The new 18-hole layout at the Lakewood Ranch, Fla. property will be designed by Chris Wilczynski, his second for the club. Construction is scheduled for 2019 with a course opening in 2020. The 31,000-acre master-planned community developed by Taylor Morrison is on land that was originally owned by a brewing-company family and has been used for a variety of farming and mining activities.
Esplanade Golf & Country Club at Lakewood Ranch, in southwest Florida, has commissioned architect Chris Wilczynski, ASGCA, to create a new golf course at the 31,000-acre master-planned community. It will be the property’s seventh 18-hole layout and the second course designed by Wilcyznski in the past five years for the club, which is located just east of Interstate 75 between Bradenton and Sarasota.
Construction of the new course, which has not yet been named, is scheduled for 2019, with a course opening sometime in 2020.
Wilczynski has finalized plans for the course working in conjunction with home developer Taylor Morrison, along with Waldrop Engineering, an engineering, land planning and landscape architectural firm based in southwest Florida, and irrigation designer Tony Altum of Indianapolis, Ind.
Lakewood Ranch, whose parent company is Schroeder-Manatee Ranch, is located in Manatee and Sarasota Counties, on land that, since the early 1900s, has been owned by the Uihlein family, one of the original owners of the Schlitz Brewery. In addition to citrus farming and cattle ranching, the Ranch also has been used for tree and turf farming and aggregate mining.
“Like most of inland Florida, the land has been used for agriculture and ranching,” Wilczynski said. “The palate that we are working within is a relatively flat piece of land that is bisected by a beautiful creek and wooded wetland preserve. The site has a nice pastoral aesthetic, with mature vegetation in areas.
“A few of the holes will be played along the wooded preserve,” said Wilczynski, who also noted that 17 of the 18 holes are “single-loaded,” meaning that homes will line only one side of the hole. “The overall land plan is great. This will not feel like a typical residential golf course.
“The layout will feature wide fairways, randomly placed bunkers that will be set at diagonals to the intended line of play, 6,000- to 9,000-sq. ft. greens and six sets of tees, ranging from 3,400 to 6,800 yards,” he added. “We want the course to be fun and we want to provide options at each hole and at each shot. The concept of ‘easy and hard angles’ will be used throughout the entire design.
“We are looking forward to developing another great golf course that complements Taylor Morrison’s vision,” Wilczynski said. “We want the course to benefit the community, its residents and the environment that it is supported by.”