Prominent golfing members have memorabilia in the club’s golf Hall of Fame. Those inducted are David Duval, Bob Duval, Steve Melnyk, Ray Terry, David Eger and Al Ulmer.
Photo by Fred Seely
The Timuquana Country Club swimming pool is one of the area’s largest and offers a breathtaking view of the St. Johns River.
Photo by Fred Seely
On May 25, 1921, a group of 50 prominent Jacksonville men met downtown at the Seminole Club to consider the organization of a new country club in Jacksonville, which would be primarily concerned with maintaining outstanding golfing facilities for its members. The charter members accepted the suggestion of Lorenzo A. Wilson to adopt the name "Timuquana," a variation of the name of the Native American Timucuan tribe, which formerly made its home on the banks of the St. Johns River near the site selected for the new Club. The formal organization was completed, under the guidance of William H. Rogers, when the charter was approved on February 12, 1923. By May of that year, there were 185 charter members, and John L. Roe was elected the First President of Timuquana Country Club.
The services of Donald Ross (pictured left), the country's most famous golf architect, were obtained to work with the original Green Committee composed of J. H. Tucker, Jr. and A. C. Ulmer, in designing an 18-hole course through the wilderness of forest and scrub. Soon after completion of the course, Knowlton G. "Snake" Ames and C. E. Van Vleck donated an additional 65 traps to enhance the challenge of the fairways. Later, the Club engaged Robert Trent Jones, noted golf architect, to provide it with a long-range plan for continued improvement, much of which was implemented in the late 1950s.
In addition to developing its golf course, the Club soon grew into a center of many other social and sporting activities. The Clubhouse has been the scene of many happy and distinguished social events. In 1933, two clay tennis courts made a brief appearance on the lower river front terrace, but were shortly abandoned. Although a swimming pool had been proposed from the earliest days of the Club, it was not until after World War II that one was built for and enjoyment of the members and their families.
The first Club dock, for the convenience of yachting members, was constructed in 1929 as a gift from Alfred I. duPont. After 20 years, it became necessary to build a new dock, which was made possible through the enthusiasm of many members, foremost among whom was Leon T. Cheek.
The mid-30's were critical years at Timuquana. All over the country the depression was taking its toll on private country clubs. At one time Timuquana's membership dropped to 51, and the Club was operated without a manager. By 1936, it became obvious that a thorough reorganization of the financial structure of the Club was imperative. Through able and patient guidance the necessary readjustments were accomplished, and the Club has successfully operated ever since under the sound arrangements established at that time.
Growth and Expansion
By the 1950s, it became apparent that the Club had outgrown the original Clubhouse, and that a major project had to be undertaken to provide adequate facilities for the membership. After several years of careful study by many boards and committees, a Permanent Improvement Committee presented a comprehensive plan for rebuilding and remodeling the old building, in addition to making substantial additions. The project was approved at a special meeting of the Founder members in the winter of 1957 and work commenced the following June. Throughout the remainder of the year, the membership patiently endured many inconveniences while construction deprived them of the use of a Clubhouse. Upon completion, the new traditionally Southern-style Clubhouse was opened with a festive two-day reception, beginning December 16, 1958. In 1963, the Club added a new swimming pool, four tennis courts, several service buildings and a new men's lounge.
During the early years of the Club, many professional open tournaments were held at Timuquana, at which all of the outstanding golfers of the time participated, including Bobby Jones, Walter Hagen, Gene Sarazen, Tommy Armour, Leo Diegel, Henry Cotton, Bobby Cruikshanks, Horton Smith, Jock Hutchison and Bob McDonald. For several years the Southern Amateur Championship was played at Timuquana. The last time the Club was host to the Florida State Amateur Tournament was 1928. In 1955, 1966, 1970, 1973 and 1976 the Sectional Qualifying round for the Amateur Championship of the United States Golf Association was held at Timuquana, and the Club has often been host to the Sectional Qualifying round of the USGA Senior Amateur Championship. Beloved golf pro Vic Forman oversaw many of those events during his 43-year career with Timuquana (1925-1968).
In the 1970s a young pro named Bobby Duval came to Timuquana. Among his best pupils was son David (pictured left, with his father, circa 1980), who grew up playing golf at the Club. By the early 1980s, David became a top youth golfer nationally. He was the U.S. Junior Amateur Champion in 1989 and led Episcopal High School of Jacksonville to a state championship. He then went on to become a four-time All American at Georgia Tech and was the NCAA National Player of the Year in 1993. David spent two years on the Nike Tour and earned his PGA Tour card in 1995. Throughout the late 1990s, he saw great success on the PGA Tour and rose to become the number one ranked professional player in the world by 1999. David won the British Open Championship in 2001 and to-date has 13 victories on the Tour. All Timuquanans remember with pride the March weekend in 1999 when David won at THE PLAYERS Championship in Ponte Vedra Beach, the very same day father Bobby won his first Champions Tours event, the Emerald Coast Classic in Pensacola.
1969 U.S. Amateur Champion and 1971 British Amateur Champion Steve Melnyk is also a long-standing member of Timuquana. Originally from Brunswick, GA, Steve played college golf at the University of Florida, where he was a three-time All-American. He also helped the Gator golf team win its first national title at the 1968 NCAA Division I National Championship. The University of Houston, who had won 10 of the last 12 national titles, led Florida by one stroke going into the final holes when Steve and a teammate each recorded birdies, securing the crown for U.F. Before turning pro, he also had wins at the 1965 Georgia Open, the 1969 Western Amateur and the 1970 Eastern Amateur—and represented the United States in the 1969 and 1971 Walker Cup competitions. Following his career as a player, Steve entered the field of television broadcasting, where he spent time with both ABC Sports and CBS Sports as a golf commentator. Interestingly, Steve Melnyk is the only golf broadcaster to play in and broadcast all four major championships. Steve has a wife and two sons. One of his sons, Dalton, continued the family tradition by playing golf at U.F. before turning pro in 2008.
Renovations and Celebrations
In 1994, a golf course committee was formed to study the current golf course and its usage. Along with professional consultants and direction from Robert L. Weed, this special course advisory committee designed a plan to renovate the golf course. The Club's members approved the plan in December 1995, and construction began in April of 1996. The project was completed in October of the same year, and the new course opened.
Part of the golf course renovation was a historic partnership with the U.S. Navy in which the Club negotiated with the Navy at N.A.S. Jax to include an effluent water program to irrigate the Club's golf course. Final connections were made in the summer of 1997 and the Club began accepting the effluent water in the fall of the same year.
Timuquana celebrated its 75th Anniversary in 1998 with a week-long extravaganza. The Annual Founder's Day Golf Tournament kicked-off the celebration, followed by the Annual Meeting and a formal dinner dance with New York's Alex Donner Orchestra entertaining a sellout crowd of more than 450. Weekend events included a family carnival on the waterfront lawn, a repeat of the 1927 costume golf tournament, the dedication of a new flagpole next to the St. Johns River and fireworks, which marked the event's grand finale.
1998 was also a year for Club improvements, as the Long Range Planning Committee convened to discuss renovation plans for the north end of the Club. The plans called for enlarging the Pow Wow Room and adding a Cocktail Lounge, Fitness Center and a new floating dock system. These plans were passed at the Annual Meeting in March 2000, and on July 5, 2000, construction began. The majority of the work was completed a year later, and was followed by a grand opening celebration on July 7 with more than 900 members in attendance. Work on the new floating dock system was completed in early 2002.
In September 2002, Timuquana hosted the Senior Amateur Championship of the United States Golf Association. After lengthy preparations by club committees and staff, the championship was completed with outstanding success. From the Timuquana Navy that brought our guests from the hotel downtown to the evening dinner—to the final putt by champion Greg Reynolds on a beautiful golf course, compliments and expressions of delight were received.
In 2009, the membership agreed to the club’s largest renovation ever, a $8.7 million project that involved every area of the facility. The major work was in the main clubhouse and included a new ballroom, kitchens and dining areas. The fitness center was completed refurbished.
The golf course was regrassed, and today is in near-perfect shape thanks to the Celebration grass on the tees and fairways, TifEagle on the greens, TifGrand on the approaches and G-Angle sand in the bunkers.