Pelican's Nest Golf Club - Gator Course
|V (W)||73||5765 yards||74.1||131|
|VI (W)||73||5316 yards||71.7||125|
|VII (W)||73||5010 yards||70.4||120|
|I M: 74.3/139||371||428||499||186||504||203||381||431||422||3425||425||542||181||521||393||384||574||171||426||3617||7042|
|II M: 72.2/136||336||397||478||164||476||177||371||408||393||3200||391||497||160||492||372||364||548||162||405||3391||6591|
|III M: 71.1/128||336||363||478||164||476||158||371||383||360||3089||356||497||160||472||354||342||515||162||380||3238||6327|
|IV M: 70.3/126||320||363||440||156||454||158||358||383||360||2992||356||460||145||472||354||342||515||143||380||3167||6159|
|V M: 68.5/122 W: 74.1/131||308||319||411||146||431||146||340||361||347||2809||344||426||130||449||345||333||463||133||333||2956||5765|
|VI M: 66.2/116 W: 71.7/125||279||308||383||123||411||135||298||317||315||2569||286||413||115||421||304||317||456||112||323||2747||5316|
|VII M: 64.8/113 W: 70.4/120||270||270||375||109||403||105||288||310||308||2438||276||393||93||399||292||304||441||97||277||2572||5010|
Flash back for a moment to 1985. The golf industry is on the rise and the real estate market in Florida is booming. As northerners reach retirement age, their mind is set upon moving to Florida and playing golf into their twilight years. All is good in the Sunshine State.
Two popular resorts in Southwest Florida back in the late 1980’s were the Naples Registry – now Naples Grande Beach Resort– and the Ritz Carlton. These resorts were booming, especially during “the season,” January through April. Nearby golf courses could make it just by booking guests from these two resorts.
With that in mind, the community of Pelican’s Landing was born. It all started with the building of Pelican's Nest golf course, designed by golf course architect Tom Fazio specifically to serve the needs of the nearby Ritz Carlton and Registry hotel guests. The course was an instant hit and garnered Fazio his first appearance on any of Golf Digest’s prestigious “Best of” lists; Pelican’s Nest golf course debuted at #3 in the publication’s Best US Public Courses. As expected, Pelican's Nest golf course grew quickly in popularity, so the developer started to purchase the surrounding land, and in 1989, Pelican’s Landing emerged as one of the premier residential golf communities in Southwest Florida.
The Nest - as it is affectionately referred to by residents and members alike – features 36-holes of championship golf as well as all of the other amenities discerning members have come to expect. In fact, both The Hurricane Course and the Gator Course are recognized nationally as two of the finest golf facilities in Southwest Florida and come highly recommended by experts and golfing aficionados alike. The Pelican Landing community includes single-family homes, villas, coach homes, garden condominiums, mid-rise condominiums and bay-front high-rise condominiums; prices range from the $200’s to over $3 million.
The last two years at The Nest have seen a lot of change, all for the good. Both golf courses have undergone complete renovations and are in the best shape ever. Fairways are plush and lush, bunkers are well manicured and contain soft, fluffy sand and the greens roll fast and true. " Both courses at Pelican’s Nest been recognized every year since 2001 by Audubon International, as a “Certified Audubon Cooperative Sanctuary” a real testament to their membership’s efforts to protect and enhance the environment.
The Gator Course is an exciting 18-hole regulation that plays 7,042 yards from Tee I to a par of 73, highlighted by three par fives on the back nine. The course rating is 74.3 with a slope rating of 139. Seven sets of tees make The Gator enjoyable for players of all skill levels and abilities; just be sure to pick the tees that best match your skills. A set of “Scoring Tees” that play around 4,500 yards were recently added and have been well received by members looking to get in a “quick round.”
The Gator Course winds its way through protected wetland marsh areas and forests of live Florida oaks and scrub pines. Just outside the back of the clubhouse is a large practice green for putting as well as a full-length driving range where you can hit every club in the bag. A spacious short game area with bunker can be found adjacent to the 18th green on The Hurricane Course.
Most Memorable Hole: Number 8: Par 4, 408 yards (Tee II). This hole is the number one handicap on the Gator layout, and for good reason. It’s a long and narrow hole with the fairway sloping towards the rough on each side. Even with a good drive in prime position down the right side, most players will be hitting a long iron, hybrid or fairway wood into the green. The green is long and narrow and is guarded in front by a large grass bunker which requires you to carry the ball onto the putting surface, eliminating the possibility for the senior-friendly bump and run. Also, the green is relatively flat, which may help you gain a stroke; or at least not give any more away! Par is an outstanding score here.
Favorite Par 3: Number 17, Cat Tails, 162 yards (Tee II). Number 17 is all about accuracy. Water guards the entire right side of the green as does a bunker on the left. The green is very deep, so hitting the right club off the tee, be sure to take into account the pin position. It could be the difference between a birdie or a three-putt.
Favorite Par 4: Number 18, Black Rush, 405 yards (Tee II). Much like Number 18 on the Hurricane Course, this is one of the most memorable finishing holes in the area. For all but long ball hitters, the water in the landing area shouldn’t come into play, but it’s still advantageous to play down the left side. A good drive will leave a mid to long iron into a green guarded by bunkers and a grass collection area on the left and more sand and a water hazard on the right. Another hole where par could win a prize!
Favorite Par 5: Number 16, 548 yards (Tee II). This 3rd par 5 on the inward nine is the longest hole on the course, but don’t let the length fool you. The landing area off the tee between the water on the left and sand on the right is rather generous. Keeping it in the fairway on your layup on the right side is no bargain either, with out of bounds lurking near the trees. Find one of the bunkers on the left side and you will be facing about a 100-yard bunker shot into the green. A well struck approach shot that avoids the bunkers on the left side and finds the green will go a long way in writing down a low number.
Any golfer would be ecstatic over the opportunity to play either of these top-rated courses at The Nest. The Gator Course is an exceptional treat, especially if you like to “air it out”; the 3 par five holes on the back nine let you do just that. Length off the tee goes along way on these holes but only the par 3, number 17 is a forced carry over water. There are no extraordinary long forced carries out here however, playing from the yardage that best suits your game will go a long way in making for an enjoyable round of golf. No need to beat yourself up on the golf course; there is too much beauty to be seen as you meander along the cart paths. During our round, we saw ospreys, gators and a bobcat!
My favorite part of the course is the putting greens. These new greens roll true and fast with very subtle undulations. Reading the greens can be a little tricky at times, but once you become a member, it will become second nature. The bunkers around the greens are in immaculate condition – well-groomed and quite playable. Par 3’s are fair in length and there is a good chance that you will use every club in your bag on the par fours alone.
These days, a private golf club cannot rest on the laurels of the course alone. The Nest has a very active and engaging membership; some of the most social people I have ever met. It’s a family-friendly atmosphere that keeps things lively with a number of events, many centered around golf. There are also themed nights in the restaurant such as Pasta Night every Wednesday, a Seafood Buffet every Friday and Prime Rib Night every other Thursday. The dining is incredible and Chef Cameron Hord and his culinary staff serve up some unique yet tasty dishes such as Wonton Pork Belly Tacos and a French Onion Grilled Cheese sandwich. For dinner try the Seafood Louis salad or the Chicken Mariana. These unique dishes will amaze you.
This is just a small sample of all that The Nest has to offer its members. Best of all, you don’t have to be a resident of Pelican Landing to Join “The Nest.”
Members Delight in 36-Holes of Newly Renovated Tom Fazio Golf
Over the past two years, one thing has been constant at Pelican’s Nest Golf Club: change. During that time, both The Gator Course and The Hurricane Course, have been completely renovated, from tee to green. The results will amaze you.
Back in 1995, world-renowned golf course architect Tom Fazio was asked to design an 18-hole golf course inside the gates of the Pelican Landing community. The primary goal at the time was to provide guests of two local resorts, The Registry and the Ritz Carlton, a place to play golf during the busy winter season. The course was an immediate hit and was ranked as the country’s "#3 Best Public Golf Course" by Golf Digest, giving Fazio his first appearance on the publication’s prestigious lists. Pelican’s Nest has also been recognized by Audubon International as a “Certified Audubon Cooperative Sanctuary” every year since 2001, a crowning achievement for both the club and its members.
During the next 10 years, Fazio was called on to build a second course. Eighteen holes were added in phases, and, with each new phase there was some rerouting involved. Several years later, after several holes were taken from the original design and many new ones were added, Pelican’s Nest or, “The Nest,” as it is affectionately referred to, is the 36-hole facility that it is today. Rest assured, both courses are always in pristine condition.
One of the biggest concerns during the renovation projects of the last two years, was how to best use reclaimed water and become more environmentally friendly. Golf course architect Jan Bel Jan, who was involved in the original construction of the Hurricane Course, and installed over 1.25 miles of HDPE pipe that takes the reclaimed water to an irrigation pump station where well water is blended with reclaimed water in an effort to manage salts in real time and reduce water use, improving water and power efficiency.
From the back tees, the par-72 Hurricane Course plays 6,808 yards, with a course rating of 73.6 and a slope of 139. Most golfers will find that Tee IV at 6,075 yards will give them all the golf they can handle and still leave with a little dignity intact. There are 7 sets of tees available for men, women and juniors. The bottom line is that whether you’re a seasoned golf professional or are just picking up a club for the very first time, there’s a set of tees that will help you enjoy your round. As your game improves, you can take on more of the course.
In renovating The Nest Bel Jan created a “course within a course.” These “scoring tees” eliminate a lot of the fairway hazards and make each course a lot easier to manage and navigate your way around. While the championship tees are identified with Roman numerals, the scoring tees are identified with an “S” and have their own scorecard. Many members use them on a regular basis and comment on “how much more fun the game has become” since they started incorporating them into their weekly rounds. After all, lower scores mean happy members!
Although the slope rating doesn’t reflect it, most members consider The Hurricane Course the more difficult of the two. Hurricane winds its way around Spring Creek and the boundaries on the back nine are dictated by brackish marshes and natural thickets of mangroves along the Gulf estuary. You’ll also encounter groves of native Florida oaks and pine trees as you make your way around the layout.
Memorable Holes: The Hurricane Course features several memorable holes, but nothing more memorable than the last two holes on each side. Number 8 (Temptation) is a par 5 that plays 488 yards from Tee III and offers two ways to play the hole. Option A is the riskier of the two and requires a tee shot down the right side of the fairway, bringing the water into play if you push your shot too far right. A good drive down the right side will give you an opportunity to get home in two. The bunker that used to come into play on the right side and run about 200 yards up to the green has been replaced by three smaller bunkers, which makes the hole less difficult. Playing down the left side makes this a three-shot hole for most players and takes a lot of the hazard out of play. Regardless of the direction you choose, you’ll need an accurate approach to the green if you want to score well.
Number 9 (Moonscape) is a lengthy par 4 (408 yards from Tee III) around a lake. The third bunker on the left side of the fairway is a good aiming point off the tee; if you can fade it, even better. Most players will be faced with a long iron or hybrid into the elevated green that is protected on the left by a large trap and on the right by the lake. This hole was given its name by Gary Player, who said the humps and hollows of the hole reminded him of the surface of the moon.
The first of two challenging finishing holes, Number 17 (Spring Creek) is a short Par 4. At a mere 332 yards, the trick here is to keep your tee shot in play. The fairway is guarded by hazards on either side. Consider leaving the driver in the bag, and hit something that will find the fairway. This will leave a short chip shot into an open green protected by a lone bunker on the right. A great opportunity to make birdie!
Number 18 (Teaser) is a par 5 that plays 498 yards (Tee III) and is one of the best finishing holes of golf in southwest Florida; in fact, it’s rather scenic standing on the tee. It’s one of those holes that yields as many birdies and eagles as it does the dreaded “others,” and presents yet another risk/reward opportunity at The Nest. The hole is a dogleg right around a lake with a narrow landing area. The water on the right can come into play for longer hitters. A good drive down the right side will present a good opportunity to go for the green in two. It’s about a 220 yard carry over water to a relatively flat green. If you play it as a three-shot hole, be sure to avoid the sand that protects the green on either side. This hole provides a fitting end to a great round of golf.
Also of note is the first hole; after all, how many times do you start your round out with a par 3?
The Nest also boasts some pretty impressive practice facilities including a full length driving range where you can hit every club in the bag; trust me, you’ll need them all. There’s a short game area complete with practice bunker in a separate area near the 18th green as well as a good size practice putting green. The driving range is conveniently located a short walk from the clubhouse.
After your round, be sure to visit the Thirsty Pelican Lounge & Grill Room or have a drink on the veranda, which offers an expansive view of Spring Creek and the finishing hole on the Gator Course. Either venue will provide a great opportunity to unwind after a round or to visit with friends over cocktails and dinner. The view at sunset is breathtaking.
If you’re one of the many prospective club members that judges a country club by its dining facilities and menu, then look no further than The Nest. Whether you’re looking for a quiet dinner with friends or dancing the night away at one of the club’s themed event nights, the newly redecorated Main Dining Room is a perfect venue. In fact, The Nest boasts two private dining rooms and can accommodate events large or small; it’s perfect for corporate events, weddings and private wine dinners. Chef Cameron Hord and the culinary staff at The Nest offer a wide variety of culinary delicacies featuring signature seafood dishes and other delights.
The daily menu features many entrees you don’t often see, such as Wonton Pork Belly Tacos, Roasted Pear and Gorgonzola Salad and Blackened Grouper Tacos, served with a mango salsa and chipotle aioli. They are simply delicious. Dinner features dishes such as a Duck and Bacon Wonton appetizer, Crazy Shrimp and Magnificent Meatballs. There are also themed nights during the week such as Pasta Night on Wednesday, Seafood Buffet Night every Friday and Prime Rib Night, every second Thursday.
Although The Nest features 36 holes of spectacular golf, members need more than just a great golf course. The Nest delivers by putting together a very active social calendar for their members full of programs and the events that are unrivaled by any other country club in the area. Each event has a well thought out theme; many are centered around special days such as Valentine’s Day, Easter and Mother’s Day.
One program that has become very popular among the membership is “Tuesday Talks,” a series of presentations designed to capture, engage, educate and entertain. Upcoming topics include media matters, Southwest Florida’s natural environment and how to build and sustain a great baseball club, presented by a representative from the Boston Red Sox.
The Tea Time Book Club is also very popular at The Nest and already has a full schedule of events set up through the middle of next year. New members who are avid readers will want to check this out.