Hole #1 – Par 4
The starting hole defines all of the attributes of the Esplanade Naples golf journey. The hole is beautiful and artistic, playable and comfortable, yet strategic and thought provoking. These are the elements that define all good golf courses. The fairway landing area is wide and spacious. The hole swings subtly to the left at the dogleg. One bunker guards the inside of the dogleg and two bunkers frame the back of the landing area. The ideal angle into the green is from the left side of the fairway, near the inside dogleg bunker. The large broad green which pitches from left to right and back to front is framed along the left and back side with a broad ridge. Most approach shots that land along the left and back side of the green will kick back to the putting surface. The beauty and framing of the hole is created by the elegant landscaping and the Esplanade River Canal that runs along the right side of the green. A great starting hole!
Hole #2 – Par 5
“Down the River”
The second hole, a medium length par 5, swings to the right down the Esplanade River Canal from tee to green. The left or outside edge of the hole is framed by a mature pine and cypress forested wetland. The ideal tee shot should be played over the corner of the canal to the right half of the fairway landing area. A small pot bunker defines the left side of the landing area. The hole is wide and spacious and provides many options to keep it in play. The second landing area is guarded by a large cross bunker that bisects the right side of the fairway. The ideal angle into the slightly raised green is adjacent to the cross bunker. The large flowing putting surface rests about 4’ above the fairway collection areas and bunkers that border the green.
Hole #3 – Par 4
A medium to long par 4, the third hole is deceptive from tee to green. From the tees the green can be viewed in the distance, around the corner of the serene Esplanade River Canal. The green looks like it’s a mile away. A well struck tee shot to the right center of the fairway is ideal. Avoiding the large bunker along the inside of the dogleg is imperative to making par. From the right side of the landing area a portion of the green is visible. But, from the left side of the landing area the green is completely hidden or obscured by the broad mound that supports the bunker to the front left of the green. The strategy of the third hole is influenced by the view of the green and the deception that the broad mound to the front left of the green creates. The ideal approach shot to the low lying rambling green is to land the ball short and left and let the “kicker slope” along the back side of the mound feed the ball down onto the green. Trust this shot otherwise the deceptive nature of the hole will get you!
Hole #4 – Par 3
The fourth hole is the first one shot hole at Esplanade Naples. The medium length par 3 plays parallel to the Esplanade River Canal. The green sits back off the edge of the canal. To enhance playability, an abundant amount of space has been created around the perimeter of the green. The hole is framed beautifully by the canal and the large copses of oaks, pines and palms that surround the left and back sides of the hole. From the tee the hole evokes a feeling of pleasure and ease. The green is tucked into its own private enclave. The large sprawling putting surface will play different from one day to the next depending of the location of the pin. The back left pin, the toughest pin location, is guarded by a bunker that flanks the back left side of the green. The front right pin, which is located behind the front right greenside bunkers, is much shorter than the back pin and is partially hidden by the bunkers. Depending on the location of the pin, the hole can play 2-3 clubs differently from one day to the next. The smart tee shot is to the center of the green, but if you chose to attack the pin, the right club selection is critical.
Hole #5 – Par 4
Every great golf course is replete with one or two short par 4’s. The fifth hole, which plays from 329 to 209 yards, is a very special short par 4. Short on length but big with drama, beauty and a few bunkers. It looks like there’s sand everywhere! Bunkers frame and front and back of the landing area. From the tee it appears that you don’t want to mess with the bunkers. Swing away as there is plenty of space between the bunkers that are stacked within the dogleg. The large broad fairway area right and short of the bunkers is inviting and receptive. From this location a mid iron is all that’s needed to attack the small and subtle green. But a bold shot within the center of the fairway bunkers will leave just a short pitch to the green. Definitely a good chance to make a low score! The recovery or “up and down” from the right side of the green is favorable as the green is tilted slightly from left to right. Any miss to the left of the green is trouble.
Hole #6 – Par 5
“Along the Way”
Hole six at Esplanade Naples begins at the community entrance and runs parallel to the entry drive. The hole is open and visible to everyone who enters the community. A large lake frames the left side of the first half of the hole. From the back two tees the tee shot must be played across the corner of the lake. Pick the angle across the water and take dead aim! The forward tees are aligned down the center of the fairway anddo not need to negotiate the lake. The first landing area is pinched with bunkers along the left and right side of the fairway. The area to the frontof these bunkers is broad and inviting. Proper execution of the golf shot to the second landing area is imperative for making a 5. The ideal angle into the green is from the right side of the fairway, near the sprawling right of fairway bunker. The green is open and receptive from this angle. Plenty of space exists along the left side of the second landing area, but the pitch to the green will need to negotiate the large bunker that protects the left side of the putting surface.
Hole #7 – Par 4
A medium length, dogleg right par 4 that sweeps left to right around abroad ridge along the left side of the landing area. The seventh looks tame from the tees but will test every shot in the bag! A large lake runs along the right side of the hole from the beginning of the landing area to the green. Although the lake should not come into play, errant shots that are wayward right will get wet! A well executed tee shot that is played to the right center of the fairway will leave an open approach to the low-lying rambling green. The green is sloped from back to front and will easily receive any long, low running approach shot. When the wind is blowing out of the west, the low running shot is the best option to find the green.Recovery from around the perimeter of the green can be executed with a pitch, bump and run, or with the putter. A variety of short game shots can be played around this dynamic green complex.
Hole #8 – Par 3
The eighth hole is a long par 3 that requires an accurate and straight tee shot to find the putting surface of the raised plateau green. The raised putting surface is guarded by tightly mown fairway grass and two bunkers that flank the back left side of the green. A short right bunker complements the picture. Tee shots that miss the green will be repelled away and down into the fairway collection areas that surround both sides of the green. The toughest pins will be the front center and back left cupping areas. The front cupping area sits on a peninsula and the back left is closely guarded with the bunkers. Majestic tall pine trees frame the back of the green complex. A large landscape bed with a variety of native plants and trees border the back of the green. Upon the exit from the Esplanade community the eighth hole is an eye catcher! True focus is required to execute par.
Hole #9 – Par 4
“Risk and Reward”
The ninth hole is a classic risk versus reward strategic hole. The ideal tee shot should be placed as close as possible to the large fairway bunker that sits along the inside edge of the left to right turning hole. From this location the hole becomes shorter and the green is open and receptive.A spacious fairway bail-out area exists to the left of the fairway bunker.Plenty of space to miss the tee shot down the left side. The down side of playing from the open left side of the fairway is the approach angle into the green. The narrow green sits on a slight angle from the left side of the hole. The green is not receptive from this angle. Large oaks frame the left side of the fairway and will impact any tee shot that finds the left rough.Random bunkers surround the long slender, up and down putting surface.Finding the correct section of the green is imperative at the ninth. Putting can be testy from the wrong section of the green.
Hole #10 – Par 4
“Take it Easy”
Golf is not easy but the feeling for the start of the back nine should be “take it easy”. Take an easy swing and have fun! The tenth hole is a medium to short par 4 that plays to the East and typically downwind. An aggressive tee shot will leave a short iron or pitch to the “C” shaped putting surface. A large bunker guards the front left side of the fairway landing area. Three bunkers guard the back right side of the landing area. The bunkers pinch the fairway at the location where the best drives should be placed. Avoid the trouble by playing short of the bunkers. Starting with par on the back nine will require smart shot execution. The large “C” shaped green is low on the front right, high in the middle and low to the back left. The left side of the green is guarded by a large bunker. The back left pin should be attacked from the right fairway bunkers. The front right pin should be attacked from the left side of the landing area. The putting surface undulations are bold and unique. Good putting will be rewarded.
Hole #11 – Par 5
At 570 yards from the back tee the eleventh is the longest hole at Esplanade Naples. The green is a long run from the tees. The first par 5 of the back nine plays right to left along the edge of two large lakes. The lakes border the left side of the hole. The green sits back off the edge of the water to encourage bold, aggressive play. Ample width is provided from tee to green. The fairway corridor is inviting and spacious. A large fairway bunker runs along the left side of the landing area. Challenging this bunker will make the hole play shorter. The second landing area is protected by a bunker along the right side and two bunkers along the back left side. Long fairway approach shots that clear the left bunkers will release onto the green. The eleventh green tilts and turns up and down and left and right. The green surface is the true defense of the hole.
Hole #12 – Par 3
The twelfth is a beautiful par 3 that plays along the edge of a lake to a well protected green. The lake runs from the tees to the back left of the green. A broad bail-out collection area is located right of the green. The back left pin will be the most demanding. This section of the green is narrow and closely guarded by bunkers. Any shot that misses left of the bunkers will find the water. Overall, the green at the twelfth hole is long and slender. A true 3-4 club difference from front to back. The smart play is to the center of the putting surface or to the front right of the green. Up and down from the front right is not too tough given that the green will be open and receptive from this angle. Ignore the water and hit a good shot!
Hole #13 – Par 5
The par 5 thirteenth hole may look short on the scorecard but making par will require skillful shot selection and careful negotiation of the strategically placed bunkers. The tee shot is played over a large lake from the back tees. The lake runs up the entire left side of the hole. The fairway is open and inviting from the forward tees as the angle across the lake is lessened. The first landing area is guarded on the left by a large sprawling bunker. Aggressive tee shots should be played over or near this bunker. The bunker that is located to the back right of the first landing area will keep everyone honest! The second landing area is pinched with several well placed bunkers. The ideal angle into this large green is from the left side of the second landing area. The green which tumbles from left to right sits within a natural amphitheatre. An aggressive approach shot over the right bunkers at the second landing area will kick down onto the green. This is one of the best green complexes at Esplanade Naples!
Hole #14 – Par 4
The last short par 4 at Esplanade Naples! A large lake frames the right side of the entire hole. The fourteenth fairway and green truly sit on the edge of the lake. Each shot will be influenced by the water. From the tees it appears that the green is within reach. The green sits out along the edge of the water just tempting the long hitters. When the wind is blowing favorably, hole 14 can be reached in one shot. But, it will need to be struck with precision like accuracy because trouble lurks left and right. A smart tee shot with a fairway metal or utility iron will leave a simple mid to short iron into the bold green. A sand bunker protects the left side of the landing area and a second bunker protects the front left of the green. The green is a Biarritz feature with a low trough running through the center of the putting surface. The front and back quadrants of the green sit higher than the low center trough. Finding the correct level or green quadrantis critical to making a par at this short but demanding hole.
Hole #15- Par 3
The fifteenth is a stunning par three that is tucked at the north or back end of the Esplanade Community. This section of the golf course is serene and peaceful. The green is large and receptive to aerial and low running shots. A small bunker exists to the front right of the green, along the lake bank. The bunker simply accents the picture! The entire right side of the green is bordered with a fairway collection area. The front left side of the green is guarded by a deep bunker. The ideal location to miss the green is right. Missing to the left will be a torturous up and down. The sprawling green offers many unique cupping locations, with the back right being the most unique. Finding the green surface and making a good putt is the best way to make a birdie!
Hole #16- Par 4
Hole sixteen is the last strong par 4 on the back nine. A large lake runs the entire length of the left side of the hole. The fairway runs around the lake like a long flowing cape. The landing area is wide and receptive to a big drive. The ideal angle to attack the punch bowl formed green is from the left center of the fairway. The long slender green is a concave dish that funnels good approach shots into the middle of the putting surface.There is a broad collection area to the front right of the green – not a bad area to miss the green given the bowl shaped green complex and putting surface. Plenty of space is provided to the right, away from the water at the landing area and green. But, challenging the water will shorten the hole and provide the best chance to score.
Hole #17- Par 4
From the tee this medium length par 4 plays slightly uphill and to the right around a collection of strategically placed fairway bunkers. A wide fairway landing area flanks the left side of the dogleg bunkers. The expansive landing area is sloped from left to right like a racetrack embankment. This landform can be used to sling a well struck shot down the fairway. The large broad landform and landscape plantings along the outside of the hole provide the framing and help turn the hole to the right. The green is open from the right side of the landing area. The left and back sides of the green are surrounded by water. Short and right is a good location to miss the green. The green surface has several twists and turns placing a premium on the club selection of the approach shot.
Hole #18- Par 4
The end of the journey, the finishing hole! This medium length par 4 will test every aspect of the game of golf and the game called “life”. The eighteenth runs in the opposite direction of hole one. The broad landscape mound along the right side of the hole separates the eighteenth from the first hole. The left fairway bunkers define the aggressive line of attack.Being short left of these bunkers shortens the hole but creates a partially obscured view of the putting surface. The bunker short right of the landing area keeps the focus to the center of the hole. The ideal landing area isthe right center of the fairway. From this angle the green is within full sight and receptive to a mid to short iron approach shot. Missing the green left will require a delicate recovery shot to the raised green. Any shot that misses the left side of the green will run down into a fairway collection area that is 4-5’ below the green surface. Par is a good score to the Journey End!