Just outside of Naples, Florida, Kensington Golf and Country Club offers a private golf retreat designed around a 20-acre natural preserve at the heart of this residential community. Robert Trent Jones, Jr. said of his first course in SW Florida, “Every hole at Kensington will enhance the environmental aspects of the property.”
Several routing puzzles confronted us in creating a challenging, playable course. First, we had to design exciting golf features on a small, flat site while protecting a series of wetland preserves. Our client also instructed us to maximize the site’s value for housing without compromising the quality of the golf. We ultimately used the golf course as a buffer between the wetlands and homesites. In an effort to creatively employ natural-looking hazards, we laid down expanses of crushed coquina (sedimentary rock consisting of shell fragments) harvested on site as a strategic element that brackets landing areas and must be crossed on several holes.
More than a decade after Kensington opened, our client called upon Robert Trent Jones II to renovate the course. We restored and softened green surfaces and slopes so that hardier new grasses could be planted without losing the original contours and feel of the putting surfaces. We also rebuilt tees and bunkers and used additional coquina to serve as cart paths in place of the original concrete, lending the course a more natural flavor.
The 6,879-yard venue feels like a spacious core golf layout even while it routes in and out of the residential community. Native flora and fauna increase the natural aspect of this course whose exacting members demanded the best.