My golfing friends and I have discovered at least three golf courses you should play while in the southwest corner of Florida. This is a golf haven? heaven? for those who love the game. The City of Fort Myers is surrounded by some really grand golf courses and we’ve begun to play the list.
One thing to take into consideration when taking a golf vacation, especially if you are traveling from a cold northern climate and haven’t played the game in a couple of months – don’t worry about your performance and don’t judge the quality of your game based on your score. You are probably going to play on unfamiliar courses with lots of water and hazards that will literally “eat” your ball. As one of our party state: “Prior Proper Knowledge Precludes Piss Poor Performance.” So play for the fun of the game and the adventure of it all.
(Another thing to keep in mind as you plan your golf trip: You will most likely be playing on public or semi-private courses. During the “high season” of January – March these courses get a lot of traffic, and making reservations can be difficult unless you plan ahead. If you can hold off until April, many of the private courses open up to the public and your selection increases substantially.)
But back to our adventure:
In the last few days we’ve played four courses and today we’re heading out for a repeat at our favorite of the four.
Here’s a quick rundown from our favorite to one course we won’t play again:
Fort Myers Country Club: This is a gem. Newly renovated and very popular. There is good reason. Everything is in perfect shape. The greens are so new, the putts fly! You feel like you are putting on glass, so it takes a bit to get your rhythm down.
Well marked fairways are wide and lined with trees. There is some water and at least one spot where if the group in front of you gets in trouble, there can be a traffic jam. We got caught up at one corner, but benches thoughtfully placed under the trees gave us a shady spot to wait out from under the hot sun.
A few of the greens are close to the tee box of the next hole so you have to keep your wits about you. And one complaint which should be fixed soon: The course has not completed getting their yardage updated through GPS so you cannot rely on satellite read outs. Use the yardage markers you find on the course.
The club house bar and grill is an old classic from the turn of the century and is very popular with both the golfers and the locals, especially during “Happy Hour.” This is definitely a “must play” course.
Eagle Ridge Country Club: This is a popular public course that is well maintained. It’s challenging with some narrow fairways and water that weave back and forth both surrounding and crossing the course. But it is well marked and if you lay up rather than “go for it” all the time you should be able to keep your golf ball dry. The greens were slower than those we found at Fort Myers but still a challenge. The staff were friendly and the pro shop well supplied. Great practice area for chipping and putting. We’ll be back.
Palmetto Pines: This course is tucked away on Cape Coral and not easy to find without the help of a map or Garmin. The course was in good shape and the greens accessible in two from the forward tees. Water and hazards mark the course throughout and the greens were “slick!” Now that we’ve played it once, several of us want to play it again.
Royal Tees, Cape Coral: In a word? – Won’t be back. This is a semi private golf course that looks like it has seen better days. They claim the course was just renovated…, but as one reviewer stated, “I hope they kept their receipts!” Lots of water, with poorly maintained sand traps, not well marked for distance or hazards… Even the bag drop and access to golf carts was strange. With three 9 hole courses, there is enough variety for all ability levels. But the course is a mixed bag of well and poorly maintained fairways and greens. A strange little course with little to recommend it. It was also the most expensive of the four we played, and not worth the extra $$$.
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If you’ve ever played any of these courses, add your comment below. Love to know if your experience was the same as ours.