Winter 2017 issue of Florida Golf Magazine features "The Florida Golf Architecture of Arthur Hills" Click here to read it.
Vista Plantation Golf Club In Vero Beach, FL
Written for Florida Golf Magazine's by Golf Course Architect, Arthur Hills
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Vista Plantation Golf Club,
48 Plantation Dr, Vero Beach, FL 32966
Architect: Arthur Hills
Year Opened - 1985
18 Holes, Par 62
Vista Plantation Golf Club, by Arthur Hills, ASGCA
Thirty-some years ago, we were hired to design a short course called Vista Plantation Golf Club in Vero Beach, Florida. With eight par fours and ten par threes, the course is 3,667 yards long and the members love it.
Semi-private and open to the public for daily-fee play, the golf course at Vista Plantation is nestled into a 564-unit condominium community that was originally a 145-acre grapefruit grove owned by the Sextons, a true pioneer family in Vero Beach. They owned a lot of landmarks that are still around.
The diverse species of indigenous water fowl (specifically the many roseate spoonbills) surrounding the lake on the first hole, are evidence of a healthy ecosystem.
There is water on 17 of the 18 holes at Vista Plantation. All of the lakes were excavated and the dirt was used for fill on the golf course and in the residential community that surrounds it.
18 new Champion Ultradwarf Bermudagrass greens
Originally opened in 1985, on Vista Plantation's 30th anniversary, the original Tifdwarf greens were re-grassed with Champion bermudagrass. The fairways, which have held up well, are still the original 419 bermudagrass.
Signature Holes at Vista Plantation
At 327 yards from the back tees, the dogleg right, par-4 first hole at Vista Plantation is rated as the most difficult hole on the golf course. Those who can hit a long ball may try to drive the green on this heroic, risk-reward hole which requires a 260- to 280-yard carry to be successful, depending where the back tees are that day.
At 327 yards from the back tees, the dogleg right, par-4 first hole at Vista Plantation is rated as the most difficult hole on the golf course. With water all along the right side, the normal landing area for average tee shots is to the fairway area to the left.
327 yards, par four, 1st Hole, #1 handicap hole
Those who can hit a long ball may try to drive the green on this heroic, risk-reward hole which requires a 260- to 280-yard carry to be successful, depending where the back tees are that day. However, that is not a likely scenario for those who play the course regularly.
289 yards, par four, 5th Hole, 3rd hardest holeAn accurate tee shot is required on the 289-yard fifth hole at beautiful Vista Plantation Golf Club.
When we originally designed Vista Plantation, the corridor on hole #5 was 60 feet wider. Back in the late nineties, when the shopping center to the east was built, the County condemned 60 feet of golf course property and took it for road right-away. So, they had to really narrow the fairway to continue using the 289-yard 5th hole.On the approach to the 5th green, the fairway has an elevation rise that hides the water that comes back in all the way to the cart path. A lot of players, looking to hit a long ball, have to carry it all the way to the green or else they get wet. It often fools the first-time golfers at Vista Plantation. Needless to say, this is a profitable hole for divers who retrieve golf balls from the water.
319 yards, par four, 14th HoleLots of bunkers and lots of water provide plenty of challenge on the par-4 fourteenth hole at beautiful Vista Plantation Golf Club in Vero Beach, Florida.
At 319 yards from the expansive back tees, #14 is a great par 4 with Australian Pines down the left off the tee and water to the right. From the tee, the view of the green is obscured by two large elevated fairway bunkers and so is the view of the water to the right of the green. The fairway widens at the fairway bunkers, but a really long ball slicing to the right over the bunkers may find the water hazard.
The 14th green is guarded on the right by a large “saving” bunker that wraps around the entire right side. The large elevated green is also guarded on the left side by a pot bunker.
128 yards, par three, 15th HoleThe 15th hole at Vista Plantation has a pot bunker faced with vertical cypress planks.
With out-of-bounds on the left side and a water hazard on the right, the 15th hole features an intimidating Prestwick-style bunker faced with vertical cypress planks in front of the green. The angled planks make for interesting recovery shots. With water behind the green, a long shot can roll over the green and into the lake.
265 yards, par four, 17th HoleAt 265 yards from the tips, the longer hitters who dare the risk-reward scenario will try carrying the 220 yards over water and will go for the 17th green in one shot.
The 17th hole is a dogleg right that plays at 265 yards from the back tees. The safe play from back there is left to the fairway, leaving a second shot to the narrow, but deep green which, from that angle, is guarded by a bunker on the right.
The longer hitters who dare the risk-reward scenario will sometimes try carrying the 220 yards over water and will go for the green in one shot. If they go too long, they may find a small bunker just short and left of the putting surface.
338 yards, par four, 18th Hole, 2nd hardest holePlaying at 338 yards from the elevated back tees, the 18th hole is rated as the second most difficult hole at Vista Plantation in Vero Beach. Trees and the mounds and shaping of the 18th fairway also obscure a direct view of the green from the back tee and make for some interesting rolls.
#18 is a favorite with the members at Vista Plantation Golf Club. With the spacious practice facility to the left, the 18th fairway is a long straightaway that narrows before turning slightly right toward the green.
Playing at 338 yards from the elevated back tees, the hole is rated as the second most difficult. Trees, and the mounds and shaping of the 18th fairway obscure a direct view of the green from the back tee and make for some interesting rolls.The 338 yard, par four, 18th hole at Vista Plantation Golf Club in beautiful Vero Beach, Florida
Off the tee, the 18th fairway has a broad landing area. However, drives that are too long or too far to the right may find the water.
The intriguing 18th green is guarded by two bunkers on the left and is slightly pitched toward the lake. A lot of bets are won and lost right there.
When we designed this course thirty-some years ago, we were only given 80 acres on which to build an 18-hole golf course. We worked very hard to make each and every hole challenging as well as beautiful. This course is designed well and is still going strong after 30 years. I’m very proud of how Vista Plantation turned out. - Arthur Hills, 2017