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Old Collier Golf Club

Landscape Performance Benefits


  • Set aside 53 acres of mangrove and wetland habitat bordering the Cocohatchee River as a wildlife preserve.
  • Established 109 acres of interconnected native upland scrub habitat by preserving 45 acres and creating 64 new acres through the golf course design.
  • Increased number of bird species on the site from 60 to 118, including nesting bald eagles, osprey, and purple martins. The site has also seen a significant increase in local fauna, including alligators, foxes and the threatened gopher tortoise.
  • Retains rainfall from the golf course as wells as drainage from the Naples Park neighborhood to the south for a 25-year storm event using eleven water management lakes, which keep pollutant discharge to the river at or below permitted levels.


  • Saves $35,000/year in water use compare to a typical golf course by using brackish water from the adjacent Cocohatchee River for irrigation.

At a Glance

  • Designer

    Fazio Golf Course Designers Turf Ecosystems

  • Project Type

    Golf course
    Nature preserve

  • Former Land Use


  • Location

    790 Main House Drive
    Naples, Florida 34110

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  • Climate Zone

    Tropical savanna

  • Size

    267 acres (course) 448 acres (community)

  • Budget

    $10 million

  • Completion Date


Old Collier Golf Club is the world’s first Audubon International Certified Gold Signature Sanctuary, a designation that recognizes excellence in environmental planning. The landscape was designed for both golfers and wildlife. The design features new approaches to water use, land management, selection of turf grass and native plants. The result is a course that offers a magnificent golf experience and provides an international model for environmental stewardship.

  • Turf areas were limited to 77 acres, 35% less than the 90-130-acre average for golfcourses. Less turf reduces irrigation needs, nutrient run-off and maintenance costs.
  • Salt-tolerant native vegetation, including sand pine, cabbage palm, salt meadow grass and wildflowers eliminates the need for irrigation, pesticides and fertilizers.
  • Protective berms divert surface runoff away from the mangrove buffer and river.
  • The low-pressure computerized irrigation system features 2,700 sprinkler heads (a typical course has 800-1,200), lower sprinkler angles, and soil probe analysis to apply brackish water only on turf grass, leading to a much more efficient use of water.
  • Diffusers in lakes and wetlands provide oxygen to prevent fish kills, last longer and use 75% less electricity than fountains.
  • Concrete cart paths were installed only in high use areas and on slopes; pervious concrete screenings that blend with the white sand are used elsewhere. Concrete lasts longer than asphalt, is 40-70F degrees cooler and is not petroleum-based.
  • Golf course bridge surfaces, benches, trash cans, and water coolers are made of 100% post-consumer recycled plastics.


The site is 3/4 mile from the Gulf of Mexico and adjacent to the Cocohatchee River, a designated Outstanding Florida Water. Permits required no degradation in water quality and that habitat for the threatened gopher tortoise be preserved. The area was under intense development pressure and had experienced water restrictions. There was no practical source of fresh water for irrigation.


Old Collier pioneered the tee-to-green use of two types of Seashore Paspalum, a native salt-tolerant turf grass that can be irrigated with brackish water readily available from the river. The landscape uses native plants that can survive without irrigation and chemicals while providing superior play asthetics. The course design connects habitat patches and edges to create wildlife corridors.

  • Lower turf acreage saves $20,000/year in nitrogen application costs and reduces man hours, fuel consumption and machinery for maintenance.
  • Irrigating at night saves $1,700/month in peak electrical demand charges and is more efficient with less misting and evaporation from wind and sun.
  • State-of-the-art irrigation will last 5-8 years longer than a typical system.
  • Proper siting, design, construction and maintenance are all essential.
  • The involvement of Audubon International was key. Their approach fostered design and operations that improve the long-term health of the site and surrounding watershed through an integrated resource management plan, which required that each decision have an ecological benefit.

Role of the Landscape Architect

Served as project lead for Fazio. Incorporated sustainable design principles, including use of salt tolerant plants.


Water quality, Temperature & urban heat island, Carbon sequestration & avoidance, Health & well-being, Educational value, Job creation, Efficient irrigation, Native Plants, Permeable paving, Reused/recycled materials, Wetland, Placemaking

The LPS Case Study Briefs are produced by the Landscape Architecture Foundation (LAF), working in conjunction with designers and/or academic research teams to assess performance and document each project. LAF has no involvement in the design, construction, operation, or maintenance of the projects. See the Project Team tab for details. If you have questions or comments on the case study itself, contact us at (email hidden; JavaScript is required).

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