Cabot Citrus Farms gets redeveloped
World Woods might not have been Florida’s most well-known golf destination, but many devout golfers considered the two Tom Fazio-designed courses in Hernando County some of the state’s most beautiful. The courses were built in the early 1990s, but the first developer never realized its plan for a resort community 60 miles north of Tampa amid the unique woods and hilly terrain spanning 1,200 acres, where giant fox squirrels regularly loped across the fairways.
In early 2022, Ben Cowan-Dewar — the co-founder of Canada-based golf development company Cabot with partner Mike Keiser, founder of the famed Bandon Dunes resort in Oregon — announced the acquisition of World Woods and its redevelopment as Cabot Citrus Farms. Renowned course designers Kyle Franz and Mike Nuzzo are leading the transformation of two 18-hole courses, a par-3 course and a new 9-hole course. The larger development plan calls for 980 residential units, along with restaurants and shops in a village that includes hotel villas. It’s the first American development for Cabot. “The property is a nature lover’s paradise that rivals the most spectacular sites I’ve seen across the world,” Cowan-Dewar says.
Blending Golf and Tech
Save your polite golf clap for outdoors. Golf will be getting the flashy, high-tech treatment in a new indoor venue to be built on Palm Beach State College property that will become the home of TGL, a virtual course that will host PGA Tour superstars in prime-time televised team play beginning in January 2024. The TGL’s parent company TMRW Sports — recently founded by golfers Tiger Woods and Rory McIlroy and sports executive Mike McCarley — struck a deal in December with the college to build the venue on 10 acres of the Palm Beach Gardens campus. The agreement includes IT training and sports business management education and internship programs for students.
TGL will run in partnership with the PGA Tour and will feature six teams of three PGA Tour players competing over 18 holes in a “stadium” where fans will sit “greenside.” Each team will play five matches during the 15-week regular season.
Players will tee off on a virtual course — displayed for the audience on a “not quite” IMAX-sized screen — and play their approach shots virtually before the action moves to in real life for the short game. The new venture is two years in the making; golf superstars Justin Thomas and Jon Rahm have committed to playing. Expect the walk-on music to be loud.
“Embracing technology to create this unique environment gives us the ability to move our sport into primetime on a consistent basis alongside so many of sports’ biggest events,” Woods said in the August announcement of the new venture. “As a big sports fan myself, I’m excited about blending golf with technology and team elements common in other sports.”