The Members Golf Club at The Ritz-Carlton, Sarasota is an exclusive facility available only to members of The Ritz-Carlton Members Club and guests of the resort.
The Tom Fazio-designed course is routed across more than 300 acres and the earth certainly moved for Fazio… nearly 2 million cubic yards in actual fact were shifted to create elevation changes and to shape the holes from a formerly flat parcel of land. “All the ingredients are here to make this a great golf course... to create that want-to-come-back feeling when you can't wait to tee it up and play again." Said Fazio.
Fazio’s Floridian portfolio was already large before the Ritz Carlton project came to fruition in 2006 and the Members Club certainly ranks as one of his better creations. The facility has already scooped a number of "best this" and "top that" awards.
The Ritz-Carlton Members Golf Club is recognised by Audubon International for its environmental excellence, designated as a Certified Audubon Cooperative Sanctuary.
From the tips, the Sarasota Members Club can be stretched to a whopping 7,400+ yards but with six tees from which to choose the golf course remains friendly enough for the high-handicapper while proving sufficiently challenging for most players. No fewer than sixteen lakes and the Braden River provide enough of a threat and you’ll do well to avoid a watery grave prior to putting out on the sanctuary of the home hole green. From the 14th hole onwards you’ll have water firmly on your mind. This is the stretch of holes that play havoc with many scorecards.
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Average Reviewers Score:
I had the opportunity to play here a couple of times in the last few month. This Tom Fazio course plays in a very nice scenery without any houses other than the club house in sight. The course tries to please everybody with tees varying over 2000 yards in length. In my opinion the course is set up too much on looking good and playability while it lacks of strategy. Nevertheless, the condition is always superb with fast greens and very well looked after trees and flowers. Conclusion: A very nice course to look at and play once but it starts to feel repetitious fast when playing there more often.
We played in March last year and can certainly vouch for the quality and exclusivity of the course. It is millionaires golf at its purest from the moment you arrive and see your name on a locker in the visitors area (we were staying at the Sarasota Ritz Calrton). Apparently they have around 200-300 actual members of which only around 100 play regularly! The club house is stunning and the practice facilities faultless (David Ledbetter was working with Suzanne Pettersen when we were there and the course is also home to Paula Creamer and Peter Uilein). The huge green fee ($240 for hotel guests - hey - it was my birthday!) includes a caddie and ours was excellent - showing us the better lines, running after balls, cleaning clubs etc etc. As for the course - I actually struggled to see much very special. There is a LOT of water & sand & waste areas, as you would expect in this neck of the woods, and the conditioning was faultless, with immaculate fairways and very slick and true greens. However, it all seened a little souless - probably not helped by there being so few people out and about. We played off the blues at around 6600 - so equivalent to my home white tees. No holes stand out in the memory, unlike two supposedly lesser courses we played nearby, Tara and Misty Creek (best one we played). Yes it was an experience, and I am sure off the black tees it is a whole different ball game - but we didn't feel stirred by the course at all unlike similarly rated UK courses like Saunton or the Hotchkin.