In 1971, Joe Lee designed a golf course nestled in the northwest corner of Orange County called Errol Estate Country Club. It was soon heralded as a gem, and Lee emerged as one of the top golf course architects in the business.
Two years later, the club was doing so well they had Lee build another nine holes. The 27 holes were described as elegant, contemporary and modern for its time. The land itself looks as if it belongs in North Carolina rather than Central Florida. Lee took full advantage of its hilly terrain, large lakes, occasional forests and even wetlands to design what at the time was considered one of the best courses in the area. In short, it was a classic.
But that was over 40 years ago.
Today The Apopka Golf and Tennis Club at Errol is a struggling golf course in transition. The Signature H Property Group has entered into a joint venture to redevelop the course into a more modern and profitable venture.
Signature H announced it would redesign and relocate the 6th through 9th holes, and redevelop the entire course to some extent. They plan to have Lakeland-based golf course architect Steve Smyers make those changes.
Like Lee, Smyers has a great reputation with diverse designs like Bella Collina Country Club in Lake County, Isleworth CC in Orlando, Southern Dunes Golf and CC in Haines City, and his masterpiece design – the Old Memorial Golf Club in Tampa.
Smyers is excited to begin the redesign of holes 6-9 and the redevelopment of the entire course.
"The property with its unique combination of nicely flowing topography, pleasant mix of forested, open areas, watercourses and lakes, make for the creation of a truly world class golf experience," Smyers said in an email statement. “The site lends itself for the development of a visually stimulating, environmentally and economically sustainable golf course. One that will be able to provide a thorough examination of one’s golfing talents while at the same time providing an excellent place for the everyday golfer to enjoy the game, the environment and the people. Staghorn Golf Club has the potential to develop into one of the best golf courses in the state of Florida. I am honored to serve as the golf course architect for this most exciting project."
According to Signature H, the redevelopment will include new tees, fairways, bunkers and greens. It will add new eco-friendly grasses and modern equipment that will lower maintenance costs and create a more sustainable golf operation. The goal is to develop the course into a championship caliber course to promote tournaments and destination golf.
Even Lee, the iconic architect of Errol, understood the need for change.
“Golf course design is never finished, he once said. "It’s always in a state of transition."
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