Babcock National, the anchor of a 450-acre master-planned community near Punta Gorda, Florida, opened in 2020 and immediately became one of Southwest Florida s hottest tee times. The course is a favorite of local golfers not only from Cape Coral, Punta Gorda, and Fort Myers, and also among Naples players seeking additional public-access golf facilities to the scant few nearer their homes. Gordon B. Lewis, who is known as The King of Southwest Florida Golf Course Architecture for the more than 80 playing fields he has laid out between Marco Island and Tampa, designed Babcock National. Lewis takes pride in building courses that players want to return to again and again. That s certainly been the case here. The layout, which winds its way amidst houses, can be played between 4,547 yards and 7,244 yards from five sets of tee markers plus a combo option. It s wide open and exposed to the wind, as none of the trees on the golf grounds provide any shade. Numerous lakes bring water into play on nearly every hole, but forced carries aren t an issue unless you are playing from the wrong set of tee markers. Similarly, despite the fact that the lakes often extend from tee to green, Lewis leaves plenty of room to steer clear of the water with generous landing zones and bailout areas on the opposite side of the fairway. While middle and higher handicap players can manage the course, there s more than enough intrigue at Babcock National to keep skilled players on their toes. This course will make you hit every club in your bag. The fairways yield considerable roll, so shots not properly struck or gauged often run into the hazards or the heather-like vegetation at the margins of the playing field. Lewis also placed beautifully shaped bunkers in strategic places. The subtly undulating greens at Babcock National add still more to the challenge. They come in all shapes and sizes and roll quick and true with occasional false fronts and falloffs. Some of Lewis s holes are quite surprising to players. Just among the par 3s, the tee boxes of the 3rd and 17th holes sit back to back as the holes play in opposite directions amidst woods with no water around at all, a rarity at Babcock National. The green surface on the 3rd hole is also obscured from the tee boxes as it nestles down in a little valley. The club s practice facilities include an aquatic driving range with targets set out in a lake, and a chipping area and putting green. No wonder tee times in peak season can be tough to come by at Babcock National it s a fun place to play that gives you good bang for your buck.