Q: We have plans for a Marco Island golf vacation in January 2008. Could you recommend reasonably priced golf courses that we might play while in the area? Mike M., Cincinnati, Ohio
A: Marco Island is 15 miles south of tony Naples, Florida, but, unfortunately, private courses still dominate the scene in this area. This includes the two on-island courses, Island Country Club (18 holes) and Hideaway Beach Golf Club (9 holes).
One of the best public-accessible courses to play on a Marco Island golf vacation is called The Rookery, located at Marriott's Marco Island Resort. Technically, it's a "resort private" course (i.e. only open to members, their guests, and guests of this and a select group of other resorts) and it was redesigned in 2004 by Bob Cupp and recently received a new clubhouse as part of an overall $187 million resort renovation. Alas, I'm not sure you'd consider it "reasonably priced" as high season rates (from January to April 18) start at $219. The area's other high-end resort courses at the Lely Resort and the Naples Beach Hotel, charge around $150. Not exactly an option for those seeking discount golf vacations.
There are other respectable options, however. Listed in order of proximity to the center of Marco Island, you might want to try these 18-hole, regulation-length courses on your Marco Island golf vacation:
- Eagle Lakes Golf Club (eaglelakesgolfclub.net), an "old Florida" design whose name isn't just window dressing. A pair of American bald eagles inhabit the course. Fees are $39-$79 until January 10 and $59-$109 until April 4.
- Hibiscus Golf Club (hibiscusgolf.com), a 1969 design with wide fairways and lots of water. Fees range from $50-$95.
- Golden Gate Country Club (naplesgolfresort.com), a Dick Wilson and Joe Lee design (the duo responsible for courses at Doral and La Costa) that's now part of the Quality Inn & Suites Golf Resort. The green fee ranges from $30-$70 including a shared cart.