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November 2019

Kingsway Embarks on Next Leg of its Journey

By Scott Kauffman

One year after acquiring Kingsway Country Club in southwest Florida, Las Vegas-based airline Allegiant is going all in as a new golf course owner with a recently announced multi-million-dollar complete renovation of the semi-private, 18-hole facility.

Situated in Lake Suzy, a relatively quiet town tucked near Charlotte Harbor between Fort Myers and Sarasota, Kingsway lies just six miles from Allegiant’s planned $420 million luxury resort and about 10 miles to Punta Gorda Airport, where Allegiant happens to be the only carrier.

With Allegiant’s new Sunseeker Resort Charlotte Harbor already under construction, it’s now time for Kingsway to undergo a complete renovation. According to Allegiant, Kingsway is expected to close for its major transformation in April 2020 and be ready for golfers eight months later under the new Sunseeker Resorts brand.

Golf architect Kipp Schulties was picked to lead the course renovation. A veteran of more than 60 course design projects, Schulties is perhaps best known for his work on Boca Raton Resort & Club and Quail Lodge Resort & Club, two highly acclaimed 27 resorts in South Florida and northern California, respectively. Over the past two decades, Schulties and partners have redesigned dozens of high-profile clubs in South Florida, many of which were originally designed by the game’s best-known architects. 

Kingsway’s renovation is slated to include all components of club operations, including full redesign and refurbishment of the par-72 course with replacement of all turfgrass, irrigation and drainage systems; and expansion and enhancements to the club’s driving range, putting, chipping and bunker practice areas. Allegiant also plans to relocate maintenance facilities to improve the playability of the course. 

Equally as important for the new look will be the reimagined 18,000-square-foot clubhouse, restaurant and event facilities, so all of the hospitality spaces match the upscale sister Sunseeker Resort being designed along the nearby harbor.

“Kingsway Country Club holds a special place in the community, and this renovation will build on its legacy by transforming it into one of the top-tier golf destinations in the country,” said Micah Richins, executive vice president and chief operating officer, Sunseeker Resorts. “With an extraordinary golf course coupled with premier event and dining space, the new club will be an incredible asset to the area, and for the guests joining us at Sunseeker Resort Charlotte Harbor.”

Established in 1976, Kingsway was originally designed by Ron Garl. The club was last renovated in 2005 due to damage caused by Hurricane Charley.

Once the new Sunseeker Resorts branded course reopens near its new sister resort, both leisure properties mark an important step in Allegiant’s evolution as a travel company, offering customers more opportunity for leisure experiences. 

“Kingsway Country Club is a special place to many members of the community, and we are pleased and honored to be able to grow its presence,” said Richins. “Allegiant has always viewed the communities we serve as part of our extended family, and that philosophy continues with the development of Sunseeker Charlotte Harbor. We look forward to providing members and guests a one-of-a-kind golf experience and premier event site that builds on Kingsway’s storied history and tradition.”

If anybody can deliver this new Sunseeker-branded hospitality experience it is Richins, a former senior vice president for MGM Resorts International who oversaw $2 billion in annual revenue across 13 Las Vegas Strip properties prior to being hired by Allegiant.

Scott Kauffman is a golf business writer and the managing director of Aloha Media Group.

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