Ocean Reef Club Celebrates 20 Years of Self-Rule

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In 1992 Hurricane Andrew leveled much of South Florida. The Florida Key’s most famous private club, Ocean Reef, was particularly damaged. This created an opportunity for the members to buy it outright. So this summer, Ocean Reef Club, which started as an inn and “yachtel” with cottages for yachtsman, celebrates their 20th Anniversary of being a completely self-governed and member-owned club.

The 2,500 acre enclave on the northernmost tip of Key Largo boasts 175 boat slips, a championship 18-hole golf course, proximity to the only living reef in the continental US and a runway. The club has accomplished a lot in those two decades including the creation of a Cultural Center with a state of the art theater, library, and museum; the opening of The Academy, a private, fully-accredited school for Pre-K – 8th grade, the build of a their Town Hall, a 12,000-square-foot meeting facility; and an expanded fitness Center and spa for members.

“With a large member talent pool of successful executives and entrepreneurs, Ocean Reef Club has become a case study in ‘enlightened’ self-rule,” explains Paul M.G. Astbury, who has been the club’s president since 2000.  “The Club has thrived—as reflected in increased property values and avid community participation.”

There also are a series of annual traditions that create lifelong memories—including The Reef Cup Sailfish Tournament, Lobstermania, Festival on the Green, and a Vintage Weekend showcasing classic automobiles, yachts, and aircraft.