Two for the Tees
Global Traveler|August 2021
Meet up at Esplanade at Azario for a friendly game.
FRANCIS X. GALLAGHER

I have flown back and forth to the Sarasota area over the past 15 months, scouting office locations as we continue to grow our footprint even through the pandemic. I try my best to squeeze in a few rounds of golf here and there to keep my game in somewhat decent form. On one of these trips I was lucky to find a displaced golfer from Boston (via Ireland) spending the COVID period in Florida while transitioning to a new position in the U.A.E. It is always good to have a fellow golfer to tee up and play some new courses with. We have played early in the morning and late in the afternoon, and it has worked well around my schedule. This morning, we secured an early tee time at Esplanade at Azario, part of the Lakewood Ranch complex.

The 18-hole Esplanade is an above-par facility designed by Chris Wilczynski and his relatively new company, CW Golf Architecture, hired by leading national homebuilder Taylor Morrison. Chris’s two courses — Esplanade Golf & Country Club in Naples and Lakewood Ranch — earned a place on Golf Digest’s 2014 “Best New Courses” list.

GPS took me to a parking lot of a shopping center, and after talking to my golf partner, I was directed about another mile to the course entrance. The team at the course, friendly and helpful, said this happens to everyone. A lot of homes remain under construction; as with many Florida developments, the course is built first and the homes follow. I learned the housing market is so hot, Lakewood does not even confirm final prices for lots when buyers place their down payment.

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