Florida course renovation aims to improve playability and sustainability


Florida course renovation aims to improve playability and sustainability
Sean Dudley
By Adam Lawrence

Construction work has begun on the renovation of the Heron course at the Oaks Club in Osprey, Florida. Architect Jason Straka is leading the project under the auspices of Hurdzan/Fry, the design firm for which he worked before founding Fry/Straka with partner Dana Fry.

Straka says one of the key objectives is to make the Heron course more playable for a diverse spectrum of golfers. Six sets of tees will range from 6,705 yards right up to 4,027 yards, and the greens complexes will be rebunkered to provide the option of a run-up approach on more holes.

“Golf is now stretched out over generations, which is good for the game,” said Straka, “All players on the generational and skills spectrum need to get around the course successfully and enjoy themselves, and the vibrant membership and guests at this club now will be able to do just that.”

Most of the approaches to the old green complexes were blocked by bunkers or water. Straka intends to create chipping areas around the greens to allow for run-up shots and a variety of recovery shots not permitted on either of the two Oaks courses before. The goal is to enhance playability while still providing confounding recovery shots for the more skilled golfer, he says.

Straka also hopes to improve traffic patterns on the course due to the new contours and the removal of some overgrown trees and shrubbery. A significant investment is being made in maintaining the longevity of the club with an HDPE fused irrigation system, new subsurface drainage, new greens construction, bunker liner and new turfgrasses. In addition, new stormwater control structures will be installed to improve drainage of the golf course and the surrounding development.