January 3, 2017

Calusa Pines Golf Club

Naples, Fla. / 7,203 yards, Par 72 / Points: 61.0010
Calusa Pine GC hole 16
LC Lambrecht/Courtesy of Calusa Pines GC

96. Calusa Pines Golf Club

Michael Hurdzan & Dana Fry (2001)

Gary Chensoff, a Chicago venture capitalist, survived a rare form of cancer despite long odds, and his recovery strongly influenced how Calusa Pines was designed and built. Chensoff decided to gamble, instructing Hurdzan-Fry to design the most unique course in south Florida despite a dead-flat site. They responded by piling up fill from ponds to form ridge lines up to 58 feet, then planted them with mature oaks, pines and sabal palms. Calusa Pines sports perhaps the firmest, fastest Bermuda fairways and greens in Florida. It has slipped in recent polls, perhaps because its sand bunkers seem tired and in need of rebuilding.

100 Greatest History: Ranked since 2007. Highest ranking: No. 71, 2007-2008. Previous ranking: No. 88

Panelist comments:
“No homes here, just pure golf. Hurzden and Fry show what you can do when you combine talent, a big budget, and modern technology.”

“I loved the 280-yard, drivable par-4 8th, which punishes you severely, if you miss the green, you're looking at another double.”

“The elevation changes were incredible for an area that sits at sea level. I did not feel like I was playing a Florida course from the architecture, but the vegetation was low impact on the environment. No need for excessive watering. ”

“Incredible variety of holes, with not one hole looking or feeling similar, and a great continuity and flow to the course. Also a great variety of green designs with strong undulations. Bonus points for being very walkable.”

“Moved a massive amount of earth to create topography on this otherwise non interesting and flat property. It just seemed a little unnatural to my eye, but there are some stout golf holes.”

Hole No. 4

LC Lambrecht/Courtesy of Calusa Pines GC

Hole No. 8

LC Lambrecht/Courtesy of Calusa Pines GC

Hole No. 8

LC Lambrecht/Courtesy of Calusa Pines GC

Hole No. 16