The Southwest Florida area – specifically Ft. Myers to Naples – is chock full of great golf courses. Many of them are open to the public – some only by means of a “stay and play” package, others you simply pat a daily fee. But the best conditioned courses seem to be the ones that are often behind privacy fences and security gates.
I’m talking about “bundled” communities, the type of community where belonging to the club – or at least purchasing a membership – is required by all homeowners. Naples is rife with them; they seem to make up the majority of courses in the area. I’ve had the opportunity to visit play and write about several of the courses and believe me, they are by far the best maintained courses in the area. In this economy, it seems that the only golf facilities that are truly flourishing are those at bundled communities.
Olde Hickory in Ft. Myers is one of those; in fact, it may well be the best bundled community in Southwest Florida. And that’s saying a lot with Fiddlesticks next door and The Legends across the street. There are 561 homes at Olde Hickory Golf and Country Club, all proud members of this private, exclusive bundled community. That’ s a low number considering most of their competitors have about 800 homes per 18 holes of golf.
The community is conveniently located just minutes from Southwest Florida International Airport (RSW), Interstate 75, Florida’s Gulf beaches, hospitals and medical clinics. Ft Myers residents enjoy world class shopping, dining, entertainment and everything else the Southwest Florida lifestyle has to offer.
The centerpiece of this masterful bundled community is the 18-hole championship golf course designed by the legendary Ron Garl. At only 6,601 yards from the back tees, it’s not going to overpower anyone, however from the back tees, it will challenge even the best of players. The course opened for play in 1992 and has Bermuda grass greens and fairways. The fairways are well-groomed and the greens roll fast and true. Five sets of tees give golfers of all abilities a chance to enjoy the golf course. Residents can enjoy the convenience of playing a round of golf on their schedule and at their own pace.
At only 281 yards, the par 4, 10th hole is the epitome of target golf. Play your tee shot is to a landing area that’s not a whole lot bigger than the green. There’s water on the left and woods on the right, so keeping the ball in play off the tee is key. Succeed in this task and all that’s left is a short pitch shot slightly uphill to a triangular shaped green guarded on the left with water and rocks. It may be a short hole, but all pars (or better) are well earned. If you struggle, the friendly PGA Professional staff can offer lessons to help you shave strokes off your game. There’s also a full-service pro shop, driving range, and carefully designed chipping and putting greens making this a golf lover’s paradise.
Olde Hickory Golf and Country Club is not without its share of amenities and it all starts in the clubhouse. This newly renovated, 22,000 square foot facility includes a new 2,600 square foot fitness center with state-of-the-art fitness equipment. As a member, you’ll enjoy the magnificent view overlooking the driving range and 18th green, while using state-of-the-art cardio and strengthening machines to increase your fitness. If a group is more your thing, Olde Hickory offers several fitness classes provided by Fit Forever, the premier Sports Club Management and Corporate Wellness Company in Southwest Florida. The company has a unique approach to fitness and lifestyle management with classes designed to help older adults maintain their cardiovascular health, strength, and flexibility. Whether you’re a workout warrior or just looking to add some activity to your daily routine, the staff at the fitness center can help you enjoy the benefits of working out in a group setting. If class times don’t fit your schedule, members are still able to bring in workout videos and use the aerobics room.
To many members, a country club is only as good as its dining room and Olde Hickory doesn’t disappoint and it’s always a memorable experience. Executive Chef Werner Dietrich and his culinary team take pride in creating delectable dishes for members and their guests to enjoy. Whether it’s a casual lunch in the Grille Room or a multi-course wine and dine meal in the Dining Room, the food and service are always impeccable. Members also enjoy the club’s themed dinner nights as well as orchestrated dinner and entertainment nights.
Step outside the clubhouse and you’ll find two Har-Tru tennis courts. These two surfaces have been completely renovated and are lighted for night play. The club offers women’s, men’s and mixed doubles tennis programs for members. You’ll also find 4 lighted pickleball courts. If you’re not familiar with the game, pickleball is a low impact, low stress game played with a perforated, whiffle-like ball and wooden or graphite paddles. The game is easy to learn and can develop into a quick, fast-paced competitive game for all players.
Adjacent to the courts is the heated pool and spa. All residents have access to the master pool and spa, in addition to their “community” pool. The master pool is heated during the winter for maximum use and is the perfect place to spend time with friends or guests, especially since food and beverage is available pool side.
Olde Hickory Golf and Country Club offers single family homes – many of which overlook the golf course. Choose from one and two story single family homes and attached and detached villas, all with amenities far beyond what you would expect in a bundled community. The guard gate is manned 24/7/365, providing added security and convenience. At Olde Hickory you will find a friendly, small town atmosphere in an attractive natural setting where exceptional service and professionalism are the rule, not the exception and excellence in golf and country club living finds a home.
For many current residents, Olde Hickory’s vacation program was the first step towards home ownership. Potential home buyers can experience firsthand all that Olde Hickory has to offer. For more information or to set up a visit to the community, give them a call at 239-768-2400 or visit the Olde Hickory website at oldehickory.cc. Olde Hickory is located at 14670 Olde Hickory Boulevard, Fort Myers, Florida.
Golf Life Contributor