Arnold Palmer Design Company has completed the second course at Lakewood National Golf Club near Sarasota, Florida.
APDC completed the first course at the development, by homebuilders Lennar, in 2017. The second course is expected to open towards the end of the year.
“In contrast to the bold slopes on the first course, the client wanted a more subtle golf experience that was still creative and fun to play,” said Brandon Johnson, vice president and senior golf course architect at APDC. “Playability and enjoyment for the membership were phrases we talked about frequently with Lennar. The client also stressed the importance of reduced maintenance inputs on the second course.”
Clearing started in September 2018 with construction in full swing by January 2019, allowing APDC to work primarily in the dry season and complete most of the grassing prior to the wet summer season. The Palmer team were assisted by shapers Danny Peacock and Jody Mosley, who also helped Angel Garcia on bunkers, with Ryan Golf as the golf course contractor.
The finishing stretch plays along the Little Braden River wetland preserve. “The contours and shape of the fourteenth green will make shots from the array of tee complexes, wrapped around the fronting lake, play completely different from one day to the next,” said Johnson.
“At the fifteenth, a dividing spine meanders down the length of this long, wide hole, terminating at a bunkerless square green whose inspiration was drawn from the ‘double plateau’ template hole. Holes sixteen and seventeen run through the lowest portions of the site. The large oak and pine trees in the bordering preserve provide a feeling of enclosure on this portion of the course. The on-grade subtly-contoured sixteenth green is one I’m excited to putt on when fully grown in. The reachable par-five seventeenth has one of the tighter tee shots on the course, which opens to an oversized second landing area. Large oak trees guard the left-hand approach while a spine from the right helps guide players to a green with a singular small pot bunker tucked against the wetland.
“There is a big contrast to how the two courses finish,” continued Johnson. “The first course ends on a big, bold, visually stimulating par five. Sweeping contours and large bunkers create a heroic finish. The second course, in its own heroic style, ends with a short, reachable par four. Meaningful width was created by placing a select number of small yet strategically-placed bunkers that set up various angles of approach into the small and subtly-tilted green.”
Johnson says that greens on the second course are smaller than those on the first, with green surrounds, feeding slopes and fairway contours also more nuanced. The bold slopes on the first layout help to feed balls from one side of the fairway to the other, or on to the green. In contrast, Johnson said: “Subtle landforms, lows, ridges, in addition to directing your ball onto or away from the target, serve a dual purpose and will, on occasion, open up or slightly obscure your view to the target depending on what side of the fairway you are on.”
This article is based on material that first appeared in the October 2019 issue of Golf Course Architecture. For a printed subscription or free digital edition, please visit our subscriptions page.