Insider Info: Great tips for planning the perfect golf trip to Southwest Florida

TPC Tampa Bay in Lutz hosts a Champions Tour event, and is just 30 minutes from the New York Yankees Spring Training facility in Tampa.
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Inside Info
Dialed Down Dye: You can almost smell the old money at Gasparilla Inn & Club ($115-$139; 877-403-0599,, a legendary, low-key retreat between Sarasota and Fort Myers. Pete Dye redid the course a few years ago, and while not completely defanged, it is a gentler effort than most of the fearsome Dye products you've seen over the years. The 6,811-yard layout has vexing green complexes and beautiful views across Charlotte Harbor. You must be a hotel guest to play, but on the plus side there are no tee times at the course — there just isn't enough traffic to warrant it.

Grapefruit League: Spring training baseball and great golf along Florida's west coast go hand-in-glove. Bright House Networks Fields, home of the Philadelphia Phillies, is 15 minutes south of Innisbrook Resort.

Among the value options are Bardmooor Golf & Tennis Club ($60-$85; 727-392-1234,, in Largo. This former site of the PGA Tour/LPGA Tour's Mixed Team Classic is 12 miles south of Dunedin's Florida Auto Exchange Stadium, where the Toronto Blue Jays play.

TPC Tampa Bay ($89-$159; 813-949-0090, in Lutz is a long-time Champions Tour venue, and just 30 minutes from the New York Yankees and George M. Steinbrenner Field in Tampa.

Perfect Practice: If the pasha of practice, Vijay Singh, ever sets foot here, he'll think he's died and gone to Heaven. The range at World Woods Golf Club ( is the best golf practice facility on the planet. Even more memorable than the two Tom Fazio-designed 18s here is the staggering 23-acre circular practice range ($6.50 for approximately 35 balls), which provides hundreds of hitting stations in four directions, target fairways and greens, bunkers with native and white sand, and short-game areas hidden between trees.

Toss in a three-hole warm-up course ($6 per three holes), an irons-only range and a two-acre putting green, and you've got the grand enchilada of practice areas.

On the Tee: If you plan on being a frequent visitor to the Naples area between this May and October, consider spending $113 for the Franklin Templeton Shootout Player Pass ( During that timeframe the Pass gets you up to four discounted rounds each at 14 area courses, including Tiburon, The Rookery, Naples Grande and Hammock Bay.

Top 100 Teacher
Need a lesson from one of the country's best teachers while in Naples? Then contact Golf Magazine Top 100 Teacher Tom Patri at 239-404-7790.

If you have downloaded the My Pro To Go app ( and want an in-person swing consultation, or just need a tune-up before starting your first round in the Tampa area, head to GolfTec's locations in Carrollwood (813-962-8060), Clearwater Mall (727-797-2138), Sarasota (941-926-6025), University Town Center (941-926-6025) or Westshore-South Tampa (813-202-8516. In Fort Myers call 239-628-1653 and in Naples call 239-514-4653.

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