Closure of Bobby Jones Trails to Allow Initial Restoration of Golf Course | sarasota

The nature and exercise trails at Bobby Jones Golf Club will close beginning Tuesday to allow renovations to the golf course to begin, the city announced this afternoon.

Closed to golfers since the first weeks of the COVID-19 pandemic and reopened in mid-2020 as a series of nature trails, Bobby Jones is in line for a restoration of its original 18-hole course, designed he nearly a century ago by renowned golf course architect Donald Ross, who designed some of the most iconic courses in the United States.

Under the current construction schedule, the regulation 18-hole course could reopen in November, with a shorter adjustable nine-hole course ready to be played by January 2023. The city said the nature trails could reopen when the 18 hole course would.

In addition, a player development center, a large driving range, a short game training area and a clubhouse with restaurant will be built.

Golf course architect and city consultant Richard Mandell said the restored course would lay out the path from holes 10 to 18 of the two courses known to Bobby Jones as the American and British sides, which is the track of Ross’ original design. The course is expected to measure 6,715 yards and play to a par of 71.

City commissioners approved the renovation plans in January, which halve the number of regulatory holes but also set aside around 150 acres for nature parkland on the site. They also approved the construction of the basic framework of the park.

City leaders approved a $20 million bond to fund the work and an agreement with the Conservation Foundation of the Gulf Coast to partner on a conservation easement for the entire 261-acre property.

The Southwest Florida Water Management District approved a $1.5 million grant for a wetland and water quality improvement project at the site.

The conservation easement agreement means that the land will remain protected in perpetuity.

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