The Club at Ibis in West Palm Beach, Florida, has reopened its 19-acre practice area to members following a renovation by Nicklaus Design.
The club has three Nicklaus Design courses and is home to over 2,000 members. Its Legend course was renovated in 2017 with the practice area next on the list for the club.
“The original practice area was very flat and drained poorly,” said Chad Goetz of Nicklaus Design. “Members wanted a more modern and interesting practice experience.”
As part of the project, which began in May 2021 with Heritage Links handling construction and GTI Irrigation overseeing irrigation work, about 20,000 cubic yards of material was imported to raise the range and create five new target green complexes, which were surfaced with artificial turf from Synthetic Turf of Florida. “An X-shaped fairway pattern was created between the target greens to allow players to practice all sorts of shots during their practice routines,” said Goetz.
“The 14.8-acre range is nearly symmetrical from both ends, allowing golfers to spread out and enjoy a similar experience from either end. The north is focused more for shorter warm-ups prior to a round, while the south is focused more on practice and features Toptracer technology along the entire length of the tee. The X-shape fairway is defined by a small ledge to help golfers visualise two fairways from each end – one working right-to-left and the other working left-to-right. The target greens are also arranged to create various distances and shot shapes.”
Tee areas have been expanded slightly, with the total practice tee area now exceeding 125,000 square feet. The project has also included the creation of a new 10,000-square-foot putting green and five new short game greens spread between two different practice locations.
The club has become the first in Florida to use Toptracer technology. “The Toptracer system allows players to track their shots along with all major swing data including swing speed, ball speed, curvature, and more,” said Goetz. “Members can also compete against each other in various fun competitions with the results synched across their mobile phones.”
As part of the reopening ceremony, a clinic was put on by 10-time major winner Annika Sörenstam and the club’s director of instruction Martin Hall. Members also had the chance to compete against Anika Sorenstam via Toptracer.
The club has also acquired Echo robots from Automated Outdoor Solutions to both collect balls and mow the turf on the practice range, thereby reducing labour and keeping the range in pristine condition.