The coronavirus pandemic continues to shape daily life, but golf has emerged as one of the safest ways to feel some sense of normalcy amidst social-distancing guidelines and other restrictions on public gatherings.
As a result, the game is chugging along impressively. The pandemic has not managed to stop the opening of new golf facilities, either.
Michigan-based golf course architect Chris Wilczynski's latest project, the new Esplanade at Azario Lakewood Ranch, just east of Sarasota and Bradenton, became the newest golf course to open in Florida in recent weeks.
"The golf course was supposed to open in March. It just opened on May 18th," Wilczynski said.
Though the pandemic did slow the finishing touches on the course, golfers are now enjoying it, as shown by its 4.5-star rating through 11 reviews.
Wilczynski, who worked for noted architect Arthur Hills before hanging his own shingle in 2010, used gently seeping manufactured ground contours to create the central challenge, plus the course's 65 medium-depth bunkers. There are some ponds and wetland areas, but almost no forced carries, making it very playable. Though the course is part of a nascent real estate development, wide corridors ensure that it will not feel cramped, even when the houses are built.
Esplanade at Azario will become a private course once the development nears full build-out in a few years, but for now tee times are available for as low as $35 through GolfNow.
Listen to more of Wilczynski's updates, as well as his thoughts about how the coronavirus pandemic will affect the travel schedules of course architects and other industry trends, in the video above.