MYAKKA CITY, Fla. – Nick Price’s enthusiasm is evident as we trundle across a pasture in a four-wheeled off-roader, skimming shallow puddles and curving around the sandy Florida scrub.
The three-time major championship winner keeps pointing out features about the land. See that stand of trees over there? That will be a tee box. See that hump? That’s a green. See that fence line? That will be a par 4. Let me show you the river, if you have time.
For almost an hour, Price shows off what will become Soleta Golf Club. The Zimbabwean couldn’t be more thrilled to be the lead architect. As I pepper him with questions, he chats amicably about his plans to transform all the former farmland around us into a top-tier private golf course, typically in great detail.
“You’ll have to come back to see how this works out,” said Price, 66, a former World No. 1 who retired from steady competitive golf eight years ago. “You’re going to love it. Well, I’m going to love it, I know that.”
Before ground has even been broken, Price has made dozens of site visits, driving across the state’s peninsula from his Hobe Sound home in southeast Florida to what will be the club and residential community about a 40-minute drive east of Sarasota and 75 minutes southeast of Tampa. He plans to make the trip dozens of more times to keep an eye on every detail as the course is built, with a planned opening in late 2024.
Since Soleta – named for the indigenous Native American word meaning sandhill cranes, according to the club – was announced in July, Price has set about turning this fairly flat piece of Florida upland into the 27th golf course with his name attached, be it as a consultant or lead designer. And he’s determined to be hands-on.
“I’ve got to stand in this space while it’s being done, to make sure everything looks right,” said Price, who won two PGA Championships (1992, 1994), one British Open (1994) and 18 PGA Tour titles in all among his 48 worldwide wins. “I have a much better vision for distances and feel for the property when I’m actually here. That’s why I enjoy doing the dirt work. I’ll probably come out once every two weeks, for a couple days each time. I need to see it.”
Under development by a private group led by David Turner and Charles Duff, Soleta will include a planned 93 high-end residences and a village center. But those will be kept at the north end of the property separate from the golf, leaving Price more than…