Lely Resort Golf & Country Club offers two watery layouts in Naples

By Jason Scott Deegan, Senior Staff Writer

NAPLES, Fla. -- Water is the signature feature of the two public course layouts at Lely Resort Golf & Country Club.

Lely Resort Golf & CC - Flamingo Island Course
Flamingo Island at Lely Resort Golf & C.C. is a classic beauty by Robert Trent Jones, Sr.
Lely Resort Golf & CC - Flamingo Island CourseLely Resort Golf & C.C. - clubhouse
If you go

That's not by accident. Located just one exit north of the road leading to the swamps of "Alligator Alley" and just minutes from the Gulf of Mexico, the Mustang Course and Flamingo Island Course at Lely were bound to be all wet.

Naples is a country club town with more golf courses per capita than any community in the country. For those who don't have membership privileges at a swanky club, Lely is a good alternative.

Lely's two courses, run by American Golf, offer traditional Florida golf. Both have garnered four stars from Golf Digest in the past, so neither course plays second fiddle to the other. Readers of Golf World magazine voted both among the top 50 resort courses in the country in 2009.

The Mustang is longer (7,217 yards to 7,171) and has a tougher slope (141 to 138) than its sister course. The 12 lakes throughout the layout can make even the most experienced player weak in the knees. Lee Trevino's design, which opened in December 1997, doesn't wind through as many houses and condos, giving it more of a natural feel. The green tees are a rugged test at 6,691 yards, including five par 4s longer than 423 yards.

The 424-yard sixth hole -- called "Marsh" -- plays to an island fairway. The finishing stretch, starting at no. 15, is classic target golf, ending with a peninsula green at no. 18.

Robert Trent Jones, Sr. created Flamingo Island in 1991, moving nearly a million cubic yards of dirt to create some mounding and elevated greens with multiple tiers. The scenery climaxes at the fifth hole, a 213-yard par 3, with a green surrounded by water. It's accessible only by bridges.

Many players consider no. 17 one of best holes in all of southwest Florida. The approach on the 422-yard hole -- nicknamed "The Gambler" -- is all carry over water to a tricky two-tiered green. The 20,000-square-foot, Mediterranean-style public clubhouse, completed in 2001, offers the Flamingo Island Grille inside for lunch or dinner after the round.

Jason Scott DeeganJason Scott Deegan, Senior Staff Writer

Jason Scott Deegan has reviewed more than 700 courses and golf destinations for some of the industry's biggest publications. His work has been honored by the Golf Writer's Association of America and the Michigan Press Association. Follow him on Twitter at @WorldGolfer.

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