Wilderness Country Club: A Rare Tropical Paradise in the Heart of Naples

Wilderness Country Club: A Rare Tropical Paradise in the Heart of Naples

I played Wilderness Country Club last weekend. My friend Aimee has been working there for a few months and I’ve been bugging her to show me around. So last Sunday, she invited her friend David and me for 18 holes. After looking this place up online, and from all of the positive things Aimee has been telling me, I couldn’t wait to play this course.

When I arrived, I was more than an hour early. I like to get there, stretch, putt, hit balls, etc. before my round. I beat Aimee by a few minutes, but my name was “on the list” at the gate. When I pulled in, it was like I was in another world. It really did feel like I was “in the wilderness.”

Wilderness is a private country club, and to be a member you must own a home inside the gates. There are homes on several holes, and they look great. The community is small, but it is so quiet back there. I mentioned that to Aimee a few times throughout the day. It is a very peaceful place to be.

I parked my car and proceeded to the pro shop. I walked in and met Matt. We talked for a few minutes and he invited me to practice putting or hit balls before Aimee arrived. He even loaded me up on a golf cart. Was great meeting and chatting with Matt and I hope to see him again soon!

The practice facility at Wildness is small, but they have a nice putting green, a chipping green with bunkers, and an impressive driving range. They were on mats that day, but I was still able to get a feel for my swing and loosen up before the round. Aimee arrived and David not long after that. We were scheduled to tee off around noon.

The golf course isn’t long, but I like that. We played the Blue tees, but it was still a challenging layout. There were a lot of holes that I remember, like hole No. 1. I hit 3 wood off the tee… Right into the trees. Dan, my teaching pro, knows the struggle… I always start with a bogey! Or a birdie… I do birdie No. 1 at Tiburón Golf Club a lot. It’s a short par 5, after all.

The highlight of my day, besides not losing a golf ball, was seeing the Hole in the Wall. Aimee knows the story, but around here people only know about Hole in the Wall Golf Club. Yes, for those of you paying attention at home, Hole in the Wall Golf Club is located next door to Wilderness Country Club. But the actual hole, well… It’s at Wilderness. I am going to work with Aimee and write a follow up blog post about that and the history behind it. Pretty cool story…

Like I said, the golf course was fun and I had a really good time. It was great meeting David and getting to learn more about the history of the club. Made a couple of birdies along the way, too. When I lived in Phoenix/Scottsdale, I wrote a series of blogs on the number of steps to walk a golf course. Well, look for a similar blog post from Wilderness in the next few months. They allow walking there, and their head golf professional has agreed to show me around the course. Aimee will be joining us, too!

David and I played a fun putting game… I would try to explain it, but I am still confused on how I won. Something about three putts. I don’t know. I won $2, so that’s all that really matters!

After the round we headed to Rusty’s Bar & Grill for happy hour. David wasn’t able to make it, but I hope we stay in touch. He was fun to play with and I enjoyed getting to know him. Tip of the cap to Aimee for showing me the facility. I look forward to seeing it again in the near future. FORE!