Making Headlines: New Ocala Course, Adena, is a Beauty
Adena is making headlines in both the Gainesville and Ocala newspapers. Check out the article below and take a tour of the course through the writer's eyes.
I’d been dreading the shot ever since I saw the hole, kind of the way No. 17 is always on your mind at TPC Sawgrass. A 202-yard par three over water down to a green that looks like a thumbnail? And I hadn’t swung a club since October.
But I hit what I call “an old man 3-wood,” teeing it up so high that it wouldn’t travel as far as normal and would come down softly. Sure enough, it hit the green, 40 feet away with a shoulder like a bodybuilder’s still to negotiate, but it was on the green.
I turned to see if anyone had seen this great shot, but there wasn’t anyone within shouting distance. I was the only golfer on the course.
I almost felt guilty.
This was a couple of weeks ago when I went to the new Adena Golf and Country Club and played a round. The Ocala course has been in the works for three years and is finally expected to open Saturday.
From U.S. 441 you can see a couple of the holes but the real beauty comes when you turn on County Road 326 and into the gates about a mile down the road. When you enter, the first thing that hits you is a magnificent waterfall. Just breathtaking.
I was fortunate enough to get the tour (one day before Florida football coach Jim McElwain also visited) from general manager and head professional John Reger, an old friend who I’ve known since the days when he was the pro at Haile Plantation.
The clubhouse still smells brand new because it is. And it is magnificent. On the fourth floor, there are two bedrooms available to guests who want to make this a destination and the fifth floor has a penthouse suite with a spectacular view of the course.
“This is our version of (Augusta National’s) Crow’s Nest,” Reger said.
There are seven tennis courts (one is a stadium court with bleachers) and the environment is children-friendly with a separate putting green for kids and a resort-worthy pool area.
Adena is built on 450 acres and many of the holes are dug out of mining quarries, much like Black Diamond. Every hole has character and the greens putt like butter. The par-3s are scary, but the course is playable for high handicaps, only 5,878 yards from the white tees.
Hanging trees have to be negotiated on several tee shots and the elevation changes that range from 40 feet to 80 feet are both visually pleasing and strategically challenging.
The course and development are the brainchilds of Frank Stronach, a billionaire from Toronto, who founded Magna International, an international automotive parts company, and the Stronach Group, which specializes in horse racing entertainment.
This is his baby. He didn’t only fund the course, he designed it.
“He’s probably walked the property 100 times,” Reger said.
And he took his time to get it right. This wasn’t one of those courses that suddenly popped up on the landscape. He’s taken three years-plus to make everything just right.
It is going to be a private course and memberships will begin to be taken when it opens Saturday. Later this summer, spec houses will be built around the course and lots will go on sale.
Stronach also hired Asa High to be his golf course superintendent. High worked at Haile Plantation and was a senior assistant at Augusta National.
You can tell by the greens. They are fast, and they are true. The many mounds make for some interesting pin placements.
Only a few people have been lucky enough to play the course, including a crew from Golf Digest. They deemed the course worthy of nomination as one of Florida’s best new golf courses.
It gets my vote.
“The star is the golf course,” Reger said. “We’ve been low key about everything and Mr. Stronach has been low key. But he wanted his personal touch on it like any course designer.”
The result has been another incredible golf course in the Ocala area. While it can be played long enough to host a professional event (there is a par-5 that plays 744 yards from the back tees), there is never a feeling like you’re being overwhelmed.
Except by the course’s beauty.
Article Courtesy of The Gainesville Sun.