FORT MYERS, Fla. (Nov. 14, 2007) – Whispering Oak, the Jack Nicklaus and Jack Nicklaus II co-designed championship golf course at Verandah, has been named one of Golf Inc. magazine’s top new courses. The 18-hole course, which opened in January 2007, was among the top five finalists for the 2007 Golf Inc. Development of the Year in the private course category.
Entries were judged on routing, aesthetics and how well the developer achieved its vision.
“We worked closely with the Nicklaus Group in designing Whispering Oak,” said Joey Garon, vice president of New Leaf, the amenity management division of Bonita Bay Group. “We wanted to be sure that the second golf course at Verandah not only complemented the classic golf experience offered by Bob Cupp’s Old Orange course, but that it also was designed in harmony with Bonita Bay Group’s commitment to environmental sustainability and green development at Verandah.”
The father-and-son Nicklaus team rose to the challenge, creating a course that takes advantage of existing openings, snakes around preserves and provides a beautiful, natural buffer between homes and activity within the community. Whispering Oak, which has smaller, more undulating greens than Old Orange, offers an aesthetic payoff toward its last five holes as the community’s native oak hammocks become more prevalent. The par-five finishing hole, which sits back in the oaks, has quickly become the course’s signature hole, Garon said.
Whispering Oak was the only Florida course included in Golf Inc.’s top five developments. First-place honors went to Vellano Country Club in Chino Hills, Calif.
The finalists will be recognized in the November 2007 issue of Golf Inc. and during the magazine’s annual conference and awards gala in April 2008. Golf Inc. is the leading publication for golf course developers, owners, operators and management company executives.
Verandah, the first community in Florida to be certified by the Florida Green Building Coalition as a green land development, preserved trees in place, restored wildlife habitat and reintroduced wetlands and water flows on a former cattle farm.
The community has earned environmental accolades for its emphasis on green building and preservation, its respect for the land and its comprehensive approach to environmental sustainability. Since being named Florida’s first green land development in April 2003 – two months after sales began – Verandah has received the Council for Sustainable Florida’s 2007 Best Practices Award for green building, the Florida Urban Forestry Council’s Trees Florida 2007 Award, Project EverGreen’s Because Green Matters Award, and the Florida Association of Realtors’ 2006 Environmental (ENVY) Award.
The 1,456-acre community, located along a 1.75-mile stretch of the Orange River in Fort Myers, has also been named by Where to Retire magazine as one of “America’s 100 Best Master-Planned Communities” in 2007 and was the Lee Building Industry Association’s 2005 Community of the Year.
Each single-family model home at Verandah has been constructed to meet the Florida Green Building Coalition’s requirements for green home certification, and residents have the ability to choose construction and feature options that conserve natural resources, improve indoor air quality and reduce energy consumption.
Verandah’s single-family homebuilders are offering increased energy efficiency through Florida Power & Light Company’s BuildSmart® program. Structured wiring is being built into each home to facilitate always-on, high-speed Internet access, as well as a wide range of options for home automation.
Nearly 70 percent of Verandah’s 1,456 acres will be open space, including natural preserve areas, parks, wetlands, lakes, golf courses and a conservation buffer to help maintain the unique character of the community’s riverfront. Verandah will offer more than nine miles of walkways, paths and fitness trails.
Verandah’s amenities are located in River Village, the community’s social hub with individual buildings nestled into an expansive oak hammock. The amenities include the Golf House pro shop; Oak Park with the community treehouse and playground; the Boat House, featuring Blossom’s community grill, a canoe and kayak livery and multi-level decks overlooking the river; tennis and fitness center; and the River House, featuring Jesse Fish lounge, the 120-seat Alligator Pear restaurant and the open-air River Terrace overlooking the river.
Verandah offers estate, custom and traditional single-family homes, villas and coach homes with home and homesite packages priced from the $300,000s to more than $1 million.
The Verandah Sales Center is located two miles east of I-75 on State Road 80. For more information, visit www.Verandah.com, or call 866-314-2839.