PENSACOLA, Florida – When it comes to golf courses in the Pensacola area, Lost Key Golf Club is certainly one of the top facilities in the area. The golf course is framed by the natural beauty of Perdido Key and is ideally located between historic downtown Pensacola and the pristine sugar sand beaches of Orange Beach and Gulf Shores, Alabama.
The course originally opened in 1997 and went through a redesign by the Arnold Palmer Design Group in 2006. Par at Lost Key is 71 and the course can play anywhere from 6,690 yards from the Black tees to 4,137 yards from the Orange tees. In all, there are five sets of tees that offer players of all skill levels a unique playing experience.
This signature-designed championship course features Sea Dwarf Paspalum grass from the tee through the green making for some of the best playing surfaces in the area. The greens are lush and roll true. Lost Key was the first golf course in the State of Florida to be certified as an Audubon International Silver Signature Sanctuary, a project that continues to protect the natural resources of the area while providing an outstanding golf experience.
Lost Key has several holes that you will remember for a while, but here are some of my favorites. Number 1 is a par 5 that plays 549 yards (Blue Tees). It’s the longest hole on the course and surprisingly is only handicapped #15. Number 1 is best played as a 3 shot hole and holds the key to getting your round off to a good start. This is achieved by keeping your tee shot in play; after all, there’s nothing worse than hitting three off the first tee! Play your layup shot towards the bunker on the left side of the fairway. That will leave an approach shot of around 100 yards to the middle of the green. Par is a great way to start.
Number 4 is a risk/reward par 4 that doglegs to the left. At only 292 yards, it’s reachable for longball hitters and seniors who can hit the ball 220 yards. There’s water on both sides of the fairway and behind the green so be sure to keep the ball in play. If you can’t carry your tee shot at least 240 yards, better play it safe and just put your tee shot out in the fairway. That involves laying up short of the right fairway bunker which will leave an approach shot of around 110 yards. Play your approach shot to the middle of the green and leave yourself a shot at a one-putt birdie. Standing on the Blue tees, it looks like there is nowhere to land the ball but once you play this hole a couple of times, you’ll figure it out.
Number 12 is a fun 501-yard par 5 that starts with a wide-open tee shot to a generous landing area. But don’t let that lull you into a false sense of security. Longball hitters may be able to go for the green with their second shot but must avoid the water on the left. For those of us who didn’t pummel their tee shot, play your second shot over the wetlands with a mid-iron and leave a short approach to a very large and well-undulated green that slopes back to front. Knowing where the pin is and hitting it close goes a long way in avoiding a three-putt.
The par 4, 430 yard 17th hole has a little bit of everything and for my money could very well be the toughest hole on the course. At 430 yards from the Blue tees, it’s the longest par 4 on the course. The tee shot requires the longest carry of any hole and is best played with a shot slightly right and short of the 150-marker. Find the bunker on the left just over the water and par just became that much tougher. A good tee shot will still leave a long to mid-iron approach shot into a small green with a ridge running across the middle. Keep it in the fairway on this hole and you’ll just fine.
After your round, head into the clubhouse for your favorite adult beverage and some very tasty food. The dining room serves both breakfast and lunch as well as dinner on Wednesday nights. The menu includes sandwiches and burgers and I highly recommend the club sandwich. Wednesday night dinner includes entrees such as Lemon Chicken and Truffle Shrimp. There’s a Happy Hour on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 4 – 7 PM, so if you plan your round accordingly, you can take advantage of $10 appetizer platters, $2 domestic drafts, $3 house wine and $4 well drinks.
Recently Lost Key unveiled their new state of the art golf clubhouse which features a full-service golf shop, men’s and ladies’ locker room facilities with lounge areas, and a restaurant and bar with indoor and outdoor seating that offer panoramic views of the golf course. While Lost Key Golf Club offers all of the amenities and quality service found at the finest private clubs in the country, it is open to non-Members and resort guests. The club is a popular venue for golf outings of all sizes and the clubhouse is available for private social events. Lost Key is more than just a golf course, it’s an entire lifestyle.
Lost Key is currently accepting new members and is offering some incredible deals with membership starting as low as $100 per month! It doesn’t matter if you’re a seasoned veteran or are just taking up the game, Lost Key offers Single, Family or Transferable memberships for individuals who have a vacation home and choose to rent their home when not in town. They also offer Corporate Memberships for local businesses that may be looking to grow their image and join like-minded professionals who recognize the benefits of being a Club Member. As a member, you’ll receive complimentary greens fees, locker and bag storage, handicapping service, seven-day preferred tee times, use of private lockers/showers/bathrooms, a Lost Key golf hat, towel, a member bag tag and much more.
The Hilton Garden in nearby Orange Beach, AL offers some reasonable and comfortable accommodations. It’s a relaxing 20-minute drive to the golf course right along the beach and HGI offers a great breakfast buffet and lots of beach amenities.
Last Word: Terra Firma Asset Management purchased Lost Key Golf Club in 2018 and the enhancements to the golf course and facility in general have been tremendous. Lost Key is destined to become one of the most desirable golf communities in the Florida panhandle and will attract golfers and residents from neighboring states. Ownership has sunk a good deal of money into the golf course and rejuvenated it to the point that it is once again a joy to play.
The bunkering at Lost Key is quite impressive and penal. There’s a lot of sand in the bunkers and if your approach shots do not find the green but instead land in a bunker, up-and-down can be a task. I had the opportunity to speak with Doug Lowell, a foreman on the grounds crew, and ask him some of the things that make Lost key such a spectacular facility. Doug said that the natural beauty and terrain of the course has withstood all of the elements Mother Nature could throw her way including torrential rains, hurricanes and oil spills. The course has withstood it all and the lush vegetation continues to survive.