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Stillwater unveils new golf course with new concepts for play, maintenance

Once nearly automatic, the idea of building a golf course with a master-planned community went out of favor here in the early 2000s.

But a new community with a new concept for golf recently unveiled its almost-finished product over the weekend.

Stillwater, an age-restricted community by Lennar off of County Road 210 in St. Johns County, celebrated the grand opening of Stillwater Golf and Country Club on Saturday. Renowned course designed Bobby Weed was on hand to point out some of the unique features of the design — some aimed at maintenance professionals and others added for more flexibility and enjoyment for the average player.

It's the first new golf course in the area in about 20 years.

"Development golf drove our industry for so long, and then it kind of dried up and people ran from golf," Weed said. "But during the pandemic, it seemed like golf kind of had a resurgence, significant resurgence. And I think it's great to build another golf course with the development associated with it."

Weed designed “loops” of three, six, nine, and 12 holes that start and finish near the clubhouse. Members are given the freedom to play as their time allows.

"I think that fits the new lifestyle that we're all in living in today," Weed said. "So we're excited about that."

Unlike many other courses in Northeast Florida, Stillwater will eventually go private when the community of 549 homes is full.

Stillwater golf club membership comes included with home purchase. There are no non-residential memberships available, but the public may reserve tee times beginning mid-September.

“This incredible Bobby Weed-designed course sets Stillwater apart from any other active adult community in the region,” said Matt Figlesthaler, vice president of sales and marketing for Lennar Jacksonville, in a release. “With bundled golf club memberships, beautifully designed new homes, world-class amenities, and weekly events, residents at Stillwater will experience the ultimate active lifestyle at a tremendous value.”

To make the course a bigger entertainment center, Stillwater has a 16-acre practice facility. The lighted driving range has covered hitting bays equipped with Toptracer Range. Players of all skill levels can receive instant feedback on their swing and distance data.

The practice facility also includes three putting and chipping greens.

Stillwater was designed with an eye toward environmental stewardship. With only 70 acres of irrigated turf (148 total acres), the following attributes are exemplified throughout the golf course:

  • Up to 25 million gallons of water to be saved annually from non-irrigated areas
  • TifTuf Bermuda grass fairways, tees, and approaches use 38% less water than similar varieties
  • No rough; all fairways are mowed using a single height of cut
  • Non-irrigated centipede grass native areas offer contrasting swaths of texture and color
  • 18 acres of shell screenings replace cart paths, reduce maintenance and deliver visual contrast

To keep bunker maintenance to a minimum, Weed's team installed sod wall EcoBunkers — layers of artificial sod stacked at 55- to 60-degree angles to fortify the bunker edges and create the visual appeal of Scottish-style pot bunkers.

"I think we're being a good steward of the environment, setting a new standard," Weed said. "So from an environmental standpoint, I think it's going to be very, very user friendly, and I think everyone in our industry is trying to be more conscious of that today. And certainly we wanted to make a statement here."

Source: Jacksonville Business Journal