National home builder Taylor Morrison plans to give residents of its Esplanade at Lakewood Ranch community a brand-new amenity valued at millions of dollars –an 18-hole championship golf course plus an elegant clubhouse.
Residential golf communities were the darling attractions of the Southwest Florida regional housing market during the late 20th century, at the same time golf legends Arnold Palmer and Jack Nicklaus were designing challenging courses set among gorgeous backdrops of the Sunshine State. This was also a time when the precision sport gained popularity thanks to players like Tiger Woods, Ernie Els and Michelle Wie who achieved celebrity status.
The golf boom, however, was nearly downgraded to a fad along with the downturn of the American housing market. Suddenly there were too many residential golf communities that were expensive to maintain at a time when interest in the sport was on the decline. Some players retired from the game and found other activities to participate in.
According to John Hielscher and Michael Pollick of the Sarasota Herald-Tribune, the golf downturn of the last few years led to the closure of 150 courses around the country, six of them in Manatee and Sarasota Counties.
A Great Opportunity
Taylor Morrison sees no reason to completely write-off golf at this time. Esplanade at Lakewood Ranch already offers a range of amenities to senior residents, and the golf course will be a great addition at a time when other communities are shutting down or neglecting their own courses.
There is no question that the golf course will have an immediate effect on Esplanade residences. Homeowners will see their home values appreciate thanks to this new premier amenity, and with more Americans retiring and looking for great communities to spend their golden years in, the new golf course at Esplanade is a great opportunity to capture greater market share.
Taylor Morrison will also change the name of the development to Esplanade Golf and Country Club at Lakewood Ranch. The course designer is C.W. Golf Architecture, and it will be located on the northern section of the community.