Welcome to the Club

By Robert Plunket March 25, 2009

Sarasota’s Sarabay Country Club offers great golf course views—and homes.


By Robert Plunket

Click here to see our Real Estate Junkie discuss Sara Bay on TV.


The Sarabay Country Club is Sarasota’s oldest continually operating course, dating back to the 1920s, and by far its most historic. Bobby Jones played here, along with Babe Ruth and many of the other baseball greats who came here for spring training back in the old days.

Sara Bay Country Club

Today it’s a private club, and most people in town have been there at one time or another to attend a wedding or some such function. The course itself is ringed by homes, mostly ranch style from the 1960s and 70s. The homes are not part of the club; owners do not have to join or even pay homeowner fees, which means you get the beautiful golf course views for free.


811 Whitfield Ave.



Let’s take a look at some of these golf course homes. My favorite, not surprisingly, is one of the most expensive. It’s the beautiful big custom 1973 home at 811 Whitfield. It’s big – almost 3,300 square feet, with three bedrooms, three-and-half baths, and a beautifully remodeled interior that’s full of marble and granite and other expensive finishes. There are surprises galore – check out the walled swimming pool and the opulent master bath – and best of all, the home has an unmistakable atmosphere of money and tradition.

Walled pool

The lot size is over three quarters of an acre, and the view is particularly nice. And it’s 10 minutes from downtown. Priced at $995,000, it’s competing with the new Spanish Meds, but for my money, it’s much more stylish and unique. Call Helen Gallagher or Tyler Hyslop at (941) 366-5000.



457 Whitfield Ave.



The other golf-course houses for sale range price-wise down the scale, from the $600,000 remodeled ranches down to the not quite so fancy ones in the $300,000 range. If you’re looking for a real buy, check out 457 Whitfield. It’s a nice custom ranch from 1973, a little dated, but with a pool, right on the golf course. The house needs updating, but it has what is known as good “bones” – the layout of the rooms is fine, the construction seems rock solid and it’s the perfect candidate for what is known as a “lipstick” make-over: new counter tops and appliances, update the baths, re-landscape, put on a new pool cage, and glamorize the façade, and voila – you’ve got a great family home. The current price? $220,000. Call Liza Knipe at (941) 586-0576.


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