Southwest Florida boasts an abundance of quality golf resorts and golf courses, but nowhere along the Naples to Sarasota corridor does a golf experience get any better than at Tiburón Golf Club in Naples.
Since it debuted the Greg Norman-designed Gold Course in 1998 (the Norman-designed Black Course opened in 2001), Tiburón has been the golf club by which all other Southwest Florida clubs and courses are measured. After all, it’s the only club in the U.S. that is located close to a pair of Ritz-Carlton resorts – the 295-room Ritz-Carlton Golf Resort, Naples (on the same property) and a few miles away, the 450-room Ritz-Carlton, Naples set along the beach of the Gulf of Mexico.
It’s the only club also to have two of Norman’s better course designs, with each course taking advantage of the natural Southwest Florida terrain along with stacked sod wall bunkers and Norman’s signature coquina shell waste bunkers.
All of that said, Tiburón Golf Club hit a bump in 2014 thanks in large part to turf disease that affected the Gold Course.
In May 2016, WCI Communities – Tiburon’s original developer and manager – closed the course for renovation led by Norman and his design team. Norman added new turf, laser-leveled the tee boxes and re-built and replaced bunkers, each in time for the LPGA’s CME Group Tour Championship this past November.
Troon Golf, one of the world’s top golf management companies, replaced WCI in September 2016 and with the completion of the renovations to the Gold Course (7,382 yards), current renovations to the Black Course (6,949 yards) and some savvy marketing initiatives, have restored Tiburon to its lofty standing.
“The renovation isn’t as extensive with the Black Course,’’ said Tiburón Director of Golf Chad Nigro. “We’re in good shape with the fairways. The main goal is to get all the tee boxes re-done. And the bunkers are being completely re-done. For example, there were a lot of areas where there was one big bunker. Now maybe there are two bunkers.’’
The Black Course is expected to re-open in November, in time for PGA Tour’s annual Franklin Templeton Shootout, Dec. 8-10.
“Rounds were up this past June and July compared to the same times in 2016,’’ Nigro said. “I attribute that to two things: course conditions and our staff. We want to provide people with as much hospitality as possible. We want them to come here and say the courses were excellent, and that their time here was excellent from the time they pulled up front door to the time they left.’’