Updated February 2024 to update booking information.
As we’ve written about in the past, there’s no shortage of great golf to be played in the state of Florida. While you might think that Orlando, Miami, and Tampa Bay are the center of it all, there’s plenty of other communities that are rich in great golf too.
One of those places is Naples. I’ve played a little golf in Naples but not enough to come up with a comprehensive list of the best 10 on my own. That’s why I’ve again consulted our readers in that area and asked for their input – they gave us plenty.
Forest Glen Golf and Country Club
If there’s one thing about great golf courses that too often gets overlooked, it’s blending with nature. That’s exactly what you’ll find at Forest Glen.
Built alongside a vast nature preserve, this Arthur Hills and Steve Forrest design makes you feel like you’re in the middle of the Everglades. Everywhere you look, you’ll see rare birds, the occasional alligator, and all sorts of other critters you probably can’t name. For a cacophony of sounds you won’t hear anywhere else, play this course in the early morning as it comes to life.
The course itself is nothing to sneeze at. Measuring just over 6,800 yards, the fairways are lush and the greens pure at Forest Glen.
The green complexes are small and short siding yourself can lead to big numbers. Precision is the name of the game, and don’t let all the sights and sounds distract you.
Quail Run Golf Club
The locals say Quail Run is the best kept secret in Naples. It’s not hard to see why.
This par 70 layout is old school Florida design at its finest. Tree lined fairways and small, pushup greens require a lot of local knowledge if you’re going to figure this course out. Even though the layout isn’t long, it’s no pushover from tee to green.
That’s not to say that you won’t play well here, however. Five sets of tees vary greatly in yardage so finding the right length for your game isn’t a problem.
Be sure to take advantage of the new and improved practice facilities also. Spacious teeing grounds on the range and impeccably kept short game areas are some of the best around.
Raptor Bay Golf Club
If you’re looking to test yourself, Raptor Bay is the place to do it in Naples.
Laid out across sprawling marshlands, this course has plenty of trouble both off the tee and around the greens.
Due to the lack of trees immediately lining the fairways, afternoon winds can kick up from any direction. It’s true that this course never plays the same two days in a row.
Once you get to the greens, your work is far from over. Undulations and closely mown collection areas give you plenty of options but aren’t easy.
Always in great shape, Raptor is a solid test that’s well worth the money. If you’re going to be in town for a while, check out the stay and play packages too.
ArrowHead Golf Club
ArrowHead Golf Club has been voted the “Best Public Course in Naples” every year since 2012.
Known for its pristine condition and fair price, it’s no wonder locals and visitors alike continue to flock here.
The course has 16 lakes which makes finding the fairway a must if you’re going to play well.
The greens are slick, and it sounds like being above the hole can be the kiss of death.
After your round, you won’t want to miss out on a pint and a burger in the pub. The staff goes above and beyond to make sure you’re taken care of and the food is unforgettable.
Hibiscus Golf Club
Built in 1969, Hibiscus Golf Club is one of the oldest courses in the Naples area. And it’s more than stood the test of time.
The fairways are generous here. However, expansive waste areas and numerous lakes and streams mean you have to stay focused from tee to green.
What I love most about Hibiscus is its old school vibe. You’re not going to find huge features or all the bells and whistles that come with the experience of a more modern design. Instead, the layout is right in front of you, but each hole presents a unique challenge that’s different from the rest.
Everything you need for an enjoyable day and nothing you don’t. A hidden gem.
Eagle Lakes Golf Club
Golf in Everglades. That’s the experience at Eagle Lakes Golf Club. While many of the courses in Southwest Florida are lined by trees and homes, that’s anything but the Case at Eagle Lakes. Instead what you’ll find is water, and lots of it.
Touted and one of the toughest tracks in the area, Eagle Lakes measures well over 7000 yards from the back tees. For shorter hitters and higher handicappers however, there are four additional tee boxes to choose from.
As its name would suggest, there’s no shortage of wildlife at Eagle Lakes. In a typical round, you’re likely to see bald eagles, whitetail deer, and maybe even an alligator or two… Just don’t get too close.
This is a big course that’s fun to play. Just make sure you bring a few extra balls and enjoy the experience.
Esplanade Golf and Country Club
Don’t be fooled by this course’s name. Yes, there is a private membership but, the course is open to the general public as well.
With that being said, Esplanade has a reputation as one of the finest courses in Naples.
Expansive fairways, pure Bermuda greens, white sand bunkers, and ample water hazards make this track both fun and challenging.
If you can, try and play Esplanade first thing in the morning. As the sun comes up, steam rises off the ponds and the quiet, subtle sounds of nature make for a remarkable experience.
Even though it’s a little on the pricey side, Esplanade is a round you won’t soon forget.
San Carlos Golf Club
To this day, San Carlos Golf Club remains one of the best golf experiences in Southwest Florida.
Dating all the way back to 1971, this course is quintessential Florida golf. Stately palm trees line the fairways and small greens have breaks that are subtle yet tricky to read.
Make sure you get here early for your round as the driving range is set in water with island greens as targets. The experience is unlike any other and, if you manage to find a couple of greens, it could bode well for the rest of your day. They aren’t easy to hit.
Here again, you won’t find anything overly ostentatious at San Carlos Golf Club. What’s here instead is a wonderful experience for the golf purest.
Valencia Golf and Country Club
Despite its name, Valencia Golf and Country Club is a public course you won’t want to miss.
You can let the big dog eat here as the fairways are more generous than other courses in the area. However, the large greens are well protected and have plenty of contours.
Since undergoing a renovation in 2018, the course’s Celebration Bermuda fairways and TifEagle putting surfaces are a dream to play on. No such thing as a bad lie out here.
If you want to work on your game, the club’s three PGA Professionals all have years of teaching experience and are regarded as some of the best instructors in the whole state.
A great round of modern golf at a reasonable price, you can bet I’ll be back to Valencia.
Bonita Fairways Golf Course
If you’re looking for a casual round of golf at a great price, it doesn’t get any better than Bonita Fairways.
Even though this course only plays to a par of 61 and is on the short side, it still demands a lot from your game.
Tight fairways and tiny greens mean you probably won’t need driver a whole lot. Instead, Bonita Fairways will test your iron play and short game.
Plenty of water abounds making accuracy and precision that much more important.
And at less than $50 for 18 holes, you can’t beat the value.
One of the things I love most about the city of Naples is that it’s much more laid back than some of the other premium golf destinations in Florida. While the hustle and bustle, glitz and glamor of cities like Miami make for a rich and vibrant experience, there’s something to be said for quiet, slower, simpler pace of life.
There’s no shortage of great golf to be found in the Naples area either. Whether you’re looking for a classic old-style design, or something modern and upscale, there’s plenty of options to choose from.
Thanks again to all of our readers that helped me complete this list. There’s no question there are other courses that belong here. Can you think of any? Let us know in the comments below.