River Hall represents Davis Love III’s foray into Florida golf and by all indications it is sure to be a hit – it has the perfect mix of ingredients necessary to become a fan favorite in Florida. The course opened in 2007 and, while the course itself is still maturing, the greens are excellent and roll fast and true.
The course plays over 7200 yards from the back tees for a par of 72; the course rating is 73.1 with a slope of 136. The course fulfills the architect’s belief that “modern courses should be designed in a traditional manner, with emphasis on strategy and playability, and where creativity is reflected in the subtleties of design detail.”
Riverhall offers a nice balance of a challenging round without being too difficult for an everyday golf course. The course layout is wide open and large greens protected by white bunkering. The putting surfaces are open to the bump and run approach from in front and are well guarded by bunkers and mounding to the sides. Small trees are scattered about the layout and long natural grasses are in play off the sides of the wide fairways causing somewhat of a links feel. There are five sets of tee boxes that make the course enjoyable for golfers of all abilities.
The 15-acre practice facilities include a double ended driving range, two chipping areas, a large putting green, and a practice bunker. River Hall features premier club amenities; within the Country Club village you will have free equity membership to the golf course with your home purchase. The 8,011 square foot clubhouse features a well stocked pro shop as well as a professional golf staff available for lessons; you will also find men’s and women’s locker rooms with showers within the clubhouse. The Caloosa Grille offers a full service bar and restaurant.
Tee Yards Rating Slope
Gold 7211 74.3 136
Black 6689 71.5 129
Blue 6183 69.1 125
White 5671 67.0 112
Green 5075 68.6 117
Number 1: Par 4, 376 yards. One thing about this slight dogleg right is that there is not a lot of sand except for the large bunker greenside on the left. Out of bounds lies to the left in the form of the driving range. A good drive followed by a solid approach shot will lead to a good birdie opportunity.
Number 2: Par 4, 418 yards. This is the number 1 handicap hole at River Hall; it is a slight dogleg left. Off the tee, aim for the house straight away. Your approach shot is to an elevated green well guarded by bunkers.
Number 6: par 5, 551 yards. This long, straight par 5 is wide open off the tee, although you will need to clear some water on the left. Beware of bunkers in the middle of the fairway on your layup shot which splits the fairway in half. Number six provides another good birdie opportunity.
Number 9: par 5, 537 yards. Off the tee there is water on your left; on your layup shot, more water comes into play on the right. Should you decide to hit it straight off the tee, you will need to contend with the fairway bunkers that come into play on both sides of the fairway on your layup. Other than that; it’s a piece of cake.
Number 13: par 5 587 yards. Although this is a long par 5, don’t let a bad tee shot discourage you. A well played layup shot and another on your approach can still salvage the hole. Sand comes into play on both the left and right sides for a well hit drive on this dogleg left. The fairway widens for your layup shot. Be wary of the water up by green on right with your layup shot; there is also more sand left. You will be hitting to a huge green which is slightly elevated and features mounding in front of the green. Grassy mounds on the left side of the fairway can wreak havoc with your approach shot should you get into one.
Number 16: par 3, 186 yards. The green is slightly elevated and surrounded by sand. As if that weren’t enough, there is water left. Green slopes back to front. Par is a good score here.
Last Word: As courses go in the Ft. Myers area, this is one that should not be missed. It is relatively new, opening in 2007 and is Davis Love III’s only design in Southwest FL. For the most part, the holes are wide open, making the course playable for golfers of all abilities. A lot of long, natural grasses come into play; it’s easy to lose a ball or two should you hit into them (by accident of course). There is more mounding than you would usually find in Florida, particularly around bunkers and along the sides of the fairways. This can lead to the dreaded uneven lie. For the most part, the greens are open, although most of them are slightly elevated. If bump and run is your game; this is your course! Fairway bunkers are located in the landing areas of the majority of tee boxes and there is quite a bit of water that comes into play; albeit mostly near the tee boxes. There are no overly long forced carries at River Hall. There is ample room to practice and fine tune your game – the driving range is set up to be hit from both ends. There are also two chipping areas to sharpen and hone your skills, a practice bunker and a large putting green.
Some might say River Hall is off the beaten path: I say this is a good thing. It’s less than 15 minute off I-75 and away from everything. The subdivision is not filled up yet so now is a good time to get out and play the course. The master plan for the community called for 27 holes; we’ll just have to wait and see what happens with the economy. For more information on River Hall, you can visit them online at www.riverhall.cc or give them a call to set up a tee time at (866) 379-3999 and take advantage of their Member for the Day program while they still have it.