Private Golf Courses in Naples Florida
In an area famous for the number of golfing opportunities available in the gated developments, sometimes the private golf courses in Naples Florida can be overlooked. By this is meant those layouts in a golf club with a restricted number of memberships, that is not open to the public for play, and is not located in a specific community of residential housing, thereby eliminating great courses such as Grey Oaks, Twin Eagles, The Strand and Tiburon (The Ritz Carlton Golf Resort).
When talking about the private golf courses in Naples Florida, a great place to start this discussion is Calusa Pines, already ranked as a “Top Ten Best New Private Clubs” when it first opened, and is presently in the “100 Greatest Golf Courses in America” by Golf Digest. The club does not release any information regarding its members, which is limited to a maximum of 275, and is by “Invitation Only.” This is a golf only facility where there are no tee times, and it features a “strong caddie program as members and guests are encouraged to walk the course.” The club encompasses 550 acres and is located off Immokalee Road, across the way from Heritage Bay and to the north of Vanderbilt Country Club.
The Calusa Pines course is the design of Michael Hurdzan and Dana Fry and it measures over 7,200 yards from the back tees with a par of 72, course rating of 75.3 and slope of 148, making it one of the toughest tests in the area. It was designed to be “fully integrated” with its “unique topography” and natural vegetation so that they could be used to give each hole a “sense of privacy as well as a dramatic natural feature.” Very seldom can you actually see another golf hole other than the one being played, and the only visible building is the clubhouse. There is an incredible variety in the way each of the holes face, with each of the 4 par 3’s, as well as the par 5’s , playing in a different direction. This layout is not strictly for the low handicapper however, as the play angle from each tee differs, with the back tees having greater difficulty, and the forward ones being much more forgiving, making play a fun experience for everyone. According to the designers, you will “never tire of playing it”, with a variety of different shots required each time you play, and every hole is found to be “distinct and memorable.”
Directly south of Calusa Pines is the Golf Club Of The Everglades, a private 18 hole golf course that was opened for play in April, 2000. The course (which is not actually in the “Everglades”) is the creation of Rees Jones, who used his imagination for this design of a “magnificent inland links” layout that fully utilizes nearly 200 acres just for the course and practice facility. There are also more than 60 acres of lakes and preserve areas. This equity club was “created by golfers, for golfers,” there are no tee times, walking is allowed at any time and there are caddies available upon request. There is a beautiful and elegant clubhouse with a “full service pro shop, ladies and gentlemen's locker rooms” and 2 dining options. This club does not have tennis courts or swimming pools.
The Golf Club of The Everglades
The wind can be a “major factor for golfers” playing the course of the Golf Club Of The Everglades, as it is fairly open. The rolling fairways and native vegetation make this par 72 course a joyful experience. It can measure close to 7,400 yards at its longest, with a rating of 76.3 and slope of 131.
Also in this same geographic area, just east of “Everglades” is the Olde Florida Golf Club, whose course is another brainchild of Rees Jones. This layout which is routed through a “uniquely diverse South Florida landscape” has a par of 72 and can be stretched to almost 7,100 yards, with TifEagle greens and bermuda fairways. The membership prides itself on being designated a “Certified Cooperative Sanctuary” by Audubon International. The course was also named one of the “Best New Private Courses for 1994” by Golf Digest magazine.
Olde Florida Golf Course
Olde Florida Clubhouse
One other club in the “Estates” area of Naples is the Hideout Golf Club, with its 250 members, and is a “club of choice for the serious golfer.” A very tranquil setting allows for a player to experience a “manicured golf course without homes or tee times,” and where walking is always an option, with or without a caddy. The course was designed by renowned architect Kelly Blake Moran to provide a challenge to the professional (Mo Martin, the 2014 Women’s British Open Champion, plays out of this club, even though she lives in Grey Oaks) or scratch golfer, as well as being enjoyable to the less skilled.
Hideout Golf Club
The Hideout Golf Club is highly respected for its reputation for “tour quality” greens and fast play. At over 7,000 yards, this par 72 layout has a rating of 73.6 and 137 slope. It has acted as a host for the U. S. Amatuer Qualifier, the U. S. Junior Qualifier, and P.G.A. Stroke Play Site.
Farther south and set around the golf developments of Cedar Hammock, Naples Lakes Country Club and Lely Resort, is Naples National Golf Club. The members employed Dr. Michael Hurdzan and Dana Fry in 1992 to create a course with the aim of having a place where “golf’s proudest traditions” and with a “purity in design” could be maintained and cherished. Members to the club come from all parts of the world, with the common interest being the love of the game. Membership is extremely limited and is by invitation only. This allows for uncrowded playing conditions and eliminates the need for starting times.
Naples National Golf Club
Naples National Clubhouse
The par 72 course at Naples National Golf Club, which can measure over 7,000 yards and carry a rating of 76.2 and slope of 150, makes the most of the native terrain, including cypress, pine, marshland and sand. There are 120 acres dedicated as a nature preserve not to be disturbed, plus numerous rugged sand scrub waste areas bordering “meticulously manicured fairways” resembling the Pine Valley course. Some additional features of Naples National include:
- Tees and greens of varying elevations, yet never severe
- Fairways vary in width, with longer holes having wider landing areas
- Few, yet strategically placed, bunkers
- The shorter the approach shot the smaller the green, and vice versa
- An Old Settler’s boundary stone wall winds through the course
- Greens average between 10 and 11 on the stimpmeter
The Naples National course is a “traditional” layout, with no gimmicks, railroad ties or island greens, and the members love it that way.
Going a little west is Royal Palm, a private member-owned club since 1976. A number of homes in Lely Golf Estates border the course, yet there is no association or affiliation between the the homes and the club. The “Olde Florida Style” golf course was originally designed by David L. Wallace, and was then modified in 2000 by Gordon Lewis. As might be expected, mature trees and landscaping line the fairways leading to the well guarded TifEagle greens. There are 8 differing tee placements making the layout “user friendly” for all skill levels. This par 72, 6,700 yard layout is also walker-friendly with short distances between greens and tees, making for a round of 4 hours or less. Royal Palm is the host to a Special Olympics golf tournament each year.
Royal Palm Golf Club
David Wallace was also creator of the two courses for the Royal Poinciana Golf Club, another of the private golf courses in Naples, and the only one with 2 courses that is not in an affiliated residential community. The club is located to the east of Goodlette-Frank Road, just south of Pine Ridge Road. It is a member owned, equity club built on 320 acres, with two 18 hole courses, one which opened in 1969, the other one year later. The golfing memberships are limited to 640, with an initiation fee in the 6 figures, and are available by invitation only. Cell phones must be turned off or in the “silent” mode while on the club premises.
Royal Poinciana Golf Course
Royal Poinciana Dining Room
Both of the courses of Royal Poinciana play to a par of 72 and have elevated tee boxes, with some of the greens having a double-tiered surface. The Cypress course is very “tropical looking” with many cypress and Royal Palms. It features narrow fairways with water coming into play on ten of the holes, and a top length of around 6,500 yards. The Pines course is roughly 300 yards longer with wider fairways and less water. The greens on this course tend to be more elevated with deep bunkers and have a more “undulating” putting surface.
Directly north of Royal Poinciana is The Country Club of Naples, a member-owned club with a “proud heritage dating back to 1966.” It was the “first private, full service country club in Naples and the fourth golf course.” At that time the initiation fees were $1,000 and dues were just under $300 per year, while the figures today are around $20,,000 for initiation and dues in the $10,000 per year range, with a limit of 290 memberships. The original architect of the course was Bill Diddle, and it remained basically unchanged until 2009. At that time it was shut down for a major restoration, to be conducted by the locally renowned Gordon Lewis. It was officially reopened later that year to rave reviews by the members. As it now stands, the layout can measure nearly 6,800 yards with a 72 par and a 73.7 rating for the men, while the “ladies” have close to 5,500 yards and a 72.2 rating. Besides this year being the site of the 54th Florida Senior Amateur Championship, the Club was recently honored to host 3 United States Golf Association Qualifying events.
The Country Club of Naples
- 2013 United States Amateur Championship
- 2013 United States Junior Amateur Championship
- 2012 The 112th United States Open Championship
The Country Club of Naples also offers wonderful dining options, an active social calendar and a strong tennis program.
Even before The Country Club of Naples was founded there was The Hole-In-The-Wall Golf Club. It was established in 1957 for members who “appreciated the traditions of the game of golf and enjoyed each other’s company.” The name was derived from the property being the northern portion of what was once the Hole In The Wall Ranch. The original designer was Dick Wilson (whose other noteworthy courses include The Blue Monster at Doral, The Greenbrier Lakeside, and Bay Hill in Orlando), while Ron Forse completed a renovation in 2007. This par 71 layout extends to more than 6,500 yards with Celebration Bermuda Grass for fairways, 109 bunkers and new TifEagle bermuda greens which were installed in 2014.
The Hole In The Wall Golf Course
The Hole in The Wall
The Club has been a certified member of the Audubon Cooperative Sanctuary System for many years, using their Wildlife Fund to support the project. With nearly 50 acres of wetland preserves serving as a natural habitat, and landscaped shorelines using aquatic plantings to reduce erosion, the Club’s dedication to nature is assured.
Another club totally committed to nature and the environment is The Old Collier Golf Club. The testimony to that fact is that the Club was the First Audubon International Certified Gold Signature Sanctuary Golf Club in the World!!! The location of the club is almost a secret with the entrance being a small drive on the west side of Tamiami Trail North (US 41) just north of Immokalee Road, although the grounds extend to the Cocohatchee River and Vanderbilt Drive. Some of the wildlife that members share their 267 acres with include eagles, osprey, foxes, gopher tortoises and an occasional “gator”.
Olde Collier Golf Club
Olde Collier Golf Club
The 18 hole course of The Old Collier Golf Club is the design of Tom Fazio, and it’s nearly 7,100 yards plays to par of 72. The members are extremely proud of their last 4 holes, which they call “crunch time” as that is where so many matches are won or lost. The course was the first one in the continental United States to use Seashore Paspalum grass from tee to green. Although carts are optional, the club encourages members to walk and take advantage of its unique single-bag caddy program. The Old Collier Clubhouse “draws on the classical heritage of early Georgian architecture,” while the members make use of their handcrafted wooden lockers in the “colonial influenced” locker rooms. Membership is strictly by invitation only.
For a change of pace from these championship layouts, another of the private golf courses in Naples Florida is the course of The Moorings Country Club. It is the only private golf course west of U.S. 41 that is actually in the city of Naples, and although it is situated in Moorings, there is no attachment between the club and the community. The unique feature of this Gordon Lewis designed layout is that it measures just under 3,600 yards and plays to a par of 63. With expertly manicured greens, the makeup of the 18 holes is that there are 9 Par 3’s and 9 Par 4’s, while a round should be completed in less than 3 hours.
The private country clubs in Naples that are not associated with a property development are just another example of what is available to meet the needs of different individuals. Naples also has 19 public golf courses and 63 golf courses that are within the confines and associated with a residential development. In some cases home ownership within a development is not a requirement for membership to the club.
Hotels with golf courses
Naples Grande Beach Resort (formerly the Waldorf)
Naples Golf and Beach Resort
Ritz Carlton Golf Resort at Tiburon Ritz Carlton Beach Resort
LaPlaya Beach and Golf Resort on Vanderbilt Beach
Most of the finer hotels around Naples such as The Naples Bay Resort, Inn on 5th, Bellasara and The Inn at Pelican Bay have relationships with a number of fine courses in the area.
This blog was originally written on September 9, 2015. For current MLS information please click on any link within the blog or click here http://ChrisAndDick.com
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