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Our Rich History

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Bobby Jones Golf Club History
In January 2022, The City of Sarasota made a landmark decision to not only restore the Bobby Jones Golf Club - a beloved local landmark with historical significance - but also to conserve the land it sits on as green space in a conservation easement, in perpetuity.

Covering nearly 300 acres, the site will boast an 18-hole course originally designed by renowned golf architect, Donald Ross, as well as miles of winding walking/bike paths through Sarasota’s beautiful natural landscape.

In its heyday, people from around the world traveled to Sarasota to play at Bobby Jones Golf Club, including notable celebrities and athletes such as Babe Ruth, and PGA Champion, Paul Azinger. In recent years, due to the recession, the facility had fallen into disrepair due to a lack of funds for maintenance, and attendance had significantly dwindled. When the COVID-19 pandemic hit, the club was closed, and its future was uncertain.

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Renovating and Conserving a Legendary Property
In May of 2020, the City opened the site to allow community members to walk or jog along the old golf cart paths, but the golf course and clubhouse remained closed. As Commissioners and City Staff worked on a solution, the community rallied in support of protecting the local landmark, along with the hundreds of acres of lush Florida landscape it sits upon.

On Monday, January 10th, 2022, Sarasota City Commissioners made a historic vote to not only renovate the original 18-hole Donald Ross Golf Course, create an additional 9-hole short course, and build a new clubhouse and restaurant - but also to put in place a conservation easement that will permanently protect the land from future development. Over half the site will be a future home to a 100+ acre nature park, immediately adjacent to the municipal golf course.

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Sarasota's "Central Park"
The conservation easement, managed by the Conservation Foundation of the Gulf Coast, limits future use of the land to recreation, parkland, and green space. Dubbed Sarasota’s own “Central Park”, this marks the first time in the City’s history that public land will be conserved in perpetuity.

The regional water quality benefits are substantial, as the property also plays a critical role in the area’s watershed. Future on-site wetlands already funded by state, federal and SWFMD dollars, will clean and filter billions of gallons of polluted stormwater runoff before it reaches Sarasota Bay. Four aquifers underneath the property substantially contribute to the quality of the area's drinking water, and the lush landscape provides a habitat for a wide variety of local wildlife.

In addition to approving the conservation easement and renovation of the original Donald Ross-designed golf course, the Commission is also exploring a request by Sarasota County to use 12 acres of land to build a regional destination playground, benefitting residents and visitors alike.

In golf, the most important distance is the five inches between the ears.
-Bobby Jones