Palmetto Course at The Landings in Georgia basks in a Bill Bergin renovation; Clayton, DeVries and Pont to remake Scotland’s Spey Bay
Soleta Golf Club in Myakka City, Florida, is entering the Sarasota/Bradenton/Lakewood Ranch markets with a recently approved private residential club community that will feature extensive amenities, including a Nick Price-designed golf course, David Leadbetter practice and performance facility and family-focused sporting and social activities.
The planned Soleta community places a premium on quality and Old Florida charm that will appeal not only to golf aficionados but active families who seek a tranquil lifestyle. Over 500 acres of preserved land present an unspoiled environment featuring two scenic miles of the Myakka River, freshwater marshes, stands of mossy oaks, towering pines and native vegetation.
Construction of the Nick Price-designed golf course begins this fall and will be ready for play in late 2024. The 7,400-yard, par-72 Soleta Golf Club course is routed separately from the residences and amenity locations. Holes will wind through the sanctuary-like land and of great importance is the commitment to the preservation of all wetlands with absolutely no impacts to these sensitive areas.
Water conservation also is a critical issue, as is the enhancement of wildlife habitat and sound environmental stewardship. Price’s courses focus on the art of strategy and his designs embody a handcrafted approach that requires a significant investment of on-site visits.
“It’s an honor to have the opportunity to design the golf course at Soleta,” Price said. “We’re part of a great team assembled to create a special place for golfers to play, spend time with friends and have fun. The property has wetlands, uplands, open grassland and some great trees. We’ve laid out the golf course to take advantage and incorporate those natural features into the design of holes. I am also really happy that no wetlands have been impacted or eliminated anywhere on the property. These natural elements will be part of what gives the golf course its natural look and feel.”
Leadbetter is designing a world-class 30-acre signature practice and performance facility. In addition to the expansive outdoor practice areas, an indoor center will include a state-of-the-art biomechanics studio, clubfitting, a putting studio, simulators and other advanced training technologies.
"I am very excited to be involved with the Soleta Golf Club project," Leadbetter said. "I really feel it has tremendous potential to be one of the country’s leading new private clubs. The thing I am most pleased about is that we are designing a world-class practice facility, which is something I have always wanted to do. This state-of-the-art practice facility or field of dreams, as I like to call it, will be comprised of extensive long game, short game and on-course situations with all the latest technology to improve performance. We want Soleta to be known not only for its great golf course but also for its phenomenal practice complex."
Soleta is the name used by indigenous native Americans from the area for sandhill cranes.
— OCM Golf (@OCMGolf) June 21, 2023
SAVANNAH COURSE ENTERS HOME STRETCH
Architect Bill Bergin, in collaboration with construction firm Duininck Golf, are on the home stretch of their renovation of the Palmetto course at the Landings Golf & Athletic Club in Savannah, Georgia.
Originally designed by Arthur Hills in 1985, the Palmetto was the fourth of six eventual courses and has long been considered the most challenging of the group. Tweaked several times since its debut, the Palmetto required a healthy makeover to meet the demands of today’s players, according to the club.
"We are committed to proper maintenance and preservation of all of our assets," said Steven Freund, general manager at The Landings. "And, like everything else, golf course infrastructure has a lifespan. The Palmetto course may be our most comprehensive test of a golfer’s skill, but we needed to update greens, bunkers, irrigation, and tees to ensure the best conditions and relevance for the modern golf game."
Bergin and Duininck Golf aim to provide superior putting surfaces and rebuild the bunkers to enhance playability and maintainability.
A JUMP TO 21ST CENTURY
Links Golf Club, the new owner of Spey Bay Golf Club in northeast Scotland, has retained Clayton, DeVries & Pont (CDP) to make over the 116-year-old layout. Located at the mouth of the River Spey, the course was a 1907 design from Ben Sayers, a leading architect, clubmaker and teacher of the late 19th century and early 20th century.
CDP’s renovation will be led by Mike DeVries and supported by Frank Pont, Mike Clayton and Sam Cooper. The team intends to enhance the integration between the course, the native sand dunes and the coastline. The seaside links, on the Moray Firth will further benefit from the designers via enhanced shot values and playability, including more variety of shots off the tee and additional angles of attack from the fairway. New bunker placement will also elevate the playing experience.
“We are thrilled to have the opportunity to work with a group like Links Golf Club that embraces visionary thinking and is excited by the challenge of creating a truly unique golf experience in a spectacular location,” DeVries said. "Having the chance to work on a Scottish links course is the dream of every golf course architect. Although my colleagues are already doing so, this will be my first. We are excited to share our bold designs for Spey Bay very soon."
Chris Haspell will serve as an agronomy consultant during the renovation. He is well known for his work at Castle Stuart and Brora in Scotland and at Cabot Links in Canada.
“Our vision for Links Golf Club draws inspiration from the exceptional quality and community-first mindset that embodies Scottish golf,” said Jim Daily, Links Golf Club founder and CEO. “Spey Bay’s rich history, classic coastal setting, and location in one of the hottest emerging regions for golf travel perfectly complements our mission to build the modern golf membership.”
CDP is expected to start work on Spey Bay in autumn 2023.