Co­ral Oaks Golf Course

Cape Coral Living - - Cape Features -

Tucked be­tween Pine Is­land Road and Burnt Store Road in north­west­ern Cape Co­ral is a lit­tle­known gem of a golf course that gets far less credit than it de­serves. Owned and op­er­ated by the city of Cape Co­ral, Arthur Hills-de­signed Co­ral Oaks was built in 1988, and can sur­prise and chal­lenge golfers of all skill sets. The course fea­tures more of a “Cen­tral Florida” feel, with tow­er­ing oak trees and sculpted ponds and lakes. While there may not be a coastal feel to this tract, rest as­sured the nat­u­ral set­ting in a scenic ham­mock over 100 years old will in­spire and de­light you. Un­der­go­ing re­fur­bish­ing of the greens, three tee boxes, chip­ping and putting prac­tice fa­cil­i­ties that should be com­pleted by Oct. 1, Co­ral Oaks will fea­ture the en­larged TifEa­gle greens and Ber­muda fair­ways shaped to take ad­van­tage of the land’s nat­u­ral con­tours and fo­liage and na­ture rem­i­nis­cent of the true, real Florida. In ad­di­tion to the 18-hole cham­pi­onship course, the fa­cil­ity has one of the largest prac­tice and teach­ing cen­ters in Lee County, a fully stocked pro shop. The city's an­nual pro-am is also sched­uled for the Oct. 20-22 week­end. The lay­out fea­tures six dif­fer­ent tee boxes, al­low­ing for to­tal en­joy­ment of the game. There are eight lakes flow­ing through­out the front and back nines, and the holes com­prise a nice mix of length, strat­egy and fi­nesse. Many who tee up at Co­ral Oaks say it is rem­i­nis­cent of their North­ern club, too. Of course you’ll see palm trees and the oc­ca­sional Florida ga­tor sun­ning along a lake, but the stately oaks pro­vide a more “Up North” vibe. When you’ve holed out, share a cold drink and lunch on the ex­pan­sive ve­randa of the pop­u­lar Knicker’s Pub, the full-ser­vice restau­rant lo­cated in the charm­ing, Old-Florida-style club­house. Allen Man­gu­son, the PGA pro­fes­sional and gen­eral man­ager of Co­ral Oaks since 2005, over­sees this city-owned golf oa­sis. “I like that we’re a com­mu­nity-based club, with one of the most highly rated ju­nior pro­grams in the coun­try,” he says. “Our reg­u­lar events like the Cou­ples 9 & Dine, our three weekly teach­ing clin­ics, our restau­rant―they are all rea­sons peo­ple love play­ing here.” The fa­cil­ity is very ac­tive in sup­port­ing many lo­cal char­i­ties and golf groups, with fundraiser scram­bles and leagues through­out each month. The course also gets con­tin­u­ally fa­vor­able re­views on web­sites such as TripAd­vi­sor. The like­able Man­gu­son, who clearly ex­hibits his pas­sion for this course, does not shy away from the um­brella of city own­er­ship and op­er­a­tion. “The city of Cape Co­ral has in­vested a lot of time, money and plan­ning into giv­ing our res­i­dents and vis­i­tors a re­ally great golf course fa­cil­ity,” he says. “A lot of folks are pleas­antly sur­prised when they dis­cover that not all good cour­ses are re­sort clubs― Co­ral Oaks is a taste of what in­land Florida golf is all about.”

Kelly Mad­den is a lo­cal mar­ket­ing pro­fes­sional and free­lance writer who has lived in Lee County for 45 years.

BY KELLY MAD­DEN

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