Often referred to as the “Cradle of Golf,” Sarasota is arguably the birthplace of golfing in America. When John Gillespie arrived here from Scotland in 1885, he designed the first two holes where Main Street is today. Truly, golf is an integral part of Sarasota's history, and with well over 45 courses underneath great weather year-round, the sport is one of the main draws for people who want to visit or move here.
A survey of all of Sarasota's fine golf courses and their surrounding communities would need its an entire website of its own, but I want to highlight a few that have either contributed to the Sarasota golf legacy or just stand out as exemplary places to live and play.
TPC Prestancia in Sarasota’s Palmer Ranch has a combined 36 holes of golf on two different types of courses. The Club Course and the Stadium Course offer players two different conditions to really get the most out of the game. There have been a number of professional tournaments on the courses since its opening in 1987, and Palmer Ranch has a number of other golf courses in the area. For the avid golfer, this is a great place to hang your hat.
Opened in 2006, the 18-hole Heritage Oaks is well known for its 385-yard par 4 on the 18th hole. Featuring a beautiful clubhouse and an aquatic driving range, Heritage Oaks includes more than just a fabulous golf course. This is country club living at its finest.
Both of the 18-hole courses at Laurel Oak Country Club were designed by Gary Player. The 36 combined holes weave through over 400 single-family homes and cradle a country club with 12 tennis courts, a full-size heated swimming pool, and a beautiful 45,000 square foot clubhouse. Spread out across 800 scenic acres and just a short drive from downtown Sarasota, Laurel Oak Country Club has a low membership contribution and an assortment of homes ranging in price from $300K to $1 million.
If you're equal parts nature lover and avid golfer, you'll love Misty Creek Golf and Country Club. The 18-hole course offers its share of challenges as it runs through nature preserve and borders some beautiful Florida woodlands. Beyond the game and the gorgeous homes, this is a great course to spot eagles, deer, alligators, and a variety of other Florida wildlife.
East of Interstate 75, the 1,300 acres of Palm Aire Country Club offer two 18-hole golf courses, 10 tennis courts, an athletic center and an Olympic-size swimming pool. The member-owned golf and country club features the “Champion” course with a rating of 73.9, as well as the “Lakes” course with a rating of 72.1. This is one of the reasons that Lakewood Ranch is such a popular destination.
Since opening in 1991, the University Park Country Club has received a number of accolades for its design, including the National Association of Home Builders' award for “Best Community Design in America.” However, what truly stands out are the 27 holes of golf designed by Ron Garl. With six sets of tees on each course of nine, University Park offers a great range of playing options throughout a beautiful community with incredible amenities.
Bent Tree Country Club has been a huge part of Sarasota's golf history since 1975. Hosting a number of LPGA Sarasota Classic professional tournaments, Florida State High School Championships, and multiple U.S. Open qualifiers, the 18-hole course's softly rolling hills and exquisite old trees that surround it have helped the course shape the Sarasota golf tradition. After a three-year renovation finished in 2010, the course now features “Champion” Bermuda greens, remodeled fairways, and newly-excavated bunkers. As one of Sarasota's older communities, Bent Tree is a lovely place to live and play.
Even further east, The Concession is where the pros go to practice. Nestled against the Ritz-Carlton Members Club, the 18-hole course was designed by Jack Nicklaus. Bordered by a community of homes ranging from $1.2 million to $6 million, the best word to describe this course and accompanying amenities is simply “exquisite.”
This is just a taste of what Sarasota has to offer. Whether you're an avid golfer or just an occasional player, with well over 800 holes throughout the area you're sure to find some nice strokes. They say that golf is a game of true mastery, and a lot of people sense that just by living in the midst of it.
If you want to find out more about country club living and how you can join the Sarasota golf community, let's go see which of these incredible places works best for you. Drop me a line today!
Sarasota Area Real Estate Specialist