In our series of blog posts looking at the best public golf courses around the United States, this time we’re looking at the best public golf courses in Fort Myers.
This is a city renowned for its golf pedigree and has a litany of golf courses to choose from. In fact, when we talk about where to play golf in Florida, the stretch of coastline from Fort Myers down to Naples is on another level.
There are literally hundreds of golf courses amongst these two cities. Yet many are private. Hence why below we’re looking specifically at the public golf courses in Fort Myers and choosing which are the best.
So without any further delay, let’s jump into the list.
The best public golf courses in Fort Myers
|1||Old Corkscrew Golf Club|
|2||River Hall Country Club|
|3||Saltleaf Golf Preserve (formerly Raptor Bay)|
|4||Herons Glen Golf & Country Club|
|5||Shell Point Golf Club|
|6||Magnolia Landing Golf & Country Club|
|7||Eagle Ridge Golf Club|
|8||Coral Oaks Golf Course|
|9||Dunes Golf & Tennis Club|
|10||San Carlos Golf Club|
|Groups||Magnolia Landing Golf & Country Club|
|Value for money||River Hall Country Club|
|Clubhouse||Old Corkscrew Golf Club|
|Views||Shell Point Golf Club|
1. Old Corkscrew Golf Club
We have to kick off this list of best public golf courses in Fort Myers with Old Corkscrew Golf Club. This is a golf course of epic proportions.
The club is located a 30 minute drive to the south east of Fort Myers. Head down Interstate 75 and ‘loosely’ take a left when you pass Miromar Lakes.
The club occupies a divine piece of land, as isolated as you’ll get in this part of Florida. There are wetlands and prairie grass surrounded by a blanket of endemic trees including pines, mature oaks and cypress trees.
The habitat is so well maintained and respected, the site is a certified Audubon International Silver Signature Sanctuary. Some of the highest possible recognition and as such, this is a habitat for a diverse range of wildlife.
Fortunately, the golf course doesn’t let you down. This is a Jack Nicklaus Signature layout, the only one in southwest Florida.
Yet it is far from easy though so your choice of tee box is critical. From the backs, the yardage reaches just over 7,400 and there is water in play on well over half the holes.
In typical Nicklaus fashion, large shaped bunkers play a critical role, both in course management but also defining the character of the layout.
This really is a superb course, in fantastic condition, where you can go and experience a member-like club for a day.
2. River Hall Country Club
As you head east out of Fort Myers following the Caloosahatchee River, after about half an hour you’ll have arrived at the superb River Hall Country Club.
This is a semi-private club, which has a thriving membership. Many of whom have homes in the River Hall & Hampton Lakes master-planned, resort-style community.
But there are a number of tee times available for the public throughout the day, and the cost of these can vary massively. During peak times you could be looking at $150. But if you’re flexible, an afternoon slot might be just $29!
The course opened in 2007 and was designed by Davis Love III. This is a really fun Florida style layout and Love has yet again pulled out all the shots here.
From the back tees the course stretches to over 7,000 yards but the fairways are wide and forgiving. Large pristine greens are nearly always in perfect condition.
The whole experience is top class. You can really tell this is geared towards a membership. For example the practice facilities are mighty impressive, with a double ended driving range just one of the many facilities.
Without doubt one of the top public golf courses in Fort Myers.
3. Saltleaf Golf Preserve (formerly Raptor Bay Golf Club)
Tucked up next to the Estero Bay Aquatic Preserve, is the superb Saltleaf Golf Preserve, previously known as Raptor Bay Golf Club.
Raptor Bay has long been known as one of the best semi-private golf courses close to Fort Myers. In fact, Bonita Springs is arguably as far from Fort Myers as it is from North Naples.
Either way, in 2022 it was completely renovated, opening under the new guise of Saltleaf Golf Preserve.
Naturally, the adjoining nature preserve plays a big impact on the character of the course. Vast wetlands come into play with large sand bunkers and natural waste areas also omnipresent.
There are a number of forced carries so choosing the right tee box is critical to enjoying your round.
The play here is not wild tee shots and hit and hope. Instead, target golf. Strategically plotting your way round the course and knowing when to attack.
The original Raptor Bay course opened in 2001 and was designed by former PGA Tour player Raymond Floyd. Yet the 2022 renovation has elevated it to now firmly establishing it as one of the best public golf courses in Fort Myers.
For those looking to stay onsite, the award-winning Hyatt Regency Coconut Point is located adjacent to the club.
4. Herons Glen Golf & Country Club
On the edge of Lee County, to the north of Fort Myers, is Herons Glen Golf & Country Club.
The course is a Ron Garl design and opened for play in 1991. Garl has designed hundreds of golf courses worldwide, yet most of his portfolio is based in Florida. Clearly this is an area he knows well!
So much so, Garl was called upon to return to Herons Glen in 2021 to lead an impressive six-million dollar renovation.
Post work, it’s fair to say this par 72 championship course has really stepped up a gear, in both conditioning and aesthetic. The verdant site is beautiful, with lakes and an abundance of palms and shrubbery.
As for the layout, pretty much everything was improved including the addition of tee boxes.
Naturally in this part of Florida, expect water and plenty of it. As do vast white sand bunkers which also come into play on a number of occasions.
For example the 3rd hole, which has one long bunker running up the left hand side and three bunkers strategically positioned across the front of the green. Likewise a similar story with huge bunkers in play on the 8th and 16th holes amongst others.
Despite this being part of a gated community, the course is open to the public. And following the recent renovation, I’m sure it will continue to attract a lot of new interest.
5. Shell Point Golf Club
Right where the winding Caloosahatchee River reaches San Carlos Bay, where the Fort Myers peninsula ends, is where you’ll find Shell Point Golf Club. Go any further and you’ll be wading through Punta Rassa Cove, which is ill advised.
Yet the wonderful spot is not completely exposed to the Gulf of Mexico. Further out to sea you have Sanibel Island, which protects from the majority of stronger sea breezes.
What is clear is how special this spot is. Upon arrival, you enter 70 acres of lush vibrant green grounds dominated by Florida wetlands.
The course was designed by Gordon Lewis and it’s fair to say he’s made this a challenge with water a predominant feature.
In fact, there is so much water here, only one hole, yes, one hole hasn’t got water in play. That is the 4th, a short par 3. Every other hole has water and lots of it.
Therefore accuracy off the tee is fundamental. Fortunately, if your long play isn’t always the most accurate, there are six sets of tees to choose from.
With great practice facilities, this Audubon certified championship golf course is sure to please. Just take plenty of balls!
6. Magnolia Landing Golf & Country Club
Magnolia Landing Golf & Country Club is another outstanding semi-private club. It has a vibrant and engaged membership, yet despite this, the doors here are always open to the public.
The course is located a 25 minute drive north of Fort Myers, just past Jacarandas. In fact you’re less than half a mile from Herons Glen Golf & Country Club.
Like Herons Glen, the course is routed through a community of pretty up-market houses. Most of these are low-level so don’t impose on the course. And there is also enough greenery to ensure they are hidden away as best possible.
This is another layout designed by Gordon Lewis, one of many he has designed in Florida. Although in golfing terms, it is relatively new having opened for play in 2007.
From the back tees it stretches to over 7,200 yards. Although this would take a confident golfer to attempt. Like many of the aforementioned courses on this list, Magnolia Landing has water on nearly every hole. Just two offer respite from the wet stuff.
Fairways are long and narrow and meander through natural pine forests and oak groves. This is not one for the faint hearted…but then again, this is Florida golf. What else did you expect?
It is also worth mentioning there is a magnificent 10,000 square foot clubhouse which overlooks the 4th and 18th greens. This is a great place to relax, grab a beer and watch live sport.
7. Eagle Ridge Golf Club
And here we have Eagle Ridge Golf Club, recently voted by residents of Fort Myers as the No.1 public golf course in the area. Considering the list of public golf courses in Fort Myers, this is no mean feat.
Eagle Ridge is easily accessible from central Fort Myers, just a 15 to 20 minute drive south. The club is in good company, surrounded by some of the finest private golf clubs in the city. Olde Hickory, Legends and Fiddlesticks are all within a mile or so.
Yet another Gordon Lewis creation, yes that man again, the course opened in 1984. From the back markers the course reaches well over 6,500 yards.
Pace of play is generally really good here. The fairways are wide open and largely forgiving. The real challenge comes in avoiding the water and taking on tight approach shots.
This pace of play and fun layout are quite possibly two of the reasons it is consistently rated so highly.
It is also great value with afternoon tee times being great value at under $50.
8. Coral Oaks Golf Course
This is one of the few golf courses on this list over the other side of the Caloosahatchee River, towards the coast. Coral Oaks is a mere mile away from all the nature preserves which run up the west coast of Cape Coral and Fort Myers.
The plot is vast. It holds within it the large sprawling championship golf course as well as some of the most extensive practice facilities in the area.
This is an entertaining yet challenging golf course, designed by the prolific Arthur Hills. Opening in 1988, the course benefitted from a significant renovation in 2017. The club now boasts TifEagle greens to go along with the beautifully contoured fairways.
Eight lakes and thirty seven bunkers will keep you honest and ensure you don’t instead start taking in the elegant surroundings. Century old oak trees are one of the main features as you play here.
Good value and one of the best golf options in Cape Coral.
9. The Dunes Golf & Tennis Club
Sanibel Island is a stunning barrier island located along the Gulf of Mexico. It is renowned for luxury resorts, upscale housing, glorious beaches and its lighthouses.
It is also home to a massive nature reserve, bays, creeks and bayous. Set within this spectacular Audubon certified location, is The Dunes Golf & Tennis Club.
This is some place and one heck of a challenging golf course. If you thought Florida courses had a lot of water, well The Dunes Golf Course takes it up to another level. In fact there is so much water here, this is not a golf course with water, it’s water with a golf course!
It originally opened back in 1973, but the course you play today was designed by Mark McCumber, the 10-time PGA Tour winner.
It’s not the longest, even from the back tees. But clearly the game here is simply avoiding the water and the out-of-bounds. The greens are generally quite small so precision play is required.
All in all, Dunes Golf & Tennis Club is a fantastic course. It is also renowned for being in good condition, something which adheres it, to the Fort Myers golfing community.
10. San Carlos Golf Club
And so we finally make our way to the last on our list of the best public golf courses in Fort Myers, the superb and unsung San Carlos Golf Club.
The club is located to the south of Fort Myers, towards San Carlos Park and Miromar Lakes. Despite this being a largely residential area, the site is verdant and rich with vegetation.
The course was initially built by the San Carlos Park Community in 1971. Yet in 1981, it was purchased by local golfers and is now a semi-private club offering both memberships and publicly available tee times.
The layout has a great reputation, primarily for being immensely playable and always being in good condition. Having the course playable all-year round, is one of the club’s core aims.
The fairways are generally quite forgiving, with large sandy waste areas and bunkers the main hazards. There is water in play on a handful of holes, but that is it.
Playing here is also great value, with walking tee times under $40.
What is the best public golf course in Fort Myers?
The best public golf course in Fort Myers is Old Corkscrew Golf Club. This superb layout is a Jack Nicklaus Signature design, the only one in southwest Florida. It is located a 30 minute drive south of Fort Myers.