7 must-play courses on the Paradise Coast

As the destination with the most golf courses per capita in the country, Florida’s Paradise Coast offers a variety of places to play a round or two or three. Everyone from beginners to scratch golfers can make golf part of their visit here, and many come purely on playcations, golfing as many rounds and courses as possible.

Many of the golf clubs in a luxury destination like the Paradise Coast are private, so if it’s an open-to-the-public itinerary you’re looking for, let me direct you to some of my favorites. The Naples-Marco Island area was my stomping ground during the real estate explosion and I became familiar with the many playing options. I narrowed it down to seven since that is one a day for a week. You really don’t want to play more than 18 a day since the Paradise Coast has so many other great things to offer visitors.

Naturally, if you want to make golf the focus of your trip, you can stay at one of the many luxurious golf resorts. I added some of my ‘faves.’

Hibiscus Golf Club

Located just five miles southeast of downtown Naples, the splendidly conditioned layout

at Hibiscus Golf Club is an inviting 18-hole golf course for all levels of golfers to enjoy. The fairways are cut through indigenous Florida foliage, and well-bunkered greens make for some challenging approach shots on the par 73, 6,540-yard design. For more information please visit HibiscusGolf.com

The Links of Naples

The finest 18-hole executive length course on the Paradise Coast, the Links of Naples is a par 61, 4005-yard layout with stadium lighting for night golf Wednesday through Saturday during the winter season for family outings or a nice walk for the mature players. With friendly service and a fun atmosphere, ‘The Links’ is very popular with the locals. To schedule a tee time visit LinksofNaples.com

Valencia Golf & Country Club

This 7000+ yard golf course was renovated in 2018 and has long been known for its wide fairways and contoured greens. The redesign included new Champion Bermuda grass on the fairways, TifEagle Bermuda on the greens for consistency and smoother putting, and a more purposeful placement of bunkers. It is considered one of the premier public tracks in the area. Visit ValenciaGolfandCountryClub.com for more information.

Arrowhead Golf Club

Arrowhead Golf Club

From 2004 to 2020, the Southwest Florida Choice Awards named Arrowhead the Best Public Golf Course all but two of those years. It is a great course for any age and skill level. Arrowhead has 5 sets of tees ranging from 6832 to 4604, par 72, featuring 16 pristine lakes, undulating greens and well-placed bunkers. Situated in north Naples but close to all the delicious dining and entertainment spots. Check it out at ArrowheadGolfNaples.com

Lely Golf Resort

Just 10 miles southwest of downtown Naples is the 36-hole Lely Resort managed by American Golf. Home two outstanding designs; The 7,095-yard Flamingo Island course is a Robert Trent Jones Sr. masterpiece characterized by extensive sculpting and an abundance of water. The course features an unforgettable signature hole-#5, a 200-yard par 3 with only bridges connecting the tee box to the green area. Flamingo is a magical blend of strategic diversity and breathtaking natural beauty. The second championship course, The Mustang, is a 7,320-yard World Golf Hall of Famer Lee Trevino design that is a bit more forgiving than the Flamingo. Complete with gently rolling fairways, large greens and only 12 sparkling lakes, it is challenging from the tips but 5 sets of tees allow the duffers a chance at a good score. For tee times and information please visit LelyResortGolfandCountryClub.com

Eagle Lakes Golf Club

Eagle Lakes Golf Club

What a perfect name for this course- with 21 sparkling lakes to maneuver and nests of the American Bald Eagle in the treetops, this “one-of-a-kind Florida Everglades golf experience borders the vast wilds of Collier-Seminole State Park only a few minutes from ‘Olde Naples and Marco Island. The par 71, 7,150-yard track will astound players with its full assortment of Florida fauna & flora throughout. Please visit EagleLakesgolfclub.net for more information.

TPC Treviso Bay

When you read TPC in front of a golf course you can be sure it is in immaculate condition, as part of the TPC Network of clubs. The setting is as gorgeous as the 7,367-yard layout is demanding. Nestled next to the Rookery Bay National Estuarine Reserve, this Arthur Hills-designed golf course features large spectator mounds, Sea-Isle Paspalum grass from tee to green. To book a tee time please visit TPCTrevisoBay.com.

Stay & Play on the Paradise Coast

Tiburon Golf Club 

The home of the “Shark Shootout,” the LPGA CME GROUP Tour Championship, and the PGA Tour Champions Chubb Classic, the Troon-managed Tiburon Golf Club (pictured at top) is part of the Ritz-Carlton Golf Resort. Tiburon has two 18-hole Greg Norman-designed signature golf courses, the Gold and Black. Gold can play as long as 7382 yards, but is still considered the easier of the duo because of more forgiving landing areas, while Black stretches out to 6,949 yards but is routed through acres of pines with huge bunkers flanking the fairways.

For more information on stay & plays please visit TiburonNaples.com.

Naples Grande Golf Club

With extraordinary elevations and unique water features expertly incorporating the indigenous Florida foliage, the Rees Jones-designed 7,102-yard championship course earned a 4.5-star rating from Golf Magazine. The private club is available for play while staying at the beautiful Naples Grande Beach Resort. For reservations please go to NaplesGrande.com

La Playa Golf Club

La Playa Beach & Golf Resort

U.S. News & World Report has chosen La Playa Beach & Golf Resort as the #1 Best Resort in Naples. Having stayed there I can attest to its unique beauty and warm hospitality. Baleen, the gulf front restaurant, is one of the most romantic and gorgeous places to dine. The Golf Club designed by Bob Cupp is lauded for its consistently pristine condition. A lush beautiful golf course awaits you at the exclusive La Playa Golf Club. Hospitality, an eclectic menu, and an unmatched golf experience await. You need to bring your A-Game to play the golf course which is ‘difficult but friendly’- no easy feat. To make a stay & play reservation please visit LaPlayaResort.com.

If there is one thing I can assure any golfers wanting to play the Paradise Coast golf courses, you won’t be disappointed.

Dave Daubert
Dave Daubert is the Editor and Feature Writer at eSouthernGolf.com

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