New-look Links golf course at Longboat Key near Sarasota, Florida: Worth more than a second look
LONGBOAT KEY, Fla. -- As part of a muti-million dollar 2015 renovation that also included The Resort at Longboat Key Club's Harbourside Course, the Links at Longboat Key near Sarasota, Florida has been vastly improved.
Architect Ron Garl was in charge of the renovation, which included thinning out pine trees and replacing them with more appropriate palms as well as sparkling new white bunkers, advanced irrigation and most dramatically, new grass.
The new turf is Platinum Paspalum, which gives the golf course a eye-popping color and outstanding playing conditions. The thicker bladed grass means the ball sits up better for higher handicappers and good players alike, and it no longer sits down in the Bermuda rough, where golf balls not only found difficult lies but were also sometimes difficult to spot. And as a greens grass, it putts surprisingly true and quicker than you might expect.
As for the course, the par 71 plays 6,748 yards from the blue (back) tees and is 5,413 yards from the forward tees (the shortest of four sets). Water can be found on the majority of holes and while the Gulf of Mexico isn't in view, it's just a couple hundred yards away, so wind is almost always a factor.
The spa, fitness center and golf shop are all located at the Links Clubhouse, as well as healthy patio dining at the club's Spike 'N Tee Restaurant.
Redesigned by Ron Garl and re-grassed with paspalum, the Links at Longboat Key Club is a vastly improved experience. Mike Bailey/Golf Advisor
With water down the left side and a few trees, the par-5 fourth on the Links at Longboat Key is the no. 3 handicap hole. Mike Bailey/Golf Advisor
The first par 3 on the Links at Longboat Key plays 194 yards. Mike Bailey/Golf Advisor
The sixth on the Links at Longboat Key is a difficult and somewhat lengthy par 4 from the back tees. Mike Bailey/Golf Advisor
Not surprisingly, water comes into play on the par-4 seventh on the Links at Longboat Key near Sarasota, Fla. Mike Bailey/Golf Advisor
The 11th, at 484 yards, is a reachable par 5, but it's anything but easy as the no. 5 handicap hole on the Links Course at The Resort at Longboat Key Club. Mike Bailey/Golf Advisor
Water flanks both sides of the par-4 18th on the Links Course at The Resort at Longboat Key Club near Sarasota, Florida. Mike Bailey/Golf Advisor