Cabot team names designers for new 45-hole Florida project

A view of World Woods Golf Club in Florida, which is about to get a huge makeover.

EVAN SCHILLER

The Florida destination formerly known as World Woods Golf Club, a longtime presence on best-in-state lists, is on the verge of a major makeover.

We learned as much earlier this year, when Cabot — the company co-founded by Canadian businessman Ben Cowan-Dewar and Bandon Dunes developer Mike Keiser — announced its acquisition of the 45-hole property, which has been renamed Citrus Farms.

Now, we also know the architects who will do the work.

Abiding by a template that has served them well at other multi-course properties (including Bandon and Cabot Cape Breton), Cowan-Dewar and Keiser have opted to spread the love, assigning different architects to each of Citrus Farms’ three courses: Pine Barrens and Rolling Oaks, both Tom Fazio originals, and a new 9-hole par-3 course.

For Pine Barrens, a rustic layout laden with sandy wastes that has appeared on some World Top 100 rankings, the Cabot team has turned to Kyle Franz. Since launching his career in 2000, Franz has worked with the likes of Tom Doak, Gil Hanse and Bill Coore on some of their best-known projects, including Pacific Dunes, in Oregon; Barnbougle Dunes, in Australia; and the restoration of Pinehurst No. 2. More recently, Franz has burnished his reputation with highly regarded restorations of Mid Pines, Pine Needles and Southern Pines, all Donald Ross classics in the Carolina Sandhills.

For Rolling Oaks, the job will go to Keith Rhebb and Riley Johns, respected industry veterans who recently formed a partnership. Their combined resumes include such notable projects as Winter Park Golf Course, in Florida, and Point Grey Golf Club, in Vancouver. Both also helped shape Cabot Cliffs, at Cabot Cape Breton.

As for the new par-3 course, its design will fall to Mike Nuzzo, a former aerospace engineer who has devoted the past 20 years to golf design. His most heralded work is Wolf Point Ranch, a richly imaginative course in Texas. In addition to the new short course, Nuzzo will also create new practice facilities and handle the redo of an existing short course and putting course.

Compared to Cabot’s other projects, Citrus Farms is a quicker trip to major urban centers (it’s about 50 minutes from Tampa and 80 minutes from Orlando). But the site does not have accommodations. The Cabot team plans to add those, along with a new clubhouse and an array of other amenities.

But first, the golf. Work on the courses is slated to begin this spring and is expected to be completed in 2023.

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A golf, food and travel writer, Josh Sens has been a GOLF Magazine contributor since 2004 and now contributes across all of GOLF’s platforms. His work has been anthologized in The Best American Sportswriting. He is also the co-author, with Sammy Hagar, of Are We Having Any Fun Yet: the Cooking and Partying Handbook.