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|Play where the pros play - the Greg Norman designed Tiburon Golf Club. (Courtesy of the Ritz-Carlton)|
Leading the world in courses per capita, this Gulf Coast town is one of U.S. golf's top year-round destinations. And this isn't Myrtle Beach, where quantity sometimes trumps quality.
Naples has one of Florida's oldest courses in the Naples Beach Golf Club as well as newer designs like the two Greg Norman tracks at Tiburon Golf Club. Here's a closer look at some of the best the city has to offer.
The 7,078-plus-yard, Rees Jones-designed Naples Grande Golf Club lives up to its name: It is indeed grand, with small greens and well-conditioned fairways lined with palm trees rather than condos. Naples Grande was awarded four and a half stars by Golf Digest and made Golf Magazine's roster of the top 50 golf courses in Florida.
The awards "are well-earned," golf writer Tim McDonald wrote in a review of Naples Grande Golf Club posted at FloridaGolf.com. "A number of holes stay with you long after you've walked off the 18th."
Tiburon Golf Club's two Norman layouts - the Black course and the Gold course - arguably offer the best in Naples golf. They feature stacked sod-wall bunkers and no roughs, making them accessible to players at all skill levels.
The club is home to the Rick Smith Golf Academy, so you can get your game tuned up by one of the country's best-known instructors.
The oldest course in the region and one of the most senior in the state, Naples Beach Golf Club is steeped in both history and mystery. The golf course opened in the 1920s, but exactly when is not known, nor is the identity of the designer.
The 6,488-yard, par-72 course is a traditional layout, free of modern gimmicks and course-design tricks (despite a handful of renovations over its 80-odd years) and known for its rich, diverse flora, from eucalyptus trees to mature oaks.
Considered the better of Lely Resort's two courses, the Mustang course was designed by Lee Trevino. With its 141 slope rating, the Mustang is challenging, but forgiving - Trevino provides large driving areas and greens so golfers can recover from a bad shot.
October 15, 2006
Finding a golf course to play in the Sarasota/Bradenton area 45 miles south of Tampa is easy. World-ranked beaches, European-style boutique shopping and al fresco dining, and a fantastic circus museum are just a few of the choices available for off-course entertainment.
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