An introduction to Fort Myers

Just to the south of Naples and north of Sarasota, is the popular city of Fort Myers. There are so many things to do here for people of all ages. And this includes exploring the golf courses in Fort Myers.

The city is known as the gateway to the Southwest of Florida and is a major tourist attraction within the State.

The main attraction has to be the nearby Fort Myers Beach. It sits on Estero Island, a seven-mile coastline which features beautiful long white sandy beaches, bars, restaurants and many other attractions. This sun-spot is immensely popular as a vacation stopover for tourists to Fort Myers and locals. 

See also: What are the best golf courses in Florida?

Within Fort Myers District, or simply downtown, there are trendy restaurants. Juxtaposing this are historic homes lining the interlocking streets right down to the River District. This is the heart of the city with modern attractions rubbing shoulders with more cultural and historical landmarks. There are some great shopping options and this remains one of the more popular reasons for visiting downtown.

In the past the city was home to notable gentry including Thomas Edison and Henry Ford. Both men had winter estates which are now popular tourist attractions. They can be found on the Caloosahatchee River front with views over to North Fort Myers.

The best private golf courses near Fort Myers, Florida

Heritage Palms Golf & Country Club

Heritage Palms Golf & Country Club

Just off Six Mile Cypress between Colonial Boulevard and Daniels Parkway, is the 800-acre private golf community of Heritage Palms. This is just a short drive east from central Fort Myers.

Onsite are two fantastic 18-hole championship golf courses designed by the design partnership of Jed Azinger and Gordy Lewis. Work started in 1999 with both courses opening for play in 2006 to high acclaim.

The site is pristine with 45 freshwater lakes and ponds through which the lush fairways meander. Amongst all of this are 179 acres of nature preserves creating a rich natural habitat for many species of wildlife. 

Wide inviting fairways are offset by water of which there are very few holes where water doesn’t come into play. This is an Instagram course, with so many holes picture perfect.

Verandah Club

Verandah Club, Fort Myers, Florida

Within this private member’s community is the Verandah Club. There are numerous facilities including two outstanding 18-hole golf courses, the Old Orange and Whispering Oak. 

The club is located in North Fort Myers. It is not far from the Caloosahatchee River to the north and just off Palm Beach Boulevard. This is a stunning spot with an abundance of vegetation surrounding the plot.

Whispering Oak was designed by Jack Nicklaus and Jack Nicklaus II. It is a breathtaking course with amazing fairway vistas, beautifully contoured bunkers and immaculate greens.

The second course onsite, Old Orange, was designed by Bob Cupp. Like the Whispering Oak, it perfectly incorporates the natural landscape.

A proud member’s club, there are many facilities to enjoy including a large practice facility with a dual-ended range. There is a short game area, two putting greens and two class restaurants.

The Forest Country Golf Club

South of Fort Myers hugging the Estero Bay Preserve State Park is the Forest Country Golf Club.

This private golfing community is tucked away within 620 acres of breathtaking scenery and nature preserves. Lining fairways are vibrant evergreens, miles of lakes and streams and diverse wildlife.

There are two 18-hole championship golf courses onsite, The Bobcat and The Bear. Both are walkable which makes a nice change from many other courses in the area. The Bobcat is a lovely course, surrounded by mature oaks and cypress trees. But it is The Bear course which earns most plaudits.

The Bear has hosted many great tournaments. Amongst these are U.S Open Qualifiers, United States Golf Association Events as well as numerous Florida State Golf Association events. Despite the above, it still prides itself on being playable for higher handicaps and juniors, with the right tee selection being critical.

Cypress Lake Golf Club

In the south of the city is Cypress Lake Golf Club. It is one of the oldest and most historic private member’s clubs in Fort Myers. 

Despite its location being surrounded by residential properties, the site itself is a blanket of green with copious vegetation and wildlife. It is not uncommon to spot large turtles, blue herons, ibis, egrets and the occasional alligator lurking in the corner of your eye. 

The original design of the course began in 1959 and was undertaken by Dick Wilson. Wilson was considered by many to be on a par with Robert Trent Jones Sr, one of the pioneers of golf architecture. Some of Wilson’s other courses are world-renowned. These include Shinnecock Hills in New York and Seminole in West Palm Beach. Both are Top 100 golf courses in the United States.

Here at Cypress Lake, the layout is a cracker, with water in play on all but two holes! The fairways are not overly penal but there are a multitude of bunkers to avoid. From the back tees the course stretches to just over 7,000 yards. But with six different sets of tees, the course is accessible to most levels. 

The course is in pristine condition and has state of the art practice facilities.

The Plantation Golf & Country Club

Plantation Golf & Country Club, Fort Myers, Florida

Twenty five minutes drive from central Fort Myers into the eastern suburbs, is the superb Plantation golf course. It is a sensational layout designed by the awesome duo of Dr Michael Hurdzan and Dana Fry. 

Despite being a short drive from downtown, this is a peaceful spot, with large lakes, palms and natural wetland vegetation. An oasis of calm and peace presides. Water is an ever-present challenge, with no hole spared its company. This is one of those courses where you need to bring golf balls, and lots of them!

The land is flat with no natural elevation changes. But the fairways have been designed with undulations and dips, to keep you on your toes. The greens are well protected by sublime bunkers, not so deep but with steep faces.

There are five sets of tees which make The Plantation accessible to most. But from the backs it stretches to 7,233 yards. This turns the course into an absolute beast with the amount of water to contend with. 

Olde Hickory Golf & Country Club

Olde Hickory Golf Club, Fort Myers, Florida

Like so many golf courses near Fort Myers, Olde Hickory is typified by the excessive presence of water. This is a hazard which comes into play on so many holes. 

But unlike many of these other courses, Olde Hickory plays fair and you can score well. Even more so with the choice of five sets of tees.

It was designed by Ron Garl, a man who has designed hundreds of golf courses nationwide. This is a fantastic course well maintained for use of its membership.

Celebration Bermuda grass is used throughout the fairways and rough. Whilst on the greens they’ve gone with a higher quality TifEagle Bermuda Grass. This ensures the condition remains top notch regardless of the weather conditions.

This is a private golfing community but the club is welcoming and not pretentious. Post golf, ensure you stop for a drink at the clubhouse, as impressive as it is humongous. It’s certainly one of the more impressive clubhouses I’ve seen!

Fiddlesticks Country Club

Fiddlesticks Golf Club, Fort Myers, Florida

Fiddlesticks is one of Southwest Florida’s premier country clubs, just a half hour drive away from central Fort Myers. 

This exceptional place, which opened in 1982, is located within 660 acres of well-manicured gardens and picturesque backdrops. 

There are two courses onsite, the championship course called the Long Mean, and its shorter sibling, the Loch Ness. The Long Mean stretches to over 7,000 yards from the back tees and is one of the top ranked courses in Southern Florida. 

The condition of both courses is superb. There are carpet-like fairways, water hazards and bunkers that look so pristine, part of you wants to visit them!

There are some really challenging holes. One of these is the third which features a rocky creek running all the way up its right hand side. Hit your drive too far left and you’re in the lake – a short but treacherous par 4.

The par 3s are often long and well protected, whilst water continues to lurk ominously close on most holes. 

The Club at Westminster

The Club at Westminster, Fort Myers, Florida

And so to the last club on our list of golf courses near Fort Myers, The Club at Westminster.

The Club at Westminster is a semi-private golf course located to the east of Fort Myers in the Westminster Golf Community. It has been voted as the best public golf course in Lehigh Acres Florida and the surrounding area. This is not insignificant when you consider some of the public courses on offer.

The course opened for play in 1994 and was designed by the architect Ted McAnlis. McAnlis was for many years the right hand man to George and Tom Fazio. He has also been involved in many golf course projects in the State of Florida alone. 

From the championship tees, the course measures just short of 6,900 yards – this is no ‘walk in the park’. To add to this length, there are eight lakes dotted around the course which come into play on numerous occasions. Add to this many of the strategically placed bunkers. 

Jump forwards a tee and the course does become a lot more friendly with less carries to reach the generous fairways. Greens are relatively flat meaning if you’re hitting the fairways, you could score well.

What is the best private golf course in Fort Myers?

The best private golf course in Fort Myers, Florida, is the Jack Nicklaus and Jack Nicklaus II designed Whispering Oak Course at Verandah Golf Club. The club is located on River Village Way, just 10 miles from central Fort Myers. It opened for play in 2007.

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