Archive » November 3, 2011
Golf & Travel
By Ray Navis, Contributing Writer
The PGA Tour travels to many exotic plush locales. Some come and go on this busy schedule, but there is one place in South Florida that keeps them coming back.
PGA National is the one, and it is only minutes from the ultra-wealthy towns of Palm Beach and Jupiter. The PGA Resort and Spa is a luxurious hotel option set among 90 holes of the best golf in Florida.
The townPGA National is located in Palm Beach Gardens, which is right in-between Jupiter Island, home to Tiger Woods and Palm Beach, where Donald Trump resides. Either of those towns would make for an excellent side trip or beach excursion.
Driving south from Palm Beach along the ocean road, you can see endless large mansions on your right with the clear blue Atlantic Ocean on the left. Serious shoppers will want to take in the high-end shopping found on Worth Ave.
Jupiter Island is much more low-key, which is no doubt what drew former President George Bush as a resident. The mansions here are tucked away in oceanfront groves of palm trees. The Island also offers a great public beach area.
The golfAs you drive down PGA Blvd and make your way onto the Avenue of the Champions, you’ll know you are in golf heaven. A lot of history has been and continues to be made right here. The 1983 Ryder Cup was held on the Champion Course, and it turned out to be a precursor for modern golf. Up to that point, the U.S. had dominated in the Ryder Cup – but it took some last-second heroics by Lanny Wadkins to secure a victory for Team USA and captain Jack Nicklaus. The Ryder Cup would never be the same. To this day, Seve Ballesteros’s 240-yard 3-wood from a deep fairway bunker on the 18th to secure a half is considered one of the greatest recovery shots ever.
The 1987 PGA Championship was also held here and once again Lanny Wadkins was deeply involved in the result. This time however he lost a playoff to Larry Nelson in a closely contested championship. The Senior PGA Championship was held here many times and it seemed that Ray Floyd owned the event. New chapters in this rich history are written each March when the PGA Tour stops by for the Honda Classic.
The Champion Course is well known for “The Bear Trap” or its 15th, 16th and 17th holes. This stretch was the creation of Jack Nicklaus, and with the wrong wind can create havoc with even elite players. PGA National also includes The Palmer, Squire, Haig and Estates courses. Arnold did one of his best jobs on The Palmer, with plenty of water to keep your interest. Tom and George Fazio collaborated on both the Squire and Haig layouts. These two tracks pay homage to Gene Sarazen and Walter Hagen, who were both instrumental to the success of the PGA itself and also multiple-time PGA Champions. The Estates Course rounds out the offering and was designed by Karl Litten.
For more details, visit PGAResort.com
The resortThe well-appointed lobby area opens up to one of the most opulent pool areas that I have ever visited. This will be a welcome sight if you have non-golfers along for the ride. The resort has been continually updated through the years and offers a variety of lodging options. Guest rooms include PGA Suites and Club Cottages with views out to the many waterscapes and golf just beyond. The room amenities are first-class all the way, including Asian Maple Wood furniture and the latest in flat-screen TVs. The resorts signature restaurant is the Ironwood Grille. A popular place to meet and greet is the iBar located in the lobby.
PGA Resort also features a 40,000 square-foot spa with over 100 treatments. They are best known for their “Waters of the World” collection of healing mineral pools with salts from around the world. The spa website is: www.thespaatpganational.com
The PGA National spa blog site is: http://beautifullydeliciousspa.blogspot.com/2011/10/tip-of-week-stay-tan-year-round.html
Palm Beach International Airport [PBI] would be my choice on arrival or departure, and it is just a few miles down the road. Once again, we had great service with Dollar.com for the rental car. They have exceptional deals on small SUVs.