Crane Watch Club at Evergreen, formerly Evergreen Club, has survived a stall and sputtering restart thanks to new owners.
Anne and Colin Dunwoody from Vero Beach came to the rescue of a facility that had closed over the summer, and then re-opened only to have conditions rival that of a forgotten neighborhood playground.
The couple, which owns a pair of courses in western Pennsylvania, began the club’s resuscitation with a Dec. 7 purchase.
“We loved the proximity to our home,” Anne said.
“We’d been looking for a couple of years,” Colin added. “We saw the potential in this course. This one just made sense.”
The top item on their to-do list was to close the course Dec. 9, and start the process of making it properly playable again. Work was done to bring the greens back to life, along with the tees and making the bunkers look like, well, bunkers again.
Members were allowed back on just before the holidays and then, on Feb. 3, the course officially reopened. While there is still much to be done, Crane Watch was reinvigorated in a short time.
“We updated the irrigation, over-seeded the tees and greens, brought in new sand for the bunkers and started a fertilization program,” Colin said.
Anne’s attention has turned to the kitchen and clubhouse, and she has tantalizing plans.
“We brought the kitchen up to high standards,” she said. “Our chef, Dennis Zasoski, starts in March. We plan to have weddings here, and make this a favorite place in Palm City to enjoy dinner and an evening out.”
The members of the club and homeowners in the community are happy things are on the way up. The course is a huge amenity for the development and knowing the course will continue to be a course and only get healthier should lead to higher home values and optimism about the future of golf here.
Crane Watch Club is semi-private and offers several levels of membership that start at $2,200. Ultimately, what sells memberships is the course. The Dunwoodys have brought in architect James N. Cervone Jr. to oversee improvements and renovations.
“I was struck by the eclectic bunkers and the mixture of styles throughout the course,” Cervone said.
“First thing we did was draw up a long-range improvement plan. We want to update features, build a new short-game area and add more tees.”
One great feature at Crane Watch is a wide variety of holes, which can be set up to play quite differently from one day to the next. The course can play as long as 6,910 yards or as short as 4,802, with five options in between.
You start you out with a simple par-5. From there, the gloves come off. The second hole is the longest par-4 on the course. The third hole is a true risk/reward par-5. At only 493 yards from the tips, this hole can be reached in two by many because the more daring you are at cutting the corner over the trees on this dogleg right, the shorter your second shot will be.
The back nine is slightly shorter than the front, but features more challenges off the tee.
No. 12 is my favorite hole on the property and features a creek crossing the narrow fairway. The smart play calls for a fairway wood from the tee and a little more club into the green.
No. 14 plays only 339 yards from the back tees, and requires smarts and guts to make birdie. Water guards the end of the fairway and the entire left side of the approach. You must choose to play your tee shot short or thread it through a narrow slice of fairway to the right. The more risk you take to find that slice, the more the green opens up and the shorter your second shot becomes.
The closing holes are a lot of fun. No. 16 is a short par-3 that requires accuracy from a short iron or wedge. No. 17 is a par-5 with a well-guarded green fronted by water.
With its long, deep green, the par-4 18th can play as much as 30 yards longer from one day to the next.
Visit www.cranewatchclub.com or call (772) 286-2111 for more information.