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Deerwood Country Club
Deerwood Country Club is the oldest gated community in the Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida area, and remains one of the premiere communities today.
It offers 24-hour a day, 7-day a week security at both of its entrances, and has high standards for both residency and membership.
The community and its golf course have a rich history. In the 1960s and 1970s, it hosted the The Greater Jacksonville Open tournament, which was forerunner of today’s PLAYERS Championship. And in 1975, the country club was the site of talks between President Gerald Ford and Egyptian President Anwar Sadat.
When it was first conceived, the community featured distinctive, large homes with massive lots and plenty of open, spacious common areas. It was named for the abundant wildlife that called the area home, including turkeys, wild hogs, raccoons and deer. Today, it is mostly built out, with approximately 900 homes on lots ranging in size from 20 acres down to a half-acre.
The country club is still privately owned, and is open to membership by invitation only. Each prospective member must be sponsored by two current members in good standing, and must be approved by the Board of Directors. Once approved, membership is granted on a family basis, with full access for the spouse of the applicant and all unmarried residents under the age of 24. There are also two types of membership, equity and associate. Equity membership gives full voting privileges, and access to priority tee times, event registration and banquet bookings, as well as access to by-invitation-only parties and meetings held in the clubhouse.
Within the equity category, members can choose a range of membership types to suit their needs. They are:
- Full — allows access to all club amenities, including unlimited golf green fees, tennis, fitness, swimming and dining. Cart fees apply for golf. Seniors over age 71 have discounted cart fees.
- Equity Junior Full — available to members up to age 34, this includes unlimited access to all club amenities; cart fees apply for golf.
- Sports — this membership allows unlimited access to tennis, fitness, swimming and dining. Golf is available 6 times a year on a pay-as-used basis at posted guest rates.
- Fitness — includes unlimited access to the clubhouse for dining and social events, fitness and swimming pool privileges. Golf is available 6 times a year, and unlimited tennis is available on a pay-as-used basis for applicable guest rates.
- Social — this includes unlimited access to dining, swimming and spa services. Golf is available 6 times a year and unlimited tennis is available on a pay-as-used basis for applicable guest rates.
Associate members have the same tiered categories, but they do not have ownership or voting privileges, and cannot hold office with the Board of Directors or the club.
More Information About Deerwood Country Club
Bryant Skinner built the golf course in 1960-61, designed by notable golf course architect George Cobb. He then constructed the first home in the Deerwood development (his own) the following year. Brother Richard Skinner Jr. built his home there in 1963. In early 1962, Bryant began to outline and lay out a unique (for Jacksonville) and exclusive gated golf community that would become Deerwood. Within his rural Florida location he envisioned a neighborhood that incorporated curving roadways, panoramas, and distinctive homes on voluminous lots with large open common areas incorporating lakes, built around a country club that would feature golf, swimming and tennis. There was plenty of room for a riding stable and bridle paths.
The development was named Deerwood because of an abundance of wildlife: turkeys, wild hogs, raccoons, bears and lots of deer. Bryant Skinner was confident that people would embrace it, but to get there from the established city required an eight mile drive down U.S. 1 (Philips Highway), then east for three bumpy miles on a rough dirt road named San Clerc, which would eventually become Baymeadows Road. In 1960, the area south of Beach Boulevard, East of US 1, and extending ten miles to the Intracoastal Waterway (approximately 50 square miles) was wilderness consisting of sand dunes and pine trees. In order to solve the problem of their isolated location, the Skinners donated land and convinced the Jacksonville Expressway Authority to build a road that would connect Beach Boulevard to Philips Highway. That thoroughfare, now called Southside Boulevard, opened Deerwood to development. In the 1970s, they gave land for Butler Boulevard, which opened more of their property, as did the extension of Baymeadows Road, east from Southside Blvd to a point where Florida State Road 9A was built. The Skinners also donated about 500 acres for the campus of what is now the University of North Florida.
The Deerwood gated community was initially limited to single family residences for many years. Condominium developments, zero lot line homes, and courtyard communities were gradually included as the development matured and demand for them increased. Homesites ranged up to a 20-acre estate, with some 5-acre parcels, but the average lot is over ½ acre. Deerwood is now mostly built out, with approximately 900 families in homes priced above $400,000. The intersection of Baymeadows Road and Southside Boulevard, near the Deerwood entrance, is one of the busiest intersections in the city of Jacksonville. The Tinseltown commercial center is a couple of miles north. The Avenues Mall is two miles south. And there are tens of thousands of people living in dozens of developments off Southside Boulevard and Baymeadows Road. Many homes in Deerwood are over forty years old, so it is not unusual for someone to demolish an older home and build a new custom home. Many of the larger properties are located on the east side of the development in a community known as “The Estates”. The entrances are adorned with life-size bronze bucks and does; a reminder of a time when deer were plentiful and people were scarce.
Deerwood is a private member owned country club with membership by invitation only. Each prospective member must be sponsored by two current members in good standing, and each application will be reviewed and approved by the Board of Governors. All memberships are family memberships and include all unmarried family members under age 24 who are living at home.
There are two types of memberships available at Deerwood, Equity and Associate. Equity members are shareholders who may vote and hold office. Their entry fee includes a redeemable Equity certificate that appreciates in value when fully vested, defined as being paid in full and an active member for at least three consecutive years. Equity members may choose from Full, Sports, Fitness or Social categories. Junior Full is available when both spouses are under the age of 35. Equity Partner privileges include priority tee times; priority event registration and banquet bookings; priorities for lockers; and social by-invitation-only parties and business meetings.
- Full membership allows access to all Club amenities, including unlimited golf green fees, tennis, fitness, swimming and dining. Cart fees apply for golf. Seniors over age 71 have discounted cart fees.
- Equity Junior Full up to age 34 includes unlimited access to all Club amenities; cart fees apply for golf.
- Sports membership allows unlimited access to tennis, fitness, swimming and dining. Golf is available 6 times a year on a pay-as-used basis at posted guest rates.
- Fitness membership includes unlimited access to the Clubhouse for dining and social events, fitness and swimming pool privileges. Golf (6 times a year) and unlimited tennis available on a pay-as-used basis for applicable guest rates.
- Social membership includes unlimited access to dining, swimming & spa services. Golf (6 times a year) and unlimited tennis available on a pay-as-used basis for applicable guest rates.
Associate memberships are non-refundable and do not include any ownership privileges or the right to hold office or vote. Associate Membership includes the named member, spouse, and children under age 24 living at home. Associate Members may choose from any of the categories listed below, with applicable dues and privileges.
- Associate Full includes unlimited access to all Club amenities; cart fees apply for golf.
- Associate Junior Full up to age 34 includes unlimited access to all Club amenities; cart fees apply for golf.
- Associate Sports includes unlimited access to tennis, fitness, swimming, dining and social activities. Golf is available six times per year at prevailing guest rates.
- Associate Fitness includes unlimited access to fitness, swimming, dining and social activities. Tennis is available on a pay-as-play basis for court fee.
- Associate Social membership includes unlimited access to dining, swimming & spa services.