Along the southern gulf coast of Florida is a dreamy private club where members are the owners with a passion for continual improvements. While the region was hit hard by Hurricane Ian, Bonita Bay Club was already implementing a proactive plan of renovations.
One of the best renovations in perhaps the history of private clubs is the Cypress Course at Bonita Bay Club Naples, by Tom Marzolf of Tom Fazio Design.
While quite a unique design, it is as Tom says, “with Pinehurst 2 type greens and a Royal Melbourne slant. A different round of golf will hit you in the face on the first hole.” That is true for anyone whose ball slides off the fresh but fast and true running greens.
The goal for Cypress was to be a championship course and the number one priority was for it to dry out when wet. Tom’s experience at Adare Manor helped as he created six new lakes, expanded four, spread the resulting earth across the course and implemented a drainage system with 450 new catch basins. It passes the wet test as well as the fun test.
Homeless has a positive meaning here as the sans homesite course whispers serenity on every hole. Impeccable sandscapes were spread to outline portions of waterways while bunkers are filled with white fluffiness for successful first flair outs, or so you hope.
Brilliant green fairways kiss the lakes and melt into the greens. Occasional gators are seen sunning themselves along the shores and Jeff Burgoyne, Assistant Director of Golf Course Operations recognizes them all as he and his stellar staff care for their habitat.
A Bonita Bay Club member for 22 years and current board member, Marie Verschuuren from Toronto, Canada, noted where she had spotted a black bear and advised that the trio of grazing deer can be quite friendly.
The Cypress course is very friendly by offering seven tee box options ranging from 4583 yards to 7437 yards from the tips. Still, the challenge is clear during every round, especially on the par 5, number 15 with a wide fairway to drive and then water to carry for a risk/reward shot to the green. Undulations here would allow some mean pin placements, but Jeff likes to keep the members happy.
Cypress is the third out of five courses to be remodeled and will indubitably be awarded top honors for renovations.
The adjoining Sabal course at the Naples Campus will be renovated starting this fall. In Bonita Springs, The Marsh course is currently played as a combo of the Marsh and Bay Island, and it is teeming with life. Many more gators were counted as well as strokes on the scorecard. The original Marsh was rated # 60 in ‘89 and ’90 for top private courses. The pro shop has one of the widest arrays of colorful fashions for both ladies and gents.
Other amenities at Bonita Bay Club include:
- A Sports Center with 18 tennis courts
- 10 pickleball courts
- A championship croquet court
- A geo-thermal zero entry saltwater pool.
- The stunning Lifestyle Center includes the Fitness Center, Wave Café, Spa and Salon spanning nearly 20,000 square feet.
- This is topped off with the Certified Audubon Cooperative Sanctuary full of trails and secret spaces, a private beach, and a marina for a style of living that is unsurpassed.
The culinary experience is superb throughout the restaurants at Bonita Bay Club.
Richard Brumm, Director of Culinary Operations has many accreditations accompanying his title and a full staff of creative chefs.
Casual fare from catch of the day to burgers is available at the Breezeway Café and Bar beside the inviting zero entry pool. 54th Hole in the Main Clubhouse was busy on a Sunday during brunch with extensive menu and a vast buffet while fine dining at Fireside Room at Bonita Bay Club might begin with an escargot appetizer and a French martini, oui, oui.
Squash bisque in the acorn shell is just as pretty as it is tasty, and the profiteroles were perfect. Otherwise known as cream puffs, the chef shared the key to keeping them firm is to leave them in the oven a tad longer at the lower temp. Sommeliers on staff ensure the proper pairings for palette pleasing.
If you are salivating, hold on, there are three waiting lists. But hey, the best is worth the wait. Why not dream?
Bonita Bay Club in Bonita Springs, Florida was born in 1985, evolving through the decades, and continuing with projects far into the future to better deliver the Bonita Bay Club Member experience year after year. www.bonitabayclub.net