I bet you didn’t know that the original layout of the Belleair Country Club started with six holes on elevated greens, surfaced with crushed seashells. In 1915, the entire complex was given a complete makeover by legendary course architect Donald Ross who created 36 beautiful holes adjacent to the Intracoastal Waterway in central Florida.
Both courses have received a second makeover within the last several years. During the reconstruction phase, they were able to keep one course open at all times. The reconstruction was also done during the summer when the majority of the members were away; this created a minimal interruption in play for local members. Gene Bates Golf Design handled the renovations.
Belleair Country Club sits atop one of the highest points of Clearwater Bay and claims to be the first golf course in Florida. It is also a designated bird Sanctuary; consequently the scenery on the course changes daily. The prevalence of wild life – with the golf courses and grounds being their permanent home – is an added delight to the naturalist/golfer.
Bothe courses will challenge golfers of all abilities; five sets of tees assure this.
Memorable Holes – East Course- The course has a 70.4 rating and a slope of 129 off the back tees, playing 6253 yards from the tips.
Number 1: Par 4, 389 yards. This is a great starting hole and offers a pretty good chance at birdie to get your round off on the right foot. This dogleg left favors a draw off the tee to achieve maximum distance; it will also help you avoid the fairway bunkers on the right side which sit about 230 yards out off the tee. This will leave you a mid-iron approach shot to the green which is guarded by sand and water on the right. You’ll want to favor the left side of the green which features several undulations.
Number 7: Par 4, 392 yards. You’ll need good control of your tee shot on this sharp dogleg left; there is no bailout area off the tee. A fairway bunker lies waiting about 240 yards out off the tee on the left side and collects errant shots left. Trees line the right side. Favor the right side of the green on approach to avoid the water that protects the left side. Even if you make bogey here, don’t worry, be happy!
Number 12: Par 5, 508 yards. Nowhere on the course is accuracy as important off the tee as it is on number 12; length is not nearly as critical. Fairway bunkers are placed about 250 yards out on both sides of the fairway with the one on the right providing more of a challenge. Be sure to favor the left side on both your tee shot and layup as a large lake comes into play on the right side. Long ball hitters can go for it in two as the green lies well beyond the lake. The green is fairly large and features several undulations.
Number 13: Par 3, 162 yards. Although this is certainly not the longest par 3 you will ever play, the water that sits between the tee and green makes it a little more intimidating. Water guards the entire left side of the hole, and while there is somewhat of a bailout area short and long of the right side bunker, an accurate tee shot to this small green makes it that much more difficult, yet enjoyable.
Number 14: Par 4, 388 yards. Number 14 is the signature hole of the Belleair East course. You will hit an uphill tee shot, Form there the whole plays downhill into Clearwater Bay and makes for a very pretty hole. Long ball hitters should plan on leaving driver in the bag; a premium is on accuracy off the tee. Favor both the left side of the fairway and left side of the green on this hole. Long is death; you’ll need swim fins and a snorkel to retrieve anything long.
Number 18: Par 4, 377 yards. The most practical line of the tee is to aim for the oak trees on the left. Long ball hitters can carry the water hazard on the right side leaving them a short pitch shot to this large undulating green. Water guards the right side of the fairway on approach so bailout left if you have to. Par is a good score here.
Last Word: Belleair Country Club is a course you should definitely play if given the chance. It’s always in top condition and has some pretty incredible greens; not to mention some terrific views as well. Inside the clubhouse players will find a full service pro shop with all of the latest apparel and equipment. Right outside those doors you will find a driving range as well as short game area and putting green. PGA Golf Professionals are on staff and available to assist with your golf game. For membership information you can visit them online at www.belleaircc.com or call them at (727) 461-7171.