The first golf course in more than 15 years is being built in Stillwater Jax Daily Record | Jacksonville Daily Record

A lifestyle change ends a more than 15 year drought in the construction of a new golf course in northeast Florida.

“Active Adult Communities,” which are subdivisions aimed at homeowners 55 and over, offer what is known as a cruise lifestyle in their own neighborhood.

Along Florida 210, west of the Cimarrone Golf Club, Stillwater will contain an estimated 550 St. Johns County residential units.

Although prices have not yet been set, the properties are valued at between $ 200,000 and $ 400,000.

The houses are accompanied by an 18-hole golf course with an area of ​​6,000 to 6,500 meters, a restaurant and other amenities such as a fitness center, swimming pool, tennis courts as well as bocce and pickleball facilities.

The golf course and clubhouse are open to the public, but other amenities are for local residents only.

At the turn of the century, there were numerous golf course communities in northeast Florida.

Located along Florida 210, west of Interstate 95, are three – St. Johns Golf and Country Club, Cimarrone Golf Club, and South Hampton Golf Club – just a few miles apart.

The last new course in the area was the Palencia Club, which opened in 2004 at US 1 and the International Golf Parkway in St. Augustine.

With the 2008 recession, golf lost its popularity. It’s an expensive sport to play.

A weekend morning lap on an urban course can cost $ 40. Throwing in $ 5 to $ 10 for lost balls along with purchases of drinks and post-round lunch, players can easily win more than $ 60.

Then there is the time factor. An 18-hole round of golf lasts an average of four hours. Young adults with young children found it difficult to spend time playing golf and watching their children’s activities.

Bobby Weed, president of Bobby Weed Golf Design in Jacksonville Beach, says much of his job now has been restoring older golf courses.

Bobby Weed, President of Bobby Weed Golf Design, understands the pressures on the game’s popularity.

The Stillwater course is laid out in such a way that players can choose a fast three-hole, five-hole or nine-hole round. The design of the course brings players to the clubhouse more often than traditional designs.

His Jacksonville Beach-based company is still building new courses. It recently completed Michael Jordan’s own The Grove XXIII in Hobe Sound.

Weed said his company is fortunate enough to have back-to-back builds these days. Much of his work is now in restoring older courses.

A full restoration of the Ocean Course at the Ponte Vedra Inn & Club has just been completed.

“We fix what’s broken and try to make it more aesthetic from a design point of view to get a head start on the market,” Weed said.

Driving the market

The decline in new courses is simple math, Weed explained.

Northeast Florida, as in many areas of the country, has seen a steady decline in the number of new golfers compared to the number of existing golf courses.

The golf industry has addressed the problem by making the development of junior golf programs an increased priority.

The Stillwater course presents weed with unique design challenges.

“The majority of the players will be over 55 years of age. That will help me determine the type of course that will be built here,” he said.

“I don’t need to go long meters back. I don’t need a 7,000 yard golf course. I need a course that minimizes forced wear. Overall, I have to make it a fun and interesting golf course. “

The permanent effects of COVID-19 can make the community more attractive. Many people work from home and are not tied to a traditional 9-to-5 work schedule.

The 18-hole golf course in Stillwater is designed for players aged 55 and over. Upon completion, the course will be operated by Hampton Golf.

Finish a project by 11 a.m. and a resident can quickly play five holes of golf or visit the pool before joining a 3 p.m. conference call, said Travis Norman, CEO of Hampton Golf, who runs the Stillwater golf course and facilities becomes.

Golf gained popularity last spring, he said. It was one of the few activities that allowed people to gather during the lockdown.

“We see people re-introducing themselves to the game. It can start by hitting balls on the practice range and then result in them being brought onto the golf course, ”said Norman.

The Active Adult community concept differs from the traditional country club, said Matt Devereaux, division president of Lennar, Stillwater’s headquarters.

Matt Devereaux is division president of Lennar, Stillwater’s St. Johns County headquarters.

Miami-based Lennar is the country’s second largest contractor by volume and has 37 active communities in northeast Florida, he said.

Stillwater Golf Course could open in late 2021 and the community will take five to six years to expand. Therefore the golf course will be open to the public.

Residents will receive preferred tee times and other benefits, Devereaux said.

Once the property is completed and handed over to a homeowners association, that organization must decide whether it will remain open to the public.

In Stillwater, residents have access to all amenities with no additional membership fee other than an annual club fee.

“Membership” transfers to the home and is transferable to a buyer when the original owner sells.

While “active adult” communities are popular in other parts of Florida, Stillwater will test the demand for more golf communities, Devereaux said.

“In our market here in northeast Florida, it was an underserved market in my opinion. I think there is a great opportunity for the active adult in northeast Florida, ”he said.

“I think there is more and more demand for that. How long will this go no one knows. “

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