In 1998, my husband and I were looking for a warm weather home and made an offer on a waterfront lot in Belize that came up short. Later that spring, our next door neighbors on Orcas Island in Washington’s San Juan Islands told us, “Before you go buying in the Third World, please go to Palm Island – it is your kind of place.” Three years later we finally vacationed in Englewood FL, and simply fell in love with the barrier islands right offshore. We purchased a Palm Island property on that trip and built a home in 2004. We pinch ourselves every day because we are so blessed to live in such a paradise.
Golf is our game, and has been for many years. Springtime golf in western Washington State, where I had spent my entire life, was like “sloggin through the bog”. A nice fairway shot would leave you covered with a full body sheen of mud. The only plus - at least the ground wasn’t covered with snow!!
However, golfing in Southwest Florida during the spring is just plain heavenly. Temperatures in the mid 80’s, a nice gentle breeze off the Gulf, beautiful fairways, and perfect greens. THIS IS MORE LIKE IT!!
Not to mention the convenience of having eleven golf courses within 15 minutes of home – some public, some private. Plus, scores more courses within short drives to Venice, Sarasota, and Port Charlotte. Since we golf once a week at best, we decided against joining a club and just enjoy the variety of courses surrounding us.
One of my favorites is Myakka Pines Golf Club, which is an Audubon course with no homes lining the fairway. Nature is really up close and personal on this course. During a round, you might see Sandhill Cranes dancing across a green; trees full of Snowy White Egrets, Great Egrets and Blue Herons; or White Ibis feeding on the fairway.
Then there are the gators! You find them at most of the golf courses here in Southwest Florida. Mostly floating around in the ponds and some sunning themselves alongside the fairways or tee boxes. I’ve included a picture of “George”, who is a regular at Myakka Pines. Some of you might have seen him running over a green in a recent Facebook post that went viral and on the TV news. But, not to worry. I haven’t heard of any golfers getting eaten by gators since coming to SW Florida.