Cabot Citrus Farms reveals plans for unconventional 21-hole design

cabot the 21 course layout

"The 21" will combine a 10-hole executive layout with an 11-hole par-3 design.

Courtesy The Cabot Collection

Cabot, the golf development company founded by Canadian businessman Ben Cowan-Dewar and Bandon Dunes developer Mike Keiser, has unveiled its most unorthodox design yet: a 21-hole course featuring 14 par-3s, six par-4s, and one par-5. 

cabot the 21 course layout
A routing of The 21. Courtesy The Cabot Collection

Set to open toward the end of the year at Cabot Citrus Farms in Central West Florida, roughly midway between Tampa and Orlando, The 21, as the course is called, will combine a 10-hole executive layout with an 11-hole par-3 design. The executive course, The Ten, will wrap around the par-3 course, The Ace, creating a unique venue for golfers of all abilities.

Architect Mike Nuzzo stands on the fifth green at The Ace
Architect Mike Nuzzo earlier this week on what will be the 5th green at The Ace. Ashley Mayo

Word of the unconventional design represents the latest news from Cabot. Since its birth, in 2011, with Cabot Links, in Cape Breton, Nova Scotia, Cabot has become one of the foremost names in the industry, with a fast-expanding global portfolio. The company is currently designing and building more than 110 holes in four countries. In addition to Citrus Farms, the next 18 months will see new Cabot courses open in St. Lucia, Western Canada and the Scottish Highlands.

Citrus Farms sits on a 1,200-acre site that was formerly home to World Woods Golf Club, a 45-hole destination that long ranked among the finest public facilities in Florida. After acquiring World Woods early last year, Cabot renamed the property and set about reimagining its two 18-hole courses, Pine Barrens and Rolling Oaks, which have been renamed Cabot Barrens and Cabot Oaks. Kyle Franz is redesigning Cabot Barrens, and Franz and Mike Nuzzo are co-designing Cabot Oaks. GOLF Magazine’s architecture editor Ran Morrissett will work as an advisor to both Franz and Nuzzo.

cabot barrens 16th hole
A rendering of the new-look 16th hole at Cabot Barrens. Courtesy The Cabot Collection

The 21 will be an entirely new course, designed by Mike Nuzzo, a former aerospace engineer who turned to architecture at the age of 31 and is best known in golf circles for his work at Wolf Point Ranch, an acclaimed private club in Texas.

In sketching his concept for The 21, Nuzzo drew on elements from his favorite holes — Royal Troon’s postage-stamp green; the sweeping 5th fairway at Merion; the green complex on the 9th hole at Cypress Point. But he says he mostly let the terrain dictate the routing and design. The course will be designed to play firm and fast, a departure from the typical Florida design.

Variety is Nuzzo’s biggest goal. To that end, holes will range in length from 85 yards to 560 yards and allow for multiple angles of attack. The Ten will have four sets of tees, maxing out at 3,000 yards. The Ace will be illuminated at night. Golfers will have the option of playing just The Ten or The Ace, or to combine them into a 21-hole, par-71 loop that tips out at 4,160 yards.

Ashley Mayo

Mayo is GOLF’s Editorial Director and oversees the brand’s vision and strategy. Whether content lives digitally or in print, Mayo ensures that its standards live up to those established by GOLF’s chairman. Before joining the GOLF team, Ashley spent 11 years as an editor at Golf Digest. While there, she earned her Masters degree from Columbia’s School of Journalism. Before joining Golf Digest, Mayo competed on the first-ever women’s golf team at the University of Virginia. She is also the Head of Brand at GOLF’s parent company, 8AM Golf.