Bent Pine Golf Club
- A Uniquely Serene Private Club
By David Theoret
There are a couple of qualities that make Bent Pine Golf Club in Vero Beach, Florida truly unique. For starters, there's the distinctive tree on the 18th fairway that gives the club its name.
Perhaps the nicest feature of this incredible club is its location. With more and more people flocking to the Sunshine State for various reasons - primarily the weather - the better-known parts of the state are becoming overpopulated. Fortunately, this is not the case in and around Vero Beach; in fact, the area is very underpopulated. It's also very seasonal in this part of the state so year-round residents/members can take advantage of seemingly having the course to themselves.
According to the 2021 census, the population of Vero Beach was 16,707. Nearby towns such as Fort Pierce (47,927), Sebastian (25,703), and Port St. Lucie (217,523) are considerably denser. That doesn't mean there's a lack of daily fee golf courses and private clubs in the area. According to Golf Digest, there are 11 public and 21 private golf clubs within 15 miles of Vero Beach.
Bent Pine Golf Club prides itself on the social aspects of the club and making friends here is as easy as signing up for a game with any of the men's or ladies' groups. You'll be mixed into different foursomes each time, so you get to know most of your golfing compadres within a couple of weeks. The golf course isn't the only place to make new friends, members also enjoy other activities like Bridge, Mahjong, and themed dinners.
Many members put a high value on the cuisine and culinary aspects of their club. After all, if your club has a beautiful golf course and dining that is second to none, it's an opportunity to show off! Bent Pine Golf Club does not disappoint. Chef Brian and his culinary crew have taken everything from the daily lunch menu to exquisite wine-tasting dinners to a new level. One club tradition that continues is the seafood dinner buffet. Yet, as good as all of these aspects of the club are, it's the golf course that keeps them coming back.
Bent Pine has the distinction of being the first golf facility to be carved out of the sand ridge in the Vero Beach area. The idea of building Bent Pine Golf Club was conceived in 1975 and at the time it was somewhat of a gamble for the founding fathers who knew they would have to venture away from the barrier island to an undeveloped area inhabited by only a few people. But they also saw the opportunity to create a private club that could be kept uncrowded so that there would be no need for members to book tee times.
The course was designed by legendary golf course architect Joe Lee and opened for play in 1979. Over the years Bent Pine has hosted six U.S. Open qualifiers, a 2017 and 2018 US Woman's Mid-Amateur Qualifier and a 2016 US Amateur Qualifier. In the last three years, they have hosted the Florida Boys and Girls State Championships. It's also been home to a few PGA TOUR members: Kenny Perry and Brett Stegmaier. Perry worked at Bent Pine during the 1980s while chasing his dream of being on the PGA TOUR; Stegmaier worked on and off at Bent Pine between 2008 and 2013. Most recently Nick Lindheim called Bent Pine home as a Tour hopeful who practiced and played at the club in between tournaments.
To be a great golf club you have to have a top-tier professional staff and Bent Pine seems to be a breeding ground for club golf professionals. Over the years, thirty-two former members of Bent Pine's golf operations team have gone on to serve as Directors of Golf or Head Golf Professionals in clubs around the country.
Bent Pine embodies golf as it should be... an impeccably maintained and challenging golf course with no tee times. The course has six sets of tees for all levels of golfers. Low handicappers will be challenged by the Kenny Perry Tees at 7,006 yards while juniors and beginners can play from the forward Silver Tees at 4,998 yards.
It doesn't matter if you're a member or visiting Bent Pine as a guest, odds are that you will be amazed by the incredible conditioning of the golf course. Wide-open fairways mowed like plush carpet lay before you and lead to finely manicured Tif-Eagle greens that roll true and fast. Many are surrounded by meticulously maintained bunkers. Water comes into play on at least nine holes, more if you spray it off the tee!
Here are some of the most memorable holes:
The first hole on the golf course eases you into your round at Bent Pine. It's a 510-yard par 5 with a slight dogleg right. When the wind is blowing off the ocean it can play a lot longer. Longball hitters need to be aware of the water on the right side of the landing area. For the rest of us, it takes three good shots to get on the green. Fairway bunkers on either side in the landing area of your layup shot will keep you honest as the fairway narrows. Three bunkers surround the green which is slightly elevated.
The 5th hole is a picture-worthy par 3 that plays 163 yards from the White Tees. Play your tee shot from an elevated tee box over water into a green protected with sand in front and back left. The green has a lot of slope and undulation and makes for a challenging hole. A back left pin placement will force you to take on both the water and the sand.
The 14th hole is another great-looking par 5 with wide-open fairways off the tee. At 454 yards from the White Tees, it's a relatively short hole although strategically placed hazards may hinder your efforts. You'll hit your tee shot from an elevated tee box towards a fairway with bunkers on the right side of the landing area and water making up the left side. The big decision comes on your layup shot, specifically where to layup. There's more water on the right side and a cluster of bunkers surrounding the green. Should you choose to lay up in front of the water, you're looking at an approach shot of about 120 yards into a green severely sloped in several areas. This is Bent Pine's signature hole.
Since its inception, Bent Pine had a no-tee time policy; you simply show up, check in with a member of Bent Pine's friendly staff and you're off! As time becomes a valuable commodity and people have tighter schedules, Bent Pine will soon be moving away from this policy. I'm sure that when this change is made, the short wait time to tee off will not change.
If you are thinking of relocating to the area and are looking for a private club that provides tranquility outside of the normal hustle and bustle of Florida, you owe it to yourself to check out Bent Pine Golf Club. They offer several membership plans including Full Golf, Social, and National Memberships. All plans include clubhouse privileges as well as summer reciprocity with other clubs. For more information, give them a call at (772) 567-6838 or visit them online at www.bentpinegolf.com.
Article Tags: Florida Golf Courses, Bent Pine Golf Club, Golf in Vero Beach Florida, Golf in Florida, Florida Golf, stay and play golf courses in Florida, Country Club golf in Florida, Golf communities in Florida, Vero Beach golf courses
Revised: 01/31/2024 - Article Viewed 480 Times
About: David Theoret
David Theoret has been in the golf and golf travel industry for over 10 years, primarily selling online advertising. For the past seven years, he has also been a golf writer, reviewing golf courses, resorts, destinations, equipment, golf apparel, and training aids - the latter of which never seems to help. David's articles and reviews have been posted on many golf travel and equipment websites.
Growing up in Southwestern Ontario, Canada, it was naturally assumed he would play hockey. Beginning at the age of 3 and continuing into his late 30's, he did just that. However, after one too many pucks to the head, he realized that golf was a lot easier on the body (whoever said hockey players were slow) and took the game up.
After moving to Florida and accepting a position with TravelGolf Media (now part of GolfNow) his love for the game grew exponentially. Most Saturdays you will find him on a course somewhere in Florida or on the practice range reinforcing his bad habits. David plays to a 10 handicap - unless there is money involved in which case it goes considerably higher. He currently resides in Lakeland, FL with his wife Belinda and their two "kids", Madyson and Molly.
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