Omni Hotels and Resorts Management closed Ocean Links, one golf course they manage on Amelia Island earlier this week. However, those that live in nearby condos along the course say they didn't expect to see construction crews hard at work Monday morning.
For a golfer, 18 holes of lush green grass right off the ocean can seem like a paradise but imagine that paradise being torn down.
“I’ve never seen anything so destructive since I’ve lived here and I’ve lived here twelve years.” condominium owner Sam Russell said.
Now the only fore you’re going to hear on Ocean Links is for construction.
Omni Hotels and Resorts has decided to close Ocean Links.
”Just devastated by it because it is such a beautiful property, this is a beautiful hole, you can see it’s a par four and look at the ocean the whole length of the hole," Russell said.
Sam Russell’s condo faces what used to the be the fourth green, he says the combination of beach and golf course is why he moved here.
"It’s a tough situation for the homeowners because many of them bought here forty years ago or so and now their property is going to look like this.”
Losing the course is one thing Russell says he only wish management would’ve told him.
“The email went out that I received was dated around 5 yesterday, well by 5 this green was already bulldozed.”
Omni Hotels and Resorts sent out an email to condo owners Tuesday that stated as of Monday the course was closed and will be turned into green space to enhance another course they manage Oak Marsh.
Other owners told First Coast News off camera, they too were surprised by the sudden construction, but had a feeling change was around the corner.
Omni’s Hotels and Resorts Director of Marketing told First Coast News, “we’ve been very open about their intent.”
But when First Coast News asked them why the course closed, what are the future plans and when and how they notified homeowners, I was told we are unable to discuss this matter in detail.
“After the surprise bulldozing yesterday, I don’t believe Omni anymore.”
Russell says he’s concerned this could affect property values, but more importantly upset the area is losing a great course along the water.
The full letter sent to condo owners can be viewed below highlighting some of the plans for the course.
As of Friday, a temporary stay has been issued by Nassau County Judge Steven Fahlgren requiring Omni Hotels & Resorts to stop all demolition of Ocean Links Golf Course until an official hearing takes place. No date has been set.
A message from Donald Stamets, Area Managing Director, Omni Amelia Island Plantation:
As of Nov. 12, 2017, Omni Hotels & Resorts closed Ocean Links golf course and will develop that land into green space. In addition to providing additional outdoor activity opportunities, this development will enable all golf resources to be dedicated to enhancing the Oak Marsh golfing experience. We are pleased to share some already-noticeable improvements on Oak Marsh including the renovation of all bunkers, restoration and resurfacing of all coquina areas, replacement of the bridges on holes 15 and 17, and replacement and restoration of all bulkheads.
Today, Monday, Nov. 13, we started Phase 1 of the project by leveling the greens of all holes except 1, 2 and 6. This is to facilitate the transition from “a putting green complex” to level ground covered with sod. Phase 2 will be to flatten and fill in fairway bunkers, in their transition to become sodded. Phase 3 is when all areas transition to sod to create a park-like setting. Phases 1 through 3 can take 4-6 weeks based on weather.
As previously communicated, hole 6 (which is directly in front of the hotel building) will transition into an event space. Holes 1 and 2 are being considered for par 3 golf holes and/or a practice area, while the remaining 15 holes will transition to green space.