AVE MARIA, Fla. -- If slick greens are your thing then Panther Run Golf Club is your place.
Golfers will not find another public course in Florida with greens as consistently fast as this Troon Golf-managed property just 30 minutes inland from Naples. The greens can get up to 13 on the Stimpmeter around the time of the club championship in March and consistently run 10.5 all year long.
This Gordon Lewis design opened in 2007 as The Golf Club at Del Webb before a name change in 2010. The club sits within Del Webb Naples, a retirement community for people ages 55 and older that will someday max out at 2,000 homes. Homeowners, who get a complimentary course membership, will enjoy an expansive practice facility, which is home to five practice greens, a short game area with two practice sand bunkers and an aqua driving range with natural turf target greens.
Panther Run's remote location keeps its greens fees relatively low (even in high season). The golf course plays distinctly different from many area tracks. The fairways are as wide as eight-lane highways and much of the water is pushed back on the perimeter. That playability makes it a favorite of higher handicaps, women and seniors. But anybody who wants to move to the back two tees (at 6,695 and 7,532 yards, respectively) will face plenty of challenges.