New golf course in Viera scheduled to open this summer

What's a master-planned, Florida community without a golf course? Not much. Golf is one of the prime drawing cards for the state, in its ongoing efforts to lure Northerners tired of long winters that keep them off the course.

The master-planned community of Viera, near Melbourne, will have a new 27-hole golf facility this summer. The Duran Golf Club is scheduled to open for play July 1 and will be a daily-fee course open to the public. The opening was delayed by the storms of the past summer.

In addition to the 18-hole course, there will be a nine-hole, par-3 executive course as well as a "development center," with extensive practice facilities. As befits a planned community, the course will not be overly difficult.

"About two-thirds of the course will have some kind of water feature," said Duran General Manager David Tomczak "But, from the first two forward tees, there are no forced carries on the golf course. We wanted to make sure mom and pop or whoever is playing from the front tees can get from tee to green without any obstacles between them."

The course will be wide open, seeing as it's being built over a former sod farm.

"The fairways are all generous and there are minimal trees," Tomczak said. "It will have gently rolling mounds and a lot of grasses. Play it from the back tees, and it's going to be all anyone wants to bite off, because the back tees are positioned to have some carries over different water features and a lot of different grasses."

Nor will it be over-bunkered with 89 mostly small bunkers.

"The golf course is designed with bail-out areas next to every green," Tomczak said. "There's going to be a lot of chipping and short-game opportunities for people to score. That was our goal, to make sure they could go out and have fun. This is not a golf course designed to penalize people."

Nor will golfers find overly undulating greens.

"We wanted to put enough slope in them to make them interesting but not so much that it would take away from the speed we're looking to capture," Tomczak said. "We're going to look for green speeds between 9-11 (on the stimpmeter)."

The course was designed by Lewis "Chip" Powell, an architect with experience for courses in planned communities. Powell also designed the Renaissance Golf Club in Sun City, Fla.

Tomczak said the course may host the Sunshine State PGA Championship in late July, hoping to invite 150 PGA Professionals from around the state.

The complex will include a "British, West Indies style" clubhouse and a real estate development that will wrap around the course and the development center.

Viera is near Melbourne on the Space Coast and is the brain-child of the Dudas, the Slovak family who began building the town in the 1980s. Viera's population is slightly greater than 14,000 with more than 6,000 homes.

It includes residential and commercial properties - like a Wal-Mart Superstore and Super Target, as well as nearby amenities like Space Coast Stadium, which seats 8,100 and is the spring training home of the Washington Nationals. It also includes wildlife habitats, conservation areas, nature trails, lakes and parks.

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    mike alessi wrote on: Jun 30, 2005

    i'm interested in visiting the golf course and toll brothers builders next week. do you have any information ie: directions, plans, club house, assoc info.
    we'll be in orlando on the 6th and 7th. please advise.
    mike alessi