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The King and Bear


World Golf Village - The King and Bear Course Review

By David Theoret

The King and Bear golf course at The World Golf Village in St. Augustine, FL is, in the words of co-designer Jack Nicklaus, "a collaboration of two friends and an opportunity to bring a friendship together." Arnold Palmer and Nicklaus joined together to create a course where each hole exhibits characteristics of both players. For Nicklaus it is the wide fairways and generous landing areas off the tees; for Palmer it's the fast greens. This is the only course in the world that the two have built together, however the two will work with Gary Player to create a new layout at the Greenbrier in White Sulphur Springs, West Virginia.

The course meanders around pristine lakes and ponds with beautiful loblolly pines and stately oak trees throughout. These trees are spectacular to look at; that is until they impede your shot! The emphasis here is on a part of the game that both men were famous for - driving the golf ball.

The King and Bear course measures 7,279 yards from the back (Stone) tees with a course rating of 74.1 and a slope of 138. Ladies yardage from the Green Tees is 5,119 (69.1/124). Most male players will get more than they can handle from the Blue Tees (6,506/70.8/131). Playing from the tee that best suits your game will give you the most enjoyment from your round here. The King and Bear will surely challenge the skilled golfer while providing player-friendly conditions for the novice. The King and Bear has been ranked in the top 100 Women-Friendly Courses by Golf for Women Magazine.

Memorable Holes: (All Yardage is From the Blue Tees)
Number 1: Par 4, 381 yards. At first glance, #1 gives you the idea that the landing area is very small, but trust me, there's a lot of room there. Ideally, a tee shot over the water and bunker towards the left center of the fairway leaves a low to mid-iron approach into a well-guarded green. Par is a great starting score.
Number 6: Par 3, 157 yards. This par three that has it all: trees galore, water and beach bunkers. A pin placement on the right side is best attacked with a fade. Anything long and left may find the back bunker. There's a bailout area left of the boomerang shaped green if you are feeling overwhelmed.

Number 10: Par 4, 375 yards. It's time to make a choice. A drive down the left side brings water and a coquina shelled waste area into play. The right side is the easier drive but brings a deep, menacing greenside bunker into play on your approach shot. Another hole where par is a good score.

Number 15: Par 4, 311 yards. This is Mr. Palmer's favorite hole on the course and is easily the most photographed. It's s a short par 4 that requires accuracy off the tee. With large Loblolly pines on the left side and a lake to the right, a long iron, hybrid or fairway wood is all you'll need off the tee. From there, you'll most likely have a short or iron or pitch shot over a stunning rock wall that surrounds the peninsular green. Make your par and thank Arnie.

Number 16: Par 4, 416 yards. Jack Nicklaus has a favorite hole here as well; it's this one. A brutally long par 4, dogleg right. The Loblolly pines on the left side catch any shot missed out this way. Regardless of how well you strike your drive, you'll most likely be facing a long iron, hybrid or fairway wood into the green. A line to the left greenside bunker may yield good returns on a green that slopes towards the back.

Last Word: The best way to derive the most pleasure from this course is to play from the tees that best suits your handicap and playing ability. When in doubt, take Jack's advice and tee it forward. At 6,506 yards, the Blue Tees were a great test for me and a little overwhelming at times. Regardless of which tees you play, you will definitely be challenged.

The traits of both designers are readily visible in this layout: coquina shelled waste areas and rock-fronted greens are found throughout the course. I'm definitely a bigger fan of Arnie's favorite hole (#15) over Jack's (#16), but that's due to the fact that I don't hit it is far as I used to.

There are no outrageously long carry shots from the tee here, but there is a certain amount of strategy required if you want to score well. Having an idea of where to hit you tee shot on some of the par 4 holes is something you will remember when you play the course a second time. And, like I mentioned earlier, the emphasis here is on driving the ball. A good game from the tee boxes goes a long way in shooting a good score here. Unlike other Nicklaus courses I have played, the greens were friendlier, although the subtle breaks you'll find throughout this layout can spell trouble on the scorecard. To Arnie's credit, the greens do tend to run fast. The course is well maintained and the staff is warm and friendly.

World Golf Village, The Slammer and the Squire and The King and Bear makes for a great weekend of golf, whether it's a family outing or a mancation. For more information or to book a package, visit their website at


Revised: 11/18/2015 - Article Viewed 18,934 Times - View Golf Course Profile

Written By: David Theoret

David Theoret David Theoret has been in the golf and golf travel industry for over 10 years, primarily selling online advertising. For the past seven years, he has also been a golf writer, reviewing golf courses, resorts, destinations, equipment, golf apparel, and training aids - the latter of which never seems to help. David's articles and reviews have been posted on many golf travel and equipment websites.

Growing up in Southwestern Ontario, Canada, it was naturally assumed he would play hockey. Beginning at the age of 3 and continuing into his late 30's, he did just that. However, after one too many pucks to the head, he realized that golf was a lot easier on the body (whoever said hockey players were slow) and took the game up.

After moving to Florida and accepting a position with TravelGolf Media (now part of GolfNow) his love for the game grew exponentially. Most Saturdays you will find him on a course somewhere in Florida or on the practice range reinforcing his bad habits. David plays to a 10 handicap - unless there is money involved in which case it goes considerably higher. He currently resides in Lakeland, FL with his wife Belinda and their two "kids", Madyson and Molly.

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