Charlotte Harbor National Golf Club has stood out as one of Sarasota County’s best courses since its debut in 1988. Formerly known as Bobcat Trail Golf Club, or “The Cat,” the 7,000-yard layout was the original vision of 1986 PGA Championship winner Bob Tway and renowned course architect Lee Singletary.
The pairing’s primary objective: Creating a championship-level course that would also hold great appeal to the club’s non-professional members and prospective patrons as well as the esteemed professional golfer.
After 32 years and a recently completed full renovation, The National’s original mission remains intact. The course serves as a rewarding challenge for its everyday players, while preserving some of the Suncoast region’s most breathtaking natural scenery. Every hole has its share of risk-reward dilemmas; and each shot likely involves a tricky combination of water hazards, tree-lined obstacles, European-style pot bunkers and fast, undulating greens.
Here’s another experiential rarity for your round: At some point, golfers might encounter some of the abundant wildlife which inhabit the golf course — namely foxes, gators, hawks and osprey.
"Perfect for the Pro Looking for a Challenge
& a Fun Seeking Novice."
Attention to Every Detail
The layout includes four par-3 opportunities and four par-5s, with each of the long stretches covering more than 490 yards The beauty of playing The National: There’s no clear consensus on a ‘signature’ hole. They are all so good and beautiful, as well as memorable.
Some golfers marvel at the overall layout, with many holes possessing nuanced traits from other legendary courses — similar to a high-end chef deconstructing the essence of a classic dish, and rebuilding it in a manner that’s reflective of their personality.
Others golfers revel in The National’s capacity for inserting drama into every hole, whether it involves the dog-leg structures, the strategically placed bunkers, the omnipresent bodies of water or the multi-tiered construction.
Here’s one consensus, though, among the players: The No. 18 finishing hole, aptly named “Squid Pro Quo,” universally draws rave reviews for those playing at sunlight or sunset, thanks to the reflecting-pool waters and awe-inspiring surrounding views.
The strategic element also captivates the players: Would a driver/6-iron combination best handle this dog-leg-left layout? And how does one confront (or in this case, avoid) the three green-side bunkers … if forced to play a longer club on the approach shot?
Put it all together, and we can’t wait to see what the next 20-plus years entail. Charlotte Harbor National Golf Club strives to be a rotational beacon for championship golf in Florida. It aspires to be an unmistakable jewel of the United States.