More Private Florida Courses Open Gates to Public

    By Tim McDonald

    One of the benefits for the golfing public of a less-than-thrilling economy these days is better access to formerly private or semiprivate golf clubs.

    Wentworth Golf Club in Tarpon Springs has a new owner and it is now open to non-members for the first time in its more than two-decade history.

    The course, previously owned by the members and located inside an exclusive, gated community, was designed by Steve Smyer. It features wooded terrain and elevation changes.

    The new owner told the Tampa Tribune of plans to build an English pub inside an already impressive clubhouse.

    Palmetto Pine, Cape Coral's only private country club, is also following through with plans to make a significant increase in the number of tee times available to the general public, a tactic the club has used before.

    "We have obtained many new members through this exposure and at this time feel this is the best way to promote our golf course," club President Lee Plank told the Cape Coral Daily Breeze.

    Designed in 1969, Palmetto Pine is the first Florida design by noted architect Arthur Hills. It's a walker-friendly course, like many older layouts, at 6,776 yards, and was renovated in 2004.

    Two excellent contributions to public golf in Florida.