On a recent visit to Southwest Florida, I had the opportunity to visit and play Wildcat Run Golf & Country Club in Estero, a small town located between Ft. Myers and Naples. During the real estate boom more than a decade ago I was a regular visitor to Collier and Lee counties writing on grand openings of golf courses throughout the area. Much to my surprise Wildcat Run is just east of Stoneybrook G & CC, a course I wrote about in 2010 when they redid their greens.
Who knew? This Arnold Palmer Signature Course was a welcome surprise. After going through the guard gate, I found a lovely mature community of well-designed estate homes, villas and townhouses…totaling just 450 residences. The lush landscape was pristine and beautifully maintained throughout. A short drive through the residential area brought me to the stunning 27,000 square foot Wildcat Run Clubhouse, which just completed a $3.4 million renovation in November 2018. The Clubhouse has a lovely main dining room and cocktail lounge and is the main hub of activity at Wildcat Run. The gentlemen at the bag drop were very accommodating, made sure our clubs were on the carts and directed us to check in. The pro shop had all the latest accessories and fine apparel one would expect at a club of this caliber. Stephanie, an Assistant Professional, was very courteous and explained where the practice facilities where, lockers room locations and the grill. A brochure in the shop mentioned trips to Palm Beach and Ireland, which I found out were member-only trips in the near future.
The practice facilities are the best I have seen in Estero. Outside the building that houses the pro shop, men’s and ladies locker rooms and the 5,000 square foot ’19th Hole’ Grill Room, that overlooks the 1st Tee, are the manicured practice putting surface and a separate chipping and pitching area. The outstanding driving range is located on the opposite side of the five har-tru tennis courts with its own pro shop and Director of Tennis, John Jerome. The range has seven target flags to work on your accuracy and the length to grip it and rip it with a Cypress dome as a backdrop.
President of the Southwest Chapter of the South Florida PGA Section, Head Golf Professional Bill Harley and his fine staff have been providing personal care and instruction(both group and individual) to the youth, guests and members of the Country Club for years. He manages a well-tuned staff ready to serve the just over 300 members and their guests. The club is certainly upscale but not pretentious. Members were very helpful in directing us and suggesting how to play the course.
Golf Course Superintendent, Kevin Scott, has this jewel of a course in fantastic condition. It is challenging at over 7000 yards from the tips, yet player-friendly and rated one of the best in Southwest Florida. The King, Mr. Palmer, collaborated with his sidekick of many years Ed Seay to design a worthy complement to the Wildcat Run community. In an area with an abundance of cookie-cutter courses set in residential communities, Palmer only designed two spectacular layouts. Set amidst mature palms, hardwood and cypress preserves, the wide and rolling fairways, bordered by exquisite lakes and ponds, are without equal in terms of natural beauty. This architectural masterpiece offers a unique and memorable assortment of holes in a par 72 course, with eight different sets of tees to afford anyone an enjoyable round.
They currently offer Golf Equity Memberships, Resident or Non-Resident; & a Preview Golf Membership for Non-Residents. For further information please contact Membership Director Kristen Yanzer at 239-308-0167 or email her at [email protected]