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Kingsway Country Club – A Must Play, From Sarasota To Naples
If you’re looking to play a great golf course with a country club feel at daily fee rates, I suggest giving Kingsway Country Club in Lake Suzy, FL. The course is conveniently located less than a mile from I-75 just off exit 170, minutes away from Punta Gorda and Port Charlotte, an area of the state that is very popular for both retirement and relocation.
The first thing you see when you arrive at the property is the clubhouse, an 18,000-square foot Old Florida style building with a lot of class. Inside is a large grille room with multiple large, flat screen TVs to catch all your favorite sporting events, a game room and a very elegant dining room, where you can have an intimate dinner party for that special someone or host a gala event. Kingsway’s outside verandah is also a great place to relax and enjoy a cold one after your round.
Before your round, you owe it to your golf game to warm up on Kingsway’s spacious driving range. Here you’ll find an unlimited supply of range balls, an excellent short game area with a chipping green and practice bunker and a massive practice green. You will find that the practice facility is as meticulously maintained as the golf course; you may just feel like spending the day on the range.
Kingsway Country Club originally opened in 1976 and in 2005 went through a complete redesign by golf course architects Ron Garl and Chip Powell. From the back tees, the course plays 7,001 yards with a course rating of 75.0 and a slope of 137. With six sets of tees to choose from, golfers of all abilities can play from a yardage they are comfortable with. I found that Tee No. 3 (6,129/71.6/131) provided a very fitting challenge.
One of the nice things about this course is the proximity of the greens to the next tee box, a fancy way of saying this course is easy to walk. And many players take full advantage of that, especially during the season. Even with walkers, it’s still easy to get around the course in a little more than 4 hours.
Favorite Hole: Number 12, 335 yards (Tee Number 3): When Ron Garl redesigned the Kingsway Country Club course, he totally redesigned Number 12. What you have now is a short par 4 that demands accuracy off the tee and then forces you to carry the green on your approach. There is a large waste area down the left side which ends as the fairway starts to slope downward. Off the tee, carry the waste area where it meanders into the fairway and avoid the two pot bunkers on the right, and you’ll leave yourself a short pitch shot to a small, elevated green surrounded in front by sand. Although this is the shortest par 4 on the course, it is by no means a pushover.
Favorite Par 3: Number 16, 144 yards (Tee Number 3). The key to doing your best on this hole is to hit a high tee shot that lands soft and sticks. The first order of business off the tee is to clear the water and carry the bunker that fronts the green. With the green being so shallow, only a lofty tee shot will stop short of the bunker behind the green. A delicate tee shot can translate into a low score.
Favorite Par 4: Number 6, 374 yards (Tee Number 3). Number 6 offers an interesting risk/reward opportunity. With the fairway sloping from left to right, a drive that carries the left edge of the bunker will be greatly rewarded and take full advantage of the slope. Hit this shot, and you’ll be left with a short iron approach shot. If the bunker is too much to carry, play down the left side of the fairway to have the best line into a green that is heavily protected on the right side by sand and water. Another solid golf hole.
Favorite Par 5: Number 15, 509 yards (Tee Number 3). This three-shot, par 5 is Kingsway’s signature hole and for most players, it’s a 3-shot hole. That is, unless you crush your tee shot, then you may be tempted to go for it. To do that, not only will you need the drive of your life, you’ll have to hit a long, high approach shot that carries a second lake. Most players should opt to play their layup shot towards the fairway bunker on the left to avoid the waste area on the right side. Then, your approach shot is to an elevated green fronted by two bunkers. The putting green has a lot of undulation and can prove to be tricky. Make par or better and you’ve done well.
Last Word: This place has private club written all over it. From the elegance of the clubhouse, to the friendliest and most professional staff in the area, to the highly manicured grounds and golf course, non-members should consider themselves lucky to have the opportunity to play this track. Fairway divots are and filled with sand, sand bunkers are meticulously raked, and the areas around waterways are neatly trimmed. You’ll feel bad if you don’t repair your ball marks.
Many holes are well bunkered in front, forcing you to take enough club and carry your approach shot onto the green. This may make it more difficult for seniors, who prefer to bump and run the ball onto the green. Layup shots on par 5 holes need to avoid either water or sand, adding a certain level of accuracy necessary to score well on these holes. Two of the par 5s require a carry over water, but if you’re playing from the tees that best suit your handicap, it shouldn’t be a problem.
The TifEagle greens are amazing – fast and true. The subtle undulations and long, sweeping breaks on a few keep you honest on the putting green.
In addition to great golf, Kingsway Country Club is also the perfect venue for weddings, banquets, business meetings, and parties. Memberships are also available and Kingsway is unique with their various dues structures. Their ultimate equity membership includes unlimited golf with cart, unlimited use of the practice facilities, club storage and handicap service. There are also a variety of other memberships, such as a “pay as you play" program that has become very attractive to the local business community. Social and Dining memberships are also available. Call J.B. Belknap at 941-625-9827 Ext.5 or email him email@example.com to learn more about all the options.
To learn more about Kingsway Country Club or to set up a tee time, give them a call at 941-625-9827 or visit their website: www.kingswaycountryclub.com. Kingsway was once an exclusively private club, but economic changes forced them to allow a limited amount of outside play. Sooner or later, membership is going to be back at a level that will allow them to be private again. My advice is to play it while you can. Or better yet, join!