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OCEAN REEF CLUB

‚ÄčOCEAN REEF CLUB — ACCESSIBLE BY LAND, AIR AND SEA

With an unusually broad spectrum of interests, Ocean Reef defines “clubs within a club.”

Key Largo, Florida: Ocean Reef Club started in 1948 as a private fishing camp. In 1955, the club opened a nine-hole golf course to keep members occupied on days when rough seas spoiled fishing. Over the ensuing years, its enterprising membership created what is arguably the most amenitized club and community in the country.

“What started as a seasonal fishing camp has developed into a year-round small town of 1,500 families,” explained Mic O’Keeffe, executive director of sports and recreation. “This summer, we have 700 member kids participating in our summer camps, a number that continues to trend up year after year.”

Ocean Reef allows you to arrive by land, sea, or air. Located about a 60-minute drive from Miami, the community has an on-site, 4,400-foot lighted runway, one of the largest privately owned airports in America. Last year, the marina completed a project to replace its docks with new Bellingham Marine floating docks that can accommodate up to 175-foot vessels.

“Accessibility to Ocean Reef is a noted benefit,” said O’Keeffe.

“I like to refer to Ocean Reef as a private community with golf, not just a golf community,” continued O’Keeffe. “My position allows me to look after all of the fun stuff, and the list sure is a long one! Buccaneer Island is our hub of recreation, complete with a one-acre saltwater lagoon and sandy beach. Our member fitness center rivals the best stand-alone gym and offers something for everyone with 50+ classes per week. We are home to one of the most robust tennis programs in the Southeast, with 12 Har-Tru tennis courts, and our pickleball club, now with six courts, has taken off like a rocket ship. After a day on the course or courts, you have comfort knowing we offer 10 treatment rooms and multiple manicure and pedicure stations at The Spa at Ocean Reef.”

Playing Through A Hammock Forest

Scotland is known as the birthplace of golf. Until the early 1900s, most “American” golf professionals were from Scottish descent. Scott Kirkwood, PGA director of golf at Ocean Reef Club, understands the benefits of learning the nuances of the game on both sides of the Atlantic.

“I was born in Scotland and trained under the wing of Jimmy Hume, a true gentleman who launched the careers of dozens of golf professionals around the world,” said Kirkwood. “He opened my eyes to all sorts of good ideas to make the game more fun and engaging.

“I have focused on the pace of play at Ocean Reef, and I am proud to report that four-hour rounds are typical,” continued Kirkwood. “Don’t you find it interesting that the pace of play in Scotland is fast, yet the pace of life is leisurely. In America it is a polar opposite.”

Ocean Reef Club has two golf courses: The Hammock and The Dolphin.

“The Hammock Course is appropriately named,” commented Kirkwood. “It is carved through a hammock forest. Homes are set so far back that you can feel lost in paradise. At only 6,100 yards from the tips, accuracy is your best friend. Don’t let the yardage fool you. It’s a course that will test you. The 4th and 14th holes are worth a particular shout-out. The tee boxes are placed on wooden platforms in the middle of mangroves. You’ve seen island greens; we have island tee boxes.

“The Dolphin Course is equally member friendly. While longer, it is more open and forgiving for an errant shot.” 

For more information, visit OceanReef.com.