Played The Ritz-Carlton Club yesterday. Located just off Lorraine Road in Lakewood Ranch. Played from the blue/white “Members” tee’s that clock in at 6,456 yards…a happy middle ground between the too short whites ( 6,198 yards ) and the too long blues ( 6,557 yards ) for my foursome. Despite newly aerated fairways and cut greens, shot an 81 on an otherwise spectacular course. With not a home in sight ( and barely another golfer ) this course ranks 2nd in my opinion as the best course in Sarasota County. The Concession remains the first.

     Despite it’s impeccable upkeep, and reasonable location, this club struggles for members. Less than 50 rounds per day, acknowledged one ranger. And it’s entirely due to its cost. In our current economy, few are able or willing to shell out the current $125,000 deposit plus yearly dues to become a Platinum member. Yes, members also receive unlimited access to the beach, spa and health and wellness facilities at The Members Beach Club plus The Members Spa Club, but that’s not enough of an incentive. Our group joked at lunch with a membership representative that we need a “tin” membership to go along with the Gold and Sterling membership options ( $75,000 and $40,000 respectively ). Surprisingly, she agreed. The club will be announcing new, more affordable, membership options in the fall. I will report on those when they become available.

     For real estate options, there is the Ritz-Carlton Tower Residences ( downtown on Watergate Drive and Ritz-Carlton Drive ) and the Beach Residences ( on Benjamin Franklin Drive on Lido Beach). For details on those, contact my wife Maureen ( “Mo Knows Condo’s”) who specializes in beach front and downtown condominiums…941-993-3159. There are presently some 30+ active listings ranging anywhere from a 1768 square foot one bedroom for $775,000 and up to just over $4 million for a 4,189 square foot three bedroom three bath unit.