STUART, Fla. – Ronnie Vitti and his three golfing friends get ready to play at Sailfish Sands Golf Course in Stuart.

“It’s really nice the course, we come here once a week, sometimes twice a week,” Vitti said.

Martin County took over the course in 2014 and despite advice from a consultant to sell the property, the then county commission voted never to sell it. The 27 holes here have been recently redesigned, and there is a refurbished pro shop.

But the biggest addition here is a new two-story bay that just opened last week.

That’s the vision of Director of Parks and Recreation, Kevin Abbate.

“This facility here, it’s not really about golf. It’s more of a social experience…an entertainment component of our parks system. We already have plans to bring in varsity golf teams as a center training,” Abbate said.

$4.6 million was spent to upgrade the resort and add space for a full-service indoor restaurant called “The Fish”, creating dozens of full-time jobs.

“My passion is golf and my career is food and beverage and I’ve been serving the Martin County area for the past twenty years,” restaurateur Michael LaMattina said.

This isn’t the first time the county has ventured into the entertainment business.

The Sailfish Splash water park opened its doors ten years ago after much controversy.

“This year the water park enjoyed over 250,000 people after year number 10,” Abbate said.

The hope is that this golf resort will be a financial asset, not an albatross.

“I would tell anyone in this community that’s the same thing we do for anything else, we invest in the community,” Abbate said.

Hitting the berries can take up to $6 to $25 to $45 per hour and the work here is not done. The next project will be a massive golf green planned for next year.

Ronnie Vitti’s foursome split up in the middle when asked if they would spend the extra time and money in the punching bays.

“Golf is about practicing and hitting the ball and it’s perfect for that,” Vitti said.

“I do enough swings here, I practice a lot,” said Terry Locatis.

Time will tell if this effort beyond greens adds more green to the county.