Bonita National Golf & C.C. near Naples, Florida: Great value and coveted lifestyle

By Katharine Dyson, Special Contributor

BONITA SPRINGS, Fla. -- In the land of everlasting development, Bonita National Golf & Country Club is one of the newest stars and best values in pricey Bonita Springs just north of Naples, Florida.

Bonita National homes
When completed, Bonita National Golf & C.C. will have some 2,000 homes.
Bonita National homesBonita National - conservation areaBonita National - home interiorsBonita National Golf & Country Club - 12th holeBonita National Golf & C.C.Bonita National - Sophia model homeBonita National - pools
If you go

With a projected build-out of 2,000 homes, this Lennar community is all about an affordable lifestyle where your golf and club facilities are part of the package, and your road dead ends into an environmentally protected area of wetlands, tall pines, palms and tropical shrubbery.

Condos, coach homes and single-family estate properties are going up fast with more than 300 units already sold, sales spurred by an affordable price-point ranging from the high $100,000s to more than $800,000 for homes 1,107 to 3,828 square feet. Parking ranges from covered spaces to three-car garages.

Two-bedroom Garden Terrace Homes in mid-rise buildings include a covered parking space; Verandah Homes are in two-story buildings with garages; three-bedroom Coach Homes are located in four-unit buildings and come with two-to-three car garages; and two-to-six bedroom executive manor estates homes include two-to-three garages, and buyers can choose from various floor plans and customize with special features such as pools and summer kitchens.

All homes are built with many "green" features including energy efficient appliances and organic construction materials along with luxury items such as granite countertops, ceramic tile and stainless steel sinks.

Bonita National: golf

Although it just opened in 2015 and is operating out of a temporary clubhouse, the Bonita National golf course already has a strong following that gives high fives for its excellent conditioning.

The course is playable for all levels of golfers with wide, flat fairways, few doglegs, strategically placed bunkers and plenty of bailout areas. The course may not have a whole lot of great drama or scary carries, but it is a solid, open layout where big hitters can do their stuff from the tips playing 7,019 yards, yet shorter hitters can step up to the forward tees measuring 5,030 yards. Water runs along some of the holes -- indeed, there are many lakes on the layout -- but for the most part, water serves more an aesthetic perk and selling point for home buyers than as a hazard for golfers.

Many holes adjacent to the wetlands are set apart by well groomed sandy waste areas, mounds and waving grasses, and there is plenty of wildlife including ospreys, eagles, herons and cormorants. On the 15th hole, you should be on the lookout for a rafter of turkeys that often appears near sunset.

Some of Bonita National's greens climb to another tier, but most are not severely undulating. Still, they can be a challenge depending on pin placement. This is a course you can easily enjoy playing more than once, although you may not easily remember individual holes except perhaps for the 14th, a double dogleg with several pot bunkers and a long waste area. Also interesting is the 18th that plays around a pond and the 12th hole that requires you drive to a narrow fairway bordered by a line of condos on the right, water on the left.

A satisfying course to play, you should be able to score well if you avoid the fairway bunkers, lateral wetlands and the occasional stands of palms, and play from the tee best suited to your game.

Bonita National: Club dues

You can purchase homes with bundled golf (included) or just opt for a social membership, but all buyers are required to be a club member at some level. Golf members will pay an assessment of $1,575 per year plus $21 to use a cart (unless they walk), a very good deal indeed for this affluent area. Other fees including HOA vary according to kind of unit.

Bonita National Golf & Country Club allows owners to rent their homes with a 30-day minimum; renters can pay a nominal transfer fee to use the golf course and club facilities.

Bonita National residents enjoy a coveted lifestyle with plenty of activities including happy hours, clubhouse (under construction), tennis courts with eight Har-Tru courts and lagoon pool.

Bob and Kristy S. from Wisconsin play here about twice a week. They moved into their coach home a few months ago after spending several winters in the area. "We love it here," Kristy said. "It is so peaceful, yet we're only a half hour from downtown Naples."

"I'm in construction, so I looked for something well built," Bob added. "These are well done. Lennar is a good company."

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Katharine DysonKatharine Dyson, Special Contributor

Katharine Dyson is a golf and travel writer for several national publications as well as guidebook author and radio commentator. Her journeys have taken her around the world playing courses and finding unique places to stay. She is a member of the Golf Writers Association of America, Metropolitan Golf Writers of America; Golf Travel Writers Organization and Society of American Travel Writers. Follow Katharine on Twitter at @kathiegolf.

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