Construction on Bear's Paw Country Club began in the late 1970's and was started by Shelter Corporation of Winnipeg, Canada. John Murphy, an oil man from Columbus, Ohio entered into a contract for the purchase of 245 acres, for the purpose of building a golfing community with a natural setting and embracing wildlife. Murphy concurrently entered into an agreement with Jack Nicklaus Design to construct an 18-hole Jack Nicklaus Signature Championship Golf Course. At this time, Golden Gate Boulevard and Airport Pulling Road were solely two-lane roads with little development on either side.
The Bear's Paw name had an obvious reference to the "Golden Bear," a Jack Nicklaus trademark. The official ribbon cutting ceremony of Bear's Paw Country Club was held on December 3, 1980 with Jack Nicklaus and Graham Lount doing the honors and several professional golfers participating in the inaugural events.
In March of 1980, the owners decided to establish the first articles of incorporation and the first Board of Governors. In December of 1985, the Members officially took over and the first annual meeting was held in January of the next year.
In 2005, Bear's Paw Country Club celebrated its 25th anniversary. It was a celebration of friendship, golf and recognition of Bear's Paw as a "pathfinder" of Golf Course Communities in Naples, Florida. Course Architect, Jack Nicklaus was present for the festivities and was quoted saying "Bear's Paw is one of the most unique golfing communities in the nation" and described the Signature Golf Course as "one of the most playable, yet challenging and fun courses" he's been a part of.
In 2015, the members of Bear's Paw determined that it was time for a complete restoration of our "Jack Nicklaus Signature Design" golf course. Here is a list of items that were included in the Golf Course Restoration Project:
- New Jack Nicklaus "Signature" greens
- New greens were regrassed with TifEagle Bermuda
- New green side and fairway bunkers
- New practice putting green
- New short game practice green adjacent to #10 tee
- New short game practice green and bunker near the back tee of the practice range
- New practice range with improved target greens including new back tee complex
- New irrigation system including new pump station
- New concrete cart paths
- All tees leveled and many tees expanded in size
- New set of forward tees
- Entire course, fairways, tees and rough regrassed with Celebration Bermuda
- New comfort stations
During Jack's first site visit on Friday, February 20, 2015 he made it very clear to us that he planned to deliver a completely new golf course that would be more interesting, more fun and very playable for all skill levels. He also indicated our new course would be more "visually attractive" due to the re-building of all the bunkers.
In 2018, members voted for a complete clubhouse and fitness center renovation. The old building was demolished in the summer of 2018 and the construction of the brand new one started short after that. The new, state-of-the-art clubhouse opened its doors for members on November 1, 2019 - delivered on time and on budget.