Getting To Know: The Resort at Longboat Key Club
An Insightful Interview With Terry O'Hara, The Resort at Longboat Key Club
By Brian Weis
Whether you have played a course 20+ times a year or looking to play the course for the first time, insights from an insider can help enhance your golf experience. Below is an interview with Terry O'Hara who shares some valuable tidbits about the course, memorable holes and must eats and treats at the 19th.
Give Our Readers An Overview of the Golf Course/Property
The Resort at Longboat Key Club is a 410-acre beachfront resort and private membership club located on the barrier island of Longboat Key, just off the coast of Sarasota, Florida. The Resort and Links on Longboat Golf Course are bordered on the west by the Gulf of Mexico with the Harbourside Golf Course, Longboat Key Club Moorings and Tennis Gardens bordered by Sarasota Bay on the east.
With an emphasis on privacy, exclusivity, and personalized service, The Resort at Longboat Key Club is a true luxury vacation destination offering tennis, golf, fitness facilities, The Spa, private beach access, a 291 slip deep-water marina, and 8 restaurants and lounges all at one property. Renowned as a beautiful, tropical island paradise, resort guests will feel pampered and away from it all yet still have easy access to local attractions, shopping, dining, cultural events and two international airports.
Links on Longboat - Located on the south end of Longboat Key and a short walk from the resort center, Links on Longboat offers 18 holes of championship golf in a lush tropical setting. Designed by Bill Mitchell and opened for play in 1960, this 6,792 yard, par 72 "watery challenge" borders the Gulf of Mexico. During the construction of this barrier island golf course, canals were dredged to bring water hazards into play on all 18 holes. All of the greens, sand traps, and cart paths have been recently upgraded. More than 5,000 palm trees, along with pink and white Oleanders, line the fairways and canals making it one of Florida's most beautiful and challenging golf courses.
Harbourside Golf Course - Located approximately three miles from the resort center, Harbourside consists of three elegantly appointed nine-hole golf courses originally designed by Willard Byrd of Atlanta and opened for play in 1982. With an abundance of holes situated along scenic Sarasota Bay and Longboat Key Club Moorings, Harbourside provides another exciting challenge for seasoned golfers. The redesigned Red Hawk course measures 3,323 yards in length; the White course boasts3,426 yards, and the Blue Heron course redesigned in 2005 offers 3,386 yards. The championship layout provides a completely different golf experience from the Islandside golf course. Harbourside plays through virgin stands of live oak, Sabal palm, strangler fig, palmetto, Fiddleleaf palm, Washingtonian palm, and southern pine trees. In 2005 and 2006, the Blue and Red nines were redesigned by renowned Florida golf course architect, Ron Garl. The Resort's location in a bird sanctuary also brings an abundance of waterfowl to these courses.
If Someone Was Looking To Golf In The Area, Why Should They Play Your Course?
Both Links on Longboat and Harbourside golf courses are PGA approved and offer driving ranges; clubhouses with indoor/outdoor dining and beverage service; and two fully-stocked pro shops with a large selection of golf apparel and equipment. Locker rooms feature lounge areas, showers, televisions and an attendant for towel service and shoe cleanings. Bag and club storage is complimentary for full time members. Callaway golf club rental is available at both courses. Group and individual instruction, custom club fitting, and repair services are also available.
A Golfer's Paradise
If paradise was a golf course, it would surely be the Longboat Key Club.
The transformation of the Longboat Key Club golf courses has been a labor of love over the past three years, but all that effort and a multitude of resources has given us one of the most spectacular golf destinations in the state of Florida.
The third and final phase of the redesign was complete at the end of 2016 with the touches to the White Egret Nine at Harbourside. As the last piece in the three year, twenty million dollar, forty-five hole conversion of the entire golf facility, the project will have touched every facet of both courses, Links on Longboat at Islandside and the Red Hawk, Blue Heron and White Egret courses at Harbourside.
Through the talents of Chief Golf Architect, Ron Garl, the White Egret Nine became distinct in its design to embolden and stimulate every level of player while providing a captivating and tranquil experience.
"The goal was to capture the Old Florida Charm and at the same time dramatically increase the playability of the White Egret Nine" says Garl.
This was achieved through the addition of native features, raising tees to enhance sight lines and creating strategy with new contouring and reduced bunkering. Converting to Platinum Paspallum grass throughoutthe courses has also been a game changer at the resort and club. The grass is visually striking, the playability of it is off the charts and most importantly, it is tolerant to the water quality on the island. The White Egret Nine course remains in line with the prior thirty-six hole changes offering increased playability, reduced fertility and water consumption, reflecting the nuances of its beachfront location. This nine design has essentially remained the same since the original design of the early 1980's, it always was a very narrow, tree lined, back and forth routing. Removal of non-native plantings and expanding the water-holding capacity of the new landscaping allowed us to create a more genuine and indigenous setting with much larger landing areas for a full spectrum of golf enthusiasts. The real fun and strategy will be found in and around the greens. It truly is a remarkable transformation of the nine, at the same time fitting nicely into the total forty-five hole experience.
From concept to construct, this new perspective for the White Egret Nine at Harbourside brings forth a renewed collaboration of design and play. This course now caters to the essence of the game while respecting the caliber of its player.
At Links on Longboat, located at the Islandside area of the resort, players will experience new tees, renovated fairway bunkers and subtle changes to the out of play areas, now enhanced with native plantings. The native area design is intended to take areas normally out of play and fashion them into sustainable beachscapes. This reduces the carbon footprint while adding a welcoming ambiance to Links on Longboat. The tee boxes have been raised and leveled using laser grading technology which improves your sight lines and the overall playability of the course. Square footage has been significantly increased and the shape has been restored to the classic square sides. The fairway bunkers have been softened, are more playable and the sand matches that of the greenside bunkers.
Hole # 6 was changed significantly replacing the fairway bunker with a grass depression to keep errant shots out of the water. Redesigning and renovating a golf course is a labor of love, the perfect combination of art and science and a harmonious blending of vision, stewardship, hard work and strategic planning. Links on Longboat is a truly beautiful and challenging course for any level player.
Redesigning and renovating a golf course is a labor of love, the perfect combination of art and science and a harmonious blending of vision, stewardship, hard work and strategic planning. Whether you are indulging in a golf getaway, participating in a corporate tournament or considering Club Membership, 45 holes of this "golfer's paradise" will greet you and have you booking your next tee time before you leave. Consider a membership at Longboat Key Club if you want access to the best courses on the west coast of Florida. If you are visiting from out of town indulge yourself in a golf getaway that will surely be memorable
What Tips or Local Knowledge Would You Provide To Help Them Score Better At Your Course?
The long ball hitters need to think more about placement when playing either course. Most holes have water on the course and if you are erratic with the driver it could be a long day. Playing to the 150 yard poles is a great strategy and one that will you allow you to score your best.
Recent Awards or What You Are Most Proud About The Course?
The Resort at Longboat Key Club boasts a decorated list of awards ranging from ones praising the overall property, to specific sport and meeting awards honoring the upscale niche experiences on property.
Here's a snapshot of a few coveted accolades:
* AAA Four-Diamond Award, 33 consecutive years
* Conde Nast Traveler,#7 Top 30 Florida Resorts, Gulf Coast,201 6
* CondeNast Traveler, Top 100 Resort Spas, U.S., 2014
* Travel+Leisure, 500 World's Best Hotels list,2014
* Florida Department of Environmental Protection's Green Lodging Program
* Sarasota County's Green Business Partnership
* Keep Sarasota County Beautiful-Land, Sea, and Air Preservation Award 2008
* Successful Meetings, Pinnacle Award, 2016
* Meetings & Conventions, Gold Key Award
* Corporate & Incentive Travel, Greens of Distinction Award
* Golf Digest ,"Best Places to Play"
* Tennis Resorts Online,#6 Tennis Resort Worldwide,2016
* Tennis Magazine, #1 Tennis Resort, Gulf Coast of Florida, 2012; Top Ten Tennis Resort Nationwide, 2
* USTA 2009 "Outstanding Facility Award",The Tennis Gardens
* Top 25 Marina, North America, Power & Motor yacht Magazine, 2014
* Sarasota Herald Tribune, "Best Boat Yard and Marina Finalist", 2011
* Certified Florida Clean Marina, 13 Consecutive Years
* ValvTect Marina of the Year, 2011
What Is The Signature, Most Talked About, or Most Photographed Hole?
Blue Heron # 5, at Harbourside
What Is Your Favorite Hole? Any Tips to Play It?
The favorite of most players is the new Redesigned Par 4 9th hole at Links. Once a Par 5 the hole was redesigned to make it a very challenging Par 4. Water down the left side and a big lake in front of the green make it very challenging and scenic at the same time.
Must Have Dish or Drink after the round at the 19th Hole?
At Links on Longboat check out Spike 'n Tees, the casual spot that serves breakfast and lunch overlooking the golf
and fitness facilities. The menu includes the freshest lunch buffet complete with a live grill. Wash it all down with fresh organic smoothies or creative non-alcoholic beverages or regular cocktails and beer if you prefer.
At the Harbourside Course there is no better spot to check into after your game than the Tavern & Whiskey Bar, aptly named for its premium selection of over 100 whiskies and bourbons. The menu touts farm-fresh selections noted daily on the centrally located blackboard menu. Seasonal produce and traditional tavern favorites round out a menu featuring daily specials.
Who Holds Course Record and What Was Their Score?
At Links it's a 63 by Assistant Golf Professional, Bob Brusso and Junior Golfer, Jack O'Hara. Both had the course record in 2016.
At Harbourside the course record at 65 is held by Director of Instruction, Barry Cheesman.
Back Tee Stats
The Resort at Longboat Key Club 220 Sands Point Road Longboat Key, FL, 34228 (941) 383-8821
Revised: 02/02/2017 - Article Viewed 12,928 Times
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About: Brian Weis
Brian Weis is the Publisher of GolfTrips.com, a network of golf travel and directory sites including GolfWisconsin.com, GolfMichigan.com, ArizonaGolfer.com, GolfAlabama.com, etc. Professionally, Brian is a member of the Golf Writers Association of America (GWAA), International Network of Golf (ING), Golf Travel Writers of America (GTWA), International Golf Travel Writers Association (IGTWA) and The Society of Hickory Golfers (SoHG). In 2016, Brian won The Shaheen Cup, an award given to a golf travel writer by his peers.
All of his life, Brian has been around the game of golf. As a youngster, Brian competed at all levels in junior and high school golf. Brian had a zero chance for a college golf scholarship, so he worked on the grounds crew at West Bend Country Club to pay for his University of Wisconsin education. In his adult years, his passion for the game collided with his entrepreneurial spirit and in 2004 launched GolfWisconsin.com. In 2007, the idea for a network of local golf directory sites formed and GolfTrips.com was born. Today, the network consists of a site in all 50 states supported by national sites like GolfTrips.com, GolfGuide.com and GolfPackages.com. It is an understatement to say, Brian is passionate about promoting golf and golf travel on a local, regional, national and international level.
On the golf course, Brian is known as a fierce weekend warrior that fluctuates between a 5-9 handicap. With a soft fade, known as "The Weis Slice", and booming 300+ drives, he can blast it out of bounds with the best of them.
Contact Brian Weis:
GolfTrips.com - Publisher and Golf Traveler