Christmas Festivities at Sawgrass!

Christmas is here!

Santa Brunch at Sawgrass

This is a bustling season for so many. Kids are having programs and class parties while tests and papers due for the older ones. There are dinners, work parties, and various activities going on all over Ponte Vedra Beach. It can be easy to lose the joy in the midst of the craziness. But let’s not. Make sure you take time to do good. This can look different for each of us, whether it’s reaching out to a family member or friend that you’ve lost touch with, baking cookies or taking dinner to your neighbor who is struggling with an illness, or simply offering a smile or helping hand when the opportunity presents itself.

Sawgrass Santa Brunch

We are all so blessed to live where we live and to have the options that we do. Sawgrass is so good to us members and puts on so many great seasonal events. Our family got to do participate in a few this weekend. First, we went to the end of the year tennis gathering on Friday, then painted ornaments at the Youth Activity Center on Saturday, and attended Santa’s Brunch on Sunday! It was a weekend full of family fun!

Holly Jolly Exhibition and End of the Year Tennis Party

This event had such a great turnout! Kudos to Ken and his staff for organizing a fun event! The food was delicious, and the exhibition was so fun to watch! They make it look so easy, especially Magnus! I caught a picture of Kyle in the middle of his serve!

Sawgrass Tennis

The pairings were Ken and Josh vs Magnus and Kyle. By a narrow margin, Kyle and Josh pulled out the win! There were long points and great net play from all!

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The food was great! Mini sliders, chili, meats and cheeses, and sweets were all complementary and there was a member charge bar for drinks! Everyone was taking advantage of the pro shop sale, which started at 4pm and lasted through the entire event. I bought a few things I’ve been eyeing, and so did Cory! They had items up to 40% off, so it was a great time to buy.

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Overall, it was great to see fellow tennis players outside of the courts even though we did talk about tennis! Haha!

Ornament painting at the Youth Activity Center

Saturday morning, I took Will and Wyatt over to the YAC to paint their very own Christmas ornament. The Policastros were there with their four kiddos, too! Check out cute little Lena enjoying her hot chocolate!

Sawgrass Youth Activity Center

Will chose to make an ornament with two faces, a happy face on one side and a sad face on the other. He said it was so he could switch it around to reflect his mood! Where does he come up with these kind of ideas?!?! Wyatt’s was simple, he filled his with red tinsel and then wrote his name in blue. After making ornaments, all three of us indulged in hot chocolate and cookies and played in the YAC for a bit. It was a perfect morning. Thanks to Lacie for putting this together!

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If you’re interested in painting ornaments, you still can! She’ll have supplies out the 14th and 21st from 10-12, drop in anytime.

Also, did you know Lacie highlights the kiddos in Horizons? It’s called the “Yak” of the month, and you can find it toward the back of Horizons. Holtz Weaver (7) and Lillie Relihan (4) are featured this month! 

Santa’s Brunch

The boys were VERY excited to see Santa this year. They knew exactly what they were asking for, and couldn’t wait to see if his beard was real. We arrived about 11am, and Santa and Mrs. Claus had just taken a break to check on the reindeer, so we sat down and ate lunch.

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The pancake bar was the favorite with the boys! My personal favorite was the shrimp and grits, but everything was good! There were so many choices…omelette station, prime rib, salads, chilled shrimp and smoked salmon, and a pretty sweets table.

If you haven’t been to this event before, make plans to go next year! It’s a great event if you have kids or grandchildren. But even if you don’t, the food is well worth it.

Santa Brunch at Sawgrass Santa Brunch at Sawgrass

Santa was amazingly authentic. He was rosy cheeked and laughed just like you would expect! And Mrs. Claus was just as good! They both made the kids feel comfortable and engaged in conversation. It was just the sweetest to see the excitement and wonder on the children’s faces.

Santa Brunch at Sawgrass

Santa Brunch at Sawgrass

Beside Santa, Sawgrass set up activities as well as a fantastic face painter. One table had an ornament station with different ornaments to stick together. The other table had coloring sheets and crayons. The boys had a great time, and I got to see so many smiling faces of friends and their families.

Santa Brunch at Sawgrass

The boys are getting old enough that they will start remembering the “traditions” we do this time of year, and I love that coming to Sawgrass to see Santa will be one of them.

Now if I could only master Christmas cookies…

If you’re looking for something fun to do this weekend, sign up for the Nights of Lights Pub Crawl either Thursday or Friday night. The bus leaves the Golf Club at 6:00pm and returns at 10:00pm. Cost is $40pp and includes beer and wine for the bus ride!

Sawgrass Holiday Gift Guide

The holidays are here! Are you ready? I must say that I am tackling my list left and right so far. It feels great to get things done early, doesn’t it? Getting things done means I can spend time with the boys when they are out of school instead of last minute shopping and getting stressed out! After all, this SHOULD be a season of rest and spending time with family. But if you do find yourself in a pinch or need some ideas, we’ve got you covered!

Sawgrass Gift Guide Sawgrass Gift Guide

Your team at Sawgrass has put together a few gift guides to help you start early this year! There’s a gift guide for the man in your life and one for the woman in your life. Whether you’re shopping for husbands, wives, brothers, boyfriends, children, or friends, there’s something for everyone! I’ve even included some pro shop favorites from our very own golf and tennis shops.

Gift Guide – Men

Let’s start with the men. I have trouble every year wondering what I will get for my husband, Cory. I like thinking outside the box and looking for unique items that fit his lifestyle. When all else fails, an experience usually saves the day. Don’t tell him, but I got him fly fishing lessons from Blackfly Outfitters this year. Ever since we moved here, he’s been wanting to learn to fly fish in saltwater, and now he’ll get the chance!

Mens gift guide

1. Toadfish can cooler ($24.99) | 2. Ons Terry ($149) | 3. Rak Magnetic Wrist band ($15.99) | 4. Nordstrom Trunk Club (price varies) | 5. Patagonia Men’s Classic Synchilla® Fleece Vest ($79) | 6. LL Bean Men’s Handsewn Slippers, Flannel-Lined ($49.50) | 7. Exceptionally Bad Dad Jokes ($8.99) | 8. FreshJax Organic Spices ($34.99) | 9. Personalized bottle opener ($34.95) |10. Starling’s Car Trunk Organizer ($39.97) 

Gift Guide – Women

Us women are easy to shop for, right? Maybe not. It really depends on how close you are to the person you’re buying for. I could find 20 things that my mom would love, but not so much for other family members. If you know their interests and habits, you’re set! If you need more help, I’m here to guide you to a few favorites for this year! I’ve included all kinds of price ranges and interests from skin care to fun in the sun!

Tip for husbands – If you really want to hit a homerun, you have to be a little sneaky. Go look in your partner’s makeup bag, and see what brands are in it. Take a picture if you need to. Take this picture to Ulta in JAX Beach, and let the consultant lead you to the brands in the bag. She can help you pick out a few skin care items.

Womens gift guide

1. Bamboo Cutting Board With Trays ($59.94) | 2. Draper James Pretty As a Peach Manicure Set ($28.00) | 3. Oventure Key Ring ($25.00) | 4. Sur la Table Nutcracker Mug ($12.00) | 5. Uncommon James Bullet in Gold ($46.00) | 6. Not a Day Over Fabulous Tumbler ($19.99) | 7. Barefoot Dreams Cozy Chic Throw ($147.00) 8. Tula Brightening Eye Balm ($28.00) | 9. Capri Blue Fir & Firewood Mini Jar Candle ($14.00)

Sawgrass can save the day!

We are members of a fantastic club with knowledgeable and professional staff that can help you pick out a gift! Here are some ideas below!

Tennis – The tennis pro shop always has new apparel! Have you seen the new logo’ed vizors? They are awesome! Tennis skirts, shorts, shirts, and even stocking stuffers like sunglasses all make great gifts for the Wimbledon contender in your family! Ken and the staff do a great job picking out styles that are flattering on everyone. Check out the new racquets like the HEAD Graphene 360 Speed MP and the HEAD Graphene 360+ Gravity MP (pictured below).

Sawgrass Gift Guide Sawgrass Gift Guide Sawgrass Gift Guide

Sawgrass Gift Guide

Sawgrass Gift Guide

Sawgrass Gift Guide

And if you’re looking for entertainment AND a deal, drop by this Friday for an exhibition match, food, and a pro shop discount!

Event: Holly Jolly Exhibition, Pro Shop Sale, and End of Year Party
Date: Friday, December 6th from 4:00-6:00pm

Golf – I confess that I am not a golfer, but I love the outfits! It’s great that you can look fabulous while you play these days in adorable patterns and comfortable fabrics. Our pro shop stocks the cutest trends in golf apparel, clubs, even underwear (check out this ultra comfortable brand of men’s briefs called 2 UNDR!).

Sawgrass Gift Guide

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The golf shop can also customize items like head covers for a unique gift!

Sawgrass Gift Guide

And if you’re looking for discounted items, check out the annual Golf Shop Christmas Sale!

Event: Golf Shop Christmas sale
Date: Tuesday December 10th from 3:00-7:30pm

Fitness – Give the gift of a personal trainer this year or treat yourself to new fitness gear or a massage! Studies show that folks work harder when working with a trainer. Plus, their knowledge about nutrition, training regimens, and stretching can help you develop a plan for wellness long term! Get 30% off at the Fitness Center apparel holiday sale now through December 24th!

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Wine – Bo Cure, Wine Director at Sawgrass, is amazing at picking out wine. It just so happens that many stockings are the exact dimensions of a bottle of wine! Let Bo help you pick out a bottle or a case for the person that’s hard to buy for. These also make great hostess gifts!

Experiences – There’s a reason why you see “Experience Sawgrass” on the website and throughout printed materials. If you get to live here and experience Sawgrass Country Club, you will be here for life. Why not give the gift of experiences around the club? Consider things like a tennis lesson, personal training session, private golf clinic, or maybe give your wife a girls night out at Ocean’s Edge!

It’s the holidays…don’t sweat the small stuff! Enjoy time spent with family whether it’s baking cookies, fishing, or playing an endless game of Monopoly!

From my family to yours, may you find peace and joy this holiday season!

VINTUS Tour of the World Wine Dinner Featuring Craig Collins

Wine is meant to be enjoyed by all the senses. We’re given wine in a glass and taught to look at it to decide the color, smell to decide the top notes and first impression, taste and swish to determine thickness and balance, and taste again to confirm or deny our first conclusions. It’s a wonderful process that opens the mind. It becomes even better when you can pair a wine with the story of how it came to be, much like a songwriter telling the origin of the song.

Sawgrass Country Club VINTUS Wine Dinner Sawgrass Country Club VINTUS Wine Dinner

Craig Collins, Master Sommelier and Italian Portfolio Sales Manager for VINTUS, was our guide for the VINTUS wine dinner, and he was able to tell us about the wines themselves, the makers, and the backstories of both to enrich our wine tasting experience.

craig-collins

Craig is truly a master of his trade. He admitted that wine has “traditionally been associated with snobbery” but he made the wines approachable for us novices while also speaking to those in the room with more knowledge. Through the wine, he took us on a journey through France, Italy, Argentina, and Portugal. Craig shared bits and pieces about each wine that helped us taste the story behind the wine.

We even had a couple fun members milestones to celebrate! Lou and Shanel Pontigo celebrated their 26th Wedding Anniversary! They are such a fun couple…we wish you many more years of wine dinners (and wine vacation!), lazy days on the beach, and family fun!

Sawgrass Country Club VINTUS Wine Dinner

Deborah & David Heald are celebrating 40 years at Sawgrass! I did a little math…if they ate dinner at Sawgrass once per week for 40 years they have been members, that’s 2,080 dinners at Sawgrass!

Sawgrass Country Club VINTUS Wine Dinner

Dinner and wine pairings

Ben Brett, Chef de Cuisine, led his team in creating a magnificent eating experience that paired beautifully with the wine. The image below shows the dinner and wine pairings for the evening.

Sawgrass Country Club VINTUS Wine Dinner

All elements were present; crispy, creamy, rich, light, sweet, and salty…and the presentation was on point! I saw eyes wide and mouths gaping as we all enjoyed the courses. My personal favorite was the Seafood Paella. This was paired with an Italian wine, Sandrone, Barbara D’ Alba, Piemonte 2016.

Let me stop here for a bit and tell you the normal flow of things if you’ve never attended a wine dinner. The wine for the course is poured into your glass, Craig (or the featured speaker) speaks about the wine and what to look for, we taste the wine, and then the course is served. Once served, we enjoy the wine with the course.

When Craig spoke before the Italian wine, he asked us to taste it. Then he asked if it tasted aggressive or bitter. And a few said yes! I didn’t know where he was going with this until he said that Italian wine is meant to be more of a condiment for the food rather than the star of the show. In Italy, culture revolves around food, and the wine adds depth and flavor to the food. At the same time, the food is changing the wine as well making it smoother and more balanced. He said it this way, “specifically high tannin Italian wines need foods that are higher in fat, salt, and richness to neutralize the tannins.” The Italian wine was perfect for the bold, rich flavors of Paella!

Sawgrass Country Club VINTUS Wine Dinner

With each wine we tried and course we consumed, we were captivated by Craig’s knowledge. The Argentinian wine was made from grapes that grew on a higher elevation therefore the wine was not as sweet. The Port wine was very sweet and was served with dessert. Craig said, “Make sure the wine is sweeter than the dessert” when choosing a port wine to serve with dessert.

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Craig Collins, Master Sommelier

I had the pleasure of interviewing Craig before the wine dinner, and I got to ask him some questions about his background and what prompted his quest to become a Master Sommelier. I am clearly a novice, and he was kind to offer opinions and suggestions that both novices like me and seasoned wine tasters and travelers (like the Pontigo’s!) could use.

We started with his background. While at Texas A&M, he fondly recalled getting a call from his father on his 21st birthday to not only tell him Happy Birthday, but to inform Craig that he was now officially off the family payroll. So what does a college student do? Naturally, Craig, with zero wine experience, applied at a wine tasting room. Turns out he loved it! After three years at the tasting room, a study-abroad opportunity came up in Tuscany, and he took it. What was supposed to be three months, turned into seven, and this is where he had his ah-hah wine experience. He told me all Sommeliers have a moment when their paths are created. His was in 2001 with a 1998 Bran Caia Blu, a Sangiovese Merlot blend with a lot of oak. “It was the best thing I’ve ever put in my mouth, and this is what I’m doing for the rest of my life,” Craig thought.

He reluctantly went back to Texas A&M to finish his degree in Public Relations and Communication, then went to work for a distributor in Houston. From there, he worked his way up and studied for the Master Sommelier exam, which he passed in 2011. Now he is the Italian Portfolio Sales Manager for VINTUS and lives in Austin, TX with his wife, April, and two children.

What can we learn from a Master Sommelier?

“No one can tell you you’re wrong if you say you don’t like a particular wine,” Craig said. This was a huge takeaway from our conversation. He went on to say, “I want to instill confidence in you when you taste wine. It’s your palette, and who am I to say what you like and what you don’t.”

This was really the theme of our chat. No matter where you are on the knowledge scale, you can enjoy wine because it’s about what tastes good to you. He shared a few tips and tricks about wine with me, and you can read the questions and answers below.

Sawgrass Country Club VINTUS Wine Dinner

Brittany: Do you have a favorite wine under $40?
Craig: That’s a hard question! It’s not about my favorite wine, it’s more about what I want to enjoy today. It depends on the weather outside, who I’m with, what they like, where I am, and what I am eating (if I’m eating). But I can tell you what criteria I use to rate wines.
Authenticity. I want it to be typical of the grape varietal it’s representing. If it says Pinot Noir, I want it to have all these Pinot Noir characteristics. I also want it to taste like the place it came from. Tuscany has a flavor to it, the Rhone Valley of France has a flavor.
Value. Whether I spend $20 or $2,000, I need to get value out of it. I want it to be delicious, now and also delicious later. For example, a great wine will taste phenomenal now, but will also taste good in 40 years.

But, to get back to your question, I’ll give you a wine that I really like right now. It’s a 2015 Guigal Cotes Du Rhone costing $15 at Publix that will last 20 years. I know that because I just had a 1978 bottle recently.

Brittany: What do I tell a Sommelier in a restaurant to help them pick a wine for me or my group?
Craig: First, give them a budget. Then, be honest and say what you’re looking for. If you’re in a steakhouse, and the group is craving something bold and dry, let the Sommelier know. If you prefer wine from a certain region because of the flavors present or if you prefer a lighter wine with more fruit or more oak, express this to him or her. These are valuable traits of wines that will help the Sommelier pick the best wine for your evening.

Brittany: Are there any tasting “hacks” to act like we know what we are doing?
Craig: Yes! When tasting white wine, think about this phrase: Lemon and lime all the time, apple and pear is there somewhere. When you’re tasting white wines with your friends, you can definitely pick out these flavors and the rest of the group will most likely agree! Secondly, I always encourage consumers to consider the glass as a tool that makes the wine taste better. Spend per glass what you pay for the average bottle of wine. If you’re an individual who buys on average a $30 bottle of wine, buy a glass that costs $30 per stem. Don’t worry about having “red wine” glasses or “white wine” glasses, just buy one type of glass at a higher quality. The glass will perform better and be a better tool to experience the wine. As for hosting hacks, we use a sharpie to write on the glass for parties instead of wine charms. It works great! And if you like to go for walks around your neighborhood with wine, here’s a tip. Mix 75% Rose with 25% water and make Rose cubes to keep wine cool without diluting it.

Sawgrass Country Club VINTUS Wine Dinner

It was a pleasure getting to speak to Craig Collins, Master Sommelier. It’s safe to say that I will be buying new wine glasses soon!

To close us out, I encourage you to contact Bo Cure (jcure@sawgrasscountryclub.com), our very own Wine and Spirits Director, to help you choose wines for your next dinner or special occasion. He has a wealth of knowledge, and he can recommend wines that fit your specific event whether it’s for an easy pizza night or fancy Thanksgiving dinner.

Family Shark Tooth Hunt with the Youth Activity Center

Hunting for shark teeth is a great family activity for both being outside and learning something new! Our beaches have hundreds and hundreds that regularly wash up and are begging to be found. Lacie and her team at the Youth Activity Center planned a family shark tooth hunt recently, and my boys were so excited to participate!

Sawgrass Country Club Shark tooth hunt

There were at least 15 families that came out. Lacie started the night by giving us a time limit of 30 minutes to find as many sharks teeth as possible! Then, afterwards, they lit a bonfire and the kids ate S’mores! Give my kids sugar, and they are HAPPY.

Our family found maybe seven or eight, but there were families that found more than 30! Impressive! Both kids and adults had a great time!

Sawgrass Country Club Shark tooth hunt Sawgrass Country Club Shark tooth hunt

Fun facts about shark’s teeth

Ever wonder why so many can be found on our beaches? I did a little research. Enjoy a few fun facts about shark’s teeth!

  1. Why are shark teeth black? They are black because the teeth are actually fossilized. It takes a long time for the pearly white tooth to become black/brown. The color of the fossilized teeth is dependent upon the minerals that were present when the tooth was lost. Those minerals then deposit into the porous structure of the teeth, forming a fossil. Colors of teeth will vary based on the minerals deposited in the teeth and how they react with the small amounts of oxygen.
  2. Why are there so many? EACH individual shark can shed more than 30,000 teeth in its lifetime. Whoa! This is because they have multiple rows of teeth that fall out and regrow. Multiply that 30,000+ teeth by every shark of every species that has ever lived over the past tens of thousands of years, and you get a staggering amount of teeth that can be fossilized!
  3. What kind of sharks do they belong to? It was actually hard to find a FL specific guide book. But there are plenty of books on Amazon about finding fossils in general. But I found a picture that sums up most of the types of teeth found on our beaches.

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Tips for finding shark’s teeth

Many suggest to look for sharks teeth after a rainstorm (or hurricane!). The rain or storm will churn up the sediment and reveal shark teeth! When looking for shark teeth, it is easiest to start by training your eyes to find the color black or triangular objects in a sea of broken shells. Shark teeth do come in a range of color, but black is the most common and easiest to spot. Don’t be fooled by lookalikes! A good way to know if you have a tooth is that the crown of the tooth is smooth and shiny and often reflects the sunlight. You should also see the root of the tooth on the opposite end. On some teeth, you may see a serrated edge!

Sawgrass Country Club Shark tooth hunt Sawgrass Country Club Shark tooth hunt

The next time you take your family out to hunt for shark’s teeth, be sure to pick up any trash or debris that doesn’t belong. It’s important to instill a love for our beaches and to take care of them!

Want more family activities? Lacie and her crew have a few fun activities planned for December!

Ornament decorating (FREE) at the Youth Activity Center:
Saturday, December 7, 14, and 21 from 10:00am – 12:00pm

Kids’ New Years Eve Bash at the Youth Activity Center:
Tuesday, December 31st from 7:00pm – 12:30am
Cost is $7/$6/$5 – 1st, 2nd, and 3rd child respectively per hour. It’s open to children 18 months and up!

Mickler’s Landing Turtle Patrol Protects Sea Turtles

This is an exciting time of year on our beaches. It is sea turtle nesting season! During the overnight hours, female sea turtles make their way out of the ocean to lay and hide their eggs. Two months later, the baby sea turtles (hatchlings) emerge and crawl down to the water. Their little flippers are trying to get them to the water as quickly as possible to avoid the barrage of predators like birds, crabs, raccoons, and dogs that are waiting for a midnight snack. There are also obstacles like holes dug by beach goers or driftwood that the hatchlings must avoid. Experts say that at best only 1 in 1,000 will make it to adulthood. It’s our responsibility to take care of our beaches to give these turtles the best chance of surviving and thriving.

Micklers Landing Turtle Patrol

Mickler’s Landing Turtle Patrol has been around since the 1980’s and cares deeply about protecting the sea turtles that nest on our beaches. The group is lead by Nancy Condron, a veteran volunteer coordinator of eight years and now the permit holder for the group. Nancy, along with her team of about 47 volunteers, patrol four miles of beach starting at Sawgrass Beach Club and going south to Sea Hammock.

What do the volunteers do?

The primary responsibility of the volunteers is to provide data to FWC (Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation) on the nesting numbers and hatchling success of the sea turtle species that frequent our beaches.

Volunteers who are willing to give their time and knowledge are so important. They have been VERY busy this season! As of October 15th, there have been 143 nests total; 136 Loggerhead and 7 Green. Each nest can have more than 100 eggs!

Micklers Landing Turtle Patrol Micklers Landing Turtle Patrol

The volunteers patrol the beach each morning at sunrise during the months of turtle season (May 1 through October 31) looking for new turtle nests and checking on those that have been found and marked. When new nests are located, they determine the species by looking at the tracks, mark them with stakes and tape, and assign the nest a number. Through very gentle and careful digging, the clutch of eggs is located. A single egg is removed and sent to the lab for DNA testing. This allows the nesting patterns of individual sea turtles to be documented and tracked. A mature female turtle may nest up to seven times per season, and by testing the egg, it can be determined where she is nesting and how often. Volunteers also look for false crawls along the beach as well. This is when turtles crawl on the beach but abandon nesting maybe because of outside factors like lights, animals, or people.

Micklers Landing Turtle Patrol

While patrolling the beaches, volunteers also look for signs of emergence from nests that have been marked. They know when an emergence has occurred because there will be a small crater in the middle of the nest as well as hatchling crawl tracks going down to the beach. If they see an emergence, they schedule a nest evaluation for three days later. They want to give any remaining hatchlings enough time to get out of the nest unassisted. At the evaluations, which happen at sunset, they dig up and tally the contents of the nest and provide the data to FWC (Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation). Volunteers count the number of hatched and unhatched eggs, and sometimes they find a few live hatchlings that did not make it out of the nest with their siblings.

By following Micker’s Landing Turtle Patrol on Facebook, you can see when the volunteers are doing evaluations and observe the process! I took Will and Wyatt to view an evaluation, and it was so interesting!

Micklers Landing Turtle Patrol

What can we all do to help the sea turtles?

There are three species of sea turtles that nest on our beaches, Loggerheads, Greens, and Leatherbacks. Leatherbacks are listed as endangered. Loggerheads and Greens are both threatened, which means they are at risk of becoming endangered.

Here’s what you can do to protect sea turtles:

  1. Be aware of items that pollute the beach and ocean. For example, sea turtles eat jellyfish, and plastic shopping bags LOOK like jellyfish, so turtles eat the plastic bags and end up dying because they cannot digest them.
  2. Maintain the natural beaches. This means filling in holes, knocking down sand castles, and picking up any debris that could be an obstacle for a hatchling.
  3. Be aware of leash requirements during sea turtle nesting season. Your dog could unknowingly dig up a nest or hurt hatchlings if they are not on a leash.
  4. Respect the nests. Don’t camp out and wait for them to emerge. The nesting and emerging process needs to be as natural as possible because any disruption could adversely affect the emergence process.
  5. Teach the next generation the importance of conservation. Bring your family to observe an evaluation, tell your children and friends about the nests and why they are marked off, or volunteer to help out in some way.

It’s important for us all to know what’s happening on our beaches and do our best to leave them as natural as possible so the turtles can thrive.

XGLOsive Tennis Event was a HUGE Hit with Sawgrass Members!

Ken Veney, Director of Tennis at Sawgrass Country Club, and his team planned an amazing night of glow in the dark tennis with the help of XGLOsive!

XGLOsive Tennis at Sawgrass

The company is based here in Florida and travels all over the state putting on unique events like this for organizations. “The glow tennis event was such a fun and exhilarating experience for all levels of players with a slight fun competitive twist to it,” says Lauren Daly. Her and her husband John played on the court with Cory and I.

XGLOsive Tennis at Sawgrass

The event took place on Friday, October 4. Set up started mid day, and it was fun to watch the courts transform into a whole different environment. The nets were wrapped, the lines were taped, and covers were placed on all sides of the courts with fun glowing imagery! It looked cool during the day…but when night fell and it was time to turn the black lights on, the crowd went wild!

XGLOsive Tennis at Sawgrass XGLOsive Tennis at Sawgrass

Members like Laura Nicoles raved about how fun it was. She says, “Who needs Friday night lights when you can play tennis in the dark with XGLO! We enjoyed a “glowing” time at Sawgrass Friday night playing tennis with energizing music, glow in the dark balls, pizza, and drinks. It was friendly competition and fun for all ages! Let’s do it again, Sawgrass!”

XGLOsive Tennis at Sawgrass XGLOsive Tennis at Sawgrass

Then it was time to play! The action took place on courts 9 and 10, and members either played from 8-9 or from 9-10. Our tennis pros ran the warm up and games while Jason Cordova, owner and founder of XGLOsive, took the mic and got the crowd going! It was hard to track the ball at first. Our eyes had to adjust to the glowing tennis balls! It was a good thing they used orange dot balls because it made the games more fun! We played a few variations of king of the court, a fast moving two on two game. Overall, it was a beautiful night for tennis, and we all got a great workout in, too!   

XGLOsive Tennis at SawgrassXGLOsive Tennis at Sawgrass XGLOsive Tennis at Sawgrass

I asked Ken a few questions about the event, and here are the highlights:

How did you learn about XGLOsive tennis?
Ken: Back in the day I used to do Glow Ball tennis for my juniors as a Halloween event. I would buy glow paint and paint the balls and tape for the lines to get things to glow but it was not an easy task. I heard about this company out of Florida that was doing something along those lines but to an extreme level and that immediately piqued my interest. I reached out to them to see what it was all about, and I was sold! I had them come to Sawgrass a year and a half ago to look at our layout and start the planning, and I’m so glad I did!

XGLOsive Tennis at Sawgrass

What made it a great event for Sawgrass members in particular?
Ken: We are such a fun and social club. I am always looking for unique and creative formats to give members unforgettable experiences. Our Triples program has become a staple amongst the members with the music, food, and beer so I really believed XGLOsive Tennis was the next level. When I can change the format to create a twist on our great sport, it is going to create an atmosphere and energy that shows what Sawgrass is all about. That’s what sets us apart from other clubs and makes us who we are.

XGLOsive Tennis at Sawgrass

Did the staff like participating?
Ken: Absolutely! The feedback from the staff was so positive because of the feedback they were receiving from the members. These kind of events are a showcase of our program and the court is our stage. We get pumped up to go out there and perform and make sure everyone is having a “smashing good time!” We all feed off each other and that makes each of us better every single day.

XGLOsive Tennis at Sawgrass

So, will we see another XGLOsive event in the future?
Ken: I think we have too! Based on the feedback I have received this would be a marquee event for our tennis program. I take pride in offering opportunities to our members to do things that are not your normal run of the mill programs and events. XGLOsive certainly ticks all the boxes for what I look for and based on the reaction from the membership we definitely served up an Ace!

What did you think, Sawgrass? Do you have other ideas of unique events Ken and his team could plan? Send Ken an email and let him know! His email is: KVeney@sawgrasscountryclub.com

Want more tennis? Here’s a look at a few fun fall events coming up:

  1. Rusty Racquets is a 6-week clinic session designed for beginners, novice players, and individuals returning to tennis. This program will focus on developing proper swing shapes, maintain rallies, and build fundamentals to strengthen tennis skills. The program will run from October 21st to Thursday, November 27th. Contact the pro shop for more details!
  2. Senioritas Tennis tournament is October 18-20.
    Club Championships are November 2-16. You can compete in several areas – mens and womens singles, doubles, and mixed doubles.
  3. Weekly clinics for adults are offered at different times throughout the week including Saturdays!
  4. Weekly clinics for kids are conveniently offered after school Monday through Thursday.

Exciting Changes at the Youth Activity Center!

The Youth Activity Center is constantly coming up with new ideas and fun things for families at Sawgrass. It’s a growing club with more and more families joining.

Youth Activity Center at Sawgrass Country Club

Lacie, the Youth Recreation Supervisor, and her staff recognize that kids want to have FUN during Childwatch and Kids Night Out, so they have been working hard over the past year to revamp programming for both. The rates are amazing, even if you are a three-child family. For our family, it beats the average rate of a babysitter!

Youth Activity Center at Sawgrass Country Club

In addition, Lacie has listened to us members and scheduled more family activities like camp outs, family shark tooth hunts, and Bingo at the Sandbar just to name a few. Check out the latest Horizons for all the fun fall events coming up!

I had the pleasure of interviewing Lacie and asking her about new (and popular) activities at the Youth Activity Center. Here are some highlights:

What are the hours and rates of the Youth Activity Center?
Lacie: Child Watch: Tuesday- Saturday 9am-1pm and Kids Night Out Fridays and Saturdays 5-9pm.

Child Watch Hourly Rate: 1st Child: $6 | 2nd Child: $4.50 | Each Additional Child: $3.50
Kids Night Out Hourly Rate: 1st Child: $6 | 2nd Child: $4.50 | Each Additional Child: $3.50

Youth Activity Center at Sawgrass Country Club Youth Activity Center at Sawgrass Country Club

Are there any new programs that members need to know about?
Lacie: Over the last year we have been working to enhance the daily activities we offer during Child Watch. Every month has a different theme, and all of our activities relate to that theme in some way. We begin each morning with “circle time” where we go over the day/month, weather, seasons, and practice our ABCs and counting! Throughout the morning our staff facilitates group games, crafts, and some sort of physical activity (think PE games, relay races, obstacle courses, tumbling) that relate to the monthly theme. When the weather is nice, we shuttle the kids to the beach or the fitness center playground to get some fresh air and exercise! Our goal is to offer more than babysitting; we want to create fun educational programming for our youngest members! For information on monthly themes and other activities, you can always visit our Foretees webpage!

Youth Activity Center at Sawgrass Country Club Youth Activity Center at Sawgrass Country Club

And there’s the Family Tile Project. I’d like to invite any Sawgrass members to come to the Youth Activity Center on Saturday mornings from 9am-1pm to create their tile. We will have tables set up with paints and stencils so your family can design a tile to be mounted in the breezeway between the family and adult pool! No reservations necessary, just show up! We are really excited about how it’s going to turn out!

Lastly, we have begun a Kids MMA program with Sensei Tim Robinson. Students learn the basics of self-defense including punching, kicking, blocking, grappling, tumbling, wrestling, and being able to fight standing up or on the ground. Tim’s program is a blend of many traditional styles including Karate, Taekwondo, Jiu Jitsu, Aikido, Tai Chi, and Wing Chun Kung Fu. We definitely have room for more students, so contact me to sign up!

Youth Activity Center at Sawgrass Country Club Youth Activity Center at Sawgrass Country Club

Are there any programs for tweens/teenagers?
Lacie: Yes! Our Youth Leadership Coaching Program for kids ages 11-17. Last year we partnered with Dr. Matthew Ohlson from UNF’s Leadership School and created an amazing course to help coach teens on skills and strategies to become effective students and future leaders of tomorrow! It was such a success that we are running it again this Fall. This 8 track program (4 in the fall, 4 in the spring) is held on Monday evenings at the Youth Activity Center, with 2 campus visits to UNF! Students will receive a certification of completion at the end of the year. Not only will participants gain self-confidence and valuable tools for leadership, this program also serves looks great on college applications or job resumes!

What are the new age limits for the Youth Activity Center?
Lacie: We have recently lowered the minimum age of CHILD WATCH to 12 months. We now accept children between the ages of 12 months and 12 years! This does change our staff:child ratio to 1:6 (as per DCF requirements), so sign-ups on Foretees are strongly recommended, especially in the summer months! Kid’s Night Out remains 18 months+.

What if a member needs a babysitter outside of operating hours? Is there a trusted resource that you recommend?
Lacie: We are partnered with an excellent babysitting service called Bumble & Bee. If you ever need a sitter outside our operating hours (or when we close for Family Programming around the club, which is no more than once a month and advertised in advance) we are happy to help you find a sitter through them!

Any teasers about fun family fall-themed events?
Lacie: We just had our Family Bingo Night on the Pavilion which was a huge hit, we will definitely do it again! In October we have our Halloween Themed Kids Night Out, pumpkin carving contest, and our first family shark tooth hunt! In November we have a “Fall Festival” themed KNO, a Family Beach Campfire, and a kid’s Surf Fishing clinic with Chef Dean! Check our our Foretees announcements page or Horizons for more details!

We know your staff works really hard, any specific kuddos you’d like to give?
Lacie: I have been so fortunate with great seasonal and full time staff members since joining here in early 2018. Ashley Miller is my main staff member, and she goes above and beyond anything I ever ask of her. She is reliable, excellent at age-appropriate activity planning, and has great rapport with all the parents and children who come through the Youth Activity Center.

Youth Activity Center at Sawgrass Country Club

Lacie’s goal is to “create meaningful memories for the families at Sawgrass. The programs I offer thrive on feedback from the members. If there is ever anything you’d like to suggest I am open and will do my best to make it happen! Please call or email me any time. Many of the events I have run over the last year have been based on suggestions from our families!”

Lacie is a joy, and she works really hard to give our kiddos the best experiences! Wouldn’t it be great if she got a ton of emails saying “you’re great,” “keep up the good work,” or “we LOVE you!”? I’ll be sending one today, would you consider sending one, too? Her email is lpetry@sawgrasscountryclub.com.

Thanks for all you do, Lacie!

Developing Doubles Strategy with Coach Lennon

Tennis at Sawgrass is amazing. The competitive matches, friendly round robins, and team clinics all offer opportunities to improve skills and build relationships with other tennis players.

Tennis at Sawgrass Country Club

I have LOVED learning doubles over the past year and a half! Last season, I played consistently with the same partner, Lindsay Long. By playing together each week, we learned what each others tendencies were, our best shots, court positioning in different situations, and how to encourage each other when we were winning (or losing!).

Now that we’re on the C team, opponents have gotten tougher. They are more consistent and more versed in strategy. So Lindsay and I decided to kick off the season with a lesson together focused on doubles strategy! The timing was great because we DID play together in our match the week we had the lesson.

We probably won’t be playing together every week, but these ended up being skills that we could take with us as we play with other partners.

Doubles Tennis Lesson

Lennon was our coach for the lesson, and he was really helpful! We expressed that we wanted to know how to change our game if the opponents were either better than us or using certain shots over and over to win points. The drills we worked on were designed to help us position ourselves better throughout the match in order to give us the best shot at winning.

Tennis at Sawgrass Country Club

After the warm up, here are a few things that we worked on specifically:

  1. We started out one up one back working on playing points quickly. He feeds in the ball, we hit the ball to a strategic spot on the court (or try to!). He feeds in the next ball right away to simulate the ball coming right back at us. After eight points, we switched positions. The balls could go to the baseline or net. We went back and forth for several rounds.
  2. Once we got the hang of it, he gave us a new goal. We were to return each ball to only one side of the court, all balls to the deuce side for example. He still fed in eight balls to either baseline or net, but they all had to go to the deuce side across the net. The point of the drill was to target the weaker player on the other side. Most of the time in matches, there is a stronger player, and it’s important to know when to avoid that player!
  3. Then he varied the drill, and we played all the points out with Lennon. We were still aiming for one side of the court. Because he was playing them out with us, they came at us faster. He stressed to us that we needed to recover to a spot on the court after striking the ball. Whether it’s coming to the net, stepping behind the baseline (or just inside the baseline), recover and be ready to split step to get the next ball. If you notice a pattern of play and winners they are hitting over and over again, take those shots away from them by recovering to a different spot on the court if necessary. During our match two days later, we encouraged each other when we saw one another “recovering to a spot” on the court!
  4. Lastly, we worked on serve returns. We see all kinds of serves, loopy, rainbow, fast, slice, you name it. Being confident returning all kinds of serves is important! I want our opponents to know they are not getting free points on serve! We even got to hit serves to Lennon, and practice recovering after the serve!

Tennis at Sawgrass Country Club Tennis at Sawgrass Country Club

Over all, it was a great lesson! We talked about communicating, hitting solid ground stokes (knuckles over the ball!), recovering to get ready for the next shot, and stroke placement to target the weaker player on the other side. I would highly recommend taking a lesson with a partner that you play with often. It will boost your confidence as you play together!

Lennon encouraged us to talk to each other and work on displaying a united front…high five, cheer, whisper between points, and let mistakes and bad calls roll off your back. In the end, we’re not training for Wimbledon! It’s country club tennis, and it’s meant to be FUN!

Painting Family Tiles at the Youth Activity Center

One day, 20 years from now, we’ll walk through the breezeway connecting the family and adult pool and find our family tile. Maybe the boys will be home for Christmas with their wives. Maybe they’ll have their own children by that time. They’ll see the volcano labeled “Darling” then likely roll their eyes, but I will remember their little faces as they painted that volcano. The concentration, attention to detail, and even a little bickering about who was going to paint what. What a sweet memory it will be…at least for me.

Sawgrass Family Tiles

Family Tile Project

The family tile project was created when Sawgrass decided to give the breezeway between the family pool and the adult pool a facelift. An artist has been commissioned to paint a mural in the hallway, and Lacie championed a brilliant idea. According to Lacie (Youth Recreation Supervisor), “I thought it would be cute to have a section dedicated to the members, so we are going to incorporate unique tiles designed by the members, much like you’d see at an elementary school, or even at Sunshine Park.”

Sawgrass Family Tiles Sawgrass Family Tiles Sawgrass Family Tiles

Families are invited to come to the Youth Activity Center on Saturday from 9am-1pm to decorate your tile through December. The staff will have tables set up with tiles, paints, stencils, and brushes. No reservations are necessary, just show up.

My mom was in town the weekend we made our tiles, and she had fun helping the boys be creative. She is one of my favorite people in the world, and she’s super creative herself!

Sawgrass Family Tiles

“The mural project itself will begin late 2019 or early 2020, and should be finished by late next Spring! We are really excited about how it’s going to turn out,” Lacie says.

Sawgrass Country Club wants to knit families closer to each other by providing fun activities that families can engage in together, and the family tiles project is certainly one that gave us a fun activity on a Saturday morning. But it also gave us a sweet preservation of my boys as they are in 2019.

Contact the Recreation Department 904-543-1039 for more information!

“Girls Just Want to Have Fun” at 80’s Night!

80’s night at Sawgrass was a blast! Dinner, dancing, and on-point costumes made this event a night to remember.

The 80’s were a decade of fast cars, amazing T.V. shows, rock n’ roll classics, high rollers, and high-waisted denim! Bright colors, big hair, baggy clothes, and blue eyeshadow ruled the fashion scene. While I was young at the time, I still wanted to wear the latest trends. I remember making my bangs a mile high with a pound of hairspray. And I had the coolest washed out overalls, which are strangely making their way back in style! Why did we ever think we looked cool?!?

Sawgrass decided to honor all the fun 80’s traditions and throw a HUGE 80’s party! The decor was awesome! They had gigantic Rubik’s cubes, bright banners, Rock band logos, and big Pac Man decorations! The staff even dressed up along with all the members. Oh man, there were a lot of tutus and fish net accessories! Our friends went all out! 

Gretchen and Ben Stamper dressed up! He was going for a “Saved by the Bell” look.

And Perry…oh my…the Slash look really suits him!

The DJ was playing all the 80’s hits! We danced to Prince, Michael Jackson, Queen, Madonna, and so many more!

Food

When was the last time you “snapped into a Slim Jim?!?!” I loved that they had classics like Airheads, Slim Jims, Ritz crackers, and Stouffer’s French Bread Pizza. It really added to the atmosphere of the event! The chefs at Sawgrass prepared a great combination of savories and treats that had a hint of 80’d flare and were delicious!

Appetizers – Spinach dip and bread bowl, deviled eggs, buffalo chicken wings, stuffed potato skins, sausage cheese balls, mini sloppy joe, cheese display with ritz crackers, broccoli cheese bites

Mains – steak & ales kensington club steak, chicken pot pie turnovers, bennigan’s mini monte cristo, mini sloppy joe’s, french bread pizzas

Dessert – pineapple upside down cake, crème brulee, pudding pops

We had such a great time reminiscing, laughing, and dancing! Make plans to attend the next big theme dinner, Sawgrass Oktoberfest, on October 12th!