Top Florida Golf Courses to Play in Bonita Springs and Estero

  • Matt Brown
  • 04/22/21

Top Florida Golf Courses to Play in Bonita Springs and Estero

Without question, Southwest Florida is home to some of the country’s finest golf. From luxurious country clubs to nature preserves, here are some of the best golf courses to enjoy in both Bonita Springs and Estero, quaint towns north of Naples, Florida. 

 

1. Bonita Bay Club

Designed by Arthur Hills, the award-winning private club Bonita Bay provides a 90-hole golfing experience spread over the properties of West Club and Naples Club. With five world-class courses to choose from, Bonita Bay Club is a golfer’s dream! 

West Club is home to three par 72 courses: Creekside, Marsh, and Bay Island. Creekside provides wide fairways but challenges players with its elevation shifts and bunkers, while Marsh requires precision in navigating natural terrain. Bay Island, ranked 78th in Florida, utilizes the stunning landscape to its advantage, creating West Club’s most challenging course. Experienced golfers will love navigating the water hazards, sand traps, and formidable stretches of mature trees. 

Naples Club is home to two courses: Cypress and Sabal, both par 72. Cypress features wide fairways that narrow as you progress, and you’ll find challenges in the form of mature trees to navigate; the bunkers on this course require precision. The Sabal is calm and serene, located on the border of a wildlife preserve. Drawing its name from the hundreds of native sabal palms in the area, Sabal features multi-tiered greens and requires a more challenging level of play. This club is renowned as the world’s first private 36-hole Audubon International Signature Sanctuary. 

Members of this all-encompassing Bonita Bay Club community enjoy access to countless additional amenities including the renowned spa, wellness Lifestyle Center, and a private full-service marina. 

 

2. Pelican’s Nest

The Nest at Pelican Landing is a private golf club located in Bonita Springs against a backdrop of wildlife and natural beauty. A natural sanctuary that’s home to herons, bald eagles, bobcats, and foxes, Pelican’s Nest provides a peaceful oasis for both animals and avid golfers. The courses were designed by Tom Fazio, and upon its opening in 1995 as a public course, it was ranked by Golf Digest as the #3 Best Public Golf Course in the United States. Thanks to its dual role as a wildlife sanctuary and golf club, Pelican’s Nest is also annually recognized by Audubon International as a Certified Audubon Cooperative Sanctuary.

This one-of-a-kind club offers 36 holes of golf in total, with two different courses. Start with the Hurricane Course, the easier of the two. It features 18 holes and a par of 72, as well as seven tee boxes that allow golfers of all skill levels to enjoy playing. You’ll also love the Gator Course, which features 18 holes and a par of 73. The longer of the two courses, the Gator Course also features five par 5s with one impactful water feature on a par 3. It does not force any shots over water or marches from the seven tee boxes.

In terms of amenities, Pelican’s Nest delivers on every level! The club features a 36-station practice range where you can hone your skills. Members also benefit from the welcoming community of the Club, which caps membership at 575 people. With a calendar of social events and various dining venues, you’ll always have something fun to do at Pelican’s Nest. Homes in Pelican Landing display the height of luxury in a fabulous waterfront location.

 

3. Colony Golf and Country Club

Located in the beautiful Bonita Springs community of The Colony, this private course was designed by Jerry Pate in 1996. An 18-hole, par 72 championship course, Colony completed a $3.1 million clubhouse and golf course renovation in 2017 and now features six tees to choose from. With a maximum of 325, the membership is small, fostering a sense of community.

Located just 20 minutes from the Southwest Florida International Airport, this stunning golf course features 6,802 playable yards and a course rating of 74.1. Members enjoy relaxing in the clubhouse, which provides a fantastic view of the 18th green. 

Located just outside of Fort Meyers International Airport and in close proximity to shopping, dining, beaches and healthcare, residents can have it all. Find your own slice of paradise in this lush and luxurious community

 

4. Shadow Wood

With 54 holes of incredible championship golf over three courses, this private Bonita Springs course caps membership at 900 and features a comfortable, newly renovated clubhouse. Members love Shadow Wood’s annual events, including couples tournaments, guest days, and neighborhood outings. You can also live comfortably nearby in the Shadow Wood at the Brooks community, but know that demand is high and inventory is very low!

Shadow Wood’s three stellar courses include the South, North, and Preserve, all par 72. Designed by award-winning golf course architect Robert Cupp and renovated by Rees Jones in 2017, the North Course features mounding and undulating fairways overlooking glittering lakes and scenic nature preserves. The South Course is known for being more open and forgiving, featuring distinctive water features. The Preserve Course was designed by architect Arthur Hills and winds through marshes and wetlands, with plentiful native vegetation like pines, sabal palms, and palmettos. Each of these courses has been designated as an Audubon International Cooperative Sanctuary.  

Those fortunate enough to join the Southwest Florida living of Shadow Wood are privy to an array of outdoor activities, multiple dining outlets, a Beach Club, and social activities galore.

 

5. West Bay Club

This private Estero club offers a world-class golf experience, with an 18-hole par 72 course designed by Pete and P.B. Dye. With a maximum of 300 members, West Bay creates a sense of close-knit community; check out the luxurious homes in the area! The West Bay Club was recently awarded the prestigious Distinguished Club award by BoardRoom Magazine.

West Bay’s fantastic golfing experience was designed to enhance Southern Florida’s natural beauty to create immersive play opportunities and challenge players of every skill level. The pristine course is located just 20 minutes from Bonita Springs and Fort Myers beaches and is also home to the West Bay Golf Academy, which hosts a variety of events led by PGA and LPGA professionals. When you’ve finished playing a round of golf, visit the resort-style pool or Private Beach Club with beach butler service for a complete luxury experience. 

(Credit: www.pbdye.com)

 

6. Estero Country Club

Located in Fort Myers, this private championship course features 18 holes and is a par 72. Estero Country Club’s course was designed by Gordon Lewis and is considered one of his best designs of all time. Considering the stunning 105-acre property with spectacular lake views, it’s no wonder why. Named Best Country Club in Southwest Florida by The News Press, Estero features golf leagues that encourage friendly competition between players and offers a limited number of golf memberships for an elite experience. Whether you prefer golf, tennis, dining, or social events (or all of the above!), you’ll receive a warm welcome from this friendly community. 

 

7. Stoneybrook Golf Club

This public 18-hole par 72 championship golf course is located in Estero and is one of the longest courses in Southwestern Florida. Perfect for golfers of all skill levels, Stoneybrook was one of only 200 courses in the country to be certified as “Beginner Friendly” by the National Golf Course Owners Association.

Originally designed by Gordon Lewis and Jed Azinger in 2000, the course was renovated in 2010 and saw the addition of new tees and fairways in the past two years. The beautiful course features immense preserve areas and shimmering lakes that lead to large, undulating greens. Stop by Stoneybrook’s lighted practice facilities to hone your skills! 

(Credit: Bonita National Golf and Country Club)

 

8. Bonita National Golf and Country Club

This private Bonita Springs championship course features 18 holes and a par 72. Bonita National features gorgeous scenery, from lakes to white sand bunkers, and luxurious amenities like a lagoon pool with beach entry and a poolside cafe and bar. A maximum of 850 members can enjoy the Bonita National experience.

The club’s golf course, which Gordon Lewis designed in 2014, sprawls across 7,019 yards and is great for players of all ages and experience levels. Looking for ultra exclusivity? Check out beautiful homes in the area and begin your exclusive Bonita Springs chapter.  

 

9. Old Corkscrew Country Club

A semi-public course in Estero, Old Corkscrew is a Certified Audubon International Silver Signature Sanctuary and features a Jack Nicklaus Signature Design. The 18-hole, par 72 course has received numerous awards, including Golf Magazine’s Best Course You Can Play, Best Course Near You, and Best Course That You’ve Never Heard Of. Golf Digest ranked Old Corkscrew as One of America’s Best New Courses shortly after it opened.

Located outside of any residential community, Old Corkscrew offers a unique experience as a standalone golf course. Featuring a blend of challenging holes and iconic scenery, Old Corkscrew preserves the local ecosystem while providing a stellar golfing experience. The course is known for its mature trees (oak, pine, and cypress) and its intense difficulty level — one of the most challenging in Florida. For golf enthusiasts, this course is a must-do.

 

10. Raptor Bay Golf Club

A public course located in Bonita Springs, Raptor Bay provides two 9-hole courses with breathtaking views, engaging holes, and short plays, making this course the perfect outing for more casual golfers. After an exhilarating game, players can grab a bite to eat at Braxton’s, the club’s full-service bar with a grill room and outside seating in the Florida sunshine.

The course was designed by Raymond Floyd in 2001 and features 18 holes total and a par 71. Raptor Bay prides itself on its lush green setting amidst an Estero Bay nature preserve, and it has received the Audubon International Golf Signature Sanctuary certificate.

 

11. Vasari Country Club

This private Bonita Springs championship course, known for its playability, features 18 holes and a par 72. Vasari’s golf course was designed by Gordon Lewis in 2004 and features paradise-like tropical scenery and rolling green fairways. With wildlife preserves and 375 acres of lakes nearby, you’ll truly feel at home in nature!

Up to 750 members can belong to Vasari at a time, and they love getting involved with the Men’s and Ladies’ golf associations and Junior Golf program. Residents of the Vasari residential community are automatically granted membership to the challenging and exciting golf course, which is great for even experienced players.

 

Ready to learn more about homes for sale in Southwest Florida? Contact Matt Brown Real Estate for assistance navigating the Naples luxury real estate market and finding the home of your dreams. From the beautiful homes for sale in Aqualane Shores to the luxury condominiums of Coquina Sands, we’re here to help. Matt Brown can be reached at (239) 580.8864 or matt.brown@raveis.com.

Newsletter Sign Up!

Market summaries, detailed market reports, neighborhood spotlights, recent real estate news and blog posts and more! Want us to feature specific content or are you a talented writer looking to have your content featured? Please reach out!