The championship golf course at the Naples Beach Hotel & Golf Club is ready to open this November after an extensive renovation-almost a reinvention-with input from golf icon and acclaimed course designer, Jack Nicklaus, who has a special historical tie to the resort. The redesign is being done by noted ASGCA member John Sanford of Sanford Golf Design, located in Jupiter, Florida. John’s resume includes courses throughout the world and stunning redesigns at Wilderness CC in Naples and Spring Run CC in Bonita Springs.
The major $9 million project follows over $50 million in impressive renovations and enhancements to the resort over the last few years. The completion of the course renovation is running ahead of schedule, according to the resort’s General Manager, Jason Parsons.
Jack is celebrating his youth and the history of The Naples Beach Hotel & Golf Club by helping to reshape the future of this iconic golf course. In 1951, while on a family vacation to Naples, and a friendly round of golf along side his father Charlie, the 11 year old Ohio native accomplished the very impressive feat of breaking 40 for 9 holes on the resort’s golf course, shooting a 37. He was one over par after just one year since he picked up golf clubs. The round, in particular, is what drew the Golden Bear to the project. The original scorecard is even archived in the Jack Nicklaus Museum, a 24,000-square-foot facility on the campus of Ohio State University, his alma mater, in Columbus.
“Being back at The Naples Beach Hotel & Golf Club is like a walk down memory lane for me,” said Jack. “Returning to the same course where I broke 40 with my father by my side, brings back a lot of very special and fond memories. At the same time, I am enjoying the opportunity to work with John(Sanford) on this rebirth, if you will, of a wonderful layout. We have some great ideas and players will be excited about the end product.”
The resort’s course renovation brings together two of the world’s finest designers, who celebrated the grand opening of their collaboration of Trump Golf Links at Ferry Point in the Bronx, New York in 2015. John served as project manager for the Jack Nicklaus Signature Golf Course, and among the many honors bestowed on the design, it was named to Golf Digest’s Best New Courses 2015 and recognized by Golf Magazine as the Best New Course You Can Play.
When speaking of the resort’s redo, Golf Course Architect Sanford said, ” The course has been redesigned to challenge the best players but also be enjoyable for all golfers. The layout takes advantage of the sandy soils so the course will play ‘firm and fast’. The ball will roll out so tee shots will be longer and approaches are open to accept running shots to the greens. The greens are gently contoured to allow multiple hole locations but have continuous movement that will challenge all skill levels. Many of the old large looming trees were cleared to ‘open up’ the course and various types of palm trees have been planted to extend the beachfront character of the resort. We are very excited about the opening in November.”
“We are very proud about the completion of the dramatic renovation and redesign of our championship 18-hole golf course,” Parsons said. “The redesign is a unique collaboration between the greatest player of all time, Jack Nicklaus, who also is one of the world’s most celebrated golf course designers, and the very talented architect John Sanford.” Jack just celebrated his 400th golf course design. “It truly has been a pleasure to see them collaborate on this totally new par 71 course, which features 5 sets of tees, ranging from 4,800 to over 6,900 yards. Our guests, groups and resident golfers of every skill level will absolutely love the truly beautiful new course, which will be a terrific addition to the experience for everyone,” added Parsons.
Sanford added, “We have a number of great new holes at the course, which includes the ‘signature hole’, #16. It is a medium length ‘Redan’ par 3. The green is a peninsula with water in front, on the right and behind the green, not long but requiring an accurate shot to the putting surface.
In addition to the new course, the resort has added a 300-yard practice and teaching range, and will have new golf carts with GPS tracking systems to aid golfers with yardages on each hole, thus helping pace of play.
“The completion of this renovation will bring our golf course in line with the rest of our AAA Four-Diamond resort and enhance the overall guest and group experience,” said Henry B. Watkins, co-owner of the resort. “The added bonus of having Mr. Nicklaus collaborate on the redesign of the course where he first broke 40 for nine holes is wonderful, and further enriches the deep history of our property.”
Rich in history and tradition, The Naples Beach Hotel & Golf Club, that sits on 125 acres, has been part of the southwest Florida community since 1946. Owned and operated by the Watkins family for three generations, the resort also features: 1,000 feet of soft white beach along the Gulf of Mexico; beach rentals; a world-class Spa; a fitness center; the Mary C. Watkins Tennis Center with six har-tru courts; Beach Kids Club, a complimentary daily recreational program for ages 5-12: retail shops; 34,000 square feet of meeting space; and a variety of picturesque outdoor venues for weddings, receptions and events.
The resort features a number of restaurants and lounges: the signature beachfront restaurant HB’s on the Gulf, where you can bury your toes in the sand while dining al fresco: Broadwells, serving breakfast daily and providing panoramic views of the golf course; the Seminole Store, which serves deli sandwiches, ice cream, gourmet coffees and a variety of freshly baked pizza, pastries and desserts in a cafe’ atmosphere. The famous Sunset Beach Bar & Grill, directly on the Gulf, has been recognized as the “Best Place to View a Southwest Florida Sunset,” and was named ‘Naples Best Beach Bar’ by Travel Channel.
Guest rooms and suites at the resort feature cool tropical-colored linens, fabrics and carpeting; flat panel tvs; patios or balconies(with a view of the Gulf, golf course or the lush resort grounds); coffee makers; and refrigerators. Providing a comfortable and friendly atmosphere, the resort is an exceptional getaway. Guests always benefit from no additional resort fees, complimentary self parking, valet parking and free access to the fitness center.
Situated just blocks away from Naples renowned shopping districts, there is no shortage of boutique shoppes in the area, along with museums, theatres and art galleries. Guests can also enjoy tours of various natural gardens and tropical natural areas. The Hotel can arrange boat and fishing excursions for the family or fishermen.
For reservations or rates contact 800-237-7600 or 239-261-2222. For further information you may go to NaplesBeachHotel.com. For golf tee times, contact the Pro Shop at 239-435-2475. The resort is located at 851 Gulf Shore Blvd. North , just east of famed Tamiami Trail.