Cabot Citrus Farms Karoo Course review
The Karoo Course at Cabot Citrus Farms ( photo)
The Karoo Course at Cabot Citrus Farms ( photo)

The piece of property in Brooksville, Florida, where Cabot Citrus Farms is located is absolutely stunning. The 1200-acre parcel previously hosted golfers across two Tom Fazio layouts collectively known as World Woods. It was built for golf. And fun to play. But in need of a makeover.

The dramatic courses dotted with old growth Oaks and lots of sand underneath had seen their best days, but knowledgable players from everywhere – like one of our playing partners Greg – sought them out.

“I remember playing in a really big amateur tournament once,” he beamed walking to the first tee.

Personally, I only played World Woods once, voyaging north from Tampa in my younger years for a 36-hole day before flying out that evening. (I’m pretty sure I slept on that flight.) But World Woods didn’t see enough play to keep the business afloat in the lean years for golf before the pandemic kicked into gear.

Evidently, there was grass growing in the bunkers and greens that were more packed mud than grass towards the end.

Enter Cabot, who burst into the golf resort scene after developing one of the most talked-about resorts in the world in Cape Breton, Nova Scotia. The Cabot brand has since expanded to Scotland, British Columbia, and the island of St. Lucia. 

An American project or acquisition (in this case, both) was inevitable. And from the minute Cabot announced the purchase of World Woods and rebranded it as Cabot Citrus Farms, the buzz has been building.

Golf architect Kyle Franz was selected to build the first 18-hole layout, called The Karoo, on much of the land previously occupied by the Pine Barrens 18 of World Woods. Not surprisingly, my playing partner Greg from nearby Hermosa Beach reminded me of when a hole in the existing layout was included in the current routing and where things were the most different. He was visibly excited to see the way things have evolved, yet a tinge of nostalgia for one of his favorites lingered.

From the time my son Lawson and I arrived at Cabot Citrus Farms, we could see what was coming. The central area sports a practice facility armed with the latest technology, surrounded by The Karoo plus a short course called “The Wedge” and an executive layout named “Squeeze” – are you getting the citrus theme? – plus cabins to host everyone from families to buddy trips, to gals getaways. The food will be “just right” like what is served in Capot Cape Breton, which is excellent. I’m guessing there will be a nod to the local cuisine, and I even noticed an outdoor pizza oven getting ready for service near the first tee of The Wedge.

I don’t love hole-by-hole descriptions, so I’ll save you details from our two rounds playing The Karoo. I’ll just tell you that while there are still Oak trees dotting the landscape, the course plays wide open, with plentiful waste areas of pure white sand and multiple lines of play off the tee. There are several holes with split fairways, lines of bunkers or one huge waste area serving as the separation. It’s a drivers’ paradise. Pick your line and go. The greens are some of the most undulating I’ve seen in a while – especially on par-3’s like No. 16, my favorite hole. It features a “valley of sin” in the front right portion of the green; it’s no joke.

The final hole works through a wild collection of waste bunkers and two distinct fairways before culminating in a gorgeous green – fronted by a single pot bunker and with a single tree standing on guard behind it.

That tree is all that will separate you from the hub of activity that will likely be transpiring in the new clubhouse that will soon be erected behind the 18th green of The Karoo. And trust me, it’s going to be busy, as golf aficionados realize that one of the country’s best golf resorts is taking shape just an hour away from Tampa, Florida. will be making the trip June 7, 2024 with 48 players. Please let us know if you’re interested in being a part of it.

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