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Sarasota, Florida


Friends of Bobby Jones Golf Club Inc was established as a Florida Not For Profit organization on March 17, 2013...Bobby Jones' Birthday!

Our Mission is to enhance the experience at BOBBY JONES GOLF CLUB for City of Sarasota and area residents and visitors and to help effect, through sponsorship of projects, programs and events, the Four Initiatives.

The Bobby Jones Initiative, The Donald Ross Initiative, The Paul Azinger Initiative and The John Hamilton Gillespie Initiative.

Gillespie Initiative

Grow the Game

John Hamilton Gillespie, center, in plus fours, on the teeing ground, Sarasota c. 1905. Photograph Courtesy Sarasota County Historical Resources.

The John Hamilton Gillespie Initiative

Grow the Game addresses the area within the Club situated North of the classic Ross and modern Azinger courses, and focuses on Growing the Game.

Celebrates the man who brought golf to Florida, Sarasota's first mayor, John Hamilton Gillespie, with the Gillespie Learning Center, state of the art driving range and short game practice area.

Support golf instructional, club fitting and sales within the Bobby Jones PGA Professional program.

Re-route and renovate The Gillespie Course at Bobby Jones Golf Club, encourage youth and family golf, support the learning program, community organizations and the daily golfer, and introduce new players to the game.

Friends of Bobby Jones Golf Club   approached the City of Sarasota with an offer to sponsor children's golf camps at Bobby Jones Golf Club, and sponsored the first-ever  Drive, Chip & Putt Boot Camp  for Boys and Girls Ages 7 to 15.

Friends of Bobby Jones Golf Club approached the City of Sarasota with an offer to sponsor children's golf camps at Bobby Jones Golf Club, and sponsored the first-ever Drive, Chip & Putt Boot Camp for Boys and Girls Ages 7 to 15.

The Gillespie Course at Bobby Jones Golf Club

The Gillespie Course at Bobby Jones Golf Club challenges players from beginner to expert, young to not-so-young, with a series of short "precision" holes designed to present graduated difficulty. The concept is based upon a Video Game, with achievement at each "Level" allowing advancement to the next.

One has mastered the course when one has scored PAR on each consecutive hole.

Each Tee will feature a poster signboard with ONE Rule from the USGA "Rules of Golf". Definitions of all Rules terms expressed in italics will be found on the Scorecard. The poster will also feature ONE Lesson from the USGA "Rules of Etiquette", ONE of THE FIRST TEE "Nine Core Values" and ONE of THE FIRST TEE "Nine Healthy Habits".

Each hole will offer a fun challenge, as well as a learning or teaching moment. 

The Gillespie Course at Bobby Jones Golf Club  

LEVEL 1     "The Game"     

RULE 1      "The Game of Golf consists of playing a ball with a club from the teeing ground into the hole by a stroke or successive strokes in accordance with the Rules."

ETIQUETTE 1     The Spirit of the Game   "All players should conduct themselves in a disciplined manner, demonstrating courtesy and sportsmanship at all times, irrespective of how competitive they may be. This is the spirit of the game of golf."

THE FIRST CORE VALUE     Honesty   "Golf is unique from other sports in that players regularly call penalties on themselves and report their own scores."

HEALTHY HABIT #1   PHYSICAL: Energy  "It is important to understand and make healthy choices about when to eat, how much to eat, and the types of food and drinks to provide the body with the most useful energy."

LEVEL 2     "Match Play"     

RULE 2      "A match consists of one side playing against the other over a stipulated round. In match play the game is played by holes. A hole is won by the side that holes its ball in the fewer strokes.

ETIQUETTE 2     Safety   "Players should insure that no one is standing close or in a position to be hit by the club, the ball or any stones, pebbles, twigs or the like when they make a stroke or practice swing."

THE SECOND CORE VALUE     Integrity   "Golf is a game of etiquette and composure. Players are responsible for their actions and personal conduct on the golf course even at times when others may not be looking."

HEALTHY HABIT #2   PHYSICAL: Play  "A variety of energizing play can help the body stay strong, lean and fit, and be fun in the process. Sleep and other forms of "re-charging" allow one to engage in play on a daily basis."

LEVEL 3     "Stroke Play"     

RULE 3      "In stroke play, each competitor is playing against every other competitor in the competition. The competitor who plays the stipulated round or rounds in the fewest strokes is the winner."

ETIQUETTE 3     Consideration for Other Players   "Players should always show consideration for other players on the course and should not disturb their play by moving, talking or making unnecessary noise. On the teeing ground, a player should not tee his ball until it is his turn to play."

THE THIRD CORE VALUE     Sportsmanship   "Players must know and abide by the rules of golf and be able to conduct themselves in a kind and respectful manner towards others even in a competitive game."

HEALTHY HABIT #3   PHYSICAL: Safety  "Physical safety includes playing in a safe environment and by the rules, protecting the body with proper equipment, warm-up and cool-down and wearing sun protection."

LEVEL 4     "Clubs"     

RULE 4      "A player must not start a stipulated round with more than fourteen clubs. Partners may share clubs, provided that the total number of clubs carried by the partners does not exceed fourteen."

ETIQUETTE 4     On the Putting Green   "A player should not stand on another player's line of putt or, when he is making a stroke, cast a shadow over his line of putt."

THE FOURTH CORE VALUE     Respect   "In golf it is important to show respect for oneself, playing partners, fellow competitors, the golf course, and for the honor and traditions of the game."

HEALTHY HABIT #4   EMOTIONAL: Vision  "In order to make the most of one's unique gifts - talents, characteristics and abilities - an individual needs to learn from the past, value the present, create their vision and future to ultimately "leave a footprint."

LEVEL 5     "The Ball"     

RULE 5      "A ball is unfit for play if it is visibly cut, cracked or out of shape. If it is determined that the ball has become unfit for play during play of the hole being played, the player may substitute another ball, placing it on the spot where the original ball lay."

ETIQUETTE 5     Pace of Play   "Players should play at a good pace. It is a group's responsibility to keep up with the group in front . If it loses a clear hole and it is delaying the group behind, it should invite the group behind to play through."

THE FIFTH CORE VALUE     Confidence   "Confidence plays a key role in the level of play that one achieves. Players can increase confidence in their abilities by being positive and focusing on something they are doing well regardless of the outcome."

HEALTHY HABIT #5   EMOTIONAL: Mind  "The mind is a powerful tool for health. One's mind influences his/her emotions and behaviours and can be utilized for self-improvement, building confidence and maintaining perspective."

LEVEL 6     "The Player"     

RULE 6      "The player and his caddie are responsible for knowing the Rules."

ETIQUETTE 6     Be Ready to Play   "Players should be ready to play as soon as it is their turn to play. When the play of a hole has been completed, players should immediately leave the putting green."

THE SIXTH CORE VALUE     Responsibility   "Players are responsible for their actions on the golf course. It is up to them to keep score, repair divots, rake bunkers, repair ball marks on the green, and keep up with the pace of play."

HEALTHY HABIT #6   EMOTIONAL: Family  "When family members participate in activities together - share meals, communicate and establish roles and responsibilities - they are more likely to be successful in achieving their health-related goals."

LEVEL 7     "Practice"     

RULE 7      "A player must not make a practice stroke during play of the hole. Between the play of two holes a player must not make a practice stroke except that he may practice putting or chipping on or near a) the putting green of the hole last played, b) any practice putting green, or c) the teeing ground of the next hole to be played in the round."

ETIQUETTE 7     Lost Ball   "If a player believes his ball may be lost outside a water hazard or is out of bounds, to save time, he should play a provisional ball. Players searching for a lost ball should signal the group behind to play through as soon as it becomes apparent that the ball will not easily be found."

THE SEVENTH CORE VALUE     Perseverance   "To succeed in golf, players must continue through bad breaks and their own mistakes, while learning from past experiences."

HEALTHY HABIT #7   SOCIAL: Friends  "Maintaining healthy relationships includes surrounding one's self with friends and supportive people, while effectively handling challenging situations, including bullying and navigating the digital age with social media."

LEVEL 8     "Advice"     

RULE 8      "During a stipulated round, a player must not a) give advice to anyone in the competition on the course other than his partner, or b) ask for advice from anyone other than his partner or either of their caddies."

ETIQUETTE 8     Priority on the Course   "Priority on the course is determined by a group's pace of play. Any group playing a whole round is entitled to pass a group playing a shorter round. The term "group" includes a single player."

THE EIGHTH CORE VALUE     Courtesy   "A round of golf should begin and end with a handshake between fellow competitors. Players also should be still and quiet while others are preparing and performing a shot."

HEALTHY HABIT #8   SOCIAL: School  "Success in school - learning, building relationships and contributing to the school environment - leads to success in other areas of life."

LEVEL 9     "Strokes Taken"     

RULE 9      "The number of strokes a player has taken includes the number of penalty strokes incurred. An opponent is entitled to ascertain from the player the number of strokes he has taken."

ETIQUETTE 9     Care of the Course   "Before leaving a bunker, a player should carefully fill up and smooth over any holes and footprints made by them and any near them made by others. Players should carefully repair any divot holes made by them and any damage to the putting green made by impact of a ball."

THE NINTH CORE VALUE     Judgment   "Using good judgment is very important in golf. It comes into play when deciding on strategy, club selection, when to play safe and when to take a chance, the type of shot players consider executing, as well as making healthy choices on and off the golf course."

HEALTHY HABIT #9   SOCIAL: Community  "Like the health of one's body, it is important to also explore the health of one's community and discover how one can give back and care for its environment and safety."


Initiatives in Initiatives


Within and integral to the Donald Ross Initiative is the intent to provide enhanced opportunities for participation and accessibility in golf by players of all abilities and disabilities, including access to all areas of play, and in partnership with organizations dedicated to accessibility for the disabled and in particular, working with the Friends of Bobby Jones Golf Club Veterans Committee, for disabled American veterans of military service.


The classic golf courses of the 1920s were designed generally without gender too much in mind, and certainly without contemplation of the distance-defining equipment advances inherent in today's game. 

Early competitive golf was most often scored according to Match Play wherein "Par" is irrelevant, as one was measured only against one's opponent's score rather than against the golf course. In today's competitive game, Medal Play (more commonly referred to as "Stroke Play") is predominant and does more closely measure the player as compared to the golf course score of what Bobby Jones called "Old Man Par".

With regard to gender, women and men would generally play from the same tees, and when "Par" was introduced, the Par for Men and Women would be adjusted to correspond to course conditions. Ladies Par at Bobby Jones Golf Club in its first decades was 81.

As more women entered the game, golf courses responded by adding "Ladies' Tees" (and later, forward "Senior Tees"), but without much regard for golf strategy, the rules of the game, aesthetics, social engagement, excitement and fun. The introduction of scientific measurements such as "swing speed" were slow to be understood and more even slowly to be incorporated into golf course design.

Today's golf course needs to respect and respond to the modern player and what modern science tells us, while providing a playing experience that enhances all player's engagement with the game and with each other.

Most golf courses today, including those at Bobby Jones Golf Club, define one set of tees as "Ladies", and paint them red. But this works against some basic observations of how today's courses work against today's game:

1) Red "Ladies' Tees" present an unnecessary social barrier to men and women who wish to play together.

2) Red "Ladies' Tees" present an unnecessary limitation to those women who wish to play other tees. Women want and deserve to be challenged with strategic options in play just as much as men, and today's competitive woman golfers have advanced in recent decades at least as much as their male counterparts.

3) Tees need to be user-friendly to golfers of each gender and all ages who wish to play together, so women may play with spouses, boyfriends and opposite gender playing partners; grandfathers may play with daughters and granddaughters; and all can do so within the handicap system and the Rules of Golf.

4) Distances that golfers propel the ball actually have nothing to do with gender and everything to do with swing speed.

Integral to the restoration of The Ross Course at Bobby Jones Golf Club are Gender Neutral Tees, in three new and important ways.

1) The new "back tees" playing at the greatest competitive distance will be defined as the "Zinger Tees" and the Zinger Tees will be RED.

2) Tees will be placed in accordance with the carry distance required to place a well-struck ball at a place in the fairway to provide clear paths or options of approach to the target. These dimensions will be designed with respect to the swing speed generated by a golfer and without specific regard to gender. Golf professionals will encourage players to measure and know their individual swing speeds. Players may use this knowledge to select tees that provide the greatest challenge or advantage, the quickest round or the most fun.

3) ALL tees will be provided with official USGA handicap holes, course and slope ratings for both men and women, so either gender may play on any tee and adjust fairly for handicap in matches with their playing partners of any gender and in recording their scores according to the Rules of Golf.

4) Forward FAMILY tees will offer superior strategic options and flexibility within an innovative design that allows for easier play by different genders and a wide range of ages playing together.

The Gillespie Initiative

The Gillespie Initiative

  3400 Clark Drive   Sarasota Florida   34234