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The Founders Club Visit Website
Sarasota, Florida, USA
Design Style: Parkland Course Type: Private
Setting: Inland


In 1880, a Scotsman named John Hamilton Gillespie founded the town of Sarasota, Florida. He also built a two-hole golf course that was among the first constructed in the United States. The Founders Club, an exclusive private club designed by Robert Trent Jones II in Sarasota, was named to honor Gillespie and the golf roots he planted.

In creating this lowland course on relatively flat terrain, RTJ II moved enough earth to lend definition to the fairways and green complexes, while still maintaining a natural look. We incorporated huge old oaks dripping with Spanish moss into our design and routed the golf holes around and over existing wetlands. Crisp edges highlight the green shapes and balanced bunkering helps define lines of play, adding visual and aesthetic punch.

The developer of The Founders Club wanted the best golf course possible to stand as the centerpiece of an integrated, master planned residential community. The resulting 7,094-yard course flows across gently rolling terrain punctuated by palms, pines and nearly two dozen lakes, in addition to the ancient oaks and natural wetlands. Two hundred and seventy five members and their guests will enjoy the fruits of our labor.

USGA President Fred Ridley said of The Founders Club course "it demands strategy, making it a different course to play each and every time." Caddies are available and golfers finishing their rounds can retire to the verandah of the 24,000 sq. ft. clubhouse for dining, cocktails and a hole-by-hole recounting of their experience.

The Founders Club Awards
    • Travel + Leisure Golf—Top 100 Golf Course Community
    • Met Golfer—Top 4 Up and Coming Golf Communities in the US