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The Pelican Golf Club in Bellaire isn’t just any golf course – it’s rapidly becoming one of the top private courses in Florida. The greens are so well-kept they could pass for AstroTurf, but it’s natural I checked!
To me, golf has always been about good times with friends and the stories we share on the course. That’s what struck me about the Doyle family when I met them at The Annika Tournament. They’ve poured their heart into making Pelican a place they’re proud of, and it shows.
Dan Doyle Jr. talked about his childhood rounds here, playing until thunderstorms chased them into the shelter of the pine trees lining the fairways. He laughs about it now, knowing as a club owner how often those trees get hit by lightning. It wasn’t the safest spot, but it sure was fun.
Pelican is an exclusive spot, usually reserved for members who appreciate its challenge and the finer things in life. However, The Annika Tournament provided a rare opportunity to take a peek at this exclusively private golf haven.
Pelican Golf Club History
Course Holes: 18 Par: 70 Distance: 6,933 yards
Located within the serene community of Belleaire, Florida, the Pelican Golf Club stands as a testament to golfing excellence. Originally designed in 1925 by the esteemed Donald J. Ross, known for crafting some of the most challenging courses, this 18-hole marvel is no exception. Its intricately placed water hazards, tree-lined fairways, and dauntingly steep bunkers ensure that even the most seasoned golfers find themselves thoroughly engaged, with not a single dull moment on the course.
While it was originally called Pelican Golf Club it was later renamed the Belleview Biltmore Golf Club. The course was purchased by the city of Belleair in 2013.
In 2017, the Doyle family took the helm of the Pelican Golf Club, embarking on a mission to rejuvenate this historic gem. Mr. Doyle likened the process to car restoration, saying, “It’s like restoring a car. We realized we had to fix all the parts.” Recognizing the need to revive the course after years of wear, the Doyles enlisted the expertise of Beau Welling (a prior associate of Tom Fazio) in 2018. His task was to restore it to its original splendor, recapturing the vision of Donald Ross.
Today, the Pelican Golf Club has ascended to new heights of recognition and prestige. It’s not just the immaculate Latitude 36 Bermuda grass or the gleaming white quartz sand in the bunkers, imported all the way from Arkansas, that adds to its allure. The Pelican Golf Club has attracted high-profile members like Tom Brady, further cementing its status in the golfing world.
But perhaps the club’s most defining feature is its atmosphere of warm, welcoming hospitality. From the ownership to the caddies, every interaction at Pelican resonates with genuine care and a commitment to excellence. It’s this unique blend of top-tier golfing challenges and heartfelt service that truly sets the Pelican Golf Club apart.
Golf Course Layout
Pelican Golf Club makes its mark in an area surrounded by numerous golf course communities. The maintenance here is top-notch, drawing comparisons to the likes of Augusta National – and that says a lot.
Let’s zero in on the highlights. The course has some standout holes, particularly 8, 17, and 18. Hole 8 is a challenging par 4 with a green that slopes from front to back, adding a unique twist to test your game. Hole 17 is another gem, with its green sitting high above some pretty intimidating bunkers on the left – it’s a test of skill and nerve. And then there’s Hole 18. It’s not just a great golf challenge, but also offers stunning water views with the clubhouse visible in the distance, rounding off your game beautifully.
Where Women Want to Play Golf
The Pelican makes a statement, unlike most golf clubs, by placing the women’s amenities at the forefront. The men’s locker room overlooks the parking lot, while the ladies occupy the best view of the 18th hole.
Beyond the facilities, the Doyle family keeps this tradition alive by hiring many of female college golfers at this caddie-only golf club.
The Annika Driven by Gainbridge at Pelican: LPGA Event
In Belleair, the excitement of The Annika Driven by Gainbridge at Pelican recently reached its climax this past Sunday. Reflecting on the journey, Mr. Doyle reminisces about the challenges and triumphs that led to this moment.
Persuading the neighborhood to embrace the event was initially a hurdle. “We have a lot of neighbors who were extremely nervous when my dad and I took over,” Mr. Doyle Jr. recounted. Over time, the community’s apprehension turned to admiration. “Those neighbors have now come around and said, ‘….this is truly something special.’” The golf course, meticulously maintained in its simple design, has evolved into a symbol of commitment and excellence under their leadership.
The collaboration with Annika Sorenstam, a renowned figure in women’s golf, brought an extra layer of prestige to the event. “We got a call from Annika and Gainbridge, and they asked us to join forces,” Mr. Doyle had shared. This partnership was a significant milestone, marking a new chapter for the tournament.
Annika expressed her enthusiasm for this collaboration: “Listening to Dan say this is a dream for him and his family, I’m delighted,” she said. “It is a dream come true for me too.” This shared passion and vision were evident in every aspect of the event.
The Annika Tournament 2023 witnessed a stellar performance from Lilia Vu. With a final-round 66, Vu claimed her fourth LPGA Tour championship title of the season. The 2019 LPGA Tour Rookie continued her impressive year, which already included victories at the Honda LPGA Thailand and major championship triumphs at The Chevron Championship and AIG Women’s Open. Her victory in Belleair, Fla., added another feather to her cap, setting her up for the season-ending CME Group Tour Championship.
What are the amenities at Pelican Golf Club?
Beyond the 18-hole golf course, here is a breakdown of the major amenities at the Pelican Golf Club. The whole golf club has been redone with world-class facilities for the members to enjoy.
- Tennis Courts
- Swimming pool & spa
- Putting green
- Driving range
- Pitching & chipping areas
- Restaurant with indoor and outdoor dining areas
Pelican Golf Club Membership Costs & Fees
The Pelican Golf Club has one of most expensive membership fees in Pinellas County. As a local Tampa Bay resident, I know the cost of golf club memberships has been on the rise since 2020. These days, this exclusive club is by invitation only. For more information, you’ll want to call Pelican Golf Club at 727-285-9702.
Final Thoughts on Pelican Golf Club
In summary, the Pelican Golf Club in Belleair is one of Florida’s top private golf courses, known for its gorgeous setting and challenging Donald Ross course design. The Doyle family has put great effort into maintaining its quality, making it a favorite for serious golfers. While it’s usually a private spot for members, events like The Annika Tournament give others a chance to experience what makes Pelican special.
Frequently Asked Questions
Where is the pelican LPGA?
The Pelican Golf Club is located in Belleair, Florida (outside of St. Petersburg/Tampa) and hosts the Annika driven by Gainbridge LPGA event.