Do you have a burning passion for golf? Do you want to know more about Jack Nicklaus’ legacy in winning 18 majors? You can find all of this plus much more at the World Golf Hall of Fame. A visit to St. Augustine wouldn’t be the same without experiencing the Hall of Fame. If you are an avid golfer like me, it’s a no-brainer that you will be heading over to the World Golf Village to experience this amazing complex.
With a variety of attractions within the grounds of the village, there are so many reasons to visit here with all the family. Even the non-golfers can enjoy this experience, especially if you are staying at the gorgeous resort overlooking the breathtaking courses here.
Whether you are a fan of the Golden Bear or The King, paying a visit to St. Augustine to learn all about the history of golf and pay tribute to the amazing golfers that have graced the links around the world is certainly an exciting prospect.
World Golf Hall of Fame Museum
The World Golf Hall of Fame is located off I-95 south of Jacksonville, Florida and just a short drive from the historic city of St. Augustine.
If you are visiting this part of the Sunshine State, be sure to check out both the Hall of Fame and everything the city of St. Augustine has to offer given its reputation as being the oldest city in the United States.
The Hall of Fame Museum and associated attractions are open daily (exceptions being Thanksgiving and Christmas Day) between 10:00AM – 6:00PM (Monday to Saturday) and 12:00PM – 6:00PM (Sunday).
Admission to the Hall of Fame includes entrance to the Museum (including the opportunity to revisit the following day if you don’t have enough time to explore everything the first day), a round on the 18-hole putting course and one shot on the Hall of Fame Challenge hole.
Adults – $19.50
Seniors, Military & Florida Residents (with valid ID) – $18.50
Students (Age 13+ with valid ID) – $10
Children (Age 5-12) – $5
The Bob Hope Collection
Our journey started inside the Hall of Fame Museum. Two very distinctive floors are available for visitors to meander through and appreciate the history of golf.
The first floor is dedicated to Bob Hope, a leading figure in the game of golf who’s enthusiasm for the game is second to none.
Hope may not be the biggest name in golf or the best that has ever played the game, but there are few individuals around the world that showed as much charisma and desire to promote this wonderful game. Who else would carry a golf club everywhere they went?
Hope has consistently been renowned as being one of the sports greatest ambassadors and it is a fitting tribute that the World Golf Hall of Fame has a complete floor full of symbolic memorabilia and other pieces of history depicting this iconic golfing figure.
It’s wonderful how you can start out with three strangers in the morning, play 18 holes and by the time the day is over you have three solid enemies. (Bob Hope)
Who would have thought that when Alan Shepherd set foot on the moon and took out a reconfigured 6-iron to hit the infamous ‘Moonshot’, that his inspiration was because of Bob Hope?
In 1970, Hope visited the NASA Space Center in Houston and met Shepherd and of course, he was accompanied by his infamous driver that went everywhere with him. As part of Hope’s tour of the Space Center, he was strapped into a training device that simulated the experience of walking on the moon.
After Hope used his driver to stabilize himself in the simulator, Shepherd later informed Hope that his idea to hit the first golf shot on the moon was because of that impromptu encounter!
The Royal and Ancient Game
As you move upstairs, an introduction to the history of the game is presented through a number of beautiful pictures. We enjoyed learning more about the history courtesy of a knowledgeable volunteer who guided us through the Royal and Ancient history.
The origins of this amazing game date back to the early stick and feather balls on the links of St. Andrews (many argue that actually golf originated in the Flemish areas of the Netherlands but that argument is for others to discuss!) and this is depicted throughout the museum.
Visitors have the opportunity to step up and putt using one of the wooden putters and old feather balls, a vast difference to modern technology and $3 Titleist Pro-V1 balls!
Take a moment to grab a picture on the life-size replica of the famous Swilcan Burn Bridge that crosses the 18th hole at St. Andrews.
A vast collection of trophies and other artifacts are on display reflecting the four Major championships in golf. There is even a leaderboard with a number of iconic legends where you can add your name at the top. Surely all aspiring golfers out there have dreamt of winning the Open Championship or Masters right?
If you ever watched Shell’s Wonderful World of Golf, you will have an opportunity to revisit one of the many shows that aired.
The Hall of Fame provides a theater experience and airs different shows every hour providing highlights of some of the most infamous battles in golf.
Unfortunately, the iconic ‘Trophy Tower’ was closed due to renovations but the majority of trophies and exhibits were moved throughout the museum so that visitors could still experience everything on display.
The Wall of Fame
The portrait gallery offers a moment for visitors to enjoy images of their favorite golfers perfectly painted by artists.
Each painting depicts the members in the Hall of Fame along with the year they became members. A favorite of mine was Johnny Miller and Sir Nick Faldo who became members in 1998.
I think my favorite part of the whole experience was entering the heart of the museum – the Wall of Fame.
In this 88-foot-long room, every member of the Hall of Fame is recognized with a bronze plaque detailing a brief summary of their career along with a perfectly sculpted image.
Take a moment to find your favorite golfer but also take some time to appreciate the greatness of all the golfers that are present within this room.
The opposite side of the room is devoted to the new members that are currently being inducted into the Hall of Fame. The likes of David Graham and Laura Davies are recognized for their contributions to golf.
Member Locker Room
The final stop on our tour of the Hall of Fame museum took us through the Member Locker Room. Here you can find your favorite members locker and check out the clubs that made them so famous along with a few extra iconic items representative of the individual.
The likes of Nicklaus, Palmer, Faldo, Trevino, and Mickelson are here but just being in a room with so many of golf’s greatest legends is a really amazing experience. Even if you don’t appreciate the game of golf like I do, you have to appreciate greatness!
This is an amazing way to end the tour of the World Golf Hall of Fame but don’t worry, your experience doesn’t end there…in fact, it’s only just starting.
Now it’s time to show your own skills or perhaps, show why you can only ever dream of being inducted into the Hall of Fame.
Hall of Fame Challenge Hole
Are you ready for a chance to get your name added to a commemorative brick outside of the Hall of Fame? With your admission fee, you get one shot at hitting a green from a little over 130 yards and the shot closest to the hole each month will receive a brick under the gazebo.
Admittedly, we didn’t fair too well with this challenge but it’s all about the experience right! You can purchase additional shots for a fee but I think just taking one shot is what makes this such an intriguing challenge.
Think about the 17th hole at TPC Sawgrass with the island green and this is exactly the type of shot you are faced with. Unfortunately, the green isn’t in the best condition and the clubs are not great either, but it’s all about having some fun.
18-Hole Putting Course
The final experience allows you to take on the 18-hole grass putting course. We were both excited about this as we love to go head to head on these types of challenges. Unfortunately, the condition of the course left a lot to be desired and made the overall experience a little disappointing.
Many of the greens are very similar though there are a couple with some pretty severe undulations, in particular, the 18th which is a great hole to finish.
The views of the surrounding resort are spectacular and generally make up for the poor condition of the course.
Given that this putting course is at the World Golf Hall of Fame, I was really expecting perfectly manicured greens but with the amount of traffic that passes through here, it’s probably a little too much to expect anything more than what is offered.
The World Golf Hall of Fame is an amazing attraction for everyone, even if you don’t have as keen an interest in golf as I do. Heather really enjoyed this experience as much as I did, learning about the history of golf and also enjoying the interactive aspects of the tour.
The most disappointing aspect was the putting course just because of the condition but regardless of this, the experience inside the museum is well worth the admission fee alone.
Have you visited the Golf Hall of Fame in St. Augustine? Who is your favorite golfer that you would find at the Hall of Fame (even if they are not currently a member of this exclusive club, feel free to share your opinions)?