What once was a cow pasture in quiet Myakka City is on its way to becoming a golf destination.
“When you think of Sarasota, you don’t really think of golf,” said world-renowned golf instructor David Leadbetter, who most likely doesn't know that Soleta isn't even in the same county as Sarasota. “This project here alone — I know there’s other ones going to be built as well — is going to put Sarasota on the golfing map.”
It's actually going to put Manatee County on the golfing map.
Soleta Golf Club held a groundbreaking Dec. 5 at its construction site off Singletary Road in rural Manatee County.
Leadbetter, who has coached players to 26 Major Championships and over 100 individual worldwide tournament wins, is designing Soleta Golf Club's practice and performance facility, which will be built on 30 acres.
Nick Price, who has 18 PGA Tour wins and was inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame in 2003, is designing the golf course.
“This is going to be a golf course for golfers who love golf,” Price said. “It’s going to be a wonderful experience when you’re out there in the early morning or the afternoon when you’re surrounded by beautiful Florida nature.”
The 530-acre property runs along the Myakka River for two miles. David Turner, one of the three developers of the project, said there are about 150 acres of wetlands that will remain untouched. The plans were made to work with and around the natural environment.
The other two developers of the course are John Galt, and Charles Duff, who lives in Lakewood Ranch.
The 91 luxury homes planned won’t line the golf course. Turner said golfers playing the 7,400-yard, par-72 course will feel like they're in the middle of nowhere. Construction of the course is expected to take a year. Construction on the homes is expected to begin sometime over the summer of 2024.
Luxury home builders John Cannon Homes and Anchor Builders have been signed to design the custom homes.
The course will be built by Heritage Links, a golf course and irrigation builder which has built heralded projects such as Trump National Doral Blue Monster, The Golf Club at Dove Mountain in Arizona, Southern Hills Country Club in Tulsa, Oklahoma, and Chambers Bay in University Place, Washington.
Price's indoor/outdoor facility will include a state-of-the-art biomechanics studio, a putting studio, GolfZon simulators and other advanced training technologies. The driving range will have covered hitting bays.
The development was approved by Manatee County commissioners in June.
Lesley Dwyer is a staff writer for East County and a graduate of the University of South Florida. After earning a bachelor’s degree in professional and technical writing, she freelanced for the Sarasota Herald-Tribune. Lesley has lived in the Sarasota area for over 25 years.