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The beginner’s guide to Naples golf

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The beginner's guide to Naples golf

Naples is the ideal wintertime golf destination for snowbirds.

NAPLES, Florida – Naples is the golf place I’ve travelled to the most in the globe.

For the past 20 years, I’ve travelled with my family in the spring to north Naples, where my grandparents once resided. Our trips have included a lot of golf.

When Cypress Woods was still open to the public, I made my first birdie there. I also drank a lot of post-round double gulps from 7-Eleven, which the losing team always purchased, and I had my teeth repeatedly kicked out by Old Corkscrew in Estero. All of this is to say that I have a variety of Naples golf experiences, from being a little boy of ten years old to a respectable Division-III college golfer to a washed-up man of almost thirty. I suppose you could describe me as an expert. Here is my basic itinerary for a visit to Naples:


Naples, which GolfPass ranked as the fourth-best winter destination in North America, is also a fantastic place to go for spring break and late fall vacations because southwest Florida always has pleasant weather. As opposed to central and northern Florida, where springtime temperatures in the mid-60s can make travelling to the beach less appealing, this area is far enough south that you don’t have to worry about them. I’ve only been there once, and it was during a really dreadful summer. always hot and sticky But golf is less expensive!

Public golf facilities

Within a 30- to 45-minute drive of Naples, there are a tonne of excellent public golf options (among all the private ones). Here are a couple courses I suggest based on how many rounds you have planned for your trip.

About 20 miles north of Naples in Bonita Springs is where you’ll find Raptor Bay. It’s a wonderful track to start off any vacation. The first hole is a par five with room on the right side of 75 yards. What is there to dislike? The layout provides a wide variety of open and tight tee shots and tops out at just over 6,400 yards. Though not particularly speedy, the greens are in excellent condition. There are several holes that may be scored on, giving you the chance to start feeling good about your game. For Florida standards, the golf course at Arrowhead near Naples is forgiving off the tee and boasts a wonderful mix of straightforward holes and unusual ones. Longer hitters who choose an aggressive line can drive the third hole, a boomerang 311-yard par 4, with an iron.

We eventually travelled to Panther Run last year, a remote location all the way out in Ave Maria. Despite the longer drive, the green fees are lower for a course that is comparable to those above. On a sizable plot of land, there is a sizable golf course. Old Corkscrew is the course in Naples where you can discover the most difficult golf challenge. I initially played the Jack Nicklaus design a couple years after it first opened in 2007. It’s a dynamic layout that is constantly in excellent condition. Anyone with a lower ball flight will have a lot of challenging lag putts and difficult approach approaches because of the severe greens. I’m a sprayer of golf balls, so I’d suggest bringing along an additional sleeve. The area between holes 3-5 is the best place for alligator fans to observe a gator up close. I have always enjoyed my rounds at Old Corkscrew despite its difficulties, and I would suggest it; however, perhaps relocate a tee box up and take some time off. On April 1, 2022, the ownership of the course was recently transferred. This is The Hoffmann Family of Companies’ third course, and they have plans to do some modifications, including “extensive clearing and trimming of trees and underbrush on the course that restrict line of sight and playability,” that should be finished in June.

The resorts for golf

Naples has a few golf resorts that are worth considering. The Hyatt Regency Coconut Point Resort and Spa includes Raptor Bay. The Mustang (a course designed by Lee Trevino) and Flamingo Island are the two courses at The Lely Resort, which is the closest to downtown Naples (a Robert Trent Jones, Sr. design). There are stay & play packages available at The Ritz-Carlton Golf Resort if you want to play one of the two Tiburon courses built by Greg Norman, where the QBE Shootout is held in December. The Vanderbilt Beach Ritz-Carlton has a seaside location and offers access to the golf. Two such establishments that give visitors admission to their exclusive clubs are Naples Grand Beach Resort and LaPlaya Beach & Golf Resort.

checklist for Naples

Although I still strongly suggest it, my to-do list has significantly changed since I was a 10-year-old who just wanted to play golf and knock the men down sandcastle style.

  1. Celebration Park food trucks – I haven’t been there, but three separate local couples who have stated it’s the best thing to do on a weekend night in Naples highly recommend it. Live music and a wide selection of food trucks make for a fun experience.
    Naples Zoo at Caribbean Gardens is a nice spot to spend an afternoon. It’s convenient to get to and offers a wide variety of activities, including the cooler-than-you’d-think experience of feeding giraffes.
  2. Favorite Restaurants – If you’re searching for a fantastic steak or seafood supper on the beach as the sun sets, The Turtle Club on Vanderbilt Beach is the best there is. Campiello is a well-liked Italian eatery in the heart of Naples. Before your appointment, arrive early to explore the area and stores.

Personally, I prefer

If I were playing three rounds in Naples, I would begin at Raptor Bay, go on to Panther Run, and then, after giving my game a little TLC, conclude at Old Corkscrew. On a day at the beach, I would stop by the Turtle Club for lunch because seating is first-come, first-served. I would try the food trucks in Celebration Park for dinner one weekend. That’s a top priority for our next vacation to Naples.

Read more: 10 top-tier American golf resorts for instruction