By David Theoret
The Landings Club on Skidaway Island is much more than a private country club; it’s a community.
A 6,300-acre gated community that includes 6 championship golf courses designed by such world-class architects: Arnold Palmer, Tom Fazio, Arthur Hills, and Willard Byrd.
A community that includes 31 tennis courts, 11 pickleball courts, and eight bocce courts. A community that includes a 52,000 sq. ft. “wellness” facility with 105 pieces of exercise equipment and five large pools.
A community that includes 7 restaurants each with its own unique, hand-crafted culinary creations. And one of them is arguably the area’s best fine dining steakhouse, named after the King himself, Arnold Palmer.
You get the picture. The Landings is the perfect place for golfers, racquets sports lovers, and foodies. They pride themselves on providing an exclusive country club atmosphere, which allows residents and members to enjoy a fun, fulfilling, and personally rewarding lifestyle. It’s the perfect community for an active family that can take full advantage of everything they have to offer.
Each of the six golf courses at The Landings Club is unique in its own right but one attribute they all share is, showcasing the natural beauty of what Skidaway Island has to offer. Whether it’s playing through a backdrop of hardwood forests, saltwater marshes, or tidal creeks each course shows the philosophy of its designer. as well as the distinctive mark of its designer.
Whether it’s the ‘go for broke” style of an Arnold Palmer design or the functional beauty of Tom Fazio, each course at the Landings will create fond memories. All six courses have been designated “Audubon Cooperative Sanctuaries” and offer challenging play for golfers of all skill levels.
Every spring, the Korn Ferry Tour makes a stop at The Landings Club for the Club Car Championship which is played on the Tom Fazio-designed Creek course. This year, the Korn Ferry Tour qualifying school had the privilege of being the first to play on the newly renovated Magnolia Course, redesigned by Brandon Johnson, VP and Senior Architect of Arnold Palmer Golf Design. Johnson has done a masterful job of recreating and redesigning holes, greens, and bunkers. Many of these new bunkers are penal; all are aesthetically beautiful.
Two of the more popular courses at The Landings Club are the Arnold Palmer-designed Magnolia Course and Deer Creek, designed by Tom Fazio. Deer Creek is the perennial host of the aforementioned Korn Ferry Tour event. Magnolia, which plays out of the newly renovated Marshwood Clubhouse recently underwent a total renovation of its own at the hands of Brandon Johnson and the Arnold Palmer Design Company.
As with all courses over time, bunkers had changed in shape and size and greens had shrunk significantly. There was no longer any correlation between the two. According to Johnson, “The focus became a redesign of bunkers and greens in order to improve their playability, aesthetics, and ease of maintenance. The new greens now provide a variety of pin locations, while the redesigned bunkers have led to wider fairways within the mature oak playing corridors. The course now feels slightly more generous off the tees and many of the approaches and green surrounds allow for a wider variety of approach and recovery shots.”
Many members have long regarded Magnolia’s front nine as the most difficult nine-hole stretch in the entire community. The back nine offers players some relief as long as you keep the ball in play and out of the water that comes into play on at least 6 holes. From the Club tees, Magnolia plays 6,174 yards with a course rating of 71.5 and a slope of 129. The scorecard gives an assortment of blended distances and yardages – 12 for men and 7 for women – each with its own course rating and slope. You can make this course as easy – or as hard – as you want.
A couple of newly renovated holes have stuck in my mind. Number 8 is a medium-length par 3 that plays 157 yards from the Club Tees. It’s a challenging par 3 with a pond on the left side that wraps around behind the green and mature, moss-draped oak trees lining the right. The asphalt cart path has been replaced with crushed coquina shells creating a more natural look. The green has been greatly enlarged and now features two tiers. The top/right tier is guarded by a large bunker while the lower-left tier juts out into the water.
The par 5, 301-yard 11th is another hole that was given a lot of attention. The tee shot was made a little easier by widening the fairway. The original fairway bunkers on the left side were eliminated and replaced by two new eye-catching bunkers that were pushed down the fairway and moved slightly back, creating a wider landing area. The far-right bunker was also moved so that it is more in play. The landing area of your layup shot has been widened. The green was moved slightly which brings the lake on the right side into play. It’s another beautiful golf hole.
In June 2020 the Marshwood Clubhouse underwent a complete renovation as part of its member-approved capital plan. The new 22,500-square-foot clubhouse overlooks the two Arnold Palmer-designed golf courses and boasts a resort-style pool complex, top-of-the-line golf shop, event lawn, and Cabana Bar.
Marshwood also has two new dining options — Arnie’s Tavern and Palmer’s Steakhouse. Both pay tribute to the golf legend and the influence he has had on the development of The Landings Club. Palmer’s Steakhouse is a premier dining facility by anyone’s standards and features a modern twist on typical steakhouse fare, including a few favorites from the original Marshwood menu. Arnie’s Tavern captures the fun-loving, spirit of its members and offers classic, casual fare, craft cocktails, and unique brews.
Another new dining venue at The Landings Club is The Deck at Franklin Creek. It’s a fast and casual dining facility that is located at the Franklin Creek Tennis Center, besides their resort-style pool complex that includes a splash pad and zero-entry pool. The Deck offers the best cup of coffee in town as well as bagels, pastries, and parfaits for breakfast and a variety of salads, wraps, sandwiches, paninis, and hand-tossed pizza for lunch and dinner. The Deck is the perfect place to gather with friends and enjoy The Landings’ lifestyle.
Over the past decade, The Landings Club has invested more than $62 million in projects and renovations large and small; very few amenities have gone untouched. Come out and see for yourself everything The Landings has to offer. Visit them online at www.landingsclub.com.