Oak Bridge undergoes renovations as residents mull proposal to develop part of golf course


The new 3 Palms Grille is just one component of the multimillion-dollar renovations currently underway at the Oak Bridge Club, located on Alta Mar Drive in the Sawgrass Players Club. In addition to the new restaurant, Oak Bridge is in the process of completing a $500,000 installation of 10 Har-Tru tennis courts expected to be ready by mid-July. The club has also recently spent $65,000 on newly completed upgrades to the driving range, and more improvements are in the works.

“This redo is sorely needed and long past due for this community asset,” new owner Dave Miller said during a recent interview at the clubhouse, as workers tore up the old carpeting beneath his feet and gutted the nearby men’s and women’s locker rooms. “The big question mark now is the golf course.”

Under a proposal presented to Sawgrass Players Club residents in April, Miller has proposed selling and developing 40 acres of the current golf course for use by a continuing care retirement community (CCRC) and the Cultural Center at Ponte Vedra Beach in order to generate the capital needed to make several million dollars in upgrades to the golf course. To do so, however, requires the removal of a deed restriction that specifies the property must be used solely as a golf course until 2023. Removing that restriction requires the approval of Sawgrass Players Club residents, who belong to nine separate homeowners’ associations.

Since first presenting the proposal in April, Miller said he has met with an ad hoc committee comprised of representatives from each of the HOAs. Last weekend, he concluded a series of community meetings with each HOA; attendance at the two-hour meetings, he said, ranged from 20 to more than 200, as residents asked questions about everything from previous pesticide use on the golf course to the proposed development of the land near A1A.

“I was actually very surprised by how much positive feedback we received from residents,” said Miller, who noted many residents thanked him for upgrading the facilities. “I think we allayed everyone’s concerns, particularly with regard to the height of the buildings (proposed for) A1A.”

Following the meetings, Miller said he expects the ad hoc committee to report back to the master association, which will then arrange a vote by residents. Should the residents vote to remove the deed restriction, Miller said, the next step would be to gain county approval for the proposal and begin marketing the A1A portion of the property marked for development.

Kristy Richland of property manager Marsh Landing Management said a vote has not yet been scheduled.

For his part, Miller hopes a decision is reached soon. “The course has needed a revamp for a long time,” he said, noting that nearby Sawgrass Village, Vicar’s Landing and TPC Sawgrass have all undergone extensive renovations in recent months. “This has the potential to be another Atlantic Beach Country Club, and we all know what a home run that (upgrade) was for the community.”

State of the Club gatherings

In an effort to keep residents informed and answer any remaining questions, Miller said, the Oak Bridge Club will host two residents-only “State of the Club” gatherings from 5 to 7 p.m. June 10 and June 24, with beer, wine, appetizers and a chance to learn more about the proposed golf course modifications. The club has also launched a website – www.rediscoveroakbridge.com – with background on the project.

Miller also hopes people will drive by the Oak Bridge Club to witness the improvements underway.

“Very few people know we’re back here, but if they take a drive by, they’re going to see progress,” he said. “They’re going to see commitment.”