Herons Glen in North Fort Myers Features a Newly Renovated Ron Garl Design

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Herons Glen in North Fort Myers is a gated community with 1,300 homes. Herons Glen offers its residents a ton of amenities to help keep them in peak physical condition.  These amenities include a 5,070 sq ft fitness center, six LED-lit Har-Tru tennis courts, four pickleball courts, four Har-Tru bocce courts, twelve shuffleboard courts, and a lakefront heated swimming pool with a spa. The 45,000 sq ft clubhouse features a ballroom with a dance floor and stage, dining room, and lounge. The Sports Complex is currently undergoing a renovation of its own. Oh, there’s an 18-hole championship golf course on the property as well.

The original golf course was designed by renowned golf course architect Ron Garl and opened in 1991. Gordon Lewis did a redesign of the course in 2006 and in 2021, the Herons Glen rehired Garl to do a 6-million-dollar major renovation.

For much of 2021, the golf course remained closed but on December 16, Herons Glen Golf & Country Club reopened the golf course. General Manager J.B. Belknap feels very fortunate to have worked with Ron Garl and Clarke Construction during the redesign. Belknap was the General Manager of another nearby Garl-designed course, Kingsway Golf & Country Club, that was sold and will become part of the new Sunseeker Resort in Port Charlotte.

One of Ron Garl’s specialties is practice facilities, and the new Herons Glen Golf & Country Club has some incredible practice facilities, including a full-length aqua range with 27 Turf-Hound hitting stations along with several Bermuda grass stations, an 8,100 sq ft putting green, and a chipping area. It’s not uncommon to see members on the range, honing their game or warming up before a round. Annual practice facility memberships are available.

Centrally located just south of the Charlotte County line, Herons Glen Golf and Country Club boasts the ultimate value in Southwest Florida golf and has some great membership opportunities. Herons Glen is a semi-private facility meaning you don’t have to be a resident to become a golf member. Golf memberships include seven-day advanced tee time requests via the Chelsea tee time software for events and regular golf sign-up, year-round men’s & ladies’ golf association events, and year-round club-run events. Golf carts and unlimited use of the practice facility are also included. For non-members, tee times can be booked online through several online tee sheets.

Herons Glen’s length isn’t going to overwhelm many players. The course offers six sets of tees and can be enjoyed by golfers of all levels; the scorecard goes a step further and includes a total of ten yardages that range from 4,168 to 6,458 yards.  Just pick the set of tees that best fits your game and you’re guaranteed to have a fun round.

The golf course winds its way through the community with natural preserves that bring out the best of what southwest Florida has to offer. As you make your way around the layout, you’ll find holes lined with Spanish moss-covered majestic oaks and groves of towering pines. The undulating greens, pristine lakes, and abundant wildlife throughout create a challenge amid all the beauty of a newly designed golf course. Water comes into play on at 14 holes; more if you spray your tee shots! Several holes parallel Route 41, but the trees and mounding on the peripheries do a good job of insulating the golf course from all of the traffic and noise.

The newly redesigned Herons Glen Golf Course has several holes that will stick in your memory for a while. The second hole is a short risk/reward par 4 that offers longball hitters the opportunity to drive the green. From Tee #2 the hole plays 271 yards; by taking a line directly over the trees on the left side the green is reachable. A word to the wise: if you hit your tee shot left or push it right, there’s a good chance you may never see it again. The smart play off the tee is a long iron or hybrid which will leave a short pitch shot into a relatively flat green. Number 2 is handicapped as the easiest hole on the course.

On Number 3, a 341-yard par 4, Garl takes a page from the Donald Ross playbook with three separate bunkers fronting the green, forcing an aerial approach shot onto the green. It’s also a great use of waste bunkers which frame the entire left side of the fairway.

Number 4 is a par 3 and is Ron Garl’s signature – an island green. From tee #2, the hole plays 163 yards with two separate bunkers that guard the front right. Playing out of these bunkers can be a daunting task, with the lake looming behind the pin.

Most of the members I spoke with said that the most significant change was making the 10th hole a dogleg right; a completely different look from the original dogleg left design. There’s water all the way down the right side from the tee to green and trees on the left off the tee. A good drive down the right side that doesn’t find the water will leave the shortest approach shot into the green. Pull your tee shot left and you may find one of the fairway bunkers. There’s a greenside bunker that sits between the water and the right side of the green. Par is a good score here.

Number 13 is probably the most interesting hole on the course. It’s a 369-yard par 4 dogleg left, although it’s more like a left turn.  I remember from high school geometry that the shortest distance between two points is a straight line, however, taking such a line would require playing directly over the lake and a couple of houses. You may be able to get away with it during the summer months when many of the residents aren’t home, but during peak season, it’s a different story. It’s only about a 225-yard carry over the water to go directly at the green. The safe play – one that doesn’t involve homeowners or liability insurance – is to hit a hybrid or iron off the tee and leave a short pitch shot, slightly uphill, onto the green. There are a couple of bunkers in front that need to be carried on your approach shot and the green is a lot wider than it is deep.

Number 14 is yet another picturesque par three that plays 160 yards from Tee 2 and is all carry over water into a large green fronted by a single bunker between the green and the water. Par is a good score here. There’s plenty of room on the right side to bail out if you’re feeling overwhelmed.

The 16th hole is a par 4 that plays 402 yards from Tee #2 and has a fairway that is wide enough for course architect Ron Garl to land his airplane on. The waste bunker on the right side off of the tee is reachable and a good drive will leave a long or mid-iron approach shot into a green that slopes left to right with water behind it and two large bunkers on the left.  It’s one of the more challenging holes on the course.

Herons Glen is a great place to call home with a fantastic golf club and a very friendly staff. For more information on Herons Glen Country Club or to book your next round, give them a call at (239) 731-4520 or visit them online at www.heronsglencc.com.

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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