ESTERO, Fla. -- The Old Corkscrew Golf Club is a misnomer. The golf course practically brand new, having opened in February of this year. They're still putting the finishing touches on the clubhouse and the carts sit under a temporary, open-air tent.
That hasn't stopped the Jack Nicklaus-designed track from already winning an award. The National Association of Golf Course Owners named Old Corkscrew the Florida golf course of the year.
Officials here should save some space on the wall; there will surely be more awards to come.
Old Corkscrew is named after the nearby, meandering river. It's about seven miles west of Interstate-75 in Southwest Florida, in the town of Estero.
It's a touch under 7,400 yards from the back tees, with a hardy slope rating of 142, so bring your "A" game along with the binoculars.
Natural cart paths take you around Old Corkscrew, around purple-topped natural grasses and the marsh that juts into the gracefully-contoured fairways.
The TifEagle greens are elevated, radically sloped and undulating, and you have to hit to certain spots in order to avoid putting all day long. Some of the pin placements can be devilish, even bordering on unfair. Nicklaus isn't a sadist, though; he usually leaves you bail-out areas and the chipping areas are closely mown.
Like most good Nicklaus courses, there is an interesting variety of holes and enough risk-reward to cause a wide disparity on your scorecard.
This is clearly one of the best courses in southwest Florida, and all of Florida for that matter. Those who have played the exclusive Calusa Pines in Naples say that's the only course around that can compare.