Featured Golf Course
In this section learn more about the history of the course and its hometown, see a selection of historic and current images of the course, learn about what the course is like today, and discover nearby historic sites.
The Fort Myers Country Club is located in the City of Fort Myers in Lee County. Fort Myers’ first golf course was built in the early 1900s and known as the Fort Myers Yacht and Country Club. It was located where Terry Park Sports Complex is today. After its decline, a group of citizens formed the Fort Myers Golf and Yacht Club. They hired legendary golf course architect Donald J. Ross to design an 18-hole course south of the City at the time.
Work began on clearing the site in 1916. The course was built under the supervision of James B. McGovern, a longtime associate of Donald Ross. Ross and McGovern were founding members of the American Society of Golf Course Architects. The 18-hole golf course opened for play in December 1917.
The club’s first professional was John “Jack” Croke of Waterbury, Connecticut. Croke had previously worked for Ross on the construction of the Exmoor Country Club in Chicago. The local newspaper reported that Croke was recommended by Ross over 50 other applicants.
In 1927, the City of Fort Myers purchased the golf course for $165,000 and agreed to maintain the site as a golf course for the next five years. The five year clause was added because at the time there was discussion by the City on turning the current course into a park and building a new municipal golf course further south of the city. Canadian golf course architect, Stanley Thompson was involved with the proposed new design. However, this idea did not come to fruition.
A few years later, in 1930, Mina (Mrs. Thomas) Edison played her first round of golf on the Fort Myers golf course. The Edison’s had been winter residents of Fort Myers since the 1880s. Her first swing missed the golf ball completely, but she connected on her second attempt and sent the ball some 90 yards down the fairway. Mrs. Edison finished her 9-hole round with a score of 99. Undiscouraged, and enjoying the game, she ordered a new set of golf clubs.
In 1942, Fort Myers Country Club hosted the 4th Senior PGA Championship, which is the oldest of the major championship in men's senior golf dating back to 1937. The previous sites were Augusta National, Sara Bay Country Club (Sarasota), and Bobby Jones Golf Club (Sarasota). American Eddie Williams won with a score of six under par (-6).
After nearly 100 years, the Fort Myers Country Club underwent only the second significant renovation since its opening in 1917. In 2014, the city completed a major renovation designed by golf course architect Steve Smyers. Smyers said he approached this project as if, “Donald Ross came back and was designing a golf course on the same site today.” Interpreting Ross’s design concepts at every turn, Smyers says the “new” golf course was designed to accommodate the demands and expectations of the modern golfer.
The Fort Myers Country Club includes an 18-hole par-70/71 golf course featuring six sets of tees playing from 4,300 to 6,600 yards. Known locally as “The Fort,” the golf course presents the same character and challenges as Ross’s original layout. Walking is permitted any time of the day, every day of the year, and rarely does a house come into play on the course. The Fort is truly a course of the ages.
Recently, Fort Myers Country Club introduced FlingGolf, a new, alternative way to enjoy golf courses, using a specially designed FlingStick and a regulation golf ball. Instead of hitting the ball with a club, players use a single FlingStick to shape every shot from tee to hole. FlingGolf can be played alongside regular golfers, making it appealing for beginners, families or frustrated golfers. The pace of play tends to be a bit faster than regular golf as there’s no need to switch clubs during the course of play.
Since its opening, one of the more challenging holes at Fort Myers Country Club golf course has been the par 4 third hole. In his original design, Donald Ross incorporated the canal into the strategy of the par 4 hole. A description of the hole was provided in a 1918 newspaper article: The tee shot on number 3 is across the ditch which runs diagonally, and unless the player chooses a carry of at least 160 yards it is not likely that the second shot will reach the green which hugs the edge of the ditch. The short player has a carry of 100 yards from the tee, and no further trouble up to the green, but the length of the hole compels him to take three shots to get there, so that the player making two fine shots up to the hole has the advantage.
Today, the hole is still a challenge and there is also some mystery “surrounding” around it. In 2017, former City of Fort Myers Mayor, Wilbur Smith III, provided this story for a newspaper article. “There was a lot of lore we learned,” he said. “Hole number three, which crosses the canal, with your back to Hill Avenue — where the swimming pool is now — there used to be a big swamp there. There were a couple of royal palms coming out of the middle of it, and the lore was that it had at one point been a hole with a walkway. So, we tromped around the swamp until we found the walkway and followed that out to a little island out there. It had hundreds of balls, and it was our little secret.”
Inside the Leather
Edison & Ford Winter Estates - In 1885, world-renowned inventor, Thomas Edison purchased a 13-acre parcel of land in Fort Myers along the Caloosahatchee River. He and his wife, Mina, built a winter home called the Seminole Lodge. In 1915, their friends, automobile magnate, Henry Ford and his wife Clara purchased the adjacent property and built a house naming it, The Mangoes.
Today, visitors to the Edison & Ford Winter Estates in Fort Myers will enjoy 20 acres of historic buildings and gardens, and the Edison Botanic Research Lab and Edison Ford Museum. Newly restored buildings include the Edison Main House, Guest House, Caretaker’s House and the Henry Ford House. The 1929 historic landscape throughout the property includes the award winning Moonlight Garden. The Edison Ford Museum is home to hundreds of inventions, artifacts and special exhibits. Visit Edison & Ford Winter Estates for more details.
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Fort Myers Country Club
3591 McGregor Boulevard
Fort Myers, Florida 33901
3591 McGregor Boulevard
Fort Myers, Florida 33901
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