Stoneybrook Golf Course in Estero: A rare public playground in southwest Florida
ESTERO, Fla. -- The 7,314-yard Stoneybrook Golf Course, designed by Gordon Lewis and Jed Azinger in 1999, boasts its own version of Amen Corner and the Bear Trap.
Stoneybrook, a rare public golf course in southwest Florida, boasts a four-hole stretch that head professional Jeff Nixon considers among the toughest he's played. He nicknamed holes 11-14 the Talon's Grip. A sign near the 11th tee box warns players of the dangers that lie ahead. The three par 4s (Nos. 11-13) are demanding, even though the 345-yard 12th and the 325-yard 13th look short from the blue tees. The watery par-3 14th completes the run.
Water adds trouble throughout the round. The par-3 fifth requires a perfect shot over a lake.
Sue Phelps regularly plays the course when visiting from Connecticut. She likes the "interesting" layout for its value. Upgrades the past two years have improved Stoneybrook's conditioning. The greens were resurfaced with Champion Bermuda two years ago. The fairways of the back nine were replaced last summer. The front nine will be redone in summer 2012.
"I've played tons of private and semi-private courses in the area," Phelps said. "This ranks up there with the semi-privates because of the conditioning. They have the total package."
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