LAKES & preServe COURSEs
BONITA SPRINGS, FLORIDA
Program for Improvements developed in 2014
Renovation of Preserve Course completed in summer 2016
Renovation of Lakes Course completed in summer 2017
One of SW Florida’s most luxurious communities is also home to two dramatic, beautiful and distinctly different golf courses. The Preserve Course was designed by Arthur Hills and opened in 1992. The layout posesses tremendous natural beauty (hence its name), and this environment is also the primary challenge to its existence. Over time, the actual surrounding preserve area has matured, rendering the course quite confined and shaded in places. This is a great challenge for the greens, which require constant sunlight and air movement in order to thrive.
In 1993, I paired with Arthur to produce two additional 9-hole layouts that would later comprise what is know today as the Lakes Course, each nine being constructed seperately. Unlike the Preserve, the Lakes Course was very much out in the open – at the time of construction the site was no more than flat tomato fields, with no distinctive characteristics or definition at all. Our charge was to completely create interest and drama – a course that would provide not only a suitable partner to the existing course, but also a key amenity to the planned real estate component for the palacial homes which the course weaves through.
Flash forward to 2014 when I was appointed to conduct studies to improve both courses while also bringing their aging infrastructure elements up to date. The effort was initially prompted by the condition of the suffering greens and an antiquated irrigation system. Plans were developed to address these elements as well as the tees, bunkers, practice areas and a number of miscellaneous considerations for more of a wholististic approach.
In summer of 2016 we executed the full reconstruction of the Preserve Course, involving completely new tees, greens, bunkering, a new irrigation system and the conversion of the existing #419 turf to Celebration Bermudagrass. Improved drainage, cart paths, stacked capstone walls, along with an enlarged practice tee, practice putting green and short game area were all part of this working phase. The course re-opened for play in late December of the same year.
A similar undertaking was completed in the summer of 2017 on the Lakes Course, albeit with the influence of both a drought and record rainfalls, including the devastating impacts of Hurrican Irma. Although the work scope was quite similar to what we employed on the Preserve Course, the Lakes is a completely different animal - with a much more open scale and intensely more strategic - more of a players course, in a sense. Despite all the impacts by Mother Nature, the course finished up nearly on time but with the need to address both erosion and turf loss impacts. Still though, the course was ready for play in early January of 2018.
The end result, now that the work is complete, is two very distictive golf experiences (including greatly enhanced practice facilities) - much more variety for the members to choose from and enjoy as the Club enteres a new era of service and hospitality.
Champions Tour - Ace Group Classic, 2007
LINKS Premier Properties - World's Best Golf Communities - Eastern US, 2018