by Phyllis Steinberg
I have always been a fan of The Ritz Carlton Naples and when I heard that a second Ritz Carlton was recently completed in this luxurious Southwest Florida city, I was ready to go. The new Ritz Carlton is called the Ritz Carlton Golf Resort and is located on two fabulous golf courses just three miles from the first Ritz Carlton Naples on the ocean.
I delighted in the opportunity to try two rounds of golf on Tiburon, the Gregg Norman-designed championship layout that hosts the PGA Tour’s Franklin Templeton Shootout.
Not that I’m a great golfer, but it was awesome to play in style on two of the top golf resorts in the world, according to the June 2002 issue of the Robb Report.
Carved out of 800 acres of natural Florida foliage, with an unusual and challenging layout designed by Norman, Tiburon plays firm and fast in the links tradition, without the thatch of rough that typically troubles golfers.
I especially liked that the fairways were lined with pine straw, stacked sod and wall bunkers. The turf was also beautifully maintained at a fairway height on one-half inch or less.
The resort has two 18-hole courses, The Black and The Gold. The final nine were completed in October 2002.
Hole #2 on The Black course gave me the most trouble. There were trees on the right and trees on the left. I missed the tee shot and found it to be one of the most demanding tee shots on the golf course, but also one of the most scenic. Once through the narrow chute of pines, the fairway opens up to an undulating green surrounded by water on the right and bunkers on the left.
The Gold Course was no easier. Hole #3 was another Tiburon special with all of the ingredients to challenge the most experienced golfer, which I’m not. There is a rolling fairway, Coquina waste areas water and an elevated green with collection areas on all sides. At least my patient golfing partners didn’t laugh too loudly when my ball landed in the water, again!
Just steps away from the resort’s front door was a 18-hole putting green, my best game, and the Rick Smith Golf Academy where golfers come from around the country to learn how to improve their game.
What I really enjoyed about the new 295-room Ritz Carlton Golf Resort was the peace and tranquility of the resort. The resort which overlooks the golf course and lavish swimming pool area, has large balconies where you could just sit back, relax and let the world go by.
The Ritz Carlton Golf Resort and The Ritz Carlton Naples on the ocean provide a convenient shuttle between the two resorts. The facilities of both resorts are available for guests at the golf resort.
I treated myself to a day at the new Ritz Carlton 51,000 square foot spa on the ocean. It is a totally separate building next to the Ritz Carlton Naples with three floors of pampering. The massage rooms are located on the second level. I tried a massage and it was a wonderfully soothing experience after my day of golf at Tiburon.
The resort also has a state-of-the art fitness center, heated outdoor swimming pool and four lighted tennis courts. I enjoyed the Ritz Carlton Golf Resort just as much as the Ritz Carlton Naples. The guest rooms are large and roomy with several suites available.
You don’t have to be a great golfer to enjoy this outstanding Florida getaway at the new Ritz Carlton Golf Resort. For reservations, call 800-241-3333.