The Champion Course at PGA National Resort & Spa in Palm Beach Gardens, Florida is back in play again after an extensive renovation project. The work by Nicklaus Design should prove significant for both resort guests and the PGA TOUR members who play The Honda Classic held annually on the layout.
The (USD) $1 million renovation brought in to some new and old elements of the course highly respected for the test it represents. Nicklaus’ Senior Design Associate Chris Cochran led the project that encompassed a wide variety of elements.
For starters a stretch of Palmetto palms was eliminated between the 1st and 9th fairways, resulting in more space for the lengthy tee shots of the pros and creating more options in which to approach the respective holes. The work also enhances the space available for crowd flow during the PGA TOUR event as they are high traffic areas.
Taking On The Green
The largest part of the entire project occurred on the putting surfaces where the 2002 green designs were restored, adding an average of 800 square feet to each one. At the same time as the surfaces were rebuilt and shaped, grassing followed with Tif-Eagle Bermuda grass. This now creates a consistency between the greens and the surrounds. This should help improve turf conditions, an issue in past years.
This is the first major redesign work at the course itself since 2014 when the “Bear Trap” holes (No. 15-17) were enhanced. In 2017 the club enhanced the practice facilities with a new short game area that has been well-received.
“We are honored to have worked on a course with such a storied history with both Jack Nicklaus and his design company,” says Cochran. “We took the advice of the best players in the game and made one of the great layouts in the U.S. even stronger.”