Great Public Golf Courses in Naples, Florida

LC Lamrecht
Hazardous to the health of your scorecard: the ninth hole at Naples Grande.
While Naples teases golfers by claiming the highest number of courses per capita in the country, the truth is most of the city's tracks are private. But public-access courses here offer country club quality at daily-fee prices. Toss in vibrant nightlife and lush beachside retreats, and there's no better Gulf weekend for golfers.

Naples Grande Golf Club
7,078 yards, par 72;
Greens fee: $195
239-659-3718, naplesgrande.com

This Rees Jones design (open only to Registry Resort and Edgewater Beach Hotel guests) has so many water hazards the holes appear to float through the surrounding cypress and oak trees. But it's not just the aqua that puts a premium on accuracy over brawn: devilishly tricky bunkers guard the corner of nearly every dogleg. The green at the 560-yard 16th is perched atop a 20-foot-high coral rock platform, but that's not even the most daunting hazard you'll encounter on the hole. Water and a snakelike bunker on the left make for a precarious journey from the tee.

The Rookery at Marco
7,180 yards, par 72;
Greens fee: $159 ($149 for guests)
239-793-6060, rookeryatmarco.com

Located on an estuary of Hammock Bay, the Rookery is roosting terrain for thousands of birds. To better blend Joe Lee's original 1991 design with the birds' natural habitat, Bob Cupp Jr. replaced the turf between holes with acres of lakes and wetlands. The result means that water hugs 16 holes, but the generous fairways keep you dry most of the time. Vultures are the only birds you'd expect to see hovering over the finishing stretch of holes--which features four forced carries over water, including to the peninsula green on the 159-yard 16th.

Tiburon Golf Club
Gold, 7,288 yards, par 72;
Black, 7,005 yards, par 72;
Greens fee: $250 ($235 for guests)
239-593-2000, ritzcarlton.com

The PGA Tour stars who enjoy a Gold course rush each year at designer Greg Norman's Franklin Templeton Shootout follow two rules: aim for the center of the fairway, and keep it low around the greens. Both courses are known for stacked sod bunkers, pink shell waste areas and collection areas around the greens.

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