Golf Course Architecture - Issue 76, April 2024

Construction of a new course by Hanse Golf Design for the 150-member High Grove club in Venus, Florida, is scheduled to begin in December 2024. The private club, which will have a limit of 150 members, is the vision of co-founders Ryan Hanks, Colin Sheehan and Bert Guy. Sheehan, former coach of the men’s golf team at Yale and an advisor or founder to several projects including Ohoopee Match Club in Georgia and Tree Farm in South Carolina, and the development team scouted a 1,213acre parcel at the southern end of the 100-mile-long Lake Wales Ridge with Valencia orange groves as the ideal location to build their golf destination. The site rises in elevation from 105 to 175 feet above sea level and has a 40-foot ridge running along the eastern side. “The property is one of the most unique we have seen in Florida,” said Jim Wagner of Hanse Golf Design. “It is not only the dramatic elevation change of the ridge but also the lightto-moderate sandy ‘chop’ throughout that defines the property. The entire property helped us set up an interesting routing that allows the sharper elevation of the ridge to be the showcase.” Once the clubhouse was assigned a central position, Hanse and Wagner began creating a routing that would take advantage of the site’s ridge. The parfour fourth rides along the ridge and the fifth, a drop shot par three, plays off it. The par-five sixth climbs back up to a green defended by expansive bunkering. The par-four seventh plays back off the ridge. The eighth is on lower lying land and the short par-three ninth plays uphill over a massive waste bunker to a green close to the seventh tee. The front nine is about anticipation and surprise,” said Wagner. “There is the anticipation of playing through the citrus and unique ‘chop’ seen upon arrival, while wondering what the property and golf course has to offer. And then there’s the surprise of the 30- to 50-foot elevation changes of the main ridge running through the property that will not be experienced until the middle of the front nine and not seen again until the finish of the back nine. The blend of these property characteristics helps to create the moments that will separate High Grove from most Florida golf experiences.” Holes 10 to 16 wind their way through a section of orange groves, TEE BOX Site for 150-member Florida club spans 1,200 acres of citrus groves on undulating sand dunes. High Grove prepares for construction 10 Photo: High Grove The site for the High Grove club spans 1,200 acres of citrus groves on undulating sand dunes