THE ROOKERY AT MARCO (239-389-6600)
Florida Golf Course Review
Originally designed in 1991 by Joe Lee, the Rookery at Marco underwent a complete facelift at the hands of Robert Cupp Jr. and re-opened on January 6th of 2003. One of the
most notable changes is the improvement in turf conditions, particularly with the addition the new strain of grass on the putting surfaces - Tif Eagle. On our visit the greens were
immaculate, quick, true rolling and an absolute joy to play on. In fact the entire course, which has been designated as a member of the Audubon Cooperative Sanctuary program,
was in exceptional condition. Waterways, lakes, ponds and marshes are plentiful, creating a great natural environment for native waterfowl and wildlife. The landscaping around
the clubhouse, tees and all about the course adds to the experience, making a round here quite memorable.
The clubhouse at the Rookery is also upscale, and features a pro shop, restaurant/lounge and an outdoor patio with wonderful golf course views, plus beautifully appointed locker
rooms with shoe service, showers, and complimentary toiletries. The putting green that fronts the clubhouse is spacious, and a nice short game area with practice bunkers and
sections for chipping/pitching is adjacent. The grass range with target areas is complimentary for green fee paying guests. Standard on all carts are weather covers for clubs, ice
coolers, plus the ProLink GPS which provides accurate yardages from tee to the pin along with other useful information and services. On course golfers will also find sprinkler
heads measured to the center of the green, and 150 yard stakes that also serve well as directional tools. Looking to improve your game? The Faldo Golf Institute is on property,
providing sessions ranging from 3 hours to three days, with accommodations available at 4 Marriott locations.
The golf course is a great one, blending brilliantly with its natural topography and tranquil surroundings. Five sets of tee boxes lead to generous fairways and large receptive
greens with an abundance of high quality sand bunkers along the way. There are frequent marsh and natural areas plus lakes and ponds that must be navigated off the tees, but
from the 3 front sets the carries are completely manageable.
Skilled players will have all they can handle from the Championship tees (7180 yards/143 slope) and the backs which measure 6767 with a 137 slope. The middle tees are
challenging at 6430/128 slope, though only 1 par four tops 400 yards in length. An alternate set measures 5884/117 slope for men and 136 for women, and the front tees are
women friendly at 5029 yards with a 123 slope.
The opening hole is a fair starter - a mid range par four that doglegs slightly left, with a lone bunker guarding the right front of the green. The second also turns to the left inviting a
tee shot played just to the right of the fairway bunkers. It is very possible to drive thru the fairway if you hang your shot out to the right. Avoid the 3 bunkers on the right and land
below the hole on the par three 3rd , and a birdie is possible. It is a good idea to apply this strategy throughout the day on the Rookery, as most of the putting surfaces are
noticeably sloped from back to front. There is loads of trouble on the par five 4th. Water lines the fairway on both sides off the tee, and the hazard on the right about 190 out creeps
in towards the fairway making the second shot a challenge. Long hitters who get off the tee nicely will find lots of room near the green however - with little to discourage them for
attempting to reach in two. Collection areas on the left side can make an up and down tricky however. Be sure to check out the diagram provided on the GPS here. The par four 5th
plays long, though there are sufficient landing areas off the tee and near the green. Number 6 is a beautiful golf hole with sand traps defining the landing area near the 150 yards
area. A precise tee shot will leave a simple approach to a green protected in front by bunker. A tee shot driven between the 150 and the right bunker complex will leave the most
advantageous approach on the beautiful par four 7th. There is a good 50-60 yards for fairway past the 150 stake, though anything hit left may run through. Land short of the
directional stake, and you will be faced with an approach over water to a green fronted by a wood retaining wall - most likely into a still prevailing wind (as pictured here) Pay
attention to the pin placement on the par three 8th, which features a triple tiered putting surface. Number nine is an extremely challenging par five, especially when the wind is up.
The left side of the fairway is the safe place to be off the tee, and the landing area on the second shot provides more room than it appears from the fairway. A huge greenside
bunker and water protect the left side of the elevated green.
The back side is the longer of the two, and begins with a long par four with ample room to grip it and rip it off the tee. Eleven is a true 3-shot par five with the preferred landing area
situated past the right bunkers and short of the left fairway traps. The second shot should land short of the water hazard that crosses about 100 yards from the green. Be careful on
the approach, as anything long will find a slope that leads to the pond behind. The fairway is wide on 12, but the approach to the two-tiered putting surface is a tight one with sand
traps on either side. This hole is a good example of what is necessary to succeed on the Rookery - strong, accurate iron play is needed on these approaches. The par four 13th
plays a wholesome 472 yards with a right to left bend from the tips. It is also the longest hole from the mid tees at 426 yards. With water on the left, this tee shot is intimidating. It is
very possible to drive through the fairway on the right, so the tee shot must be directed to the left center. There is a huge waste bunker to the left on the approach, which for many
golfers will be their third shot. Par is a great score here! Fourteen is the longest par three on the course, and is well bunkered with three new traps added to the right side during
renovations. There is a collection area past the natural area short left, and the up and down is a difficult one from there. There is plenty of room off the tee on five (pictured in the 3rd
image in this review), but plenty of sand is in harms way on the second shot. Greenside bunkers also are abundant. The par three 16th is one of the prettiest holes on the course.
The 2 back and middle tees play precariously over the water hazard into the prevailing wind, while the two forward tees almost completely take the hazard out of play. There is
some bail out room short left. Number 17 is flanked by water right and a bunker complex left off the tee. Land on the fairway and the approach is quite simple. The finishing hole
can make or break your round. This beautiful par four demands a long tee shot towards the lone bunker at the end of the fairway left of center. The second shot is over water, with a
sufficient landing area to the right. If you have a good score up to this point, the prudent move is to aim to the right of the green, and work for an up and down par - which is a great
score on this challenging closer.
Wide fairways and demanding approaches are the characteristics one will experience throughout the day at the Rookery. Whether or not you are on top of your game, you cannot
help but enjoy a round here. Warm up on the complimentary practice facilities, and stay for lunch or a beverage afterwards. Great facility and outstanding service - highly
recommended by Two Guys Who Golf! This course is open for public play, and the nearby Marriott at Marco Island offers accommodations and stay and play golf packages - click here for more information. Click here to visit the Two Guys Who Golf Detailed Information page with a link to this course's web page (if available).