(July 2010) The Forest Country Club is a private country club and opened in 1979 and is located on the West side of U.S. 41 between Daniels and Alico Roads. The Forest became a member owned country club in 1990 and features two 18-hole championship golf courses; The Bobcat and the Bear.
The courses at The Forest are nestled amid cypress, palms and oak trees; some of which are over 100-year old. Both courses feature tree-lined fairways and miles of water hazards in the form of lakes and streams. The beauty, design, and immaculate condition of each course will present a new challenge each time you play. Both courses have undergone recent renovations, the Bobcat in 1997 including the addition of all new ultra-dwarf greens. The Bear, which underwent a renovation in 1999, is currently closed and undergoing a total reconstruction.
Renovations didn’t stop there; the driving range was redone in 1999, and was tripled in size. The clubhouse is casually elegant and compliments the active lifestyle of its members with a golf pro shop, tennis pro shop, locker rooms, dining room, terrace restaurant and grill room.
Members will feel right at home with a variety of indoor and outdoor recreational amenities including superior golf and tennis as well as an array of outstanding sporting and social activities that the entire family will enjoy. Men, women and couples enjoy friendly and competitive playing opportunities on a weekly basis. . Each year the club hosts a National Pro Am tournament. The Forest Country Club has many membership plans available.
The Bobcat Course at the Forest Country Club opened 1987 and was renovated by in 1997. The Bobcat was designed by Gordon G. Lewis, and measures 6381 yards from the longest tees with course rating of 71.3 and a slope rating of 132 on Bermuda grass. This medium-length layout has adequate length for a regulation course. Overall this course plays quite difficult, at least from the back tees it does. Trouble surrounds many of the greens.
Number 1: Par 4, 324 yards. This short par is a dogleg right; drive it over the tree on the right side of the fairway off tee and you and really cut off dogleg. A good tee shot will leave about 100 -120 yards to an small, elevated green protected by bunkers front and back right. Par are better is always a good start to any round.
Number 2: Par 5, 549 yards. This long par 5 is a tight driving hole; the water on right is reachable off the tee as is the fairway bunker on that side as well. The water on the left is more likely to come into play on your layup shot unless you really bomb it off the tee. Your approach shot is to an elevated green protected on both sides by sand with water on the left as well. The key on this hole is to hit it straight.
Number 3: Par 4, 307 yards. This is a tricky little hole; you have about 150 yards to carry off the tee. Next, hit your approach shot about 150 yards slightly uphill to a medium sized green protected on the left side by a deep bunker as well as a bunker short right. This is a good hole to pick up a shot.
Number 4: Par 3, 172 yards. Trouble all around off the tee on this medium length par 3; water on the right side, trees on the left and a large bunker in back of green. The small green is elevated and takes away any chance of bump and run.
Number 6: Par 5, 501 yards. Number 6 is a nice par 5, double dogleg around two bodies of water; cut off as much as you dare but be willing to pay the price. If you can hit a draw, now’s the time to do it. A good drive over/around the lake can leave as little as 180 yards although you will need to go over more water to cut off the second dogleg. Your approach shot is uphill to a small green well protected by bunkers as well as the water front right. This is another good chance to pick up a stroke.
Number 10: Par 4, 356 yards. You probably don’t want to hit driver off the tee on this par 4 dogleg left; just lay your tee shot out by the 150 stake. Your approach shot is over water to a medium sized, slightly elevated green.
Number 14: Par 4, 305 yards. Number 14 is reminiscent of number 10; another short par 4. Again, you’ll probably want to leave driver in the bag and hit it far enough off the tee to leave a manageable approach shot. You’ll have water on the left of your uphill approach shot to an elevated green protected on the left by water as well as sand on both sides. If you can navigate the tee shot, this can be another good scoring hole.
Number 16: Par 5, 506 yards. Once again, you will need to carry water off the tee which is present all the way down the right side. At the same time, you have to avoid the sand traps straight ahead which are reachable. Even at 506 yards, a good drive on this hole that usually plays downwind will give you an opportunity to get on the green in two. For most, number 16 is a three shot par 5 and the layup shot is no bargain. The landing area is narrow; hit it and you will have an approach shot of about 70 – 80 yards to a small green that slopes back to front.
The grounds as well as the two courses at The Forest are meticulously maintained. The Bobcat Course has water hazards coming into play on fourteen holes. For additional information call the pro shop at (941) 481-5700 or visit the club online at www.theforestcc.com. A choice of memberships is available for all budgets and usage!
The fairways on the Bobcat Course are fairly flat; not a lot of mounding in either the rough or fairway making this a great course for the novice golfer. Don’t get me wrong, this course has plenty to offer even the most seasoned veteran. Forced carries are not that long and on most a bailout area can be found. The Bobcat Course will have you using every club in your bag; you’ll most likely need to use your imagination at times as well, especially if you have never played the course before. The Forest is a private club and at the time of this article, tee times were not available through some of the popular online tee sheets. If you get the opportunity the clubs at the Forest are a must play.
Although the Bobcat is significantly shorter than its sister course the Bear, it will give you all you can handle. For information on membership at the Forest Golf Club, you can visit them online at www.theforestcc.com or call them at (239) 482-8378.