Construction began in 1999 and by November 12, 2000, the first official rounds of golf were being played on the Gordon Lewis designed golf course.
The community was the fastest bundled community to be sold out by Bonita Bay and so turnover to the members took place in January, 2003.
In July of 2003, the new Board of Directors hired David Dore-Smith to maintain the golf course and common grounds consisting of over 140 acres. With the help of many members including Tom Bowles, Ed McCoy, Joe Rudolph, Mike Galla, Frank Keck and others, a plan was developed to improve the golf course for all to enjoy.
One of the memorable comments from our first meetings was that "Copperleaf consisted of 18 greens and one fairway". The golf course lacked character and in particular color for all members to enjoy their round.
A golf course improvement fund was approved in 2004 and Dore-Smith and his crew set about planting over 500 Hardwood trees and Palms; 50,000 Native grasses and thousands of native shrubs and plants. Holes were framed by creatively eliminating 'out-of-play' areas and adding year round colors from a variety of native flora. In fact, over the next 3 years, 30 acres of maintained turf was eliminated throughout the community. This not only improved the aesthetic value but also had an immediate affect on reducing water, chemical and fertilizer use.
During this time, Dore-Smith obtained Audubon Co-Operative Sanctuary status for the golf course by demonstrating education of the membership through one of the many guided wildlife tours; showing a reduction in water, chemical and fertilizer use; providing a habitat for native animals to exist; reducing maintained turf and improving water quality throughout the community with the use of aquatic plants.
The certification is renewed every two years and the plaque is proudly displayed in the Copperleaf clubhouse. The guided wildlife tours continue each year in March and April and are conducted by local Ornithologist, George McBath.
The golf course improvement fund, with the help of Ed McCoy and the Green and Grounds Committee, has been continued throughout the years and has provided many additions to the course. Rock walls have been constructed on holes 4, 9, 11, 12 and 13; bunkers added to holes 1, 5, 10, 15 and 18; a new fountain on hole 12; improved front entrance landscaping and lighting, additional landscaping throughout the entire golf course and even Bocce courts at the clubhouse. Impressively, the majority of this work has been completed by the Copperleaf Maintenance Department.
The Copperleaf Green and Grounds Committee meet monthly and take regular tours of the golf course to witness first hand the many projects being considered and the maintenance practices being implemented by Dore-Smith and his staff. Monthly reports are presented to the Board of Directors and a copy of the report emailed to both the Mens and Ladies Golf Associations as well as being available on the Copperleaf website; www.copperleafgc.com. There is an incredible amount happening on a daily basis through the Maintenance Department. It is the intention of this website to provide timely updates to the membership so that all members can be informed about what is happening at their Club.
Dore-Smith and his staff look forward to working with the various committees and members to continue to make long term improvements to the golf course and community. Projects underway this year include the reconstruction of the Practice tee, leveling of several Par 3 tee's and additional landscaping to various areas throughout the course. In 2012, plans are underway to construct a rock wall along the perimeter of the Putting and Chipping green complex. This addition will increase the usable area for practicing golf shots and also improve the view from both hole 18 and the Clubhouse.
Copperleaf Members are encouraged to attend the various Board of Director and Green Committee meetings to hear what is happening on the golf course and to express their opinions on ways to maintain and improve Copperleaf's number one asset.
David Dore-Smith can be contacted in his office located at the maintenance facility between holes 3 and 4; his office number is 239-390-3491 and email address is firstname.lastname@example.org. Please feel free to contact David at any time.