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.
Watch: Tiger's Saturday birdies at Honda
Tiger Woods looks in complete control of his iron play at PGA National.
Four back to start the day, Woods parred his first seven holes before pouring in his first Saturday birdie with via this flagged iron from 139 at the par-4 eighth:
Woods' hit three more quality approaches at 9, 10 and 11 but couldn't get a putt to drop.
The lid finally came off the hole at No. 12 when he holed a key 17-footer for par to keep his scorecard clean.
One hole later, Woods would added a second circle to that card, converting this 14-footer for a birdie-3 that moved him back into red figures at 1 under par for the week.
Traj talk— Golf Channel (@GolfChannel) February 24, 2018
And now, the putter raise pic.twitter.com/gW5HDorWSr
O. Fisher, Pepperell share lead at Qatar Masters
DOHA, Qatar - Oliver Fisher birdied his last four holes in the Qatar Masters third round to share the lead at Doha Golf Club on Saturday.
The 29-year-old Englishman shot a 7-under 65 for an overall 16-under 200. Eddie Pepperell (66) picked up shots on the 16th and 18th to catch his compatriot and the pair enjoy a two-shot lead over American Sean Crocker (67) in third.
David Horsey (65) was the biggest mover of the day with the Englishman improving 31 places for a share of fourth place at 12 under with, among others, Frenchman Gregory Havret and Italian Andrea Pavan.
Fisher, winner of the 2011 Czech Open, made some stunning putts on his way in. After an eight-footer on the par-4 15th, he then drove the green on the short par-4 16th for an easy birdie, before making a 12-footer on the 17th and a 15-footer on the 18th.
Like Pepperell, Fisher also had just one bogey to show on his card, also on the 12th hole.
''I gave myself some chances coming in and thankfully I made them,'' said Fisher, who has dropped to 369th in the world rankings.
''You can quite easily make a few bogeys without doing that much wrong here, so it's important to be patient and keep giving yourself chances.''
Pepperell, ranked 154th in the world after a strong finish to his 2017 season, has been a picture of consistency in the tournament. He was once again rock-solid throughout the day, except one bad hole - the par-4 12th. His approach shot came up short and landed in the rocks, the third ricocheted back off the rocks, and he duffed his fourth shot to stay in the waste area.
But just when a double bogey or worse looked imminent, Pepperell holed his fifth shot for what was a remarkable bogey. And he celebrated that escape with a 40-feet birdie putt on the 13th.
''I maybe lost a little feeling through the turn, but I bounced back nicely and I didn't let it bother me,'' said the 27-year-old Pepperell, who hit his third shot to within four feet on the par-5 18th to join Fisher on top.
The long-hitting Crocker is playing on invites on the European Tour. He made a third eagle in three days - on the par-4 16th for the second successive round.
Tiger Tracker: Honda Classic
Tiger Woods is making his third start of the year at the Honda Classic. We're tracking him at PGA National in Palm Beach Gardens, Fla.
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Uihlein fires back at Jack in ongoing distance debate
PALM BEACH GARDENS, Fla. – Wally Uihlein challenged Jack Nicklaus’ assault this week on the golf ball.
Uihlein, an industry force as president and CEO of Titleist and FootJoy parent company Acushnet for almost 20 years, retired at year’s start but remains an adviser.
In an interview with ScoreGolf on Friday, Uihlein reacted to Nicklaus’ assertions that the ball is responsible for contributing to a lot of the troubles the game faces today, from slow play and sagging participation to the soaring cost to play.
Uihlein also took the USGA and The R&A to task.
The ball became a topic when Nicklaus met with reporters Tuesday at the Honda Classic and was asked about slow play. Nicklaus said the ball was “the biggest culprit” of that.
“It appears from the press conference that Mr. Nicklaus was blaming slow play on technology and the golf ball in particular,” Uihlein said. “I don’t think anyone in the world believes that the golf ball has contributed to the game’s pace of play issues.”
Nicklaus told reporters that USGA executive director Mike Davis pledged over dinner with him to address the distance the golf ball is flying and the problems Nicklaus believes the distance explosion is creating in the game.
“Mike Davis has not told us that he is close, and he has not asked us for help if and when he gets there,” Uihlein said.
ScoreGolf pointed out that the Vancouver Protocol of 2011 was created after a closed-door meeting among the USGA, The R&A and equipment manufacturers, with the intent to make any proposed changes to equipment rules or testing procedures more transparent and to allow participation in the process.
“There are no golf courses being closed due to the advent of evolving technology,” Uihlein said. “There is no talk from the PGA Tour and its players about technology making their commercial product less attractive. Quite the opposite, the PGA Tour revenues are at record levels. The PGA of America is not asking for a roll back of technology. The game’s everyday player is not advocating a roll back of technology.”
ScoreGolf said Uihlein questioned why the USGA and The R&A choose courses that “supposedly” can no longer challenge the game’s best players as preferred venues for the U.S. Open, The Open and other high-profile events.
“It seems to me at some point in time that the media should be asking about the conflict of interest between the ruling bodies while at the same time conducting major championships on venues that maybe both the athletes and the technology have outgrown,” he said. “Because it is the potential obsolescence of some of these championship venues which is really at the core of this discussion.”