The 18-hole championship golf course at Palmetto-Pine in Cape Coral, Florida plays 6,724 yards from the back tees for a par of 72. The course rating is 72.1 with a slope rating of 126 and plays on Bermuda grass and is the creation of renowned golf course architect Arthur Hills. Because the site for this course was densely covered with Southern Florida Slash Pine and Palmetto Brush the naming of the course was somewhat obvious. Plus, Pine-Palmetto just doesn’t have the same ring to it!
This was Hills’ first endeavor in Florida back in 1969, so the course has had plenty of time to mature. In 2004, the tees and fairways were completely refurbished, and new TifEagle greens were constructed.
The practice facilities at Palmetto-Pine include a full-length driving range and practice putting green. Golfers share the course with species of exotic birds and wildlife. During your round, you may spot the occasional alligator, otter or eagle.
Palmetto-Pine offers a challenge for seasoned players and novices alike. Choose from five sets of tees to make the course as easy or as difficult as you want. Palmetto-Pine is an enjoyable walking course and walkers are welcome at any time however most members use their own personalized carts.
Number 2: Par 4, 391 yards. The smart play off the tee is to play on the right side of the fairway on this dogleg left par 4. Doing so will leave a little longer shot into the green, but will take the trees on the right out of play. Long ball hitters can have a go at cutting the corner and leaving themselves a shorter iron into the green which is slightly elevated and protected by a large bunker on the left. Par is a good score here.
Number 5: Par 5, 515 yards. Accuracy off the tee is a necessity on this long, straight par 5. Water can come into play on the left as well as the large fairway bunker on the right. Your second shot is the key shot on this hole as it can be the difference between a simple pitch shot to the pin and something more taxing. Keep it left to avoid the large native oak tree that can easily make an approach shot more interesting. The green slopes gently from back to front.
Number 12: Par 3, 147 yards. You don’t want to be short on this short par 3 or your ball will meet a watery grave. There really is no bailout area; most errant shots will either find the water or the sand that guards both sides. The green has somewhat of a false front; balls landing here can easily roll down towards the water.
Number 14: Par 5, 487 yards.Although this is a short par 5, most players will make it a three shot hole. The tee shot requires a good draw over a fairway bunker or a fade to a landing area. At this point it becomes a risk/reward hole; going for this green in two requires a long, high shot over a large bunker in front of the green. No matter how you slice it (pun intended), a par is a good score here.
Number 15: Par 3, 205 yards. Water can easily come into play on this long par 3. There is lots of room on either side to bailout off the tee; nothing to worry about short of the green. A lone bunker sits behind the small green; one of the things that make this a very trying hole.
Number 17: Par 4, 387 yards. A good shot off the tee here will leave a mid-iron on your approach shot. Trying to cut the dogleg left can easily put you in the trees. The slightly elevated green slopes severely from left to right and is guarded by a single trap on the left.
Last Word: Unfortunately Palmetto-Pine is no longer a private country club and public play is now allowed. I am told that once the economy picks back up, Palmetto-Pine will go back to private club status so if you have always yearned to play here, better do it sooner rather than later.
The course is in good shape and the greens are some of the best you will find in Southwest Florida. In the tradition of Arthurs Hills, many of the greens are elevated, eliminating the bump and run from the shot repertoire. The greens tend to be a little smaller than most courses down here and roll very true. The trees are mature which tends to make the course a little tougher than it was years ago.
The clubhouse is tastefully decorated and has a large banquet facility that can easily host your next company golf outing or church banquet. The staff is friendly and as helpful as can be. Given the opportunity, I would definitely make a return visit.
There are no less than six options for membership at Palmetto-Pine; everything from a family equity membership to just becoming a social member at the club. For membership information, you can call Ashley Sanders at (239) 574-7762, ext. 27. If you are interested in planning an event, please call Charlie Nagle at (239) 574-2141. Their web address is www.palmettopine.com.