PHILADELPHIA, Pa. – Renovation is the buzzword of the golf course architecture world these days. There has been plenty of activity … and some projects are bigger than others.
But when a historic golf course — one with a competitive history that goes back almost 50 years — undergoes a major renovation, it attracts the attention of the entire golf world.
That is the still-evolving story of the Meadows Country Club, part of a sprawling planned community and collection of golf courses that has been a landmark in Sarasota, Florida since 1973.
That’s when British entrepreneur Frank Taylor fell in love with the 1,650-acre parcel on the northern end of Sarasota County and began a historic development journey. The project now includes two daily fee golf courses – the Highlands and the Groves – plus the private members’ course, The Meadows.
Though there have been a number of renovations to the original Joe Lee design, — including work by renowned architects Ron Garl and Arthur Hills – nothing matches the extensive work that was completed in January of 2021. Superintendent Pat Franklin was charged with enacting the master plan for the golf course and the net result is nothing short of stunning.
An in-depth look at the work that went into the renovation, plus the unveiling of the final product, are the subjects of the February episode of the award-winning Traveling Golfer television show.
Show host Tony Leodora takes viewers behind the scenes to understand the massive job of closing a private club for eight months of major renovation, then revealing it to an anxiously excited membership. The video tour of this old/new golf course is visually spectacular.
“The long wait is over and the positive reviews have been overwhelming,” says Tony Johnson, who was hired along with the Icon Management team, to facilitate the renovation process. “Our goal was to excite our existing members with a golf course that regains a place among the elite in the area and attract new members who will find the product irresistible.”
The Meadows complex is a unique one – with two courses open to public play and one private course that stands as a very enticing attraction.
“The entire property is quite busy, which provides an air of excitement,” comments Leodora, who has now hosted more than 100 Traveling Golfer television shows in seven years. “It just has a ‘major league’ feel to it.
“The entire complex – not just the golf courses – is so environmentally mature. The trees, especially the massive live oaks, provide a majestic grandeur. But with all of those trees comes a lot of work to maintain a healthy golf course. The renovation took that into account and turned the historic course in a sustainable layout that is aesthetically pleasing, strategically playable and visually exciting. It is one of the great examples of a golf course renovation that I have seen.”
In addition to all of the golf at the Meadows, there is one of Sarasota’s most active tennis programs, a large swimming pool complex, a fitness center, a large members’ clubhouse and a smaller casual dining clubhouse that is open to the public.
The February episode of the Traveling Golfer airs as a scheduled weekly feature show on NBC Sports and NBC Sports + throughout four markets in the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic regions. NBC Sports airings are 10:30 a.m. on Sundays, 10 p.m. on Tuesdays and 11 a.m. on Thursdays. NBC Sports + airs the show at 8 p.m. Mondays and Fridays. In addition, the show airs nationally, three times every day, on the new Fun Roads Network (funroads.tv/schedule) – in the San Francisco, Los Angeles, Las Vegas, Salt Lake City, Wichita, Detroit, Chicago, Houston, Philadelphia, Washington State, North Dakota, Raleigh, Orlando, San Jose and Boise markets. Additionally, national and international expansion has taken place via connected TV on Roku, Amazon Fire, SelectTV and GlewedTV.
The Traveling Golfer also airs a number of times in the Month of February on “Rivertalk” on HTC-4 in Myrtle Beach.
The show also airs on the Traveling Golfer network of websites … including The Golf Director Network and The Myrtle Beach Golf Channel (see full list of sites on travelinggolfervideo.com).
As part of every Traveling Golfer show there is the additional feature, “Tech Talk”, hosted by Tour Edge Golf experts, such as President Dave Glod. With years of experience as a club maker, Glod presents an inside look at the research and development of high-quality golf equipment.
Responding to golfers’ never-ending demands to learn more about interesting golf courses and golf resorts across the country and around the world, well-traveled host Tony Leodora created the Traveling Golfer so he could take viewers on video trips to some of the most exciting golf locations. For the fourth time in five years, the show was honored as the No. 1 Golf Television Show in America in the prestigious International Network of Golf awards, presented at the PGA Merchandise Show in January of 2020.
The Traveling Golfer is a series of monthly shows hosted by Leodora, who has 20 years of experience in televised golf. The featured destination stays on the website for one month, before being replaced by a new show. Alternate shows also air in a two-month rotation. All old shows are archived for continued viewing on the YouTube Network and on the home website, www.travelinggolfervideo.com.
For more information about the Traveling Golfer, or to find out how a property can be featured on the show, call TL Golf Services at (610) 721-8186 or e-mail Tony Leodora at tony.leodora@TL-golfservices.com.