Article Courtesy of The
By Stacey Henson
Published July 2, 2017
The Cape Royal Homeowners Association has taken going green to a whole other
The members bought and
are renovating the former Royal Tee Golf Club in Cape Royal,
hoping to open the 27-hole course to the public and keep
their lush views of rolling greens pristine.
"We were in uncharted territory," said Tom Cooper, who
serves on the association's board of directors.
The former owner closed the Gordon Lewis-designed course in
August after 29 years in business.
After months of research and taking care of the course in
the interim, more than 90 percent of the 483-homesite
association voted to buy the links and rename it Cape Royal
It has 23 ponds on 225 acres, rolling hills, a driving
range, putting green, a pro shop and restaurant. Swaying
palms, waist-high grasses, and wildflowers ring the
Cooper declined to provide the purchase price.
"There are examples of HOAs that have attempted to take over
a golf course and run it themselves," Cooper said. "Some
successfully; a large number, not. We don’t have the
expertise to run a golf course. We need somebody who knows
what they are doing."
The association signed with
Indianapolis-based Green Golf Partners to manage the course.
The 17-year-old group also operates Belleview Biltmore Golf
Club in Belleair and Westchase Golf Club in Tampa, as well
as courses in Indiana, Illinois, Iowa, and Wisconsin.
Paul Smith, of Cape Coral, practices at the Royal Tee
Golf Course and Club’s driving range in Cape Coral.
"We looked for someone with the expertise," Cooper said. "Green Golf Partners
offered the best assets and best financial stability."
Association President Don Weigand agreed.
"We intend to bring
this place back and be a competitive course and have an
operator that we think is experienced enough and
deep-pocketed enough to do that," he said.
He said the goal was to retain the flavor of the large,
single-family tracts that extend 2 miles south from Pine
Island Road at Veterans Parkway and keep the golf
"(Developers) could have built God knows what with the
acreage here," he said.
General manager and head professional Tyler Arnold has been
working at the course the past four months.
He's starting to have community events as they lead into the
course reopening. He hopes to have the Caloosa Club
restaurant open in August, with a July 4 tournament and
"The more the merrier," he said. The restaurant will offer
breakfast, lunch, and dinner, as well as trivia nights and
"Golf is a fun sport," he said. "Get out and smack the ball
around and have fun."
Andrew Anderson, a groundskeeper at Royal Tee Golf Course
and Club in Cape Coral, mows an area of the course Thursday.
The renovations to the course include re-grassing with Imperial Ultra Dwarf
Bermuda sprigs after killing the greens and top dressing and smoothing them,
The process should take six to 10 weeks depending on rain.
"The design is set, we're just getting new grass," Arnold said.
said working with the association has been good, and the management contract is
a lease for 10 years, with an option for another 10.
"It's a really supportive group, and they want us to do well," he said.
Weigand is counting on it.
"We’re still here, and we're going to be here," he said.
Some golfers aren't waiting for the upgrades.
Paul Smith, of Cape Coral, brought his daughter, Michelle, 8, to hit some balls
at the driving range on a recent day and is looking forward to having the back
18 open again.
"Me and a buddy played here all the time," the Cincinnati native said. "... it's
kind of got a hometown feel."
Joe Marks, of Cape Coral, was practicing his chipping. He also touted the
friendliness of people and was looking forward to having the course reopened.
"It's convenient," he said.