History of Del Webb’s Spruce Creek Golf & Country Club

Community Demographics as of 8/2006:

  • 1,604 Acres
  • 3,250 Homes
  • 49 Acres of Golf Course – 36 holes
  • 5 Acres Conservation Area
  • 40 Miles of Roadway
  • 6+ Miles of Fencing
  • 36 Acres of Common Area

Background

Delbert Eugene Webb, born in 1899, loved baseball.  In 1945, Del Webb Corporation’s founder put his money where his heart was.  Along with partners Larry MacPhail and Dan Topping, he bought the New York Yankees.  Del Webb Corporation later went on to build Kansas City’s Royals Stadium and Anaheim Stadium for the Anaheim Angels.  Webb often claimed publicly that much of his commercial success came from his early career in sports.  He played semi-pro baseball in his youth.  The Yankees purchase turned out to be a successful investment as the team won the World Series 10 times during the 20-year span he owned them.

Among his many contracts were a 1937 addition to the Arizona State Capital, the 1946 Flamingo Hotel in Las Vegas for Bugsy Siegel, and New York’s Madison Square Garden in 1972.  On January 1, 1960, Del Webb began building homes in Sun City, Arizona for retired people 55 and older.

Pre-1970

Before it became Del Webb’s Spruce Creek Golf & Country Club, portions of the property were used for cattle grazing and peanut farming. According to a February 16, 2006 edition of the Free Press in Belleview and Summerfield published by the Ocala Star-Banner, Lady Lake dentist Michael Whitt’s parents purchased 1,000 acres of the land in the 1950s for $25 an acre. They sold it some five years later for $250 an acre.

Monarch Properties, Inc.

In the early 1970s, development company Monarch Properties, Inc. acquired 930 acres.  It is rumored that Jackie Gleason was a major investor and supposedly flew his private plane into the airport located behind SCG&CC on SE 100th Ave.

Monarch built an 18-hole golf course, a two-story clubhouse (at the site of today’s   Horizon Center) and three model homes.  These models were in the approximate location of the Pulte Homes, Inc. final models, on SE 92nd Court Road in Sawgrass III and near to the area now appropriately known as Monarch.  The property had roughly 10-15 miles of clay roads.  For whatever reason, possibly the Arab oil embargo, further development stopped and the property sat from 1974 until it was purchased in 1996 by Spruce Creek Development Company, Inc.

Spruce Creek Development Company, Inc.

Spruce Creek Development Company, Inc. is owned by Harvey “Sonny” Erp, with headquarters located in the Spruce Creek South community in Summerfield.  In 1979 Mr. Erp, along with his father and brother, began building a community called Pine Run, on SR 200, which was sold to nearby Oak Run in 1983.  Other Erp developments include Fox Run started in 1982, Spruce Creek North in 1984, and Spruce Creek South in 1987.  Spruce Creek South was built out in early 1995.

The original parcels of land purchased by Mr. Erp for SCG&CC consisted of the 930 acres owned by Monarch Properties, 200 acres owned by the Sumner family, 240 acres owned by Marcel Lacaille, and an additional 10 acres or so of smaller parcels, for a total of approximately 1,380 acres.

On March 17, 1997 Spruce Creek Golf & Country Club was incorporated.  Monarch’s two-story clubhouse was demolished and replaced in the same location with the current community building (later named Horizon Center), along with its lanai, outdoor pool, bathhouse, shuffleboard, tennis courts (later relocated for current additional parking), bocce courts, basketball half-court (later relocated ) and horseshoe pits (later moved from the east side of the pool to Veterans Park).  The circular entrance and landmark fountain were also installed.  All three models originally built by Monarch were used as construction offices until 1999 when they, too, were demolished.  Ten new models were built by Mr. Erp—five each on the two Candlestone cul-de-sacs along the Boulevard.  These early models were named after trees, for example, Aspen, Chestnut, Fir, Holly, Juniper, Magnolia, Maple, Oak, Palm and Spruce.  The first home sold was located in Candlestone and closed on June 16, 1997.  Several Villas located in Avenel were made available for potential buyers to stay in while deciding whether to buy here.  These homes were called vacation villas and the time spent in them was called a vacation getaway.

The 18-hole golf course was completely rebuilt and named Eagle Ridge Golf Club.  Only the boundaries remained from the original design.  (The initial nines eventually became known as “Heritage” and “Champions”.)   Golf course architects were Terry Doss and Lloyd Clifton.

Del Webb Corporation

On January 15, 1998, Del Webb Corporation finalized the purchase of both Spruce Creek Preserve and Spruce Creek Golf & County Club from Mr. Erp for $45 million. Included were the water and sewer plants located on both properties.  (In mid-2000, Florida Water Services purchased the water and sewer plants, and sold them in late 2003 to Marion County Utilities Department.)  During the early stages of preparing the land for home construction, it was discovered that hundreds of Gopher Tortoises had to be relocated.  Although these tortoises are federally protected as a threatened species, in Florida they are listed as a Species of Special Concern by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission.

Early on, Del Webb revised neighborhood configurations; changed lot sizes from 100/40, 50, 60 or 70 to 100/85 or 90; and constructed a model home park consisting of 15 newly designed models (Lots 2-8 and Lots 16-23 in what is now Highland Falls, with the sales center for the models located on Lot 13).  The Island Patio models were named Antigua, Bimini, Kingston; the Florida Classics were called Cape Sable, Amelia, San Mateo, Ponte Vedra, Coral Gables; the Gulf Premiers were named the Madeira, St. George, Captiva, Sanibel, Santa Rosa; and the Atlantic Estates were the Hampton and the Charleston.

In addition, Del Webb built the impressive sales office/design center building located to the right of the entrance fountain, added an RV parking area, and remodeled the existing Community Center building (later renamed Horizon Center) without altering its “footprint”.  Prior to building the current restaurant/pro shop, a 3,000 sq. ft. temporary facility named the Sandwich Shoppe (double-wide mobile-home type unit) was opened in late 1998 in the parking lot north of the Community Center, in front of what is now Players Grille (now Toppers Tavern) and Eagle Ridge Golf Shop.  In addition to a small pro shop, it housed a grill/snack shop with a few tables and chairs.

In 1999 Del Webb introduced cinder block as an option for exterior walls.  Four additional models, the Bay Casual series, were opened in 2001 on Lots 1-4 of Sawgrass III.  These models were called the Chesapeake, Hatteras, Destin and Nantucket.

Initial plans called for 2,200 homes.  Purchase of additional acreage (the peanut farm land situated along CR 441to the north) allowed for an increase in the final number of homes to its current 3,250.

Pulte Homes, Inc.

Pulte Homes, Inc. acquired Del Webb in a stock deal announced in May 2001.  The acquisition was finalized July 31, 2001.  Pulte introduced 10 new models on the southern end of SE 92nd Court Road, built new “vacation getaway” villas at the northern end of SE 92nd Court Road in the Sawgrass III neighborhood, simplified the neighborhoods and floor plans, and limited the options available.

Several additional model names can be found throughout the community,
for example, Alydar, Challedon, Citation, Elkridge, Granville, Hanover, Johnstown, Lexington, Newport, Providence, St. Croix and Williamsburg.

Amenities/Facilities at Build-Out:

Horizon Club Community Center

Indoor

  • Ballroom, Stage and Kitchen
  • Billiards
  • Card Room
  • Channel 12 Station
  • Computer Room
  • Craft Room
  • HOA Administrative Offices
  • Lobby/Lounge
  • Meeting Rooms

Outdoor

  • Swimming Pool, Hot Tub and Bathhouse
  • Covered Lanai
  • Bocce Ball (5)
  • Shuffleboard (8)

Lake Vista

Indoor

  • Fitness Center
  • Swimming Pool

Outdoor

  • Picnic Pavilion
  • Softball Field with Concession Stand
  • Veterans Memorial Park
  • Basketball Court
  • Fishing
  • Horseshoe Pits
  • Hot Tub
  • Walking Trail in Kestrel Preserve

Peninsula Park

  • Swimming Pool and Bathhouse
  • Hot Tub
  • Pickleball Courts (12)
  • Sand Volleyball Court (1)
  • Tennis Courts (7)
  • Picnic Pavilion with Restrooms and 6 picnic tables (Completed in 2015)

Other

  • Eagle Ridge Golf Club with 36 Holes and Restaurant
  • Green Space Common Areas
  • Main Gate Entrance with Traffic Signal at US 27/441
  • North Gate Entrance with Traffic Signal at CR 25
  • RV Parking Area
  • Dog Park

Build-Out and Transition to Home Owners Association (HOA):

During early stages of the community, the developer controlled the Board of Directors with four (4) members.  On April 22, 1999, Ed Flowers was seated as the 5th member of the board, having been elected in March by fellow residents.   On October 26, 2000, residents elected Bill Walker as the second resident director, replacing a developer appointee.  At subsequent elections for resident representation, Gene Ryan replaced Ed Flowers; Monte Boone replaced Bill Walker.

Early in 2006, Spruce Creek Golf and Country Club was completely built out.  Prior to build-out, however, the community was transitioned to the Home Owners Association with the election on September 27, 2005, of five (5) additional residents to the new seven-member HOA Board of Directors.  That first “transition” HOA Board consisted of:

Don Riley – President
Bob Dunn – Vice-President
Timothy Stark – Secretary
James Houtz – Treasurer
Monte Boone – Director
Nicholas D’Altilio – Director
Gene Ryan – Director

See:  “Notes of Interest” tab for more information in chronological order

Sources:    

Jay Thompson, Division President, Del Webb Division of Pulte

Sean Casey, HOA General Manager

Del Webb’s Spruce Creek Golf & Country Club Newsletter and Del Webb’s Florida Sun
Share the Good Life Newsletter
– Issues 6/98 to 11/98
The Fountain – Issues 12/98 to 10/06

The Ocala Star-Banner and Free Press of Belleview and Summerfield

Marion County Websites

Last edit 10/18/2008

 

History-Pic-1

 

History-Pic-2

These photographs were taken March 12, 1998

  • Community Center Northeast View.
  • Community Center East View.
  • Community Center Southeast View.
  • Community Center Pool & Lanai North View.

NOTES OF INTEREST DEL WEBB SPRUCE CREEK GOLF & COUNTRY CLUB:

Sources:  Del Webb’s Spruce Creek Golf and Country Club Newsletter, Del Webb’s Florida Sun Share the Good Life Newsletter, and The Fountain

June 1998 – August 2006

1998

  • In June 1998 the Del Webb Spruce Creek Golf and Country Club Newsletter asked for help in naming the monthly publication.  The Fountain was first published in December 1998.
  • In August 1998 Jay Thompson, General Manager, published his first article in the newsletter.  He announced that the opening of Eagle Ridge Golf Club was planned for October 31, 1998.  In addition, he announced that an 8,000 square foot Grille/Pro Shop facility was to start construction in October 1998 with a planned opening in the spring of 1999.  Also, in October, a temporary 3,000 square foot facility would be installed in the north parking lot of the Community Center (in front of what is now Players Grille).  Terry Doss was the Director of Golf Operations at the time.  He also designed and built the course.  Eagle Ridge is a par 72, 6,840 yard layout from the back tees and has a four-tee spread for all levels of players.  The elevation change is as much as 60 feet with 66 bunkers throughout the course, designed around three large existing pine-filled ravines which come into play on six holes.
  • Ninety days prior to the August 1998 newsletter, demolition and remodeling was started at the Community Center.  Most impressive was the large, non-load bearing wall that divides the ballroom from the lounge and lobby.  Reopening of the renovated Community Center was planned for October 1, 1998.
  • In September 1998, it was announced that Rob McDaniel was hired as the Community Association Manager.
  • The September 1998 newsletter stated that the RV Parking area had been recently completed with 150 paved spaces for recreational vehicles, as well as 48 grassed spaces intended primarily for boat storage.  The entrance gate was keypad-operated for use at any hour of the day.
  • The October 1998 newsletter explained that a new Sales and Design Center was being constructed to the right of the entrance fountain.  Its completion would coincide with the introduction of 15 new model homes in the area now called Highland Falls.
  • In November 1998 the Board of Directors consisted of four developer-appointed directors.  They were:  Greg Kelly, President; John Regan; John Bauer; and James Ayers, Vice President.  In this newsletter community management requested volunteers for the Architectural Review Committee, Deed Restriction Enforcement Committee, Clubs and Activities Committee, and Security and Safety Committee.
  • When Eagle Ridge Golf Club officially opened on October 31, 1998, Resident Annual Fees ran $990.00 with Trail Fees costing $550.00.  Resident Daily Green Fees were $18.00 for 18 Holes and $10.00 for 9 Holes.
  • In December 1998 it was announced that the First Resident Member of the Spruce Creek Community Association Board of Directors would be elected in a March 1999 election and would be officially seated on the board April 22, 1999.  At this point they were looking for candidates; all applicants would be interviewed by the Election and Nomination Committee.  The candidate elected was Ed Flowers, a resident of Spyglass Hills.
  • The opening of the Eagle Ridge Golf Club’s Sandwich Shoppe was announced in the December 1998 newsletter.
  • The December 1998 newsletter explained that the Potable Water System provided potable water to all residences, the Community Center, all buildings and all Fire Hydrants throughout SCG&CC. The system at that time had two operating wells, each of which was 250 feet deep, 8” in diameter and capable of 600 gallons of water per minute

1999

  • On January 14, 1999, a meeting was held for all residents interested in learning about a Community Watch Program. A representative from the Marion County Sheriff’s office was there.
  • The Board-appointed committee members were announced for 1999 in the January 1999 newsletter. The committees were: Nomination and Election Committee (NEC), Deed Enforcement Committee (DEC), Clubs and Activities Committee (CAC), Security and Safety Committee (SAS), and Architectural Review Committee (ARC).
  • A demonstration of Pickleball was presented on January 18, 1999.
  • Did you know that Marion County is the 5th largest county in Florida and covers 1,657 square miles?
  • In early 1999, fans were installed in the ceiling of the Community Center Lanai.
  • On April 22, 1999 the Board of Directors officially chartered the Clubs and Activities Committee and Community Watch Committee.
  • In May 1999, it was announced that the Security and Safety Committee was renamed Community Watch/Patrol Committee.
  • On August 1, 1999, Waste Management of Central Florida began servicing the homeowners of Spruce Creek Golf & County Club. Curbside garbage would be serviced twice per week and curbside recycling would be serviced once per week.
  • In the October 1999 issue of The Fountain, the opening of The Blue Water Grille was announced.
  • Also announced in the same October 1999 issue was the hiring of Dale Smauder as the new Assistant Golf Professional for Eagle Ridge Golf Club.

2000

  • It was announced in the July 2000 issue of The Fountain that a Second Resident Director on the Board of Directors would be elected at the October 26, 2000 Annual Meeting of the members. Bill Walker, a St. Andrews resident, was subsequently elected to the Board.
  • Rob McDaniel (1998-2002) received a new title of Executive Director/Vice President.

2001

  • Merger Agreement between Del Webb Corporation and Pulte Homes was finalized on July 31, 2001. Del Webb retained its headquarters location in Phoenix, Arizona; Pulte remained in Bloomfield Hills, Michigan.
  • Del E. Webb Field at Veterans Park had its opening day on November 11, 2001, and at 3:00 P.M. the Veterans Memorial was dedicated with an initial engraving of 167 names. (The Veterans Association has since installed twelve (12) benches.)

2002

  • On January 1, 2002, Eagle Ridge Golf Club opened its third 9 holes and named it “The Masters.” In addition, the original front nine was named “The Heritage” and the original back nine was named “The Champions”.
  • In January 2002 a new system was implemented to track golf handicaps. The GHIN (Golf Handicap and Information Network) System is conducted through the USGA and the FSCA Golf Association. Handicaps are calculated every 2 weeks—except in June, July and August when calculations will be once per month.
  • At the end of November 2002, the 1,000th home purchase was closed. This home is located on 124th Loop in the Tamarron phase.
  • Rob McDaniel was promoted to a position with corporate Del Webb. Jeff Gann (May 2002-2005) was named the new SCG&CC Executive Director.

2003

  • Walking Trail in Kestrel Preserve was completed in January 2003 and includes interpretive signs and distance markers
  • Construction of Fitness Center began February 2003 with completion scheduled for July 2003. This facility will include a picnic pavilion with six charcoal grills.
  • In March 2003, Carmichael’s Restaurant took over the operation of the Blue Water Grille.
  • In May 2003, the Veterans Association was working on plans to build 28 picnic tables for the new Picnic Pavilion, which will be located alongside the new Fitness Center. Veterans Association actually built 36 (8-foot) picnic tables.
  • Lake Vista Fitness Center to open July 2003. Facility grounds include 12 Horseshoe Pits (relocated from the Horizon Club grounds) and a Basketball Half-Court (also relocated from the Horizon Club grounds).
  • In July 2003 the developer agreed to assist financially with three significant capital projects: Clubhouse Kitchen Renovation, Dance Floor Expansion, and construction of a Concession Stand/Storage Building at Del E. Webb Softball Field. In addition, the developer agreed to fund new Pickleball Courts and the Renovation of Horizon Exercise Rooms, which were vacated due to the opening of the Lake Vista Fitness Center.
  • Developer announced that a parcel of land large enough to construct a Second Outdoor Pool would be donated to the HOA.
  • In October 2003 the Developer announced that, in addition to constructing new Pickleball Courts on land the Developer donated to the HOA, they would also construct a new Outdoor Pool. The area was later named “Peninsula Park”.
  • On December 5, 2003, Eagle Ridge Golf Club opened its final nine holes, “Memorial”, for a total of 36 holes.

2004

  • Early in 2004, Galaxy Cable introduced High Speed Internet to the community.
  • The July 2004 Board of Directors meeting approved a charter creating the Transition Committee

Transition Committee.

  • The following Task Forces were created to support the Transition Committee:
  • Management and Operations
  • Finance and Accounting
  • Properties and Grounds
  • Contracts, Licenses, Insurance and Documents
  • Community Programs, Activities and Communications

Each task force would have up to five (5) members and may also have a non-voting advisor.

  • September 23, 2004, Peninsula Park had its grand opening. The park at that time included an outdoor pool, pickleball courts and parking area. (Addition of tennis courts, extra pickleball courts, volleyball sandpit and hot tub came later.)

2005

  • In early 2005, it was announced that the Commercial Property in front of the community was sold to Boyd Development.
  • The North Gate access would become a reality in 2005.
  • By early 2005, construction of a Hot Tub for the Peninsula Pool had commenced.
  • The Developer received a commitment to create a redundant loop in our Electrical Grid to allow for continuous power in the event one of the two feeders for the community loses power. This will not guarantee continuous power, but will significantly lessen the possibility of outages in the future.
  • At the January 27, 2005 Board of Directors meeting, the Developer agreed to contribute $100,000 for construction of new Tennis Courts on additional common grounds if acquired by the HOA. (Eventually built at Peninsula Park.)
  • At the September 27, 2005 annual meeting, two significant milestones related to this meeting were the increase from five Board of Directors to seven, and the Transition from Class “B” (Developer) control to Class “A” (Member) control. Five new directors were elected to terms of varying duration.

2006

  • On January 1, 2006, Leland Management’s contract became effective to manage the Spruce Creek Golf and Country Club Homeowner’s Association with Sean Casey named General Manager. All of the CAM Staff was transferred from being Pulte employees to employees of Leland.
  • Early in 2006, the construction of the new Tennis and Pickleball Courts was finally underway. Once the Peninsula Park facility is completed, work can begin on converting the old tennis courts to Additional Parking, for which the Developer has agreed to pay.
  • A new sound system at the Lake Vista Picnic Pavilion was installed in July of 2006.
  • It was announced in August that Boyd Development was selling the north and south Outparcels located on US 27/441 to a new developer. Boyd retains ownership of the Sales Building and would like it to be a four (4) suite medical facility.