The 18 holes of the semi-private Bonaventure Country Club follow along the edge of the Everglades, a human challenge laid out in the middle of an untamed wonderland of mangroves, palms, and wildlife. Golfers traverse TifEagle Bermuda greens dotted with scenic challenges, including freshwater lakes and a par 3 hole situated next to an actual waterfall. On a given outing, they might run into director of golf and PGA-certified instructor Bob Mallek, who helps students improve their game through a combination of analysis and intuition. In addition to his duties at the course, Mallek is also active in the regional golf scene, serving as president of the southern chapter of the South Florida PGA.
In addition to a tranquil-yet-challenging course and expert instruction, Bonaventure Country Club also sports amenities for golfers and civilians alike. The club's recent renovations gave complete makeovers to the driving range and clubhouse, which frequently hosts events from weddings and quinceaneras to reunions to retreats. Visitors can also extend their stays at the adjacent Bonaventure Resort & Spa, which boasts 500 rooms and a four-diamond rating from AAA.
Named one of the Top Eight Teaching Facilities in the United States in the August 1999 edition of Golf for Women magazine, Conte's Palm-Aire Golf Academy continues to welcome students in search of the expertise needed to improve their entire golf game. Academy Director Stephen Conte heads up a team of instructors comprised of PGA and LPGA teaching professionals who possess more than 80 years of combined experience. During individual and group lessons at Palm-Aire Country Club, students learn through the academy's unified teaching method. This system ensures that instruction stays consistent from instructor to instructor and students will never have to study with a substitute teacher that forces them to putt with pool cues.
While everyone who's ever picked up a golf club pictures themselves stepping up to the first tee at Augusta National and smashing a gentle draw down the center of the fairway, the fact of the matter is, the vaunted course lies beyond the skill set of the vast majority of players. High-handicappers need courses that are aligned to their strengths, which is precisely where Cooper Colony Golf Center enters the picture. The 18-hole executive course weighs in at an accessible 3,820 yards with a par of 60, and eschews overwhelming distance, glasslike greens, and flaming fringes for holes that make the game fun for beginners. Those golfers who need help fixing swings can tap PGA pro Gary Braeseke for lessons, or head to the driving range for some solo time tweaking swing mechanics.
After its cameo in the 1998 movie There's Something About Mary, The Aqua Golf Driving Range became famous, summoning visitors to hit golf balls into aqueous landing areas. Before the movie, however, the 20-acre lake turned state-of-the-art golf facility was a local legend for more than 50 years. Beginners can start down the road to becoming a master golfer under the expertise of onsite golf pros during lessons, which make an ideal gift. Under a long, doublewide canopy or in the sunshine, golfers can also hit golf balls onto floating greens or buoyant caddies. The range also has a pro shop and synthetic short-game center on dry land to practice chipping, putting, and taking off the golf-bag scuba tank needed for second shots at the range.
The founder of Start to Finish Golf, PGA-certified instructor Lucas Cohen, helps golfers improve their swings with a simple, effective teaching philosophy. Cohen’s Start to Finish Concept focuses on establishing the proper grip, posture, alignment, and ball position. The curriculum also stresses finishing the swing on balance and holding the postswing pose—back heel off the ground, club wrapped around the opposite shoulder, hips facing the target, and eyes toward the judges after sticking the landing—well after contact. Cohen and his team of instructors have honed their practice with more than 25 years experience and 30,000 lessons taught.
The Start to Finish concept’s underlying philosophy is that golfers who begin and end their swing with sound, consistent form are likely to excel when making contact with the ball in the middle of the swing. Cohen has proven that his methods work, as he has twice been published in PGA Magazine and boasts a record of success as a player, a coach, and a sand-wedge sorcerer.
AllGolf Center provides large practice facilities where you can hone both your long and short game, rain or shine. Sharpen your drive on a two-tiered driving range with targets and landing areas, or focus on putting in the 36-hole mini-golf courses and practice-putting areas. Each AllGolf Center even has onsite 18-hole golf courses littered with hazards, where players can test their new techniques and audition new caddies. If you need a break, you can check out new clubs at the fully stocked pro shop or take horizontal swings in the onsite batting cages.