Nestled inside the gates of Pelican Landing in Bonita Springs, FL lays Pelican’s Nest Golf Club. The Nest – as it is affectionately referred to by residents and members alike is one of the best kept secrets in all of Southwest Florida. This award-winning golf club embraces the environment and provides a sanctuary to the surrounding wildlife that inhabits the area. Golfers who have the opportunity to play this true jewel of a layout are certainly in for a treat. This private club provides both memorable golf and dining experiences in a tranquil setting.
Tom Fazio is the architect behind Pelican’s Nest Golf Course. When the course opened back in 1985 it was an immediate sensation, winning multiple honors including a number 3 ranking on Golf Digest’s Best Public Courses in the US list. This marked Mr. Fazio’s initial appearance on any Best New Courses list. Pelican’s Nest is also recognized by The Audubon International Society as a Certified Audubon Cooperative Sanctuary.
The 45,000 square foot clubhouse has recently been renovated. Casual dining is available in the Thirsty Pelican Lounge & Grill Room. Alternatively, members may enjoy the Terrace overlooking an expansive view of Spring Creek and the finishing hole on the Gator Course. Both options provide a great opportunity to unwind after a round or to visit with friends over cocktails or dinner. The view at sunset is absolutely breathtaking.
If a quite dinner with friends or dancing the night away is more your style, the newly redecorated Main Dining Rooms are perfect. The Executive Chef at Pelican’s Nest offers a wide variety of culinary delicacies featuring signature seafood dishes and other delights. Pelican’s Nest boasts two private dining rooms and can accommodate corporate events, weddings and private wine dinners.
As a member of Pelican’s Nest, you will find a wide variety of golf-based and social activities – The Nest is known for its hospitality, community involvement and 36 fun-filled fantastic holes of golf.
Practice areas include a full length driving range just outside the back of the clubhouse as well as a large putting green. A spacious short game area can be found by the number 18 green of the Hurricane Course.
The 18-hole Hurricane course at the Pelican’s Nest Golf Club facility in Bonita Springs, Florida opened in 1985 and plays 6,789 yards from the back tees for a par of 72. The course rating is 73.5 and it has a slope rating of 139 on Bermuda grass. Designed by Thomas Fazio, ASGCA, the Hurricane golf course opened in 1985. Six sets of tees make The Hurricane Course enjoyable and challenging for players of all levels and abilities. Chris Sheehan is the Director of Golf at Pelican’s Nest.
Memorable Holes – Hurricane Course (All Yardages are From the Blue Tees)
Number 1: Par 3, 165 yards. You know you are in for something different when you step up to the tee on number one. What makes this course so different is that it starts out with a par 3. This particular par three features a drop in elevation which usually accounts for the need for one less club. If you’re going to miss the green miss to the left. The green, which is larger than most, is wide open in front and receptive to all types of shots. The rear is guarded by a couple of bunkers, which really don’t come into play. The hole offers a good chance to start the round off with a par or birdie.
Number 6: par 4, 312 yards. Although is the shortest par 4 on Hurricane course, it is one best played with someone who has knowledge of the course; it can easily save a few strokes. Anything pulled left of the tree line is wet. Off the tee, hit a club that will find the fairway. That will leave a short second shot. Anything short of the green on approach is likely to find the large bunker that fronts the green and eliminates any type of bump and run shot. If you are short, get out your sand wedge and pray that you can get up and down for par. A short hole does not guarantee a good score.
Number 8: par 5, 489 yards. There are two ways to play this hole. The first is to play down the right side of the fairway. This is the riskier of the two options as water can come into play if you hit your tee shot well and a little farther right than expected. There is also a bunker that starts at the 200 yard marker in the fairway and stretches all the way down to the green. The safer play is down the left side which takes the water – and most of the sand – out of play. From the left side you’ll have an easy layup and pitch shot to the green, which happens to be one of the smallest on the Hurricane Course. It’s an easy par or better if you play it right.
Number 17: Par 4, 332 yards. This is the first of two challenging finishing holes. Your tee shot is critical; you must keep it in play off the tee. The fairway is guarded by hazards on both sides and the landing area is barely 30 yards wide. Leave your driver in the bag and hit something that will find the fairway. This will leave a mid to short iron to an open green. There is one greenside bunker on the right; however you can play an eight iron out of it.
Number 18: Par 5, 481 yards. For my money, this is one of the best finishing holes of golf in southwest Florida; it is rather scenic while you are standing on the tee. Number 18 yields as many birdies and eagles, as it does the dreaded “others.” The hole plays as a dogleg right with another narrow landing area. The water on the right will come into play for the longer hitters. After the drive, the player will have an opportunity to hit the ball over a water hazard, in an attempt to hit the green in two, or layup. For the third shot, the player will be hitting into a green that is well protected on both sides; a greenside bunker on the right and wetlands on the left. The green is unguarded in the front and the green is relatively flat. This hole provides a fitting end to a great round of golf.
Last Word: The Hurricane Course at Pelican’s Nest is one of those courses where you can either shoot lights out or experience a complete meltdown. Some holes – such as number 6 at slightly more than 300 yards – beg you to go for the green. Number 6 is also one of those holes that are best played with someone who knows the course and can tell you about the water hazards you can’t see. Number 8, which at 489 yards would be considered by many a short par 5, however doing so is a definite risk/reward scenario. You need to play blindly down the right side, past a couple of strands of trees short of a waste bunker and then carry water (and sand) if you want to get on in two. Number 18 is an identical length par 5, with the same risk/reward opportunity available.
And how often do you start out with the first hole being a par 3? I think I can count them on one hand and not use all my digits! The par threes are fairly short for the most part with the exception of number 15 which plays 184 yards from the blue tees and usually into the wind I am told.
The practice facilities at the club are quite impressive; there is a full length driving range where you can hit every club in your bag – just remember to use the yellow balls with your driver – as well as a nice short game area and a large practice green. If you are considering joining a club in the area, you should give Pelican’s Nest a look. They offer great golf and have a friendly, courteous staff.