Down by the bunker on The Champion Course

Course Perfection

PGA National Resort & Spa gets a $100 million makeover

Reasons abound why golfing greats like Tiger Woods, Jack Nicklaus and Rory McIlroy choose to reside in the West Palm Beach area of Florida-plenty of year-round sunshine, lush flora and teeming fauna, beautiful people, great restaurants, scores of big-time golf courses. For travelers wishing to emulate the enviable lifestyle of those globetrotting greats all one need do is enter the grounds of PGA National Resort & Spa in Palm Beach Gardens, check in, and the rest is easy.

First off, as far as golf goes, few destinations have a pedigree as storied. ˛e vaunted résumé of its Champion Course includes hosting the 1983 Ryder Cup, 1987 PGA Championship, and nearly two decades of the Senior PGA Championship. Currently, it hosts The Honda Classic-a wildly popular stop on the PGA Tour’s “Florida Swing.” And yes, locals like Tiger and Rory tee it up in the event after the quick drive to the course.

The mighty Champion is also home to the ominously named “Bear Trap” holes 15, 16 and 17-where designer Nicklaus famously said, “It should be won or lost right here.” Why so hard? Water, water and more water lurking everywhere. Just like the pros, resort visitors have a go at the diabolical trifecta after getting the obligatory group photo with the awesome snarling bear stature standing sentinel by the 15th tee. Play the holes at your own risk and have a blast trying to tame them.

PGA National boasts four other excellent layouts including The Palmer-an Arnold Palmer signature course with a subtle nod to the game’s Scottish roots. Don’t miss a chance to play its splendid new Fazio Course-a thrilling renovation of “The Haig” which was the resort’s original 18-hole course opened in 1980.

For those who don’t yet play like a pro, the PGA National Golf Academy is home to world-class golf instruction. On-site top-of-the-line programs from both the David Leadbetter Golf Academy and the Dave Pelz Scoring Game School, along with tour-level custom club fitting from the PGA National Club Fitting Lab, are available.

The whole resort is a one-stop golf heaven. With all that said, one would think PGA National would simply rest on its golf laurels. However, that’s not the case as it just unveiled its recent $100 million revitalization that has turned entire property into a “must-visit” vacation locale.

New enhancements include floor-to-ceiling makeovers of its 379 guest rooms; a permanent, lakeside wedding venue with stunning vistas; and total overhaul of its 19th hole bar and grill now called “Bar 91” complete with an outdoor fire pit and the perfect spot to recount your fortunes or misfortunes on the Bear Trap.

Another grand touch is the individually themed “specialty” suites designed by Boston’s award-winning CBT Architects.

The spacious accommodations are ideal for weddings, honeymoons, spa aficionados, golf buddy trips, football “big game” weekends and group getaways. Guests will discover luxurious high-tech living areas with stunning property views from a private terrace or balcony and creature comforts galore.

After a round, cool off with a dip in the magnificent zero-entry pool then enjoy one of the several on-site restaurants and lounges highlighted by Ironwood Steak & Seafood and classy iBAR in the lobby. The chef-driven Ironwood Steak & Seafood presents mouth-watering steaks and fresh Florida fish. Notable is its “Tomahawk for Two”-a 32-ounce cross of Wagyu and Black Angus beef, dry-aged for 21 days- cooked to perfection at 1,200 degrees in its state-of-the-art Vulcan 1200 broiler. The menu highlights also include locally caught wahoo, crab-stuffed Maine lobster and a raw bar complete with succulent shellfish and sashimi. The centerpiece of the dining room experience is a wine room with more than 1,000 bottles of the finest vintages from the world over.

As if all that weren’t enough, visitors can also indulge in one of more than 100 treatments offered by the 40,000 square-foot European Spa with 32 treatment areas and exclusive “Waters of the World” outdoor mineral pools. Need a workout? Enjoy the superb 33,000 square-foot health-and-racquet club with 19 Har Tru tennis courts.

That renowned South Florida lifestyle is beckoning. PGA National Resort & Spa is the ideal way to see what the fuss is all about.

Golf Talk:
Golf was banned in Scotland from 1457 to 1502 to ensure citizens wouldn’t waste time when preparing for an English invasion.


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