Coral Oaks Golf Course
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.