New Firms Get Their Shot at Cabot Citrus Farms

News broke today on the architect’s hired to refurbish Cabot Citrus Farms, Cabot’s fourth property north of Tampa, Fla. According to Golf Digest‘s Derek Duncan, Kyle Franz will take over Pine Barrens, Keith Rhebb & Riley Johns will tackle Rolling Oaks, and Mike Nuzzo will be in charge of a new third golf course. To our ears, the work sounds extensive, as originally reported on our Instagram. Pine Barrens and Rolling Oaks will likely look a lot different.

Originally named “World Woods Golf Club,” Cabot acquired the property in December and quickly rebranded. The two Tom Fazio golf courses—Rolling Oaks and Pine Barrens (read our full review here)—have had a bit of a rocky history after opening in 1993. Pine Barrens was once a Top 100 golf course in the United States. Although it currently ranks 11th in the state according to Top 100 Golf Courses, change in ownership in its ~30 years has resulted in years of neglect since its glory days.

For those who have visited the sandhills of North Carolina, Franz is responsible for the revitalization of the excellent Donald Ross trio of Pine Needles, Southern Pines, and Mid Pines. Franz, who is currently stationed in North Carolina, worked on Coore & Crenshaw’s crew for the restoration of Pinehurst No. 2, and has previous experience on both Tom Doak & Gil Hanse’s team.

The excellent restoration of Southern Pines is just the tip of the iceberg for Kyle Franz’ talents

The tandem of Riley Johns & Keith Rhebb is the most exciting addition for Beyond The Contour. The duo have quietly evolved into the go-to shapers for heavy-hitters like Tom Doak and Bill Coore. Aside from shaping for others and some small renovation work, the duo built the very-popular and successful Winter Park Nine in Orlando. For those flying in to see the new World Woods, there is no better way to start the trip than a stop at WP9.

Winter Park Nine

Those familar with both Memorial Park (in partnership with Tom Doak & Brooks Keopka), and Wolf Point will recognize Mike Nuzzo’s name. Wolf Point, a small, private golf club for its own Al Stranger, was recently aquired by Dormie Network and currently ranks 88th in the US according to Golf Magazine. Nuzzo will tackle the third golf course on roughly 110 acres with an emphasis on half-par holes to encourage gambling. Additionally, a par 3 course will be a part of Nuzzo’s work at Citrus Farms. On the project, Nuzzo stated:

Both the site and the client are essential to creating a special golf course. With Cabot Citrus Farms, we have the best of both worlds, a natural sandy site and an innovative, forward-thinking client. Having fewer traditional golf constraints for our portion of the project presents an extra layer of opportunity for creativity. We’re looking forward to seeing the whole project come together!

A nice breath of fresh air from the usual Doak + Coore/Crenshaw announcement, and in our eyes, far overdue for some new blood to get an opportunity of this magnitude. Construction begins in June, with goals of opening December 2023.

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