration Team completed its first performance, at Craig Field in Jacksonville, Florida on June 15, 1946, flying three Gruman F6F Hellcat Fighter planes.
Later that year, as the team was planning a show in New York, they chose the name Blue Angels after seeing Manhattan’s famous Blue Angel nightclub in the New Yorker magazine. After being stationed at numerous bases, the Blue Angels team moved to their present home base at NAS Pensacola in 1955.
The Blue Angels have flown ten different aircraft over the years. Today, they fly their distinctive blue and gold McDonnell Douglas F/A-18 Hornets and can be seen practicing over the Pensacola and Pensacola Beach from March to November. Visit Blue Angels for more information about their shows and practice schedule.
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A.C. Read Golf Club
1212 Duncan Road
Pensacola, Florida 32508
1212 Duncan Road
Pensacola, Florida 32508
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