New course debuts in Florida community

Architect Chris Wilczynski worked with developer Taylor Morrison to create Esplanade at Azario Lakewood Ranch.

Courtesy of Chris Wilczynski
Taylor Morrison unveiled its new 18-hole championship golf course within the Esplanade at Azario Lakewood Ranch community on May 15. Designed by golf course architect Chris Wilczynski, ASGCA, the course is now open to the public with special introductory prices.
“Esplanade at Azario Lakewood Ranch is an exciting new addition to Lakewood Ranch, a highly desired location for new housing in Manatee County,” said Joseph Fontana, division president of Taylor Morrison Sarasota. “We were excited to work with Chris again to build a golf course that residents will enjoy for many years to come. Chris understands the vision of our Esplanade brand and helped us develop a golf course that complements its signature lifestyle.”
“It was an honor to partner with Taylor Morrison again to create another state-of-the-art golf course that reflects their vision of the Esplanade brand and will provide Azario residents and the Lakewood Ranch community with an exceptional golf experience,” Wilczynski said. “Our goal was to create a course that’s visually dynamic and fun for players of all abilities. I’m excited for people to experience it.”
The golf course, which sits within the approximately 1,000-acre Azario community, provides homes with picturesque views and a serene setting. Five of the Esplanade at Azario holes will be played along and through mature oaks and pines. Hole 12, “Enclave,” plays to a raised green surrounded by several deep bunkers and Florida’s native vegetation. Hole 17, “Big Oak,” requires a bold tee shot across a lake to the multitiered 9,000-square foot green, adjacent to the largest native oak on the property. Wilczynski’s signature touch of building within mature trees is visible throughout, elevating the beauty and memorability of the course. With six sets of tees that play from 3,500 to over 7,000 yards, the layout features wide fairways, randomly placed strategic bunkering and 18 masterfully designed greens.
Working with a flat canvas, the team turned challenges into beautiful solutions. To add dimension to the otherwise flat land, Wilczynski and his team dug several large man-made lakes and used the soil from the excavation to construct the golf course, residential lot pads and roads. 
“The extensive earthmoving and detailed landscape that we created for each hole brings a dramatic transformation to the property not found elsewhere,” Wilczynski said. 
The golf course, which will ultimately be a resident-only private golf venue, provides a scenic tour through 18-holes of rolling grounds within the Esplanade at Azario Lakewood Ranch community, where new homes are now selling. Residents of Esplanade at Azario Lakewood Ranch will have access to the golf course in addition to an array of planned resort amenities. The Esplanade at Azario Lakewood Ranch community and golf course are managed by Pope Properties and Pope Golf.
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