Marco Island Marriott’s Hammock Bay Golf Club Review

We had a plethora of activities lined up during our Marco Island stay, one of them being a round of golf at the Marco Island Marriott Resort Hammock Bay Golf & Country Club. I’m not going to pretend to be an expert golfer, so for the sake of this post, I’m handing the reigns over to a “pro”

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Hammock Bay is a beautiful golf course that takes advantage of the surrounding natural terrain to provide the golfer with a challenging yet visually stimulating golfing experience. This is by no means your average muni or everyday affordable golf course. However, when looking to splurge and seeking the most value for your greens fee, one must consider the Hammock Bay Golf & Country Club when in the Marco Island/Naples area.

I recently spent a glorious weekend at the stunning Marco Island Marriott Beach Resort. Our itinerary was jam packed with all kinds of activities that Lynda will expand upon in other posts, so I’ll keep this golf focused. Due to one of the aforementioned activities, we were forced to make a tee time at high noon on a sweltering June afternoon. As we pulled up I was excited to try a brand new track (to me), but also dreading the 90+ degree temperatures waiting for us. Much to my delight (and luck) there was just the right amount of breeze to cool us off without affecting my golf game.

Marco Island Marriott Hammock Bay Golf Course

Marco Island Marriott Hammock Bay Golf CourseWhen you roll up to the property, you definitely get the feeling that you are at a country club and not just a course.  The long tree-lined drive reminded Lynda of Beverly Hills. We pull up to the bag drop and the place looks nearly deserted besides the single attendant standing by patiently (typical for a Florida noon tee time in June). After dropping my bag we head into the pro shop to look through some of their items and check in. The pro shop was stocked with all the standard offerings. The fellows manning the pro shop were pleasant and one of them was kind enough to take us outside and show us the layout.

It was at this time that I came across the first of many things that day that would show how Hammock Bay separates itself from other high value courses. Behold, an ice machine available to the public!

There are one of these bad boys at the clubhouse and holes 5, 10, 15. Living and golfing in central Florida, I believe I am more than qualified to say more courses should do this. Rather than having to go into the bar and annoy the bartender, or wait for the cart girl, golfers can help themselves to full cups of ice as they battle the harsh Florida climate.

THE DRIVING RANGE

Once again, Hammock Bay separates itself by doing the little things that matter. Unlimited range balls came with the round and there was even an alignment stick at every station.

..Marco Island Marriott Hammock Bay Golf CourseMarco Island Marriott Hammock Bay Golf Course

Marco Island Marriott Hammock Bay Golf Course

ONTO THE COURSE

From the first tee I could tell this wasn’t going to be a typical round of central Florida golf I have become accustomed to. By that I mean there was actual trouble in the form of trees, lakes, and even protected areas that lined the holes. Personally I am more familiar with the user friendly courses that allow you to slice/hook 50 yards and find your ball in a neighboring fairway. Those are nice.

“You’ll be good just don’t go left…..or right.” I swear this picture makes the fairways look wider than they actually are. And please, disregard the form.

Marco Island Marriott Hammock Bay Golf Course

Marco Island Marriott Hammock Bay Golf Course

Thankfully I reach the first green without going out of bounds – still took three shots, *smh* – and I notice that these greens undulate to a greater degree than I am used to. Combine the undulating greens with the quality maintenance (walk behind greensmowers are used), and these greens are a fun challenge. On the day we visited there were slight aerification marks on the green, but it did not affect the roll of the ball.

Don’t worry if you can’t see the “dots” (Lynda’s words), they are barely noticeable.

Marco Island Marriott Hammock Bay Golf Course

Guiding me throughout my round was the GPS enabled electric cart. GPS is always nice and in my opinion benefits everyone as it speeds up pace of play.

Marco Island Marriott Hammock Bay Golf Course

I have heard there are pros and cons for both electric vs. gas golf cart debate, but sign me up for an electric cart every day of the week and twice on Sunday. Even more so on a course like this one where the beauty is breathtaking, silence is golden.

Hammock Bay uses electric carts and, once again, takes advantage of its terrain by using a natural shell base as a cart path throughout roughly half the course. This gives off the sound like you are playing on the beach. How could you possibly remain upset after that 3-putt?

Maroc Island Marriott Hammock Bay Golf Course

Golf course nerd alert!

In my high school days I had the pleasure of working on the maintenance staff at the prestigious Lake Nona Golf & Country Club, where I would routinely play alongside residents Annika SörenstamRetief GoosenGraeme McDowellIan PoulterJustin RoseHenrik StensonGary Woodland and Yani Tseng. Of course by “play alongside” I meant rake the bunkers, flymo, edge, etc. This gives me an appreciation for finely kept courses as I am used to no expense being spared in the quest for golf course perfection.

All of that to say that the quality of this course is the closest I have ever experienced to Lake Nona. The shell based cart path I mentioned earlier? Perfectly edged. I already mentioned the walk behind greensmowing. Lush, healthy green grass throughout the fairways, rough, greens, and tee boxes. 2014 US Open Championship at Pinehurst #2 this is not (thankfully). Just take a look at these perfectly edged bunkers:

Marco Island Marriott Hammock Bay Golf Course

Oh ya, remember this is in the MIDDLE OF JUNE IN FLORIDA. From a retired former golf course maintenance man, great work!

A unique aspect of Hammock Bay is its distinction of being a “Gold Certified Signature Sanctuary,” per Audubon International. HB is one of only 45 communities in the world to hold this distinction. You’ll see signs like this one throughout the course:

Marco Island Marriott Hammock Bay Golf Course

This has the unintended consequence of speeding up play. Hit a ball into the protected area? Can’t go in there and search, take your medicine, drop, and practice more (I’ll be right there with you as I went OOB 4-5 times).

Scott Lien, the Head Pro of Hammock Bay’s sister course, The Rookery Course, was making his rounds while we were on the back nine. He happened to pull up as I hit my best shot of the day, in which I stuck it to about 5 ft from 160 out. Any false assumptions he may have surmised based on that shot were quickly corrected as my birdie putt did a 270 around the cup and lipped out.

He was a nice enough guy as I commented on the beauty and attention to detail of HB. He mentioned The Rookery Course’s 4 million dollar renovation, which, when complete, will blow Hammock Bay out of the water (paraphrasing). I don’t see how that is possible given everything I have described heretofore.

Unfortunately we didn’t get a chance to experience the clubhouse. The beautiful beach and pools of the Marco Island Marriott were calling our names!

In conclusion, Hammock Bay Golf & Country Club is a first rate course staffed with friendly people who are genuinely happy you are at their course. As I can attest to based on my mid Summer visit, regardless of whether it is peak season or off season, Hammock Back will be immaculately maintained and ready for action. I strongly suggest a visit to anyone in the Naples/Marco Island area.

Marco Island Marriott Hammock Bay Golf Course

Marco Island Marriott Hammock Bay Golf Course

Marco Island Marriott Hammock Bay Golf Course

{Click to enlarge panoramic below}

Marco Island Marriott Hammock Bay Golf Course

 

Hammock Bay Golf Club Review
Hammock Bay Golf Club Review
Hammock Bay Golf Club Review
Hammock Bay Golf Club Review

*Marco Island Marriott Beach Resort, Golf Club & Spa kindly provided us with a complimentary round of golf at Hammock Bay, but all opinions are our own.

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