Saturday, October 16, 2021

Estero Country Club – So Much More Than Great Golf

Estero1  Located on Tamiami Trail in Estero Florida and behind the guardhouse that sits at the entrance is the private, gated community of Estero Country Club. The golf course – formally known as The Vines – is the centerpiece of the community .The course sits on 105 lush acres surrounded by 38 acres of crystal clear lakes.

Resident members reside in one of two private gated communities, the Vines or Belle Lago. The Vines community is nestled around the golf course and features villas, condominiums, coach/town homes and estate homes. Belle Lago offers villas and estate homes.

The 18-hole championship golf course at the Estero Country Club plays 7,029 yards from the back tees for a par of 72. The course rating is 74.3 and it has a slope rating of 135.  Designed by Gordon G. Lewis, who refers to this design as his favorite, the club opened in 1986.  Six sets of tees make this gem challenging for players of all skill levels and abilities. Craig Rollinson is the club’s General Manager and will tell you that Estero County Club is financially fit; something not all country clubs in the area can claim. The club offers a comprehensive schedule of golf activities, including a wide array of men’s, women’s and couples’ events that are carefully designed to ensure an enjoyable experience for every participant.

Estero Country Club has a comprehensive practice area including a full-length driving range with a number of target greens where you can hit every club in your bag. There is also a short game area as well as a large practice putting green.

When you become a member at Estero Country Club you aren’t just getting a membership, you are getting a new lifestyle; it’s probably the most active country club in SW Florida. Besides having a top notch golf course, it is a beehive of activity with both recreational and competitive tennis leagues, busy bocce courts, painting classes and various social activities. The walls of the clubhouse are lined with paintings created by the students of renowned artist and instructor Regis Bobitski.

Memorable Holes:

Number 2: Par 5, 472 yards. Although not the longest par 5 on the course, this hole continues to challenge members and guests alike. Long ball hitters stand the best chance of getting home in two by hitting their tee shot up the right side. To do this successfully you will need to avoid the water that stretches the entire length of the hole. Off the tee, there is a lot more room than you think. The green is protected by a pot bunker with a slope running down the middle, which can make for some very interesting putts depending on pin placement.

Estero3Number 5: Par 3, 161 yards. Number 5 has been voted one of the top 18 golf holes in Southwest Florida and is considered the course’s signature hole. The green slopes predominantly from left to right on this island hole making it almost impossible to get up and down if you bailout left off the tee. Many have found the water on their second shot as a result of trying to play it smart. Beware!

Number 9: Par 4, 407 yards. Water stretches from tee to green down the left side on this moderate dog-legged par 4. The right side is guarded by a large group of trees and palmettos. Long ball hitters can have a go at it over the corner and leave themselves a short iron to the green. Try and leave the ball below the hole on this green as it is fairly shallow and slopes back-to-front.

Number 12: Par 4, 333 yards. Why is it that the short holes always seem to have the most trouble on them? Number 12 certainly fits the bill here; a lateral water hazard on the left with out of bounds on the right. More water that crosses in front of the green and a bunker front left also adds to the treachery. Bailing out to the right on your second shot may very well be the best bet at keeping those Pro V1s in your bag. From there you will be left with a pitch shot to a green that slopes severely back to front. Good luck!

Number 15: Par 5, 520 yards. For most, this is a true 3-shot par 5. First of all, you need to hit a straight shot off the tee in order to miss the hazard on the left and the water on the right. The fairway bunkers on either side can easily come into play on your layup shot and the green is protected by three bunkers on the left, front right and in the back of the green.

Number 18: Par 4, 410 yards. This long, dogleg par 4 presents a nice finishing hole and a formidable challenge. Wetlands and water guard both sides of the fairway off the tee as well as a bunker which helps to frame the landing area. A good drive will still leave a mid to long iron/hybrid to a large green. If the pin position is back left, rest assured the superintendent was in a bad mood that morning. If so, you will need to take on the bunker that guards the left side of this large green.

Last Word:

While golf may be the focal point for many at the Estero Country Club, there is so much more to this club than golf. For many members joining the club has literally been a life changing experience. Four themes are central to Estero Country Club: fun, friends, fitness and fresh air. I have been blessed to visit many country clubs in Southwest Florida and I can honestly say that this was the most active club I have ever visited down here – and I was told this was a slow day!

Don’t get me wrong, the golf course was extraordinary. Gordon Lewis was right; this very well could be his best piece of work. It is both challenging and player friendly – a lot has to do with choosing the best set of tees that suit your golf game.

Estero2Because Estero Country Club is not a bundled community, members play unlimited golf. Unlike most private clubs, Estero Country Club members may own and use their own personal golf carts.

Whether you are interested in golf, tennis, dining or member events, Estero Country Club has a membership that is right for you and your family. Estero Country Club Members enjoy reciprocal privileges at over 70 of the finest private country clubs in Southwest Florida, May through October. It’s one of the best reciprocity programs in the area and offers members the opportunity to add some spice to the variety of courses they play and, at the same time, enhance their dining experiences.

Estero Country Club offers a variety of club memberships however Golf Equity memberships are limited. For more information on becoming a member at Estero Country Club, contact Craig Rollinson, General Manager at or give him a call at (239) 267-7000.

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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