PGA National Resort & Spa in Palm Beach Gardens, Florida, has reopened its Champion course following the completion of a US$1 million renovation project by Nicklaus Design.
Nicklaus’s senior design associate Chris Cochran – working alongside the club’s director of agronomy, Brad Nelson – has overseen a number of changes, including the removal of palmetto palms on the right side of the opening hole and the left side of the ninth, giving players more options both from the tee and for approaches into greens. This work will also improve spectator flow during the annual Honda Classic event on the PGA Tour.
Green complexes have been rebuilt, shaped and grassed with TifEagle bermuda to allow for consistency in a variety of weather conditions.
Over 14,000 square feet of putting surface has been recaptured, an average of 800 square feet per green, returning the greens to Nicklaus’s original designs that were implemented 16 years ago.
“We are honoured to have worked on a course with such a storied history with both Jack Nicklaus and his design company,” said Cochran. “We took the advice of the best players in the game and made one of the great layouts in the USA even stronger.”
“As the home of a PGA Tour course as well as being an iconic golf resort and private membership club, we continue to invest significantly in our brand assets,” said Greg Saunders, PGA National’s vice-president and managing director. “The time was right to restore the greens and we are excited to announce the completion of this major project on our distinguished Champion course.”
The Champion course was originally designed by George and Tom Fazio and opened in 1981. Nicklaus redesigned it in 2002 and again in 2014, when the par-four fourteenth was significantly altered.
The driving range was significantly upgraded last year and includes a secluded area for short game practice, as well as greenside and fairway bunker play.
The resort features four other courses, the Palmer, Fazio, Squire and Estates. The Palmer course was renovated in 2017.