Golf life on vacation in the golf capital of the world

by | Nov 11, 2021 | Golf Resorts

Often referred to as the “golf capital of the world”, idyllic Naples has long been home to a number of luxury golf resorts and private clubs that rival or surpass any golf stronghold in North America. Located like a perfect tee along the “Paradise Coast” in southwest Florida, it enjoys highs throughout the winter in the 70s and 80s and over 300 days of sunshine a year.

And while both the seasonal and year-round populations of Collier County have grown exponentially over the past decade, Naples still retains much of the charm – and net worth – that put it on the map many decades ago. For those who have clubs and want to travel who are looking for a longer vacation that could turn into a permanent vacation, here is a cross-section of the best golf deals Naples has to offer.

Old Corkscrew Golf Club

Golf vacation

Old Corkscrew Golf Club is a Jack Nicklaus Signature Golf Course in the fast growing Estero in southern Lee County (north of Naples). The beefy, 7,393-meter-long facility extends over 275 acres of native grasses, trees and wetlands, which are characterized by huge garbage bunkers, pristine fairways and the characteristic green complexes of the Golden Bear. In short, it is one of the most challenging tracks in Naples, equipped with all the modern design elements from Nicklaus.

Old Corkscrew is unique to the area and offers a pure golf experience with no living and other distractions. All the better to concentrate on the task at hand and master the breathtaking 151 slope ratings of the course from the tips. The course was recently acquired by the Hoffman Family of Companies, who also bought the prestigious Old Collier Golf Club nearby.

Driving south from Old Corkscrew, golfers will appreciate the exciting combination of Gold and Black courses at Tiburon Golf Club at the Ritz-Carlton Golf Resort in Naples. Both tracks were designed by Greg Norman and host PGA and LPGA Tour events, the QBE Shootout and the CME Group Tour Championship, respectively. The combination is perfect for those looking for a 36-hole-a-day experience, while the Ritz-Carlton Hotel offers a variety of luxurious rooms and suites.

In keeping with the multi-course theme, the JW Marriott Marco Island Beach Resort anchors the southern end of the Naples area, and the Hammock Bay Golf and Country Club is the property’s marquee offering. Jim Hardy and former PGA / Champions Tour player-turned-commentator Peter Jacobsen designed the course, which recently underwent a $ 4.8 million overhaul that included the installation of salt water tolerant paspalum grass.

Golfers can double up with an extra round of golf at Hammock Bay’s sister course, The Rookery at Marco. This original Joe Lee design was updated by Bob Cupp in 2002 and Hardy and Jacobsen in 2014. Both courses are private, but Marriott guests have access to selected tee times. If the south side of the Paradise Coast is your destination, this is the place.

Baleen at La Playa Golf and Beach ResortBaleen at La Playa Golf and Beach Resort

Extended golf vacation

Visit La Playa Golf and Beach Resort, a boutique hotel right on the sugar-sand beaches of the tranquil Gulf of Mexico. Guests have access to La Playa Golf Club, home to a hidden gem in a cup design that is revered regionally for its fitness and playability. Two important pointers: the golf club is an easy 10 minute drive from the hotel and don’t miss the chance to dine at the Baleen, with its gorgeous setting just steps from the surf and sand.

For those who just can’t get enough, the Lely Resort Golf and Country Club is the epitome of golf in Naples, with two resort tracks and a private course: The Mustang and Flamingo Island are open to the public, designed by Lee Trevino and Robert Trent Jones Sr., or both, are usually in good to excellent condition, and practice junkies will appreciate the two full-service practice facilities, including a 54,000 square foot driving range with target greens.

The Olde Cypress ClubThe Olde Cypress Club

Permanent leave

The Club at Olde Cypress, nondescript halfway between the sugar-sand beaches of Naples and I-75, is a vibrant and welcoming enclave surrounded by a masterfully crafted private community from Southwest Florida STOCK Development, which also owns the club.

Olde Cypress recently reopened its redesigned PB Dye-designed golf course and 34,000-square-foot updated clubhouse after a multi-million dollar remodel. Because the club is privately owned, the club can make capital improvements without tapping into its members in addition to their monthly or annual “review” contributions.

All 18 greens, the practice green and the chipping area have been renewed with TifEagle. This strand of Bermuda grass is considered the gold standard for golf course greens because it offers improved speed, consistency, and general playability. To top it off, the greens have been fitted with a new underground drainage system for the rapid drainage of excess water that is common during the summer thunderstorms in southwest Florida.

Tea boxes were enlarged, leveled and re-planted with Bimini Bermuda, a beautiful new strand with a dark green hue. And golfers who have experienced a Dye-designed golf course know that bunkers are part of Dye’s DNA. Olde Cypress has just under 100 bunkers scattered across the layout, and they have been freshened up with new edges, contours, and sand for a stunning visual impact.

Other amenities at the Olde Cypress include tennis and pickleball courts, a fitness center and pool, and a 34,000-square-foot clubhouse with casual and fine dining. The club is at the heart of a highly sought-after 450-acre fenced enclave with resale homes ranging from $ 550,000 to over $ 1 million. Airports, beaches, shops and numerous marinas with intracoastal and deep sea access are only a few minutes away.

Old cypressOld cypress


Naples is served by Southwest Florida International Airport in southern Lee County and has direct flights from nearly 50 cities with 14 different airlines. Located in the heart of Collier County, Naples Airport is a first class, full service FBO with US customs services. For golfers traveling by car, Naples is accessible via I-75 from the north and Florida’s east coast.

Article by Shane Sharp