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Naples Grande Golf Club Review

Texas Outside Rating: 9.0

Golf - Resort Private Course · 18 Holes · Par 72
Naples, FL
Website
Date Last Played: March 02, 2012

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Naples Grande Golf Club Review

Review of Naples Grande Golf Club

Wow, Naples Grande Golf Club is as much about the meticulously manicured fairways, variety of wildlife, the first class service, the stunning landscaping, and the contrast of colors between the white sand bunkers, lush greens, and colorful landscaping as it is about the outstanding layout that is a real pleasure to play but requires some strategy and finesse if you want to score well.  At times you fell like you're playing through a nature preserve or a botanical garden which includes a meandering cascading stream, lakes, and fairways lined by Florida pine hammocks, live oak, palms, and grand cypress trees and a wide variety of landscaping.  No homes - it's just you and lots of birds, squirrels, and other wildlife.  And there are some fantastic holes that are demanding, unique, and very memorable.

From the tee box, some of the holes look straightforward and easy, but in several cases what you see is not what you'll find, which might include hidden bunkers or water, raised fairways, or swales waiting to surprise you.  And just as you think you can predict what you'll get Reese changes it up on you - from flat gently sloping greens you suddenly encounter a tiered green with a spine or after playing several flat fairways on a few holes the next hole might be a roller coaster heavily contoured fairway causing uneven lies. 

It's not surprising that Naples Grande Golf Club is consistently rated as one of the best courses in Naples and Florida and that is has won a number of awards and accolades, some of which include:

  • One of "North America's Top 100 Resort Courses," as rated by Golfweek Magazine
  • Rated one of the "Top 50 Courses in Florida" by Golf Magazine
  • Voted one of the "10 Best New Golf Courses in Florida" by Travel & Leisure 
  • Top 100 Courses in Pace of Play (Golf Digest & Fodor's Places to Play)
  • Rated 4.5 Stars by Golf Magazine

The front nine will throw a little bit of everything at you that makes golf both fun and frustrating.  You'll have to keep the ball on some tight fairways, some of which are elevated with a steep drop off; avoid water on 8 holes;  watch out for some hidden bunkers lurking along the fairways and guarding the greens; stay away from some of the treacherous and huge bunkers; try some bold risk reward shots to shorten the hole; and be accurate on your approach shot to the greens.   The front nine is home to several memorable holes, but our favorite was the stunning #9, a 507 yard par 5 that dog legs right around a lake that runs tee to green and requires a carry over the lake off the tee (an excellent risk reward shot to make the hole a little shorter) and a precise second shot to position you to avoid the tree blocking most of the approach to the green and carry the cascading brook that crossed the fairway in front of a green with a bunker on the left, water on the right, and significant mounding around the rest of the green. Wow, that's a fun hole you'll want to play again. 

The back nine has a very different look and feel compared to the front and it's home to some stunning holes, water on five holes, one of the largest white sand bunkers I've experienced as well as a 295 yard long snake shaped bunker, and some raised greens that are well guarded.  The last four holes are a blast and include:

  • a sharp dog leg right around that huge 3 lane treacherous bunker that you'll be tempted to try and fly off the tee box
  • another risk reward shot on 16 (a 534 yard par 5) to try and fly the lake and that snake bunker (the big monster bunker is on the right side of the fairway) and land on a narrow fairway leading to a green with a steep drop off to the lake on the left and back and a big bunker on the right
  • a par three that demands a precise shot to avoid the huge bunker on right of an elevated green
  • a good finishing hole with an uphill blind shot then a downhill approach to a green with the lake on the left and back

Everything from tee to green is meticulously maintained and landscaped - even the pine needles and pine cones seem to be in place!  The fairways were in near perfect condition and ranged from tight to ample to let-er-rip.  The rough is ample and well maintained and playable - in fact, in most cases the ball tends to sit up on it making for a very playable shot.  Miss the rough and most likely your lost in the dense shrubs and natural areas. 

The greens were in very good condition but had been recently sanded and it was hard to judge what they would normally be like - we were told that they are normally fast 10 to 11 and in perfect condition.  Most are relatively flat to gently sloping - but as soon as you start to expect that a green with a spine and tier will bite you.  All the greens are raised and most are well guarded.  They are all shapes and sizes, run smooth, and a little firm.

The bunkers were in perfect condition with soft, thick, and fluffy sand - I know, I found what seemed like most of them.  The bunkers range from small to some huge and long monsters.  The faces of the bunkers are manageable. 

Naples Grande Golf Club is a private course (which is partially the reason for the excellent pace of play and near perfect conditions) but is available for play if you are a guest at the Waldorf Astoria who has a great stay and play package.  Read our review of the Waldorf Astoria to find out what we thought the Waldorf Astoria.

Bottom line - a beautiful, fun, and demanding course that you need to play if you're in the area. 

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Course Slope & Ratings

Tee Box Yardage Rating Slope
Black 6,955 74.7 142
Gold 6,504 72.5 136
Blue 6,324 71.6 135
White 6,084 70.6 129
Red 5,155 66.1 110

Course Information

Course Architect:
Rees Jones
Greens Type:
TIF Eagle
Greens Condition
9.3
Greens Difficulty
8.0
Fairway Condition
9.5
Bunker Condition
10.0
GPS:
Yes
Walkable:
Yes
Beware of water on 12 holes and the 43 sand traps.

Texas Outside Rating

Overall Rating:
9.0 out of 10
Beauty:
10.0
Difficulty:
8.8
Variety:
8.5
Fun to Play:
9.8
Value:
8.8
Condition:
9.3
Front Nine Rating:
9.3
Back Nine Rating:
9.2
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Service is top notch, the pro shop is well stocked, the GPS is excellent, and the practice facilities are great. The clubhouse has a grill but we didn't get to try the food.

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Here's How Texas Outside Determines the Scorecard Rating

The Texas Outside rating scale ranges from 1 to 10 – a perfect 10 course would be something like this:  links along a cliff overlooking the Pacific ocean and bordered by tall trees; lush fairways on rolling hills with lots of natural hazards; water (which is crystal clear) on most of the holes; immaculate greens (but they are undulating and tough); lots of variety and character (each hole is completely different and includes blind shots, elevation changes, doglegs, and significant challenges); perfectly manicured traps with the whitest and prettiest sand you’ve ever seen; a nice club house with great food and a 19th hole; a GPS; plenty of beverage carts or your own cooler and ice; and it only costs $40 bucks! What this means is that you probably won’t find any 10s in Texas – try Cabo San Lucas, Pebble Beach, or some of the Hawaii courses! 
Texas Outside rates courses on the following:

  • Beauty – tall trees, rolling hills, beautiful houses, waterfalls, and similar stuff would score high; a 1 would be flat, bushes or cactus instead of trees, and some grass but mostly weeds
  • Difficulty – a straight, 300 yard par 4 with no traps or hazards, no out of bounds or water would probably get a 1; if it is a 460 yard par 4 over two ravines, with water along one side, natural hazards on the other, strategically placed traps or that dreaded tree right in the middle of the fairway, we are talking a 10. 
  • Variety – what would you give a course where all the holes looked and played exactly the same (“I thought we just played that hole!”); were side-by-side, which is good for finding or dodging other people’s balls, but not much fun; and you can see the flag from every tee box?  That’s right, it gets a 1.
  • Fun Scale – a 10 is where you walk off the course and say “now that was fun” and you can’t wait to get back, or you immediately turn around and play another 18 holes
  • Value – a 5 is $50 to $60, a 10 is $20 to $30, and 1 is $200 or so – of course all of this is dependent upon how you liked the course.  For example, if a run down, boring municipal course, with six players on each hole was only $10; it would still get a value rating of 1.
  • Condition – this one’s pretty easy – what condition are the fairways. A 10 commands very lush perfectly manicured fairways, compared to a 1, which has fire ants, weeds, and more dirt than grass!
  • Condition of Greens and Difficulty – very hard to read greens with lots of undulation and tough pin placement, rate very high on the difficulty scale.  Condition is self-explanatory.  

All of the above determines the overall score for the golf course.  In other words, we like courses that are pretty, fun, very challenging with a lot of variety, and fairways and greens in excellent condition – all for $40.  We also tend to play the courses that are affordable for the masses, which means in the $30 to $80 range. We rate hard and we haven’t found a 10 in Texas yet – don’t worry we haven’t given up and we’re still looking.