Photos: Jan Bel Jan
Bonita Springs, Florida
Golf course architect:
Jan Bel Jan, ASGCA
Jan Bel Jan Golf Course Designwww.janbeljan.com
golf courses at Pelican’s Nest
Golf Club in Bonita Springs,
Florida, have been completely
overhauled by Jan Bel Jan,
ASGCA, resulting in a vastly
improved player experience and
increased revenue for the club.
SubAir Systems (aeration);
Better Billy Bunker (bunker lining)
Transforming a club
A comprehensive renovation of the two courses at Pelican’s Nest Golf Club
has transformed the golf experience for players of all abilities
he first course at Pelican’s Nest
Golf Club in Bonita Springs,
Florida, opened in 1985. Over the
following 10 years, 18 additional holes
were built in phases, and rerouting
occurred with every new phase.
This approach meant that many
inconsistencies had become evident
across the two courses. The varying age
of greens, along with blocked drainage
and inconsistent soil profile, meant each
performed differently. Bunker sizes, shapes
and depths had changed over 30 years,
altering the strategy of the holes.
There were a number of additional issues
too: water wells were compromised during
drought, meaning salt content in the well
water was too high to grow quality turf;
fairway turf was contaminated; slopes
and drainage were problematic; traffic
patterns left areas with extreme wear;
trees were creating excessive shade for
healthy grass growth; and invasive exotic
species had proliferated.
Jan Bel Jan, ASGCA, was hired to
conduct a full renovation, to address
these problems while giving each course a
unique identity, a uniform appearance and
consistent maintenance practices.
Greens were rebuilt to their original
design, with tweaks to allow for more
rounds and Stimpmeter readings of 11-12.
Sub-surface drainage for a portable SubAir
system was installed, as well as over 1.25
miles of HDPE pipe to take reclaimed water
to an irrigation pump station. A pump
blends well water with reclaimed water to
manage salts in real time and reduce water
use, improving water and power efficiency.
Excavated mix has been used to create
additional tees over the two courses and
raise elevations of fairways that were
too close to the water table, and holes
with severe slopes and/or compromised
drainage have been regraded.
Fairways have been re-grassed using
a contemporary turf and long-term
maintenance costs have been reduced
by eliminating bunkers that did not
contribute to strategy or aesthetics, while
a new bunker lining system reduces
erosion during intense rain events.
The amount of irrigated maintained
turf has been reduced and replaced with
appropriate, attractive, low-maintenance
plants and/or crushed shell highlighted
by native pollinator plants. Invasive plants
and other trees causing shade on greens
and tees have been removed, with areas
re-landscaped with native plants.
The renovation program has achieved
its desired results. The courses have
retained their strong ‘test for the best’
ratings from the back tees, while gaining
new ratings suited to shorter hitters
from the new forward tees. The high
‘fun factor’ has translated to measurable
increased satisfaction, leading to improved
handicaps for members and more rounds,
guest play and revenue.