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Golf's Role in Sunrise, FL History

Mar 6th, 2017

At the time it was incorporated, Sunrise was in a relatively remote and picturesque part of Broward County. Land was abundant and affordable, making it attractive for golf course development. Proximity to Everglades National Park probably also helped.

From its founding as a golf village in 1961, the city of Sunrise has had a strong connection to the sport. Here’s a look at the role golf played in Sunrise’s development and an overview of the options golfers have in and around the city today.

From Sunrise Golf Village to City of Sunrise

At the time Sunrise Golf Village was incorporated in 1961, the community’s golf history was already more than a decade old. Only 350 people lived in the area that developer Norman Johnson took the lead in settling. Johnson’s model homes and Sunrise Country Club lured residents in droves. Many early residents were particularly drawn to Johnson and F.E. Dykstra’s heavily publicized “upside-down house,” a fully furnished model home with an upside-down automobile housed under its carport. By 1971, with Sunrise’s population over 10,000, the community’s name was changed to City of Sunrise. Today, Sunrise is considered a “principal city” in the Miami metropolitan area.

Golf and the Sunrise economy

With the beautiful Sunrise Country Club a major draw during Sunrise’s explosive growth in the 1960s and 1970s, Sunrise has long drawn more golfers than the average Florida city. Sunrise’s golf courses also draw golfers from around the area, whose game play contributes to the city’s economy. Golf impacts public and private economic sectors alike, as the government owns one Sunrise course, The Bridges at Springtree Golf Club. During the recent economic crisis, concerns over decreasing revenue led city officials to ponder whether the course was worth hanging on to. Instead of selling the course, the government injected money into its maintenance. As the economy recovered, revenue rose. The City of Sunrise celebrated its 55th birthday last June. Golf still plays a major role in the city today.

Today’s Golf Courses

Today, Sunrise is home to three operating golf courses and one decommissioned course. Another dozen or so golf courses are located near Sunrise borders with other Broward County communities. These include the esteemed Jacaranda Golf Club, Lago Mar Country Club, Palm Aire Country Club, and Plantation Preserve Golf Course and Club.

Sunrise Lakes Phases III and IV

Sunrise Lakes is a retirement community developed in four phases. Residents living in Phase III and IV condominiums have year-round access to free golf in their community. Phase III’s nine-hole, 1,675-yard course has a par of 31. Phase IV’s course, also a par 31, is 1,575 yards long. Non-members are permitted to play at Sunrise Lakes as long as they are a member’s guest. The courses are about a five-minute drive from AMLI Sawgrass Village Sunrise apartments.

The Bridges at Springtree Golf Club

The Bridges is now Sunrise’s premier executive 18-hole golf course. After renovations paid for by city funding over the last several years, the course’s reputation is as strong as ever. Draws include a spacious clubhouse constructed in 2004 and greens that have been well-maintained since the course’s comprehensive 2010 renovation. Anyone can play at The Bridges, but Springtree Golf Club offers attractive annual membership rates to Sunrise and other Florida residents. The clubhouse and course are a 10-minute drive from AMLI Sawgrass Village.

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