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Home Field: Old Corkscrew Golf Club, Estero, FL

Old Corkscrew Golf Club stands out as a gem among a very crowded field of golf courses in southwestern Florida, which ranks among the highest number of courses per capita in America. Old Corkscrew, which opened in 2007, benefits from being conceived by Jack Nicklaus, a golf legend and an acclaimed course designer who strives to make each of his golf courses memorably unique. 

Photo Courtesy Old Corkscrew 

One quality that makes Old Corkscrew so unique is that the course’s design embraced its natural surroundings. While covering 275 acres within a pine forest, just more than 80 acres were devoted to turfgrass for golfing, with the rest kept as wetlands, lakes, and native land. 

Limiting the amount of turfgrass decreases the need for irrigation and, consequently, lowers water usage, which makes the Golf Club function more sustainably. 

Additionally, organic materials were used to create the golf cart paths, and state-of-the-art maintenance operations provide green benefits, such as restricting on-site chemical use

The golf club actually went over and above the acreage number that the Lee County, FL, officials required for it to maintain as a conservation area by preserving more than 40 acres of wetlands instead of the requisite 17.

During the building process, more than 10 acres of invasive plants were extracted from the disturbed areas, along with teeing sites being replanted with 300,000 native species. 

Old Corkscrew also lacks another “invasive species” often found at golf courses — residential homes — making it something of a rarity among southwestern Florida courses. The only actual inhabitants that you might encounter at Old Corkscrew are some native animals. 

Photo Courtesy Old Corkscrew Golf Club

Old Corkscrew’s environmentally attuned design earned the golf course the prestigious honor of being certified as Audubon International Silver Signature Sanctuary. It was marked as the first Silver Signature Sanctuary in Lee County, and “Links Magazine” placed Old Corkscrew in its top 10 most eco-friendly golf courses. 

These eco-accolades undoubtedly contributed to Old Corkscrew being recognized as the top-rated golf course in southwestern Florida by “Golf Magazine” and being named by “Golf Digest” as one of the United States’ 100 American courses that the public can access. 

Photo Courtesy Old Corkscrew 

Old Corkscrew Golf Club has continued to seek to find a successful balance between its natural surroundings and being a suitably challenging golf course. A few years back, it restored the true flow way through the green that enhanced the playing experience, accentuating the beautiful setting amidst oak, pine, cypress, and palmetto trees; the numerous lakes; and prairie grass and other native plants. 


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