Tag Archives: golf resort

Golf Marco Island

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Moderate year round temperatures make Marco Island a fantastic golf destination. Located off the coast of Southwest Florida in the Gulf of Mexico, Marco Island is about 40 minutes south of Naples by car. Most people arrive by car as rail service to Marco Island was abandoned in 1944 and the nearest major airport is in Fort Myers.

Spanish explorers, who sailed to Florida in the mid 1500s, named the island La Isla de San Marco. Prior to the Spanish, the Calusa Indian tribe inhabited most of southwest Florida. Both the Calusa and the Spanish are long gone but their influence still remains in the many Indian and Spanish place names on the Island. 

Guests staying at Marco Island Marriott Beach Resort have two great courses at their fingertips,  Hammock Bay and The Rookery, both no more than 20 minutes away.

Hammock Bay alligator
Don’t bother looking for that lost ball!

The Hammock Bay golf course is a beautiful track with lots of natural vegetation, birds and wildlife – you may even encounter a sleepy alligator on your round. The entire development is one of only nine worldwide to earn a Sustainable Development Certified Gold ranking from Audubon International. 

Hammock Bay features 18 distinct holes designed by Peter Jacobsen and Jim Hardy. It’s a par 72 championship golf course designed with the approach shot in mind as evidenced by the positioning and contouring of the greens. Hammock Bay was one of the first golf courses to use paspalum, a salt-tolerant turfgrass.

The rolling terrain of the fairways lined with live oak distinguishes the course, while the breezes off the Gulf of Mexico conspire to make Hammock Bay a challenge that keeps players coming back for more.

Hole 16 at The Rookery
Hole 16 at The Rookery

Peter Jacobsen and Jim Hardy were also brought in to update The Rookery, a course originally authored by Joe Lee and Robert Cupp. The grass at the Rookery was also replaced with paspalum and all bunkers were enhanced to improve playability. Nestled in shallow wetlands that attract many species of birds, including bald eagles and blue herons, The Rookery has also been designated as a member of the Audubon Cooperative Sanctuary program.

Every golf course has a unique character, due in large part to the collection of bunkers, said Peter Jacobsen.

Marco Island Marriott Beach Resort
Marco Island Marriott Beach Resort

Tee times for both courses are available for Marriott Marco Island Beach Resort’s guests and guests playing either course can conveniently charge golf incidentals to their room. Check their website for specials on golf packages.

If you enjoy seafood, check out the popular Snook Inn on Marco Island, a casual waterfront restaurant with a funky fish camp vibe.

Golf Hollywood

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In Hollywood, Florida, staying at the Westin Diplomat means you’re either at the high-rise on the beach sharing the infinity pool with the young (er) and more stylish set – and their children or you’re a few minutes inland at the quieter, more refined, Diplomat Country Club, overlooking the splendid golf course of the same name.

Between 1997 and 2000, architect Joe Lee completely revamped Robert von Hagge’s original golf course. From your balcony, it doesn’t look like the course occupies 6,728 yards, though the full practice facility is highly visible – perfect for spying on golfers whose swings are worse than yours.

Hole one is a 500-yard double dogleg with water in front of the tee and again on the approach. Only those playing from the red tees have a realistic shot at par. While water is present on all other holes except 10 and 11, it is not much of a problem except for holes 4 and 8.  14 is the hardest hole on the course, because of its length and the wind.

The par 4, hole 2 features the signature island green and at 385 yards, requires a good drive to get there in two shots, tricky as most of these layouts are usually found on a par 3. One of the best features of the course are the smooth, immaculate, greens that play at just the right speed.

Westin Diplomat Country ClubA free shuttle connects the Westin Diplomat Country Club with her sister on the shore, a good mile walk to the lively Hollywood Beach boardwalk. Refreshingly devoid of trendy cafés and pricey boutiques, the strip is well worth the journey for the open air breakfast/lunch/dinner specials served surfside amid cyclists, roller bladers and tacky tee-shirt shops.

The Westin Diplomat Resort and Spa
3555 South Ocean Drive • Hollywood, FL 33019

For more on Florida hotels and golf go to VISIT FLORIDA.COM.