The 1969 Ryder Cup.
The United States versus Great Britain.
Royal Birkdale Golf Club in Southport, England.
At the time, the Ryder Cup was little more than a September speck on the sporting calendar. The biennial event mattered mostly to the competitors and those who made the effort to attend. There was scant media coverage.
Starting with the inaugural Ryder Cup in 1927, the Americans had won 14 of the 17 matches heading into 1969. There was little semblance of a true rivalry that would develop over the coming decades.
This particular match, though, came down to the final hole of the final singles match between Jack Nicklaus, who had won seven of his 18 professional majors at that point, and Britain’s Tony Jacklin, who had won that year’s British Open. On the 18th green, Jacklin faced a nerve-fraying and missable 3-foot putt to halve his match with Nicklaus and the Ryder Cup, keeping the cup in Britain’s possession. Jacklin never struck the putt because Nicklaus conceded the putt, thus ending the Ryder Cup in a 16-16 tie.
Today, the story and goodwill lives on at The Concession Golf Club in Bradenton, Fla.
Located just east of Sarasota, the 1,200-acre gated community offers low density living with only 236 homesites. The landscape features centuries-old oaks, 140-foot pines and protected wetlands. Homesites start at a half acre and more than half are one acre or larger.
“If someone were to blindfold you and drop you off at The Concession, you’d think you were in North Carolina,” said Mark Bruce, director of sales at The Concession Real Estate. “It’s a little slice of heaven.”
The expansive landscape is both surprising and unassuming.
Ranked No. 7 in Florida by Golf Digest in 2017, the course was opened in 2006 and designed by none other than Nicklaus and Jacklin.
And while other private communities are built around hype and features, The Concession was built around a moment. A gesture between two men. The sportsmanship from one day in 1969 evolved into a lasting friendship between Nicklaus and Jacklin.
“The Concession is a concept,” Nicklaus told The Concession. “It’s an idea of taking the two of us and the spirit in which we played the Ryder Cup … and taking it into a facility and a golf course. The game of golf brought us together and we hope the game and the course will bring a lot of other people together.”
The par-72, 7,474-yard course wraps around wildlife, towering pines and vast wetlands. Holes have been routed in different directions to provide varying wind conditions throughout a round. The par 3s and par 5s all go in opposite directions
As Nicklaus put it, the course is the perfect balance of lefts to rights and rights to lefts.
Homes are barely visible from the course. The layout gives golfers the feeling they have the course all to themselves.
And in the sunshine state, that’s a rarity these days.
Location: Bradenton, Fla.
Patrick Rhyne has spent the last 20 years building luxury and private community brands across the United States, Mexico and Caribbean. He lives in Asheville, N.C.