SARASOTA, Fla. (WWSB) - Finally, a decision has been made. The Sarasota City Commission has decided to downsize Bobby Jones Golf Club from 45 holes to 36.
“There’s just nothing in the world like it,” said Keith Miller.
She’s been playing at Bobby Jones Golf Club since 1993. For Miller, Bobby Jones means 18 holes. But it’s also the big trees, the wildlife, the accommodating staff.
“It is more than just golf," she said. "It’s relationship, it’s social and I am just over the moon about this decision.”
After a lot of deliberation, City Commissioners approved this new design.
There’s a total of 27 regulation, or what you’d consider regular holes, plus another 9-hole short course. The new design also includes a new driving range and about 50 acres for environmental park space.
“We may eventually see some lawn bowling in that complex, could be some additional pickle-ball courts," explained City Manager Tom Barwin. "But at this point, we’re as far as bicycle paths and pedestrian paths into what really is an incredible 300 acres of property.”
Commissioners haven’t made the final call about the conservation easement just yet, but they did decide to look further into it. This could preserve the entire 300 acre land, still allowing for any amount of golf with the addition of those new recreational features, but it would prohibit any development here forever.
“To clean the air, clean the water, and provide open natural space for people to go out and get some exercise and just enjoy fresh air and the natural environment," explained Barwin.
The Conservation Foundation of the Gulf Coast would tap into philanthropists and grants to help fund the green space maintenance.
As for the renovations, the Commission has agreed to pay about $15 million, using grants and the general fund.
The beginning of construction is set to begin in 18 months and take less than one year.