BallenIsles CC appoints Nicklaus Design for East course renovation

BallenIsles CC appoints Nicklaus Design for East course renovation
Richard Humphreys
By Richard Humphreys

BallenIsles Country Club in Palm Beach Gardens, Florida, has appointed Nicklaus Design to undertake a multi-year renovation of its East course and practice facilities.

The East course originally opened in 1964 with a design by Joe Lee and Dick Wilson. It hosted the PGA Championship in 1971, won by Jack Nicklaus.

In 2008, renovation work was completed on greens and bunkers by Keith Foster and Kevin Hargrave, as well as the planting of 2,600 trees and 20,000 plants and shrubs.

Nicklaus Design’s Chris Cochran and Chad Goetz are currently working with Ron Despain, project manager at Troon, on a master plan for the East course, practice facilities and learning centre. A series of projects will take place this summer, including tree work and renovations to the ninth hole so the club can build a new pickleball centre.

“If any name should ever be permanently tied to the East course, there is only one name that fits, Nicklaus,” said the club’s general manager and chief operating officer Ryan Walls (pictured left). “We are very encouraged by what the future will bring to complete a multi-year golf improvement project, bringing all three of our courses to modern-day standard and quality of design.”

Pending member approval, work on the East course could start in 2022 with the aim of bringing championship golf back to the venue. Work is expected to include a return of original design features from when the course hosted the PGA Championship, as well as regrassing, relocation of tees, extending the course length and modernising the irrigation system.

Paul Stringer (pictured right), president of Nicklaus Design, said: “We are thrilled to be involved with a club of the stature of BallenIsles, restoring their East course and enhancing their practice facilities. With the history of Jack’s victory in the 1971 PGA, we are honoured to carry out the legacy of the Nicklaus name and be a part of the long-standing history at BallenIsles.”

The master plan also includes a new design for the practice facilities, including a reimagining of the teeing grounds, target areas and practice greens. The learning centre will include state-of-the-art technology, multiple target areas, short game practice areas, a pitch-and-putt layout and a putting course.

Work on the East follows the 2019 renovation of the South course by Rees Jones.