FORT MYERS, Fla. (Sept. 22, 2006) – Work on Verandah’s new golf course, Whispering Oak, co-designed by Jack Nicklaus and Jack Nicklaus II is more than 75 percent complete and is on schedule for a late December 2006 opening.
“We’ve grassed in 13 holes and three of the five remaining are in a partial grass state,” said Ralph Haskins, director of development for The Bonita Bay Group, which is developing the 1,456-acre master-planned community along a 1.75-mile stretch of the Orange River. “As long as the weather cooperates, we fully expect to open by the end of the year.”
Jack Nicklaus II visited the job site in early September and was pleased with the progress. “This course has evolved into something unique, interesting and entertaining,” he noted. “It is certainly a golf course we can all be proud of. The Verandah project has been a collaborative effort – from my father’s input to the contributions by our Nicklaus Design team, including Tom Pearson and Doug Morey, to The Bonita Bay Group’s Ralph Haskins, to the locally based contractor, Golf Forms. Everyone involved has been a big influence on how this golf course has taken shape.”
If the course remains on schedule, the unveiling will come exactly three years after the Bob Cupp-designed Old Orange course opened at Verandah. Whispering Oak has shaped up as a wonderful complement to the classic golf styling of Verandah’s first course. Nicklaus said it also harmonizes with the natural attributes of the community. “There are natural elements, such as a number of pockets of large oak trees, that we were able to keep intact and utilize in the look and strategy,” he said.
The designer said golfers will experience Whispering Oak’s true personality in its greens. “We did some very unique and creative things with the green complexes,” he said. “One green has a bunker style inspired by the Road Hole at St. Andrews, and another, No. 15, is probably 6,000 square feet, yet only 3,000 of that is usable for pin placements. We took significant aprons off the tops of the greens, leaving only the perched areas as usable. There will be some fun challenges to the greens at Verandah.”
The Verandah course, said Nicklaus, continues Nicklaus Design’s emphasis on interesting greens. “A golf course without interesting greens is almost defenseless because of today’s technology,” he said. “The subtle changes in green elevations and creating small pin placements within the green allow us to put some teeth back in the golf course.”
Verandah – selected as the Lee Building Industry Association’s Community of the Year in April 2005 – opened for sales in February 2003 and was named Florida’s first green land development two months later by the Florida Green Building Coalition. Each single-family model home at Verandah has been constructed to meet the coalition’s requirements for green home certification, and residents have the ability to choose construction and feature options that conserve natural resources, improve indoor air quality and reduce energy consumption.
Verandah’s single-family homebuilders are offering increased energy efficiency through Florida Power & Light Company’s BuildSmart(R) program. Structured wiring is being built into each home to facilitate always-on, high-speed Internet access, as well as a wide range of options for home automation.
Nearly 70 percent of Verandah’s 1,456 acres will be open space, including natural preserve areas, parks, wetlands, lakes, golf course and a conservation buffer to help maintain the unique character of the community’s riverfront. Verandah will offer more than nine miles of walkways, paths and fitness trails.
Verandah’s amenities are located in River Village, the community’s social hub with individual buildings nestled into an expansive oak hammock. The amenities include The Golf House pro shop; Oak Park with the community treehouse; The Boat House, featuring Blossom’s community grill, a canoe and kayak livery and multi-level decks overlooking the river; tennis and fitness center; and The River House, featuring Jesse Fish lounge, the 120-seat Alligator Pear restaurant and the open-air River Terrace overlooking the river.
Verandah offers estate, custom and traditional single-family homes, villas and coach homes with home and homesite packages priced from the $300,000s to more than $1 million.
The Verandah Sales Center is located two miles east of I-75 on State Road 80. For more information, visit www.Verandah.com, or call (866) 314-2839 toll-free.