Saturday, October 16, 2021

Bonita Bay West – Bay Island Course – Simply A Lot of Fun!

  Bonita Bay West3Bonita Bay Club is set in a master-planned community nationally recognized for its tradition of environmental stewardship and award-winning landscaping. Located midway between Naples and Fort Myers, Bonita Bay Club is bordered by Spring Creek, Imperial River and Estero Bay. More than 1,400 of the 2,400 acres that encompass this community are devoted to open space, including lakes, nature preserves and a 12-mile network of biking and walking paths. Residents enjoy a private beach club on the Gulf of Mexico and a full-service marina with direct access to the Gulf.

Bay Island is a private equity 18-hole regulation course located at the Bonita Bay West facility in Bonita Springs, FL. From the longest tees it features 7,006 yards of golf for a par of 72. The course rating is 74.5 with a slope rating of 147. The course was designed by Arthur Hills, ASGCA and opened in 1985.

Members at Bonita Bay Club enjoy three of Southwest Florida’s finest private golf courses, tennis, fitness, swimming, fine dining and camaraderie. No other country club in South Florida offers a wider variety of recreational options, a more congenial group of members or a more beautiful natural setting than this member-owned club.

Two clubhouses provide exceptional cuisine, from casual lunches to elegant banquets. A well-thought-out wine list enhances the dining experience, and a professional, attentive staff is eager to serve, inform and indulge you.

As far as the golf course, Bay Island draws from the natural lay of the land to create the longest and most challenging of Bonita Bay Club West’s three courses. Water hazards, sand traps and thick stands of oak and cypress await errant shots on a course that plays to all four points of the compass.

Memorable Holes:

Number 2: Par 5, 487 yards. Thinking you can cut a lot off of this dogleg left par 5 is not a good idea; there is a lake on the left side that isn’t visible from the tee. Keeping your drive on the right side of the fairway will take the water out of play. The layup shot can be kind of tricky. Pick a yardage you are comfortable with and concentrate on hitting a good shot. From there you will play your approach shot to an elevated green. This is a nice par 5 that makes you think!

Bonita Bay West1Number 4: Par 4, 295 yards. You’ll want to hit a hybrid or long iron off the tee on this short par 4. Water looms straight ahead off the tee. Keeping it on the left edge of the fairway will take most of the water out of play. There is a lot of mounding and small hills up on the left side of the green which can make for an interesting shot if you pull your approach. The green slopes from left to right and short pitches can easily roll down into the water if you hit it too hard.

Number 9: Par 5, 575 yards. A pretty par 5 with mangrove swamps framing each side of the hole. It’s a dogleg left with lots of mounding along the periphery of the fairway and fairway bunkers that seem to find a lot of balls. The elevated green features a lot of undulation. Par is a good score here.

Number 11: Par 5, 504 yards. Number 11 is a long par 5 that requires a lot of accuracy off the tee; and not with a driver. Most players will want to hit a 3-wood or hybrid from the tee box and this blind driving hole. Hook your tee shot too far left and you are likely to find the marsh. A wide open layup shot leads to a large bunker short of the elevated green. Consider a par or better a success on this hole.

Number 13: Par 4, 298 yards. This is another hole that does not require a drive off the tee. You’ll need to hit enough club to carry a small lake off the tee; but be sure to avoid the pot bunkers on the right side. A good tee shot will leave a pitch of less than 100 yards to an elevated green that slopes back to front and is protected on the right side by a deep bunker

Number 16: Par 4, 331 yards. Be sure to avoid the deep pot bunker in the middle of the fairway off the tee; keep it to the right to leave the best approach into this elevated green that is protected on the left by water. This is a good scoring hole.

Number 18: Par 4, 400 yards. This hole is reminiscent of number eighteen on the Creek Course! It’s a fairly long, straight par 4 with a lone fairway bunker on the right side. There are several lone trees on the right side that can hinder your approach shot should you spray it that way off the tee. You’ll play your approach shot to a large elevated green that is protected on the front left side by sand. This is a good finishing hole on a really pretty golf course.

Bonita Bay West2Last Word: As with all courses, especially those at the Bonita Bay Club, choosing the right set of tees from which to play is important if you want to have fun and not beat yourself up. Especially holes 4 – 10 which feature a lot of water and – gators! Let me tell you, a gator sunning itself by the side of the green can be pretty intimidating and lead to a bad putt. This is the voice of experience talking!

You’ll likely hit your driver a lot less on the Bay Island Course than you normally wood. Many of the holes require thought on how best to play the hole. A “grip it and rip it” mentality out here can lead to some pretty big numbers. Landing areas can be narrow on several of the par 5 layup shots; short par 4 holes require accuracy off the tee with long irons and hybrids.

The course is always in immaculate condition. The greens are pristine and roll fast and true; some of the best greens in Southwest Florida. The staff is friendly and attentive; always willing to go the extra mile to help out members and guests alike.

For more information on becoming a member at Bonita Bay Club, visit them online at or call the pro shop at 239-498-2626.

David Theoret
David Theoret has been in the golf and golf travel industry for over 12 years, primarily selling online advertising. For the past seven years, he has also been a golf writer, reviewing golf courses, resorts, destinations, equipment, golf apparel, and training aids – the latter of which never seems to help. What started as a dream years ago, by God’s grace, became a reality in 2015 when The Golfin’ Guy editorial marketing company was founded. Working together with golf course designer Ron Garl; David’s articles and reviews have been posted on many golf travel, equipment, and apparel websites.

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