Lakewood Ranch to expand golf course and athletic club

srocco@bradenton.comAugust 21, 2013 

LAKEWOOD RANCH -- Growing membership at the Lakewood Ranch Golf and Country Club, prompted Shroeder-Manatee Ranch, Lakewood Ranch's developer, to expand its club's athletic center and Royal Lakes Golf Course.

The club will see the addition of a double-ended driving range and practice area, an expansion to the athletic center and a new clubhouse.

Shroeder-Manatee Ranch CEO Rex Jensen said the main reason behind expanding the country club is the desire to offer more amenities to Lakewood Ranch residents and to meet the needs of an increasing number of members.

"While other clubs have been losing members, we have not," Jensen said.

The existing 11,000-square-foot fitness center will be expanded by 6,900-square-feet.

Pickleball courts will also be installed to divide tennis players and pickleball players who often get in each other's way, Jensen said.

The Royal Lakes golf course will add the driving range and a 10,000- to 12,000-square-foot clubhouse with a golf shop, casual restaurant and paved parking lot.

To determine what the country club needed, officials distributed an extensive survey to club members.

"The type of clubhouse that we're doing is responsive of the survey we took," Jensen said. Members "wanted something that is focused around casual dining and will take advantage of views over the golf course."

All three projects will start immediately. Jensen predicts that the driving range could be done by fall 2014, the athletic center in the next 18 months and the club house is about two years away.

The expansion will bring about 36 jobs to Lakewood Ranch, but Jensen said there could be opportunities for more positions as the project moves along.

The entire plan will cost several million dollars, but an exact number has not been calculated.

"It's all very preliminary," Jensen said.

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