Rocky Point’s story begins in 1911 when the Tampa Automobile Club opened the course for business, making it one of the first golf courses in the state.
One year earlier, The Tampa Automobile Club made arrangements to build a clubhouse and spacious golf links at Rocky Point. The Club hired Atlanta golf expert F.G. Byrd to lay out an 18-hole golf course. Nine holes were initially opened for play, and the full 18-hole layout was completed one year later. In 1917, the Tampa Automobile and Golf Club changed its name to the Rocky Point Golf Club.
The course was open for 31 years until the US entered World War II in 1942. During the war, the Federal Government closed the course and built barracks on the property to house prisoners of war as part of Drew Army Airfield. Two years later, the course reopened to officers and enlisted men of Drew Field and to personnel of the Women’s Army Auxiliary Corps.
In 1953, the Federal Government turned the property over to the City of Tampa for $1. The City then leased it to J.S. Curly Hurtman for 25 years, who reopened the course with his wife, Merle. Merle took over operations when Curly passed in 1957. In December 1963, an additional 9 holes were added bringing the total hole count to 27.
Once the lease expired with the Hurtmans in 1978, the City turned over operations to the Tampa Sports Authority – a special district that was created in 1965 by Governor Hayden Burns for the purpose of planning, developing, and maintaining a comprehensive complex of sports and recreational facilities for the Tampa Bay area.
In December of 1981, Mayor Bob Martinez leased 40+ acres of Rocky Point Golf Course (where Connectwise and LabTech now reside) to Critikon Corporation for 99 years in return for a $1.2 million redesign. This included the return from 27 holes to 18 holes. The course reopened on March 5, 1983. Ten years later, the existing clubhouse was built and opened in July, 1993.
In 2021, with assistance from the Tampa Bay Estuary Program’s Bay Mini Grant program, the Dana Shores Civic Association installed 5 maternity bat houses at Rocky Point Golf Course. These bat houses provide habitat to accommodate up to 2,500 Brazilian free-tailed bats, important members of our ecosystem threatened by habitat loss due to continued growth and development throughout Tampa Bay.
The Tampa Sports Authority still manages Rocky Point Golf Course today along with Babe Zaharias Golf Course, Rogers Park Golf Course, and Raymond James Stadium. Dana Shores residents serve on the Tampa Sports Authority Golf Course Citizens Advisory Board as well as the Upper Tampa Bay Golf Committee, which hosts the annual Upper Tampa Bay Golf Tournament at RPGC.
This tournament brings together the communities and businesses surrounding the Rocky Point Golf Course. All net profits go towards enhancing the Rocky Point Golf Course. Projects include landscaping, signage, and course and clubhouse improvements.
This year’s event will be held on Friday, November 19, 2021. To learn more about the Upper Tampa Bay Golf Tournament, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.