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By Design


n its heyday, Selva Marina

Country Club offered members

the finest services and amenities,

including golf, tennis, a pool and

dining. It hosted the first Greater

Jacksonville Open, welcoming

competitors like Arnold Palmer,

Gary Player and Jack Nicklaus.

But in recent years, the club had

declined into near failure. Poor

quality irrigation water had made

it difficult to grow healthy turf, and

the loss of golf members created a

downward spiral that meant the club

was unable to maintain facilities to

an acceptable standard.

Remaining members were

passionate about returning the club

to its former glory, befitting its prime

location five blocks from the Atlantic

Ocean in the pristine beach town of

Atlantic Beach, Florida.

The club did have extra land available,

so it solicited proposals from local

developers to buy and develop a

portion of the property, while providing

a new golf and country club package.

The winning development team,

Atlantic Beach Partners, sought the

expertise of Erik Larsen, ASGCA, to

create a new master plan for the club.

Larsen’s plan completely rearranged

the property. 178 residential lots were

created on a 55-acre tract in the center

of the existing golf course, around

which a new course was routed. New

golf practice facilities and a revitalized

clubhouse, tennis and pool area

would complete the development,

which would open with a brand new

identity—Atlantic Beach Country Club.

The new golf course was designed

to require significantly less water.

Roughs comprise drought-tolerant

grasses and native plants, meaning

that the irrigation system need only

cover tees, fairways and greens—with

re-use water supplied by the city.

Larsen has cleverly re-routed the

course over a smaller area—down

from 180 to 125 acres—without

compromising the golf experience.

The renovation has been a huge

success, quickly reaching the

development team’s cash flow and

new membership projections. More

than 90 percent of the lots have been

sold and membership numbers have

risen from 200 to over 670.

“The facility is absolutely buzzing

with activity every day and night,”

says Larsen. “The course is getting

high praise from the several PGA

Tour pros who live in the area,

while also providing really fun golf

for members. The positive vibe of

the place is just a terrific feeling

and accomplishment, especially

remembering its desperate condition

two years ago.

“It demonstrates how this infill-

neighborhood approach can help revive

golf facilities around the country,” he

adds. “This model is good for golf.”

Bringing back the buzz

New master plan transforms Atlantic Beach club


Atlantic Beach, Florida

Golf course architect:

Erik Larsen, ASGCA, Larsen Golf, Inc.

Project summary:

An ambitious new golf

and residential master plan transformed

the once-grand but failing Selva Marina

Country Club into a thriving, walkable

community with a new identity, Atlantic

Beach Country Club.


Atlantic Beach Partners

(development team); Kelly Elmore

(landscape architect)

Atlantic Beach CC