Grey Oaks Country Club in Naples, Florida - Understated Elegance

By Charles Hancock, Special Contributor to; Images Courtesy of Grey Oaks Country Club


NAPLES, FL -- Choices.  Whether choosing the blue or the gray suit before going off to work, or having beef or fish for dinner, we all make such choices on a daily basis. 


Unfortunately, when it comes to playing golf at most private clubs, your choices are most likely quite limited.  You play the 18 holes your course has to offer -- and like it.  And we do.  In the choices department, some of us are much luckier -- like the members at Grey Oaks Country Club in Naples, Florida.


Ah yes, Naples, Florida.  Located on the Gulf of Mexico in Southwest Florida, Naples offers exquisite sunsets, incredible shopping and dining options, and white sand beaches.  It is, additionally, home to some of the most luxurious waterfront estates and condos in the world.  Among such estates are those located within the exclusive gated community which is Grey Oaks.


The grandeur of the impressive 62,000 square foot clubhouse which accomodates both the Pine and the Palm course is truly spectacular. In addition to the pro shop featuring clubs and clothes from several different industry leading companies, an array of dining options are available, as is a fitness center including a state-of-the-art weight room, a choice of several different exercise classes, and access to massage therapists and fitness trainers.

The superb amenities at Grey Oaks include, in addition to what can only be considered as one of the finest 54-hole golf facilities in the entire United States -- a tennis center with eight, lighted Har-Tru courts, children’s playground, heated lagoon pool, and fitness center.


For the golfer, Grey Oaks boasts three extraordinary courses:  Pine, Palm and Estuary.  Encompassing an area of approximately 1,200 acres, the three courses, while sharing some common traits, such as Bermuda grass from tee to green, and your choice of five tee boxes, are all in fact, quite different and unique.  Once again, Choices.




Designed by course architect Lloyd Clifton, of Clifton, Ezell and Clifton, the Pine course, the most “traditional” of the three, opened in 1993.  Named by Florida Trend magazine as one of the “Top 5 toughest private golf courses in Florida,” this beautiful layout is reminiscent of many of the courses which you may have played in the Carolinas. 


According to the Playing Professional at Grey Oaks, Jim Jewell, the layout of the Pine course will “stand the test of time.”  Surrounded by several preserves and lakes, the Pine course, 7206 yards from the tips, provides a player a wonderful opportunity to quickly find out in what condition his or her game is in.

A bird's eye view from the back of the green at the Pine's Par 3 17th hole.


When asked to name the “signature hole” of the Pine course, Jewell replied, “the par 3’s.” 


In other words, this track is too nice to have only one “signature hole.”  All four par threes (2, 6, 12, and 17) require the player to look directly over plenty of mesmerizing blue water to find the ball’s intended destination. 


The finishing 18th hole is, in my mind, all you want, especially if your match is on the line.  A par 5, this hole first necessitates a tee shot over water, with bunkers guarding the right side and yet more potential trouble on the left.  Once having navigated the tee shot, the player must then decide how much of a gamble he or she wishes to take for the second shot.  A lay up, to about 150 yards, or a shot to a much narrower landing area, in the 100 to 80 yard range.  Of course, bigger hitters have their own dilemmas, whether to try to get home in two or not.  Walking to the green, the impressive 62,000 square foot Club on the right is truly awe inspiring.




Natural beauty abounds as you make your way around the enchanting Palm course.

As “traditional” in nature as the Pine course is, the Palm course, which showcases a tiered rock waterfall and tranquil lagoons, blends features indigenous of Florida, Hawaii, and Polynesia.


This layout, designed by the course architectural firm of Clifton, Ezell & Clifton (and later revamped in part by course architect Robert E. Cupp), which completely opened in 1999, is replete with more than 3,500 palm trees, consisting of some 18 different types.


You want water?  You got it.  Though 90 percent of the water at Grey Oaks is man-made, your ball does not know the difference, and water is something to be aware of while making your way around the beautiful Palm layout. 


6,864 yards from the back tees, several of the par 4 holes include long waste bunkers running parallel to the fairways on one or both sides.  The TifEagle greens -- the third generation of Bermuda grass varieties developed exclusively for golf greens at the Coastal Plains Experiment Station in Tifton, Georgia, and present on all three of Grey Oak’s courses -- are more sloping and trickier than those on the Pine course. 


While the fairways for the most part are generous in terms of landing areas, approach shots which follow on several occasions must be struck towards bulk-headed greens which, while not located on islands per se, are surrounded by water on at least one or two sides. 

A spectacular aerial of the Palm course—The 12th green and the 13th tee, like so many of the 54 holes which Grey Oaks Country Club offers, are quite near to each other.


Jim Jewell, a member of the PGA Tour from 1971 to 1974, and associated with the Grey Oaks Country Club since its inception, cited the Palm’s 18th hole, a not-overly-long but demanding par 4, as its signature hole.




Named the Florida Golf Course of the Year by the National Golf Course Owners Association in 2005, and located literally just across the road from the prestigious gated community which houses the Pine and Palm courses, is the Estuary Course.  Itself located within a gated community, and boasting a breathtaking 19,000 plus square foot clubhouse of its own, this course opened in 2002, and was designed by Robert E. Cupp.


The Estuary, to its great credit, and to the benefit of the members who play this wonderful course, combines the best features of Grey Oak’s two other courses. 


The majestic clubhouse situated at the Estuary course includes a fully-stocked pro shop, his and hers locker and card rooms, and fantastic dining options.

While the Pine course may be best suited for players who prefer a more “traditional-type” tree lined layout, and as the Palm’s wide fairways welcome most tee shots, the Estuary course, according to Jim Jewell, is a “completely strategic” golf course. 


From the vantage point of certain tees, particularly from the back tees, measuring 6,769 yards, the landing area provided seems to be about the size of a small backyard swimming pool, but, once arriving at your ball, you realize that more room to land your tee shot was available. 


The 3rd and 4th holes, both par 5’s, provide no rest early in the round, with water running down most of the left side of the 3rd hole, and beside the green on the 4th hole.  According to Jewell, on any given day, a player at the Estuary can have their “lowest score or highest score.” 


Jewell also, when pressed to name a signature hole, named the “spectacular” par 5 11th hole, which mandates an accurate second shot to a tight landing area. 


No different than the 18th holes at the Pine and Palm course, the finishing hole at the Estuary is both intriguing and challenging.  While longer hitters may choose to try to get home in two on this par 5, such a decision requires near perfect shots.  The tee shot must be hit almost to the limit of what  is provided by the well-bunkered fairway, and the second shot then must spend quite a few seconds over a lovely body of water, located just to the left of the striking clubhouse.

The green of the Estuary's Par 4 8th hole (left), is a short walk to the daunting tee shot which awaits at the Par 3 9th.


The Pine, Palm and Estuary.  Three spectacular, unique courses, all kept in exquisite condition.  Not to mention the challenging 18-hole putting course built to USGA specifications or the expansive practice ranges with offer grass teeing areas and several target greens.  For the discerning members of Grey Oaks Country Club in Naples, Florida, these provide them with one glorious thing.  Choices.



Grey Oaks Country Club

2400 Grey Oaks Drive North

Naples, FL  31105


Phone:  (239) 262-5550


General Manager:  James Butler

Director of Golf:  Karl Bublitz

Head Golf Professionals:  Leslie Dyke and T.K. Matthews

Director of Membership:  Ann Marie Ashline


Website: – Preview Naples’ most prestigious golf course community.




Pine (Men)


Grey   7206   139/75.2

Blue    6807   132/73.1

White  6418   124/70.8

Gold    5914   120/68.5


Pine (Women)


Gold    5914   138/74.7

Red               121/69.8



Palm (Men)


Grey   6864   142/73.9

Blue    6474   134/71.6

White  6216   130/70.6

Gold    5666   121/68.1


Palm (Women)


Gold    5666   142/73.2

Red               120/69.6



Estuary (Men)


Grey   6769   141/74.4

White  6350   137/72.3

Gold    5868   128/70.1


Estuary (Women)


Gold    5868   132/75.0

Red               120/70.7



For Membership Information:


Contact the club at the above phone number.

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