Architect Chris Wilczynski to design second course at Florida’s Lakewood Ranch
Five years after designing the signature course at Esplanade Golf and Country Club at Lakewood Ranch in southwest Florida, Michigan golf course architect Chris Wilczynski, ASGCA has been asked to create a second golf course at the 31,000-acre master-planned community. The newest Wilczynski design will be the seventh 18-hole layout on the property located just east of Interstate 75 between Bradenton and Sarasota.
Wilczynski has finalized plans for the course, having worked in conjunction with home developer Taylor Morrison, Waldrop Engineering, an engineering, land planning and landscape architectural firm based in southwest Florida, and irrigation designer Tony Altum of Indianapolis. The new course, which has not yet been named, is the fifth project on which Wilczynski has worked with Tony Squitieri of Taylor Morrison. “We have worked together for over 20 years and with each project Chris’ passion, creativity, commitment and desire to exceed expectations remains constant,” Squitieri said.
“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.”
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.
“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,” Wilczynski said, “will feature wide fairways, randomly placed bunkers that will be set at diagonals to the intended line of play, 6,000-9,000 square-foot greens and six sets of tees ranging from 3,400 to 6,800 yards. 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.”
Construction is scheduled for 2019 with a course opening sometime in 2020. “We are looking forward to developing another great golf course that complements Taylor Morrison’s vision. We want the course to benefit the community, its residents and the environment that it is supported by, said Wilczynski.”