The first full season with a new golf course at Island Country Club is drawing to a close, and the members and their guests continue to rave about the new course and its layout.
After 50 years, the board of directors and membership decided it was time for a change to the golf course — a big one. On April 3, 2017, the golf course closed at Island Country Club and Kip Shulties (architect) together with Ryan Golf and Wayne Kappauf (the club Superintendent who has now been with the club 20+ years) came onto the property and commenced work on what would be a true masterpiece. The deadline was to have the golf course ready for play by December 1, 2017. Despite a record summer rainfall of 20 inches in just two days in June, and the wrath of Hurricane Irma passing directly over Marco Island in September, the golf course saw a grand opening on time and exceeded all expectations.
The “old” Island Country Club golf course was built and designed in 1966 by Dave Wallace, along with the assistance of Gene Sarazen, “The Squire,” a former Island Country Club Golf Professional and Grand Slam winner. Over the years, there were upgrades and alterations, but nothing like the new golf course renovation. The whole property was raised two feet to assist with drainage and help in adding some elevation to a once flat property. Additionally, the practice facility has also been revamped and updated.
We have a championship golf course that from the championship tees now stretches back to 6,852 yards with a forward tee box at 4,782 yards. The most noticeable difference with the new golf course is the size of the putting greens going from an average of 4,500 square feet to a more modern golf course average of 7,500 square feet. There are eight sets of tees for the gentlemen to play from and three sets of tees for the ladies. There truly is a tee for everyone to enjoy the game and have as much fun as possible.
The new golf course renovation was passed with approval over a year ago, but there still is no doubt that the membership remains excited and continues to truly enjoy their new golf course, like they are playing it for the very first time.
Ben Tilley is the Head Golf Professional at Island Country Club on Marco Island. Originally from England, Ben came to the U.S. to study at Martin Methodist College in Tennessee, where he earned a Sports Management degree. Ben, a PGA Class A Member, has been the 1st Assistant at Glen Riddle Golf Club, in Ocean City, Maryland, and at Cedar Hammock Country Club in Naples. He has been with the Island Country Club since 2016. To contact Ben, call 239-394-3151 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.