PHILADELPHIA, Pa. – Construction of a new golf course in America has become a rarity. Only 17 new golf courses opened in the country during 2019. Compare that to an average of 400 new golf courses opening per year, 20 years ago.
That’s why new golf course openings draw attention. And the opening of a great new golf course is cause for a major celebration.
The December episode of the award-winning Traveling Golfer television show celebrates the opening of Esplanade at Azario Lakewood Ranch, just a few miles east of Bradenton, Florida. This golf course, designed by Michigan-based architect Chris Wilczynski, is part of a planned community that addresses the culture of both modern golf and modern lifestyle.
The main focus of the show is the Azario course, which stands as a textbook example of the style of architecture that is needed in 2020.
“The trend today is to focus on some of the elements that made golf great when it first started – which is playability, width, variety of shot options and beauty,” explains Wilczynski. “But the playability is the most important thing now. I worked for an architect in the ‘90s, when the objective was to make every golf course as hard as it could be. That hurt golf and we have learned from it now.”
The journey across the expansive layout shows that Wilczynski and the team at Azario have learned those lessons well.
“I have not come across a new design in many years that presents 18 different holes that are so architecturally sound,” says Tony Leodora, host of the Traveling Golfer. “Each hole is its own, unique challenge. And the imaginative green complexes are the exclamation mark at the end of each chapter.”
While it was hard to pull the camera away from the golf course, proper attention also is given in this show to the Esplanade Azario community, with homes built by Taylor Morrison. For a limited time, non-member play is permitted at Azario, with the goal to turn completely private in a few years.
“We offer a complete variety of homes from around 1,700 square feet to 3,000 square feet,” explains Cammie Longenecker, president of lifestyle for Esplanade, a company that has created a number of communities throughout Florida. “We think that people who visit Azario eventually will want to live at Azario.”
Yosvani Barreiro is the general manager of Esplanade at Azario Lakewood Ranch and he agrees: “Our goal is to create a total lifestyle that not only will allow people to enjoy golf right where they live, but also provide every other type of activity they need.”
But, for those who do venture out of the gates at Azario, this episode of the Traveling County. There is a look at the shopping provided at the nearby and huge Ellenton Outlet Center. There is a stroll along Main St. in downtown Bradenton. There is a look at Pittsburgh Pirates spring training at beautiful Lecom Park.
However, the eye-opener is the 17 miles of magnificent beaches that stretch throughout Manatee County – from Anna Maria Island in the north, through Bradenton Beach and Coquina Beach, and to Longboat Key in the south. They have been rated among the best beaches in America.
“The timing of this show couldn’t be better,” concludes Leodora. “It provides the perfect travel planner for a winter getaway … a golf-and-beach vacation … or a spring training trip. And, of course, it sets the stage for those planning a big move to the Sunshine State.”
The December 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 December 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 19 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.