Marco Schlenz thought he had seen it all during his career in the private club world, but the Tesoro Club in Port St. Lucie, FL., was a different animal altogether. Its previous owners could have been charged with neglect and cruelty if it had been an animal.
A new ownership group of The Tesoro Club, which purchased the Club, its two golf courses, 100,000-square-foot clubhouse, Swim & Racquet Club, and approximately 900 home sites from Straub for $40 million in 2020, deserves praise for restoring a virtually abandoned property.
“I’m one of those guys who likes a challenge,’’ said Schlenz, who for five years was GM at the Dye Preserve Golf Club in Jupiter, FL. He also was director of golf operations at the legendary St. Andrews Country Club in Boca Raton.
“For me, this represents a huge challenge,’’ Schlenz said “But the plane is starting to get off the tarmac a little bit.’’
Two years ago, that tarmac couldn’t even be seen. Both the Arnold Palmer-designed and Tom Watson-designed courses were so overgrown that they were hardly identifiable as golf courses; some of the bridges connecting the wetlands preserve areas with the fairways and greens were near collapse; and a massive Mediterranean-style clubhouse – complete with 63 bathrooms – was uninhabitable.
Described by Schlenz as “a horrific mess.”
Now, thanks to the Schlenz, Director of Golf Matt Doyle and an ownership team consisting of New York investors, Tim Jones and Rod O’Connor, and South Florida developer and former New York Giants football star Tucker Frederickson, the mess is becoming a success. Located on the North Fork of the St. Lucie River, Tesoro Club will soon become one of South Florida’s premier private golf communities.
For example, the Palmer Course (7,333 yards, par 72 from the back tees) is an outstanding risk-reward layout, with as many as eight sets of tees. On the scorecard, each tee box is listed with a driver-distance suggestion based on how far each player can hit his or her tee shot.
The Watson course (7,019 yards, par 72), a links-style layout that plays through a forest preserve, is scheduled to re-open in 2024.
A golf grill restaurant was recently opened in the main clubhouse, while at the Swim & Racquet Club, features a Floribbean-inspired menu and pizza oven. It also will soon have a seafood bar.
The two dining locations each fit the beliefs of Schlenz and Executive Chef Guy Rettig that golf communities are only as great as their food and beverage operations.
“Food and beverage is an equal part of the equation with golf, but there are the social aspects,’’ Schlenz said. “People make decisions based on that. If I’m living in a community for the lifestyle, a large part of that lifestyle is that I don’t want to have to leave that community.
“So, we want to exceed expectations on the culinary side – and on all sides. But certainly on the culinary side, because people have to eat. They don’t have to play golf.’’
The Club this past November began a membership drive that Schlenz said has accounted for 60 golf and social members, including some outside golf memberships. Major home builders, such as Toll Brothers and Lennar, are building in The Tesoro Club. Each home buyer is required to purchase at least a social membership.
“Everything here is new,’’ Schlenz said. “Again, we’re just getting off the tarmac.’’
And ready to fly.
For more information, please visit: tesoroclub.com