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).