Arnold Palmer one said “A golf course must be built for all golfers and should be truly beautiful; every aspect of the course must serve the game in the purest form.” Wildcat Run portrays this philosophy.
Set amidst unmatched beauty, Wildcat Run is a 514-acre gated community that exhibits a delicate balance of nature and luxury living. Located between Naples and Fort Myers in Estero, Florida, the country club is situated within the community and is a private, member owned facility. Wildcat Run is regarded as one of the most prestigious private country clubs in the area. Golf Equity memberships at Wildcat Run are available to both residents and nonresidents.
The course plays 7,018 yards from the back tees for a par of 72. It carries a course rating of 73.9 with a slope of 135. This Arnold Palmer course opened in 1985 and underwent major renovations in 2008. In all, club members have invested more than $8 million on what is now their club.
A challenging but fair golf course, Wildcat Run offers a true test of the game for every level of player. Six different sets of tees create the right course for every handicap range. Fairways are wide open but well-bunkered; gently rolling mounds run parallel to many of them. Water comes into play on sixteen holes. The course offers a great balance between nature and golf.
The practice facilities include a full length driving range with seven target greens, as well as a putting and chipping green in the short game area.
Wildcat Run also offers a state of the art fitness center, five Har-Tru tennis courts and a spacious clubhouse that comfortably accommodates many dining and social activities. A full service pro shop offers member the latest styles in golf equipment and apparel, custom fitting for golf clubs, and all facets of golf instruction.
Memorable Holes (Yardage is from the Gold Tees)
Number 1: Par 4, 323 yards. A straight drive off the opening hole goes a long way to getting you round off to a good start at Wildcat Run. There is water on the left side; a well hit drive up the right side can easily find a well placed fairway bunker. Your approach shot is slightly uphill to a large green that slopes back to front and is well protected by bunkers. Number 1 is a good starting hole.
Number 4: Par 5, 520 yards. This hole will definitely test your mettle off the tee. There is water on either side of the fairway as well as a few fairway bunkers; the landing area is quite small compared to prevous holes. The hole makes a slight dogleg left and the water becomes more prominent as does the bunker just short of the green. The green is a lot wider than it is deep; pin placement is crucial. A pin placed on the left side would force a carry over water to get it close. A right side pin placement requires a precision approach shot for a legitimate shot at birdie. Number 4 is a good test of golf.
Number 7: Par 5, 511 yards. This is a long, sweeping double dogleg that just keeps going right. The key is not to bite off too much of the dogleg off the tee or you will be in the trees which dominate the righthand side. If you feel like you have control of your driver, the best play is over the edge of the treeline and fairway bunkers. This will leave a mid-iron shot to the green.
Number 9: Par 4, 415 yards. This dogleg right features water if you’re wild right and a fairway bunker on the left side if you are long and left. An approach from the right side will necessitate a carry over water and large bunkers; one with a grass mound in the middle. The large green slopes left to right. A great finish to the outward nine.
Number 10: Par 4, 367 yards. Most players should be able to get away with hitting driver off the tee; long ball hitters may want to drop down a club to take the water out of play. Your approach shot will more than likely need to carry the water in some capacity. The large, crowned green is surrounded by bunkers. Not only is number 10 a challenging golf hole, it also one of the best looking golf holes at Wilcat Run.
Number 13, Par 4, 366 yards. Push anything right of the tee on this dogelg right and odds are you will be hitting three off the tee. The preferred line off the tee is slightly left of the palm tree that sits on the right side of the fairway. From there you will be left with a slight uphill approach shot with a mid-iron to the green which slopes back to front. Don’t push your shot right or you can easily find the water up by the green.
Number 16: Par 3, 198 yards. This fairly long par 3 requires a carry over water to a well undulating green. It’s fairly straight forward however it requires a good tee shot if you are going to score well.
Number 18: Par 5, 515 yards. Number 18 is a nice finishing hole on a great golf course. Beware of the water that comes into play on the left side off the tee as well as a strategically placed fairway bunker. For most of us, it’s a three shot par 5, with a slight dogleg to the right at the very end. With that in mind, playing up the left side will take most of the water out of play on your approach shot. The large green is well protected by bunkers.
Last Word: Wildcat Run is a must play if in are in the Ft. Myers/Estero area and have access to the course. I spoke with head pro, Peter Berringer, who has been here for over 24 years, and asked him what was his favorite feature of Wildcat Run. Without hesitation he answered “the fairness of the golf course.”
I think he’s right. There aren’t a lot of long, forced carries here; if you can keep the ball in play, you will do OK. Some holes are narrower than others so you need to be careful in selecting what you hit off the tee.
Choosing which tees you play from can be the difference between having a great time to being the most miserable day of your life. One golf writer has gone so far as to refer to the course as “benevolent and embracing from the whites and a wildcat from all the way back.”
The difference between the back tees and the white tees is almost 1,000 yards. There is a set of tees between the two, the golds, at 6500 yards.
The course is in superior condition year round, even during the dog days of August. Bunkers are well manicured as is the grass around the water hazards. Unless you can bomb it off the tee the par 5s are going to be three shot holes to reach the green.
The greens for the most part feature subtle undulations and will make you think. It definitely pays to know which way the grain is running on the greens; something you hit and think should be close can easily roll way long or come up woefully short. The greens are well maintained an in excellent condition.
For more information on Wildcat Run you can reach them at (239) (239) 947-6066 or visit them online at www.wildcatruncountryclub.com.