A stay at the beachfront La Playa Resort in Naples, FL gives you access to one of the area’s premier golf courses. The LaPlaya Golf Club is an 18-hole layout that is open to resort guests and private members. The course was designed by Robert Cupp, and is as scenic as it is challenging.
LaPlaya Golf Club opened in January 2002 and plays 6,902 yards from the back (Black) tees to a par of 72, with a course rating of 74.6 and a slope of 143. At 6122 yards, the White Tees will give most golfers all they can handle. A “LaPlaya” set of tees combines the Blue (6,544 yards) and White tees for a yardage of 6385. There are a total of six sets of tees on the scorecard. The greens are Tif-Eagle; Tif-Way 419 Bermuda grass is used on fairways and roughs Celebration grass on the tees, and the bunkers are lined with GNZ Zoysia grass. Over 40 varieties of Florida vegetation can be found as you play the course; there’s also a good chance you might spot an eagle or two during the round.
The LaPlaya Golf Club follows the natural contours of the land. The large manmade lake on number 18 provided much of the earth used to create the rolling fairways. There’s also a lot of water out here; several of the dogleg par 4 and 5 holes may have you crossing the same body of water multiple times.
LaPlaya has taken over the space that used to be occupied by the David Leadbetter Academy and rebuilt the practice facility, making it one of the most impressive in the area. There are now 7 acres of practice range, a targeted short game area, a chipping bunker and green and a 10,000 sq. ft. practice putting green. If you can’t improve your game here, better check in with one of the certified PGA instructors in the pro shop and make an appointment!
There are several reasons that golfers look to join LaPlaya. One is the low annual dues with no added assessments or F&B minimums. Ten-minute tee times and fast pace of play also figure in to the decision to join LaPlaya. Having sampled their menu, the dining options might also figure in to the equation.
Number 1: Par 5, 471 Yards. Your adventure at La Playa begins with a dogleg left, par 5; across and around a lake. Be sure to hit it far enough right so that the trap on the left side of the fairway off the tee doesn’t come into play. Favor the right side of the fairway on your layup shot as the fairway slopes towards the water. A large greenside bunker protects the left side and going over the green and making par a tough chore. Going for the green in two is a definite risk/reward; too much risk for me this early in the round. Take a 3-shot approach and walk off the green happy.
Number 4: Par 4, 314 yards. Don’t let this short par 4 lull you into a false sense of security. The landing area off the tee is very narrow and requires precision to keep it in play. A good tee shot will leave a short pitch over water to the green which slopes back to front. Long ball hitters who can carry the ball a long way may decide to go for the green. More risk/reward; still too early in the round for me.
Number 6: Par 5, 545 yards. This hole begs you to pull out the big stick and give it all you’ve got. Even if you don’t get all of your tee shot, the down slope in the landing area will help you gain a few extra yards and the majority of players cannot reach the river that crosses the fairway. A good drive will leave an approach that is reachable for many with a fairway wood. There’s a lot of undulation on the green, so how well you score on this hole may very well depend on the mood of the person that set the flag that morning.
Number 10: Par 4, 448 yards. From the back tees, this hole plays 470 yards; I’ve played shorter par 5s! What’s worse, depending on the time of day, it may be playing into the prevailing winds. Nonetheless, there is plenty of room off the tee so bomb away; just be wary of the two fairway bunkers on the right side. Most players will be faced with a long approach shot regardless of how well the tee shot was struck. The green is receptive to approach shots from a distance and the only other trouble are the bunkers on the right side of the green.
Number 12: Par 3, 128 yards. Another short hole that can eat your lunch; depending upon the position of the pin. From the tee, the green is set at an angle; a back left pin will only allow you to see the top of the flag because of the mounding in front. A front pin placement creates a very small landing area to try and make birdie. Then there’s the ridge that runs through the middle of the green to contend with too. Oh, and let’s not forget the waste area between the tee and the green. It may take a one-putt to make par.
Number 18: Par 4, 373 yards. Water down the entire left side and more trouble on the right create a narrow driving area off the tee. The farther you hit your tee shot, the more of a downhill lie you’ll be facing on your approach. Depending on pin placement, you may need to contend with the lake a second time. Hit it long and right and you most likely will find the deep bunker back there where a score of par or better becomes a distant thought. End with a par and be happy.
Last Word: Your round at LaPlaya is sure to be memorable, even if you play a few other courses in the area. The course boasts its share of risk/reward holes and makes you think your way around the layout. A few holes let you grip it and rip it off the tee, while others require a lot more strategy.
Another aspect of your round that you are sure to remember are the greens; lots of undulations and very few straight putts. Knowing the course and where to play each shot goes a long way to determining the score you will shoot. In the event your round is not going as well as you would like – and it rarely does – step away from your shot and take a look around at the beauty and splendor that is the LaPlaya Golf Club.
For more information or to try and figure out a way to get on the course, give them a call at (239) 254-5001 or visit the website at www.laplayaclub.com. For more information on becoming a golf member, visit the golf club website at www.laplayagolfclub.com