Stillwater – A New Playground Awaits
The First Coast of Florida received a big boost to its repertoire of superb golf courses and resorts last month. It has been 20 years since a new golf course was built in the area. The extraordinary new entry, Stillwater Golf & Country Club, a Bobby Weed original design opened with a media day in August which I attended. The golf course is part of the wonderful amenity package available to homebuyers in the Lennar active-adult community development of Stillwater, off Highway 210 in St. Johns County just west of the I-95 exit.
“This incredible Bobby Weed design sets Stillwater apart from any other active adult community in the region,” Matt Figlesthaler, VP of Sales & Marketing for Lennar Jacksonville, said. “With bundled golf club memberships, beautifully designed new homes, world-class amenities, and weekly events, residents of Stillwater will experience the ultimate active lifestyle at a tremendous value.”
Stillwater Unique Design
Within the golf course’s routing, Weed has designed “loops” of three, six, nine and twelve holes that start and finish near the clubhouse. Players with limited time can choose between the different loops to get in a few holes. Families can enjoy a short round with new players participating, and members can play games using them as well. The 16-acre practice facility includes three putting and chipping greens, highlighted by a 16,041 square-foot Himalayan-style putting course with incredible mounding and swales. The driving range will be a ‘rain or shine’ destination. It is lighted with covered hitting bays equipped with Toptracer Range technology. Players of all skill levels can receive instant feedback on their swing and distance data.
“Stillwater delivers terrific shot values with ample playing areas that encourage the old-style game of low, running approach shots,” says Weed. “It is incumbent upon us as architects to be good stewards of the environment, while simultaneously designing courses that create, interest, flexibility and fun. We accomplished these goals at Stillwater Golf & Country Club.”
The layout winds through an area of natural wetlands with cypress, pine, and oak trees. With only 70 acres(less than half the total acreage) of irrigated turf with effluent water, the course will save up to 25 million gallons of water from non-irrigated natural vegetation and centipede grass areas. A new strain of Bermuda grass, TifTuf, uses 38% less water than similar varieties. There is no rough, all fairways are efficiently mowed using a single height cut, as well as the green surrounds for easy entry to the smooth greens. Instead of concrete cart paths, Bobby laid 18 acres of shell screenings as paths delivering a visual contrast and reduced maintenance.
Playing the course, golfers will become aware of one of the key features to Stillwater’s unique Weed design-EcoBunkers. The first in the area to use them, Bobby and his team placed these new stacked artificial sod wall bunkers throughout the golf course to create the visual appeal of Scottish-style pot bunkers. From a player’s perspective, it gives the golf course a new dimension and adds aesthetic value to the design. According to Weed they are environmentally sustainable and can save costs versus traditional bunkers. My playing partners found themselves in numerous eco bunkers during our round. Some were no problem getting out of and then there were the penal ones.
Another unique feature is an old Pete Dye use of planking instead of vertical bulkheads. Elegant lay-down walls of treated timber planks are seamlessly tied together, then stylishly angled from the playing surface to the water.
Lennar chose Hampton Golf, the premier golf course management company headquartered in Jacksonville, Florida as the managing partner for Stillwater. Hampton, which manages over 30 properties across the country, will focus on creating an active adult lifestyle setting for the residents while managing the golf course, clubhouse with poolside snack bar, an on-site restaurant, resort-style swimming pool, tennis, pickleball, and bocce ball courts and a host of other amenities.
“Lennar is known for great communities with first-class golf courses as a central activity. This is a milestone for the area and it means a lot of growth and vitality for the game of golf here on the First Coast,” said M. G. Orender, President of Hampton Golf. “The timing couldn’t be better. Working with Lennar and Bobby Weed to bring a new community and golf course to life provides a great opportunity.”
For more information please visit StillwaterGCC.com