Hitting practice shots on the range at Heritage Bay Country Club in Naples, FL, is a slam dunk, literally. The “aqua” range features a few flags stuck into greens for aiming purposes, but from a few feet in front of the tee stations to about 200 yards out, everything is water. The practice golf balls are special; they fly about half as far as normal golf balls -- and they float. That makes collecting the golf balls a lot easier for Heritage Bay employees.
But what is good for operations is not necessarily so for golfers. On the range, there is a tendency to over-swing a bit to compensate for the hollow golf balls' shorter flights. That seems to defeat the entire point of attempting to find your golf swing's rhythm before you start your round. And after whacking a small bucket of balls toward the island flags, I found it took a few holes on the golf course before my Bridgestones felt normal.
I suppose if one approaches the practice range as a place to limber up only, forgets to worry about distance and direction and compartmentalizes the image of every golf ball finding a watery grave, then the aqua range won’t affect your round. That is the way it should be since the golf course at Heritage Bay is excellent and, oddly, doesn’t feature all that much water in play. Condominiums in Heritage Bay begin as low as the mid $100s.
On the practice range at Heritage Bay, every shot finds the hazard.