Esplanade at Azario Lakewood Ranch will have its own 18-hole golf course.
When Lakewood Ranch resident Brad Compton grabbed golf ball and club, stuck a tee in the dirt and took a swing Aug. 2, he made a bit of history.
The vice president of Pope Properties, which manages Taylor Morrison’s Esplanade communities, was one of the first people to hit a ball at the future 18-hole golf course at Esplanade at Azario Lakewood Ranch.
Compton swung simultaneously with Pope Properties’ owner and CEO Keith Pope and Taylor Morrison’s Director of Community Management Nathan Stith. All three grinned as they watched their balls sail into the air, but Compton was
“Nailed it,” he said.
The men tried their golf swings after a ceremonial groundbreaking ceremony for the golf course, to be located east of Lorraine Road and north of the future 44th Avenue East extension.
The course is significant because it will anchor a new Esplanade resort-living community. Taylor Morrison will build Azario Lakewood Ranch, featuring the future golf and resort-living focused Esplanade at Azario Lakewood Ranch, as well as Park East at Azaro, a separate single-family home neighborhood with planned amenities.
Currently, the golf course is being constructed and land development has begun.
Cammie Longnecker, division president of Taylor Morrison Southwest Florida, said Taylor Morrison dreamed of coming to Lakewood Ranch eight years ago, starting with a 450-home boutique community of Esplanade at Lakewood Ranch. Now, the Esplanade brand is expanding in Lakewood Ranch, as well as throughout Southwest Florida with 12 communities finished or announced between Sarasota and Naples.
“We’re so amazed at the success of Esplanade and what we’ve been able to do,” Longenecker said the ceremony.
Esplanade at Azario residents will have access to a private 18-hole golf course and resort amenities that include a wellness center, a culinary center, a resort style pool, fire pits, a fitness center, sports courts and a lifestyle manager on location.
Longenecker said the brand has become lifestyle centric and Esplanade has moved away from just “country club’ living.
Golf course architect Chris Wilczynski said the Azario course will be similar to the Esplanade at Lakewood Ranch course, but it will have more “dramatic” scenes. A stream divides the course, and there also are some holes running parallel so there are more wide-open spaces with homes on only one side of the hole.
“We are able to get corridors that are wide so we can play the game of golf,” he said.
Wilcynski said holes on the course will be adaptable in that golfers can shoot from 3,500 to 7,000 yards for most holes, allowing golfers of all ages and skill levels to enjoy them.
Wilcynzki said site work on the course itself actually began in January and the holes are shaped and grated. Grass should be put down later this month.