The St. Joe Company purchased the Greg Norman-designed Shark’s Tooth Golf Club in the Wild Heron community near Panama City Beach, Florida, in August of 2007. The transaction included 28 fully-developed Wild Heron home sites, additional parcels of land along with beach and tennis club facilities.
The Shark’s Tooth Golf Club incorporates the 7,204-yard, 18-hole, golf course, a 10-acre practice facility, a 21,000 square foot club house and a pro shop. There’s also a turf care center, four lighted tennis courts and a private beach club. The club house amenities include a restaurant and bar, a large dining room and and locker rooms. The beach club, with approximately100 feet of beachfront on the Gulf of Mexico, is approximately 3 miles from Sharks Tooth and includes beach access, a grill and bar and a swimming pool.
In 2007, Golf Digest ranked Shark’s Tooth as one of the best golf courses in Florida and one of the best private courses in the nation. It makes a great companion course to St. Joe’s other nearby property: Camp Creek Golf Golf Club. Designed by Tom Fazio, Camp Creek was, in 2006, named “America’s Top Golf Course” in the Zagat Survey and served as a regional qualifying venue for the 2007 U.S. Open at Oakmont.
Completing St. Joe’s trio of golfing venues in the Panama City area is the “Origins” course at WaterSound. The Origins is a unique, Davis Love III-designed concept course that can be played as a regulation six-hole, nine-hole executive or 10-hole par three course via the use of alternate tee boxes and double-pinned greens.
The Sharks Tooth Course:
Until its purchase by the St. Joe Company in August of 2007, Shark's Tooth Golf Club at Wild Heron was a members only private golf club. Today, the course is still private, but available to guests of the Watercolor Inn & Resort and those staying in WaterColor and WaterSound luxury vacation rentals. The Inn is located approximately one-hour from Panama City Beach in the St. Joe developed WaterColor, a 499-acre coastal community featuring a wide-range of pastel-colored, tin roof luxury homes.
Over the past several years, I have visited most of northwest Florida’s best golf courses. It’s my opinion, however, that very few can compete with Shark's Tooth.
Situated among the live oaks and loblolly pines along the shores of historic Lake Powell, Shark's Tooth is a unique, wildly imaginative golfing challenge that could only be the product of Greg Norman’s innovative imagination.
As always, Greg's design is very much one with nature. In fact, the course, more nature preserve than golf course, has Signature Status awarded by the Audubon Society for its commitment to environmental excellence, an honor shared with only five other golf courses in Florida.
Sharks Tooth plays a whopping 7,204 yards from the back tees. The fairways, approaches and rough are constructed from grass supplied by the Greg Norman Turf Company. The greens are TifEagle. Norman’s design relies heavily upon the natural lie of the terrain, sand dunes and ridges, not just to preserve the natural environment, but to also add definition and character.
The course layout is both forgiving and punishing – a combination of often generous landing areas that encourage the use of the driver, and tight approaches ( some no more than five or six yards wide) that makes the greens approachable only with a perfect shot over the guardian bunkers Norman is so famous for. The bump-and-run will not work here.
The first two holes – a par 4 of 408 yards, and a 190-yard par 3 - offer somewhat intimidating tee shots that must carry more than 175 yards of wetland scrub. Holes 3, 4 and 5 incorporate cavernous waste bunkers to the left, but the landing areas are more than generous.
The 6th, handicapped 1, is an amazing par 5 of 525 yards with a tee shot that must carry heavy wetland scrub to a landing area skirted by a waste bunker and water to the left, and a pine forest to the right. If you should happen to find the fairway with your tee shot, you’ll find yourself faced with a second shot that must carry nearly 100 yards across a dense wetland area some 300 yards out from the tee to a second fairway beyond. From the wetland, the hole doglegs sharply to the left. The landing area for the second shot is guarded by a series of fairway bunkers that run right to left all the way to the green – the second shot must be near-perfect. Bogy on the hole is a good score. You can see the actual layout by clicking through the images above
Sharks Tooth is an incredible experience, and one of the MUST play courses in Florida.
Where to Stay
- Personally, I like the Watercolor Inn, Water Sound, Florida. A second option I can recommend is the Bay Point Marriott Golf Resort & Spa. Both are a little on the expensive side but, as always, you do get what you pay for.
For more options that might be a better fit with your budget, you can try the hotels listed in my Golf Travel Panama City Hotel Guide.
Phone: 850-942-GOLF (4653) Fax:850-671-6162 St. Joe Golf Website
How to Get There:The closest major airport serving The Sharks Tooth Golf Course and the WaterColor Resort & Golf Community is the Panama City Bay County Airport located about eight miles from Panama City in Northwest Florida. Look for the best airline and car rental deals with these two aggregators, which provide travelers with an up-to-date search tool to compare prices on airfares and car rentals of all ratings.
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