With 554 residences spread across 320 acres of land, Windstar on Naples Bay is the only gated country club community located directly on Naples Bay in Southwest Florida. Windstar on Naples Bay is just seven minutes from the heart of Old Naples and boasts the Windstar Marina which includes 72 deepwater slips with direct access to the Gulf of Mexico via Gordon Pass. As if that weren’t enough for boating enthusiasts and beachgoers alike, Windstar also owns a “Beach Club” located on a private lot on Keewaydin Island, The Beach Club is only 15 minutes from Windstar by boat or water taxi and offers grills, beach chairs and umbrellas for residents.
Windstar on Naples Bay Country Club
Designed by three-time Golf Architect of the year, Tom Fazio, Windstar’s golf course is the only private gated community golf club located on Naples Bay and opened for play in 2009. The course plays 6,750 yards from the back tees for a par of 72 and carries a course rating of 71.5 with a slope of 124. Three sets of tee boxes make Windstar a challenging yet pleasurable experience for golfers of all skill levels. Warm up facilities at Windstar on Naples Bay include a driving range and putting green.
The 33,000-square-foot Clubhouse features locker rooms with lounge area, a complete exercise facility, pro shop and four lighted clay tennis courts. There is both a casual and formal dining which overlooks mangrove preserves with Naples Bay in the background, creating a beautiful setting. Golf membership is offered to both residents and non-residents.
Certified Audubon Cooperative Sanctuary
In 1998, Windstar was designated a “Certified Audubon Cooperative Sanctuary” by the Audubon Cooperative Sanctuary System. Windstar is one of a select group of Clubs in the United States to receive this distinction. In order to be considered for certification, a course must demonstrate and maintain a high degree of environmental quality in areas such as Environmental Planning, Wildlife & Habitat Management, Outreach and Education, Water Conservation and Water Quality Management.
Windstar’s 18-hole championship golf course is a reflection of its environment, bald eagles, osprey, wood storks, and egrets are just a few of the birds that inhabit the Windstar development. It is not a rare occurrence to see an alligator sunning itself on the lake bank on a quiet afternoon; beware as you search for the ball you hit in the water.
Memorable Holes (All Yardage is from the Black Tees)
Number 1: Par 4, 330 yards. This short par 4 is a slight dogleg left. Play your drive out on the right side of the fairway, lest you risk getting blocked out by trees. The large green that slopes severely from back to front is guarded by a lone bunker on the front left. Just the kind of hole you need to get your round off on the right foot.
Number 2: Par 4, 355 yards. The second hole is a dogleg right with palm trees and Florida shrubbery on the left and water on the right. The water shouldn’t come into play off the tee. Your approach shot is wide open with a lot of room for error. You are playing to a large green that slopes front to back and is tightly guarded by bunkers on either side.
Number 4: Par 5, 551 yards. Number 4 is the first par 5 on the course. It’s a long, straight hole that requires accuracy off the tee in the form of a straight drive. There is a lake on the right side as well as houses (AKA out of bounds) on the left. Most players will not have the opportunity to get on the green in two so just plan on using the club that you hit the farthest (and more importantly straightest) on your layup. A good layup shot will leave a pitch shot of less than 100 yards to another large green that slopes back to front. Par is a good score here.
Number 7: Par 3, 224 yards. At 224 yards, this par 3 will test what you’ve got. It’s a long, narrow hole with a palm tree sticking out on the right side that has claimed its share of tee shots. A single pot bunker on the left side poses the only hazard on the hole; other than its shear length. The green slopes back to front with a ridge in the middle which can make a bad score even worse depending on pin placement. Be thankful with a par on number 7.
Number 10: Par 4, 406 yards. The back nine starts off with the first par 4 over 400 yards. It’s a straight shot down the fairway that does not have a whole lot of trouble.
Number 11: Par 5, 477 yards. Number 11 is the shortest par 5 on the course and features your best chance at eagle; provided you can hit two solid, long shots. It’s a dogleg right with fairway traps down the right side which can come into play on your drive no matter which tee box you are playing from. A good tee shot that makes it to the dogleg will leave an approach of about 225 yards. There is not a lot of trouble around the green; just one bunker guards this fairly small green that slopes back to front. This hole offers a great opportunity to shave some strokes off your score.
Number 13: Par 4, 385 yards. Number 13 is another narrow par 4 with out of bounds down the right and water down the right side. The green is very elevated and slopes back to front.
Number 17: Par 5, 558 yards. This is the longest hole on the course and handicapped the hardest on the back nine. Hit a bad tee shot left and you can easily find the water on this long dogleg right. The key to number 17 is to make the dogleg off the tee.
Number 18: Par 4, 420 yards. This long, dogleg right finishing hole has water and out of bounds on the right side as well as fairway bunkers on the left off the tee. Keeping it in play off the tee is not as easy as you would like. Your approach shot is to a slightly elevated green that is crowned in the middle and falls off on the right side. Number 18 at Windstar is a good finishing hole and one that will make you want to come back time and time again.
Last Word Windstar is another wonderful Tom Fazio course. It features plenty of water, sand and Florida “rough” to keep your interest the entire round. Many of the greens are elevated and large; some long enough to render a two club difference between a front and back pin placement. Looking at the scorecard you will notice that the course plays only 6700 yards. You will also notice that there are only three par 4s in excess of 400 yards. Piece of cake you think; but not so fast!
Where Windstar makes up the difference is on the par 3 holes with two of them checking in at 213 and 224 yards. The shortest hole on the course is number 14 at 168 yards. The par 5 holes are no walk in the park either with three of the four in excess of 500 yards and two topping 550 yards.
All in all, Windstar is worth checking out if you have the opportunity. It’s a private club, so your opportunities may be limited. For more information, you can reach Windstar at (239) 775-3500 or visit them online at www.windstarclub.com.