The centerpiece of the Kelly Greens Golf & Country Club community in Fort Myers, Florida is a Gordon Lewis design which plays 6,812 yards of golf from the longest tees for a par of 72. The course rating is 73.2 with a slope rating of 143 on Bermuda grass. The course opened for one day on December 20th, 1988 when Sam Snead played the honorary first round. Kelly Greens underwent a multimillion dollar renovation in 1999 when all of the greens were brought up to USGA specifications. Charlie Vetter is the General Manager and has established a professional and personable staff. Six sets of tees make Kelly Greens enjoyable for golfers of all levels. And, if you’re up for it, you can walk the course after 4pm.
You will find water on just about any hole at Kelly Greens. These lakes and the surrounding vegetation are home to a spectacular array of wildlife including Alligators, Osprey, Pelicans, Moorhens, Anhinga, Turtles, Herons, Egrets, Ibis, Eagles and more. You will also find a relaxed and informal atmosphere at the club. Kelly Greens offers easy access to both Sanibel Island and Fort Myers Beach.
Not a golfer? Kelly Greens offers many activities for non-golfers including a Garden Club, bridge, various card games and tournaments as well as painting a needlework classes. A recently renovated fitness center with the latest equipment offers residents a healthy and fit alternative.
Kelly Greens is a bundled community, meaning when you purchase a residence (house or condo), you automatically become a member/owner of the Country Club. Your membership includes golf, tennis, fitness center, restaurant, clubhouse facilities including Wi-Fi, Activities Center and community wide cable T.V. There are no additional fees required for these amenities. Unlike many golf communities in the area, Kelly Greens is financially sound with no long term debt. And if necessary, an appropriate line of credit is available. Numerous capital improvements have been accomplished during the last ten years and no major capital expenditures are anticipated in the near term.
As I mentioned, the hallmark of Kelly Greens is the golf course. Many consider it one of Southwest Florida’s hidden gems as it is one of the best conditioned clubs in the area and offers a fair challenge for golfers of all skills and abilities. Six sets of tees allow players to play from 4510 – 6812 yards. A full-length driving range, short game area and a large practice green make tuning up your game a breeze. The friendly a courteous staff can help you with everything from a new set up clubs to fine tuning your short game.
Number 1: Par 4, 306 yards. This par 4 is short on distance but long on trouble; hitting driver here is all risk and little reward. All you will need off the tee is a hybrid or long iron; long enough to navigate the water that crosses the fairway off the tee but short enough to avoid the same body of water that comes into play up near the green. Bunkers left and in the back guard this green which slips slightly from back to front. Play this hole smart and you will have your round off to a great start.
Number 5: Par 3, 125 yards. This short par 3 is all carry over water to a green that can easily change your club selection depending on pin location. The green slopes back to front and is well protected with a combination of water and sand. It’s a very pretty golf hole.
Number 6: Par 5, 531 yards. Most golfers will play this hole as a three shot par 5 although long ball hitters may have a different perspective. It’s a long, straight par 5 with water that comes into play on the right off the tee and also crosses the fairway again about 100 yards short of the green. The green once again slopes back to front and is well protected with bunkers.
Number 9: Par 4, 425 yards. This long, straight par 4 is a good test of golf. Water crosses the fairway so consider that on your tee shot. There is also a large tree on the left side of the fairway so favor the right side off the tee. Most players will have a medium to long iron into the green which slopes back to front. Par is a good score here.
Number 11: Par 5, 515 yards. The water off the tee is easy to carry; just be aware of the water on the right side that can come into play with a good drive. More water to the left must be avoided on your approach shot
Number 18: Par 4, 389 yards. This is one of the few holes at Kelly Greens where water doesn’t – or at least shouldn’t – come into play. It’s a dogleg right so play your tee shot down the left side of the fairway to open up your shot to the green. The green plays slightly uphill and has somewhat of a false front. A sand trap on the left side protects the green.
Last Word: Just about every course in Florida makes use of three of nature’s elements: palm tree, sand and water. Kelly Greens makes perhaps the best use of the latter of any course I have played in the Sunshine State. Water comes into play on the periphery of many holes, many times in places you would least expect. Thankfully the water hazards are well marked with flags and hazards stakes so you are never in doubt as to whether or not you are flirting with disaster. There no long carries over water on any tee shots.
The par threes offer you the chance to hit a variety of clubs and range in distance from 125 yards to the 202 yard 8th hole. A number of risk/reward holes such as the starting hole (306 yards) and the 270 yard number 14 can give a smart golfer a decided advantage. Par fives are challenging without being overly long. Most golfers will play them as three shot holes as the numerous lakes and ponds can easily find errant shots.
The practice facilities at Kelly Greens are outstanding and include a full length driving range, short game area and large practice green. The staff is both friendly and knowledgeable. Kelly Greens is a bundled community; hence membership is basically limited to the residents and outside play is tough to come by. If you do get the chance to play here, I think you will really enjoy it. And remember, polarized sunglasses make it easier to spot your ball in the water in the bright Florida sun!
For more information, please visit Kelly Greens online at www.kellygreens.com or give Charlie Vetter a call at (239) 466-9552 (firstname.lastname@example.org).