What’s the first thing you think about when you think about retirement in Florida? Okay, okay, AFTER the beach. Golf, of course! And there is no shortness of wonderful golf communities, golf courses, and country clubs in our area. Here I’m going to highlight some of our best and most luxurious Sarasota golf communities, discuss a bit about each private course, and share a little about each community. Please leave a comment with your favorite local course!
The Oaks Club
Location – Osprey, just south of Sarasota’s southern border
Golf Course Information – Comprised of two courses, the Eagle and the Heron, The Oaks Club consistently receives acclaim for the championship courses. True to their name, the courses share their habitat with a substantial amount of Florida wildlife: eagles, egrets, cranes, turtles, herons, bobcats, and other native species. The Eagle Golf Course has yardage ranging from 5,022 to 7,003 and the Heron Golf Course has yardage ranging from 4,986 to 6,695. There are state-of-the-art practice facilities as well as an award-winning pro shop.
Community Information – There are three gated communities within The Oaks. The Oaks itself claims that the most attractive feature of The Oaks Club is its celebrated social calendar and community life (but the beautiful luxurious homes in every price range certainly don’t hurt!). Member-owned and member-governed, The Oaks’ membership requirement among residents is a testament to their strong belief in community. The Oaks is very close to the coveted Pine View School, minutes from Siesta Key, and just a short drive from the cultural amenities of the city of Sarasota, though it boasts three award-winning restaurants right on the grounds. The homes that are currently on the market in The Oaks range from the low $300s for a condo to just over $4.5 million for an ultra-luxury home.
Laurel Oak Country Club
Location – Sarasota: East of I-75, north of Bee Ridge Rd.
Golf Course Information – Two courses developed as Gary Player Signature Courses, the west course and east course of Laurel Oak are both member-owned. On its website, Laurel Oak boasts that these two courses are the most challenging two-course test of golf in the Sarasota area. They have seven rated tees on both courses, four for men and three for women.
Community Information – Impeccable landscaping lines the streets of the quiet gated community that is surrounded by the golf course. All Laurel Oak homes are maintenance-free, and with square footage ranging from 2,200 to over 10,000, you can get a home in every price range or level of decadence. Properties currently on the market range from the mid-$500s to nearly $2 million.
Lakewood Ranch Country Club
Location – Lakewood Ranch: north of University Parkway, between Lakewood Ranch Boulevard and Lorraine Road
Golf Course Information – Three Championship courses are located within LWRCC: Cypress Links, which opened with the private club in November 2001; King’s Dunes, which subsequently opened in March 2005; and the newest, Royal Lakes, which opened in 2007 and was designed to suit, forgive, and challenge all skill levels. Cypress Links has 20 lakes within and around the course, with less than 50% of them acting as hazards. It features bold grading work, unique tiered sod bunkers (similar to that of St. Andrews), and wide golf corridors designed for a more forgiving experience for the average golfer. King’s Dunes features dramatic elevation changes, rolling fairways, rock walls, and an overall look that is unlike most Florida courses. Royal Lakes was designed with all skill levels in mind, yet is quite challenging for the most skilled players measuring 7,320 yards from Championship tees. Every hole can be played as a par 3 and it’s a great course for introducing the sport to any member of the family, young or old.
Community Information – Lakewood Ranch is a planned unit development comprised of nine neighborhoods, known as “villages”, all built in close proximity to the Lakewood Ranch Golf and Country Club, a haven for golf aficionados the world over. Residents of the Lakewood Ranch Country Club experience true country club living, Sarasota-style, with preferred membership opportunities in the club, as well as enjoying a location very near to Lakewood Ranch’s Main Street. Homes currently on the market range from the low $300s for a connected villa to $2.4 million.
Location – Sarasota: east of I-75 off of Fruitville Road.
Golf Course Information – Modeled after the ancient contours of traditional Scottish Links courses, the Championship course at The Founders Club features gently rolling terrain set against a backdrop of mature trees and lush untamed landscape. The par-72, 7,094-yard course provides you with views of unspoiled Florida wetlands, tranquil lakes, and groomed fairways. Homes are carefully set back from the field of play, and the course is sculpted around nature.
Community Information – Founders Club is a private, gated community with only 262 residences. Luxurious homes are situated away from the field of play. The Founders Club stands out among golf communities because of the large lots available, with most homes on between half and one acre. Currently on the market in Founders Club are homes ranging from the mid-$700s to nearly $3 million.
Molly Russo, Sarasota Lifestyle Guru