The best golf courses in Naples are prime for play year-round, yet there is nothing quite like hitting the links during the time of year when you’re able to sidestep the snowbirds.
The high time for golf in the greater Naples area may typically be winter, thanks to dry and warm temps in the 70s and 80s accented by a tropical breeze that naturally draws out flocks of Northern snowbirds looking to test their mettle on the region’s 90-plus courses. However, the fact of the matter is: You can play these courses 365 days a year. In fact, they are just as good in the late summer/fall months because of lesser crowds (no tees sheets packed until mid-afternoon!), lowered prices, and more relaxed rules allowing non-members to get tee times at a handful of the area’s private clubs. Interested? We profile some of the best courses to play within easy driving distance of Edgewater Beach Hotel.
Old Corkscrew Golf Club [Estero]
Only a legend like Jack Nicklaus could effortlessly mesh nature and golf to create such a memorable experience as this par-72 that Golf Magazine calls “Florida’s Number One-Rated Course.” Set in a certified Audubon International Silver Signature Sanctuary, the 18 holes are woven into a tapestry of mature oaks, pines, cypress trees, lakes, prairie grass, and wetlands. Expect a lot of variety, with several risk-reward holes – the perfect example of that being the 345-yard par-4 4th hole, boasting a fairway littered with bunkers and water to the left.
Flamingo Island Course at the Lely Resort Golf & Country Club [Naples]
Considered one of Naples’s signature public courses, this par-72, 7,095-yard gem designed by Robert Trent Jones, Sr. is characterized by extensive sculpting and shaping, expanded greens, abundant water, and multiple teeing stations. The unforgettable hole is the par-3 200-yard hole 5, featuring a curved and rolling fairway entirely surrounded by shimmering azure water, with bunkers built along one side and two small bridges its only connection to the mainland.
Esplanade Golf & Country Club [Naples]
Named one of Golf Digest’s “Best New Courses” in 2014 when it premiered, the par-72 championship course designed by Chris Wylczinski features an intriguing blend of shots that test the imagination as well as tactical ability and skill. In addition to integrating the natural environment into its layout – think flowering marshes and towering oak, pine, and palm trees – the course features a handful of risk-and-reward par fours (holes 5, 10, and 14) and three forced carries over water.
The Black Course at Tiburón Golf Club [Naples]
Akin to its fellow Greg Norman–designed courses, the 6,800-yard Black Course works in continuity with its natural surroundings, featuring pine straw-lined fairways, crushed coquina waste areas, and undulating greens nestled amidst acres of pine trees and native Florida foliage. Tee shots must be played more strategically because water often surrounds both sides of the fairway, making for difficult navigation.
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