Golf is Great in Naples, Florida

The Naples Beach Hotel & Golf Club

The newly redesigned course at The Naples Beach Hotel & Golf Club is open for play by resort guests and the public.

By JoNell Modys

Florida’s Paradise Coast including Naples, Marco Island and the Everglades in Southwest Florida is a haven for golf lovers. There are 91 golf courses in the greater Naples area, with approximately one third of them open to members of the public or guests at area resorts. Although a lot of the golf courses are private clubs, some welcome non-members during the less busy months of May through December, while seasonal residents return to their homes up north. The region is ranked by the National Golf Foundation as having the most golf holes per capita in the U.S, and was voted as 2014’s top North American Destination for Golf by the International Association of Golf Tour Operators. 

Tee Tips

• Many are hotels that don’t have their own golf course offer guests a golf package that combines hotel stay, golf at a nearby course and other amenities. These are mostly offered between May and December.

• If your hotel or resort doesn’t have its own course and doesn’t offer a golf package with an area course, check with the concierge to inquire about bookings at the top courses in the Naples-Marco Island area. They’ll help you choose between year-round public course vs. private courses that might accept guests at certain times of the year.

• Summer is the rainy season in Florida, but mornings are usually sunny and clear. Thunderstorms tend to pop up for an hour or so in mid to late afternoon. Morning tee times are recommended June through September.

• Because of the possibility of thunderstorms, summertime greens fees are greatly reduced. Some courses offer reduced rates overall, plus even greater reductions for afternoon play. So, check the weather and take advantage of significant savings on afternoons when it doesn’t rain.

• Yes, there IS a Reptile Rule! Alligators are prevalent in Southwest Florida. Since so many courses feature natural freshwater lakes, these large reptiles can and do come into play. If your lie is in close proximity to an alligator, you can take a free drop from the nearest point of relief a safe distance away, as long as you’re no closer to the hole. Always proceed with caution, and remember, alligators can run very fast – up to 25 mph – but only in short bursts. NEVER feed, taunt or strike an alligator or other wild animal.

Top Public Courses
The Naples Beach Hotel & Golf Club’s course is the oldest in Naples and is included in the newly launched Florida Historic Golf Trail. The course is open for play by the public as well as resort guests. The historic course recently reopened after an extensive upgrade and redesign led by golf legend Jack Nicklaus in collaboration with noted course architect John Sanford.

The Lely Resort Golf & Country Club has two popular public courses – the Mustang, a Lee Trevino design that balances playability with stunning natural beauty; and the Flamingo Island course by Robert Trent Jones, considered one of the nation’s premier public courses. Flamingo Island is best known for Hole 5, a 200-yard par 3 that is surrounded by water.

TPC Treviso Bay brings the PGA Tour Network experience to Naples. Memberships are available, but the course is open for public play. It’s difficult to get a tee time in the peak winter season, so plan accordingly.

Designed by architect Arthur Hills and player consultant Hal Sutton, this course challenges your skills as a player and your ability to out think the course and conditions. Each hole tests your ability to fit the shot to the situation, whether it is how to play a bump-and-run, high fade, lob shot, wind-cheater, or the straight drive. At TPC Treviso Bay you’ll need them all.

Arrowhead Golf Club is frequently voted the best public golf course in Naples. The Gordon G. Lewis course allows for play that is both challenging and enjoyable.

Panther Run Golf Club at Del Webb Naples, also designed by Gordon G. Lewis, is in the community of Ave Maria a half hour northeast of Naples. Watch for great deals for mid to late afternoon play.

The Links of Naples is a popular public, 18-hole par 61 executive course at the edge of the Everglades in Naples. The Links is known for its friendly service and fun atmosphere, and it’s the only course in the Naples area to feature stadium lighting for nighttime golf games. Night golf is available seasonally from November through April on Wednesday through Saturday nights until 11 p.m.

Top Resort Courses
Tiburon Golf Club at The Ritz-Carlton Golf Resort, Naples has two courses, the Gold Course and Black Course, both designed by Greg Norman. Tiburon hosts both the LPGA Tour’s CME Group Tour Championship and the PGA Tour’s QBE Shootout. This beautiful semi-private course is open to public play, but private members and guests of both Ritz-Carlton resorts in Naples have priority for tee times.

JW Marriott Marco Island Beach Resort has two courses. The Rookery, recently redesigned by course designer Robert Cupp, and Hammock Bay, designed by Peter Jacobsen and Jim Hardy. One course each day is selected as the private course for members and resort guests only, while the other is open for public play. Golf instruction is available from the Dennis Clark Golf Academy.

The Naples Grande Beach Resort offers play for resort guests on the private Naples Grande Golf Club course designed by Rees Jones. The highly regarded par 72 course is both interesting and challenging. Instruction is available from the Durland Golf School.

LaPlaya Beach & Golf Resort guests play at the private LaPlaya Golf Club course designed by Robert Cupp, which is both scenic and challenging.

Tournament Time
Golf fans have plenty of opportunity to turn out and follow their favorite players at tournaments in Naples. The LPGA CME Group Tour Championship, held in November at Tiburon Golf Club, is the exciting culmination to the action-packed women’s golf season. Each December Greg Norman hosts the annual QBE Shootout, a PGA-sanctioned specialty tournament, also at Tiburón Golf Club. In February Naples hosts the PGA Champions Tour for the Chubb Classic at The Club at Twin Eagles.

About Florida’s Paradise Coast
Whether travelers are looking for a romantic escape or family getaway, Florida’s Paradise Coast — Naples, Marco Island and the western portion of the Everglades — has an array of vacation options year-round. With more than 30 miles of soft, white sand beaches, thriving arts and culture scene, distinctive dining, family attractions and the best of outdoor adventure, the Paradise Coast is truly a destination with it all. Located just two hours from Miami, four hours from Orlando and three hours from Tampa, the Paradise Coast is easily accessible from some of Florida’s largest cities. Travelers outside of the Sunshine State can fly into Southwest Florida International Airport, which provides nonstop service to 44 destinations on 14 different air carriers.

For more information about the Paradise Coast, call 800-688-3600 or visit www.ParadiseCoast.com. Follow the destination on Twitter and Instagram @ParadiseCoast and #paradisecoast, and on Facebook at www.Facebook.com/TheParadiseCoast.

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