WESTON, Florida – Nestled nicely at the eastern edge of the Everglades at the entrance to Alligator Alley is Bonaventure Golf Club, a public course featuring 18 holes. Located 15 minutes west of Ft Lauderdale, it was designed by architect Joe Lee and opened in 1970. Many of Joe Lee’s layouts have hosted scores of professional tournaments and for more than 60 years including Bonaventure Golf Club that has hosted the prestigious Dixie Amateur Tournament where players including Tiger Woods, Sergio Garcia and Jesper Parnevik have competed.
The course runs along the edge of the Everglades and is noted for its numerous water lined fairways, mature trees, lush vegetation lining most fairways and variety of wildlife that seemed to enjoy watching you as much as you watching them. Players of all skill levels will find a challenging test of golf with a touch of nature’s tranquility.
The Par 5, 1st hole has a wide open fairway with just a few mature trees on the left side. The raised green has bunkers guarding the left side from 120yds in. Staying right on this hole should result in a putt for birdie. Unfortunately, this first hole is definitely not an indicator of things to come.
The Par 4, 2nd hole is the beginning of your indoctrination to the world of “water lined fairways.” It would be advised that you keep both your drive and approach shot to the left side of the fairway. Water runs down the entire right side of the fairway that slopes gently towards it.
The Par 3, 3rd hole is without a doubt the “The Signature Hole” of this course. It’s definitely a dual personality golf hole that offers you a safe and relatively simple shot at the left side of the green or you can take the “ Macho” attitude and decide to take the over-the-water route which also includes a waterfall cascading in front of almost the entire green. Might want to use your “water ball” on your first shot.
The Par 4, 5th hole is just about surrounded by water. The left side of the fairway is water running all the way to the green while also connecting across the front of the green with water running along the entire right side. That makes this hole extremely interesting depending on what tee box you decided to play on the first “wide open” fairway hole. Gold tee box gives you an easy mid-iron shot to the green while the blue and black tee boxes give you a very tough approach shot over water.
The Par 5, 7th hole takes you back to civilization with condos boarding the left side of the fairway before it doglegs right following the water along its entire length. Not a difficult hole once you establish a tee shot towards the middle-left of the fairway. This is an easy birdie hole if you stay left.
The Par 4, 9th hole is a nice front nine finishing hole with little to no problems to deal with until your approach shot to a well bunkered green. Be sure to take an extra club for this second shot because the green is raised and you’ll need to reach the middle to insure a safe landing spot.
The Par 5, 10th hole let you know immediately that water was going to follow you around the back nine too. The right side of the fairway was lined with water from tee to green. Your third shot to this slight dogleg right green needs to carry both water and a bunker on the right side. Smart play will definitely give you that birdie putt you desperately need right now.
The Par 3, 12th hole is another long par 3. If you’re playing from the gold tees the shortest par 3 on the course is 145yds and that’s over the waterfall! This is another reason why you should take some time before every round you play at a unfamiliar golf course looking at the scorecard yardage from all the tee boxes and choosing the one that most closely resembles your current handicap.
The Par 4, 13th hole and Par 4, 15th hole a almost exactly the same except their green doglegs in opposite directions. The 13th has water run from tee to green on the right while the 15th has water on the left. The only difference is the 15th has water in front of the green when approached from the left side. Birdie putts are there with a good approach shot on both of these holes.
The Par 3, 17 hole requires a tee shot completely over water. Only the right quarter of the green has no water issues but a pin placement on the left quarter of this green leave you with a possible 3 putt. Your decision!
The Par 4, 18th hole is a beautiful driving hole that really lets you “swing for the fence.” There’s water on the right but it’s not an issue. But don’t put those extra balls away just yet. The green doglegs gently to the left leaving you no room to approach from that side because, that right, water is in front of left half of green which sloping that way. Staying right is the best move here.
I enjoyed my round at Bonaventure Golf Club and recommend that it become your “Breakaway Course” next time you’re in the Ft. Lauderdale area. It’s time well spent!