Revamped PGA National Resort and Spa big on golf and style
The entrance to the newly renovated PGA National Resort & Spa
PALM BEACH GARDENS, Fla. – For those who appreciate golf with style, the new-look PGA National Resort and Spa should rank among the short list of travel destinations.
After new owners recently ordered a $65 million renovation of the entire resort that included significant improvements to its five golf courses, PGA National offers a new, modern look and feel that exudes luxury and serious golf.
With its large European spa featuring the Waters of the World, fine dining, hip bars and extremely comfortable rooms, the resort is back as one of South Florida's premier destinations.
Headlined by the Champion Course, host of the PGA Tour's Honda Classic, the golf at PGA National will hold your interest. Add the new David Leadbetter Golf Academy, Dave Pelz Scoring School, Titleist Performance Institute and professional club-fitting service, and there's something for every golfer on every level. PGA National is the first resort in the world to include the Leadbetter and Pelz schools at one location.
'If you're serious about improving your golf game, we have every base covered,' said Jane Broderick, director of golf operations at PGA National.
The resort's updates, in addition to the new eateries and room decor, include the 33,000-square-foot PGA National Health and Racquet Club, which added new equipment and training rooms. And you'll want to see the new zero-entry pool and a cigar bar.
'Our $65 million revitalization gives us a sophisticated new feel and compliments our overall guest experience,' says Joel Paige, vice president and managing director. 'We felt the investment was the perfect vehicle to celebrate our 30-year anniversary as we continue to build customers for life.'
Lots of good golf at PGA National
The Champion Course boasts as much history and tradition as many storied layouts with a higher-profile reputation. Originally designed by Tom Fazio and George Fazio – and more famously renovated by Jack Nicklaus – the Champ, as it’s known, has also hosted the Champions Tour, the Ryder Cup, the PGA Championship and countless other championships.
The Champion has undergone significant improvements over the past decade. It's home to the famous Bear Trap on holes 15 to 17, a stretch of two difficult and watery par 3s sandwiched around a par 4. The layout has a reputation for its tough play, especially in the wind. And the other four classic South Florida golf courses, which feature plenty of water, trees, gators and gently rolling fairways, aren't too shabby either.
They include The Palmer, actually a bit longer than The Champion at 7,079 yards; The Haig, a George and Tom Fazio design that pays tribute to five-time PGA Champion Walter Hagen; The Squire, also designed by the Fazios to pay homage to Gene Sarazen; and The Estates course, a Karl Litten layout that sits a short drive from the other golf courses.
'We are able to offer golfers of all skill levels an unparalleled golf experience,' Broderick said.
PGA National Resort and Spa: The verdict
Simply put, PGA National Resort and Spa is a fantastic all-around golf resort that excels in its amenities and accommodations. It's on a short list of resorts that include five golf courses. And here, four originate from one large golf shop.
The jewel of the collection is undoubtedly The Champion Course, but don't take the others lightly. Particularly impressive, The Palmer recently underwent a complete renovation, and The Squire features new greens. Although plenty of homes sit around the golf courses, they're not too noticeable and don't often come into play. And you'll find plenty of South Florida features, including lots of water, sand, native trees and alligators.
Beyond the golf, the other amenities at PGA National are exceptional. Dining at the signature Ironwood Grille Restaurant rates as a well-above-average culinary experience with outstanding steaks, prime rib, seafood and appetizers.
Inside the new lobby is the new iBAR, fast becoming a favorite spot to hang out and watch sports on TV or listen to live music. It also serves as the site of resort-staged special events such as wine tastings and ladies night out.
Don't miss the resort's 40,000-square-foot spa, which offers dozens of treatments from experienced therapists. And the outdoor mineral pools, dubbed the Waters of the World, complete the experience.
PGA National is perfect for a guys' trip or a couples' retreat. It deserves consideration for anyone thinking about a luxury golf trip of more than two or three days.
Ogilvy urges distance rollback of ball
Add Geoff Ogilvy to the chorus of voices calling for a distance rollback of the golf ball.
In an interview before the start of the Emirates Australian Open, Ogilvy said a "time-out" is needed for governing bodies to deal with the issue.
"It's complete nonsense," he said, according to an Australian website. "In my career, it’s gone from 300 yards was a massive hit to you’re a shorter hitter on tour now, legitimately short. It’s changed the way we play great golf courses and that is the crime. It isn’t that the ball goes 400, that’s neither here nor there. It’s the fact the ball going 400 doesn’t makes Augusta work properly, it functions completely wrong.’’
Ogilvy used an example from American baseball to help get his point across to an Australian audience.
“Major League Baseball in America, they use wooden bats, and everywhere else in baseball they use aluminium bats,’’ he said. “And when the major leaguers use aluminium bats they don’t even have to touch it and it completely destroys their stadiums. It’s just comedy.
“That’s kind of what’s happened to us at least with the drivers of these big hitters; We’ve completely outgrown the stadiums. So do you rebuild every stadium in the world? That’s expensive. Or make the ball go shorter? It seems relatively simple from that perspective.’’
Ogilvy, an Australian who won the 2006 U.S. Open, said he believes there will be a rollback, but admitted it would be a "challenge" for manufacturers to produce a ball that flies shorter for pros but does not lose distance when struck by recreational players.
The golf world celebrates Thanksgiving
Here's a look, through social media, at how the golf world celebrates Thanksgiving.
The major championships I'm certainly proud of, but Barbara, the kids and my grandkids are the best things to ever happen to me. From our family to yours, Happy Thanksgiving! pic.twitter.com/wkma1Q9LlK— Jack Nicklaus (@jacknicklaus) November 23, 2017
GC Tiger Tracker:
Mixing Thanksgiving and waiting for a week from today. pic.twitter.com/u9m9WxQNYx— GC Tiger Tracker (@GCTigerTracker) November 23, 2017
Happy thanksgiving to everyone! Hope you have a wonderful day with family and friends. #Thankful— Steve Stricker (@stevestricker) November 23, 2017
Was reading about Thanksgiving. Originally they ate waterfowl, venison, ham, lobster, clams, berries, fruit, pumpkin, and squash. Seems a bit tastier than Turkey!— Frank Nobilo (@FrankNobiloGC) November 23, 2017
Literally food for thought.
Tyrone Van Aswegen:
Happy Thanksgiving: Biggest turkeys of 2017
Thanksgiving brings us golf's biggest turkeys of the year. Donald Trump, Grayson Murray and a certain (now-former) tournament director headline the list. Click here or on the image below to check out all the turkeys.
Tributes pour in for legendary caddie Sheridan
Tributes are pouring in as golf celebrates the life of Greg Sheridan after receiving news of his passing.
Sheridan, a long-time LPGA caddie who worked for some of the game’s all-time greats, including Kathy Whitworth and Beth Daniel, died Wednesday in Indian Rocks Beach, Fla., at 63. He was diagnosed in July 2016 with brain and lung cancer.
Sheridan worked the last dozen years or so with Natalie Gulbis, who expressed her grief in an Instagram post on Wednesday:
“Greg…I miss you so much already and it hasn’t even been a day. 15+ seasons traveling the world you carried me & my bag through the highs and lows of golf and life. You were so much more than my teammate on the course…Thank you.”
Sheridan was on Whitworth’s bag for the last of her LPGA-record 88 titles.
“When I first came on tour, I would try to find out how many times Greg won,” Gulbis told Golfweek. “It’s a crazy number, like 50.”
Matthew Galloway, a caddie and friend to Sheridan, summed up Sheridan’s impressive reach after caddying with him one year at the LPGA Founders Cup, where the game’s pioneers are honored.
“Best Greg story,” Galloway tweeted on Thanksgiving morning, “coming up 18 at PHX all the founders were in their chairs. Greg goes, `Yep, caddied for her, her and her.’ Legend.”
Best Greg story: coming up 18 at PHX all the founders were in their chairs. Greg goes “Yep, caddied for her, her, her and her” Legend— Matthew Galloway (@matthewgalloway) November 23, 2017
In a first-person column for Golf Magazine last year, Gulbis focused on Sheridan while writing about the special bond between players and caddies. She wrote that she won the “looper lottery” when she first hired Sheridan in ’04.
“Greg and I have traveled the world, and today he is like family,” Gulbis wrote. “Sometimes, he’s a psychologist. Last year, my mom got sick and it was a distraction, but he was great. When I used to have boyfriend issues and breakup issues, he was my confidant. In a world where caddies sometimes spill secrets, Greg has kept a respectful silence, and I can’t thank him enough for that. He’s an extension of me.”
Four months after Gulbis wrote the column, Sheridan was diagnosed with cancer.
“The LPGA family is saddened to hear of the loss of long-time tour caddie, Greg Sheridan,” the LPGA tweeted. “Our thoughts and prayers are with his family and players he walked with down the fairways. #RIP.”
The LPGA family is saddened to hear of the loss of long-time Tour caddie, Greg Sheridan. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family and players he walked with down the fairways. #RIP pic.twitter.com/QKy0YdK249— LPGA (@LPGA) November 22, 2017
Dean Herden was among the legion of caddies saddened by the news.
“Greg was a great guy who I respected a lot and taught me some great things over the years,” Herden texted to GolfChannel.com.
Here are some of heartfelt messages that are rolling across Twitter:
Retired LPGA great Annika Sorenstam:
Sad to hear the passning of Greg Sheridan. This photo brings back many memories. Always respected his caddy skills and devotion to womens golf. @natalie_gulbis @LPGA #RIPGreg pic.twitter.com/lHU3Ixz9Vk— Annika Sorenstam (@ANNIKA59) November 23, 2017
LPGA commissioner Mike Whan in a retweet of Gulbis:
Golf Channel reporter and former tour player Jerry Foltz:
Professional caddies are often overlooked and underrated. But they're just as often the unsung MVP of a player's success. We just lost a great one. RIP Greg Sheridan. He was the 1st to welcome me to my LPGA assignment years ago. He will be missed eternally.— Jerry Foltz (@JerryFoltzGC) November 22, 2017
Rest with the Angels now, Greg Sheridan. ❤️— Christina Kim (@TheChristinaKim) November 22, 2017
LPGA caddie Shaun Clews:
RIP Greg Sheridan. One of the most successful and great caddies of World Golf, period.— Shaun Clews (@shaunclews1973) November 22, 2017
LPGA caddie Jonny Scott:
Sad to here that long time tour caddy Greg Sheridan has passed away! RIP Greg, you will be missed. — Jonny Scott (@stixy76) November 22, 2017
LPGA caddie Kevin Casas:
The world is a sadder place today without our buddy Greg Sheridan, a caddy and a friend for lifetimes...Godspeed buddy— Kevin Casas (@TheKevinCasas) November 23, 2017
LPGA pro Jennie Lee:
So sad to hear the news of long time LPGA caddie Greg Sheridan. I️ remember sitting next to him on the plane from Walmart to the US Open one year and he gave me the best words of wisdom on player/caddie chemistry. He will be missed greatly. Thinking of you @natalie_gulbis ❤️— Jennie Lee (@JennieLeeGolf) November 23, 2017