Something for everyone: Play golf in Naples, Florida on three budgets

NAPLES, Fla. -- About 100 years ago, Naples, on the southwest coast of Florida, had fewer than 40 full-time residents.

Most of them were characters, such as "Barefoot Williams," who opened the Eatmore Fish Market at Fisherman's Key and, hating the fish slime on his soles, preferred going without shoes. Then there was Mrs. Ed Frank who lived over the family garage and was known to throw leftover scraps to the alligators in the swamp below.

Even then, heat-seeking Yankees were recognizing Naples as a place for a warm-weather getaway, and the first golf course was built in the late 1920s (now the Naples Beach Hotel & Golf Club).

Today there are more than 90 golf courses in Naples and the surrounding area, with about three dozen open to the public and some private tracks available during the off season. Green fees are on the high side, you can still find good golf at affordable prices especially if you tap into some of the money-saving booking services on the web, such as You can also stay at a golf resort or play off-season when green fees drop.

Naples golf on a luxury budget

Tiburon Golf Club's two private courses -- Gold and Black, designed by Greg Norman -- are available to guests of the Ritz-Carlton Golf Resort Naples. These are tough courses with large undulating greens, bunker complexes including stacked sod wall bunkers, water and tight fairways. Tiburon Gold is more forgiving, more open than Black.

TPC Treviso Bay is one of the newest and toughest golf courses in Naples. Designed in 2008 by Arthur Hills with Hal Sutton, it features a lot of water and well sculptured bunkers, bordering the Rookery Bay National Estuarine Reserve. Bring lots of golf balls.

Old Corkscrew Golf Club is set in a beautiful natural area with a lot of wildlife. Designed by Jack Nicklaus, this is one tough cookie with fast-running greens and tricky approach shots. Off-center shots running off into the wetlands are most likely goners.

Stay at the Waldorf Astoria Naples or the Edgewater Beach Hotel and play Naples Grande. Weaving through ponds fringed by oaks, cypress and pines, this Rees Jones parkland-style track combines classic golf with some elevations and water.

Just off Marco Island, Hammock Bay Golf & Country Club, designed by Peter Jacobsen, is open to Marriott Beach Resort's guests. Wide fairways, mangroves and crushed shell-filled waste areas contribute to its status as a Gold Signature Audubon International development.

Raptor Bay Golf Club was designed by Raymond Floyd. There are no homes to detract from this Audubon International Gold Certified Signature Sanctuary course punctuated by wetlands, natural grasses, wildlife and thick vegetation, along with behemoth waste bunkers filled with crushed shells.

Stay at the Marco Island Marriott Beach Resort, and tee up at the striking Rookery golf course by Robert Cupp Jr. Cut through wetlands, it's not unusual to see a snowy white heron poised at the edge of a pond or a gator skimming a lagoon. Pricey homes grace along the sidelines.

Naples golf on a mid-level budget

Northeast of Naples, Arrowhead Golf Club -- designed by Gordon Lewis -- is one of the best values in the area and often the venue for outings. Although wrapping around 17 ponds, water threats are relatively benign. Good service and a friendly ambiance result in a lot of repeat play.

Playing more than 7,000 yards from the tips, Eagle Lakes Golf Course is blessed by an abundance of wildlife and natural beauty -- keep an eye out for the American bald eagle.

Built in 1969, Hibiscus Golf Club is enjoyable for all levels with wide fairways, bunkers, and several lakes and streams. Hibiscus has an excellent practice facility.

The Lely Golf Resort in south Naples has two solid courses, the Flamingo, a RT Jones Signature track, and the Mustang Course by Lee Trevino. Flamingo has more carries, more bunkers and narrower fairways. Mustang is flatter with fewer hazards in spite of a dozen lakes.

Follow in the footsteps of legends Gene Sarazen, Patty Berg and Walter Hagen on the oldest course in the area, the Naples Beach Hotel and Golf Club. Built in the late 1920s and redesigned by Ron Garl, the course doglegs around lakes and under tall palms.

Panther Run Golf Club, a Troon-managed track by Gordon Lewis, is the focal point of a new Del Webb community just northeast of Naples. Many fairways play up "fingers" or lagoons.

Naples golf on a budget

Just 10 minutes from the Southwest Florida International Airport, Copperhead Golf & Country Club is another excellent Gordon Lewis design playing amid acres of palmettos and ancient tropical forests, along with water, reeds and superb TifEagle greens.

There is plenty of water in play on Eagle Lakes Golf Club, but for the most part, the course is pretty forgiving. As you play, you'll get a good review of Florida homes spaced along the fairways.

The walker-friendly Quail Village Golf Club is situated within a golf community on 130 acres. The Gordon Lewis redesign offers a challenge to players of all ages and skill levels.

The mid-rise Quality Inn & Suites Golf Resort is situated on its own Dick Wilson and Joe Lee-designed golf course characterized by some water hazards, more than 50 bunkers and groves of trees. The driving range and putting green are lit for night practice.

Katharine Dyson is a golf and travel writer for several national publications as well as guidebook author and radio commentator. Her journeys have taken her around the world playing courses and finding unique places to stay. She is a member of the Golf Writers Association of America, Metropolitan Golf Writers of America; Golf Travel Writers Organization and Society of American Travel Writers. Follow Katharine on Twitter at @kathiegolf.
Default User Avatar
Commented on

Will be in Bonita Springs , Fl during the first 2 weeks this Feb. What golf courses should I consider playing? Would like to Stay in the$100.00 or under per round range.

Default User Avatar
Commented on

Hello, I’ll be staying in Naples Grande beach Resort, form the october 23 to the 26.
What is best value for golfin Naples, not looking to spend a fortune, but willing to pay for a great course.

Default User Avatar
Commented on

Hi all
We are flying into Miami from the UK on at the beginning of November for 7 nights. We are a 3 ball and all play off 5 or below handicaps. Any advice on what courses are a must play would be most welcome. We want to play around 5 rounds with a mix of budget. Also where should we stay?
Thanks in advance

Default User Avatar
Commented on

Hi KatharineI'm playing golf next month with my wife. She is a novice and likes executive courses. Is there one in the Naples area?Thank youPhil

Commented on

Hi Phil, Hideaway in Ft. Myers is a 5,000-yard course that does very well ratings-wise but they close down during peak season to the public and are members-only, so you may not be able to play it by December. A few other possibilities worth looking into are:

Default User Avatar
Commented on

WIN! Gifts and Golf Tips! Participate in the 'Watch & Win' contest - just watch the video and tell us the mystery code for a chance to win!

Click Here:

Related Links

From January to March, no winter golf destination rocks and rolls harder than this ritzy southwest Florida enclave on the Gulf of Mexico. Congestion on Naples' roads and tee sheets skyrockets as the snowbirds invade by the flock. The self-professed "Golf Capital of the World" boasts more golf holes per capita than anywhere in the country. Jason Scott Deegan offers his five favorites.
3 Min Read
More from the author
5 Min Read
October 12, 2016
Turning Stone Resort and Casino, located 30 miles east of Syracuse, N.Y., is loaded with amenities. You can stay several days and never play the same course twice.
6 Min Read
April 5, 2016
The season is short if you want to play golf, dip into the bracing waters, boat, picnic, fish and hit the beaches on Prince Edward Island in Canada. But what a season it is!
3 Min Read
November 18, 2015
Less than an hour from Providence, R.I., Mohegan Sun Golf Club at Pautipaug stands on its own as a serious golf course, much more than just an amenity for high rollers at Mohegan Sun's big-time entertainment facilities. The course reopened in 2012 following an upgrade led by Robert McNeil.
4 Min Read
March 25, 2015
Charleston, S.C. is a city steeped in history and romance. This is "Lowcountry" at its best: Here golf courses and golf communities abound, many built on land with profound historical significance.
3 Min Read
December 26, 2014
Charlotte, N.C. has more than 80 golf courses, many designed by revered architects such as Tom Fazio, Donald Ross, Dan Maples and Arnold Palmer. Here are some of the best.
3 Min Read
December 1, 2014
There are many fine golf courses in Fairfield County, Connecticut. With some persistence and insider knowledge, it's possible to tee it up at several excellent tracks accessible to the public with affordable green fees.
6 Min Read
March 8, 2023
These eight special golf resorts west of the Mississippi River mix the thrills of the wild west with the spoils of a high-end golf retreat.
3 Min Read
March 6, 2023
The coastal stretch from Jacksonville to St. Augustine features plenty of strong value golf courses near the home of the Players Championship and PGA Tour headquarters.
2 Min Read
March 13, 2023
This new brand brings the funkiest and funniest fashions to the golf course.
4 Min Read
March 20, 2023
Your fellow golfers showed their love for these courses via GolfPass Golfers' Choice lists. They're worth including in your next trip.
Now Reading
Something for everyone: Play golf in Naples, Florida on three budgets