Golf News

Florida course converting from public to private

Florida course converting from public to private

A Virginia-based company now controls four golf courses in Lakewood Ranch near Sarasota, Florida, including a public course which will shift to operating as a private club starting next week.

Heritage Golf Group announced the acquisition of the three private Lakewood Ranch courses — Cypress Links, Kings Dunes and Royal Lakes — that form Lakewood Ranch Golf and Country Club in a news release, but only sent emails to the annual passholders at the public course, Legacy Golf Club, offering refunds for members who had annual passes. The course was designed by Arnold Palmer and opened for play in 1997.

“Effective immediately, we have made the decision to reposition Legacy Golf Club to a fully private club,” the email provided to the Herald-Tribune said. “With this in mind, we plan on closing the club on Monday, March 18, to begin a comprehensive renovation to the Arnold Palmer Signature Golf Course.”

The transition of Legacy Golf Club to a country club model sparked some concerns among longtime residents of one of the fastest-selling master-planned communities in the country being over Lakewood Ranch without a public golf course.

Lakewood Ranch now has more than 66,000 residents living in the 33,000-acre development.

Heritage said in the email to Legacy passholders the “multi-million project will include rebuilding greens, tee boxes, fairways, bunkers and cart paths.

“We expect this restoration to be completed and the course to reopen in the fourth quarter of this year.”

Heritage also offered refunds to the annual members impacted by the course becoming private.

A representative of Heritage Golf Group was not available to comment by publication time.

“Lakewood Ranch Golf and Country Club is the crown jewel of the Lakewood Ranch community, and we are proud to become its new steward,” Mark Burnett, Heritage Golf Group CEO, said in a news release. “We are honored that SMR selected Heritage Golf Group to continue building on its noteworthy tradition and impeccable nationwide reputation as the premier country club and lifestyle community. The continued growth of our network of clubs will only further enhance the member and guest experience as well as offer additional career growth for our employees.”

Kenneth Serroka retired to Lakewood Ranch in 2001, purchasing a home on the Legacy golf course overlooking the 15th hole for $260,000, a fraction of what properties now go for in the area.

Serroka said that not everyone in Lakewood Ranch has…


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