This course was designed in 1916 by Donald Ross, the most popular golf
course architect of all time. The St. Augustine Chamber of Commerce raised
$100,000 in local capital to fund its construction price tag of $250,000.
It picked its location for the first impression it gave to tourists arriving
by auto from the north of golfers playing on a well appointed and attractive
course. Closely associated with the development of the Henry Flagler hotels,
it was a social center of St. Augustine for nearly a century, drawing famous
golfers Bobby Jones, Tommy Armour, Sam Snead, Byron Nelson, Babe Zaharias,
Patty Berg and Jackie Gleason. Other athletes like Babe Ruth and Walter
Hagen tested the course and even President Warren G. Harding and members
of his Cabinet played it. The Ponce de Leon golf course is a fine example
of the Golden Era of golf course architecture and represents the largest
single historic site in the city.
A developer purchased the course in 2002, announced plans to demolish
it to make a new gated residential community and has been given the
go ahead from City officials
to proceed. A new local preservation and conservation group has formed and
dedicated itself to preserve the course and its environs. Hopes are
that it will have success
in convincing the developer that saving the historic course will be a more
sound financial investment than destroying it.