September 26 (Port St. Lucie, Florida) – The weather might not have been fit for the playing of PGA Tour Qualifying School but it didn’t stop a couple of Canadians from enjoying the spoils of the PGA Village today. Namely, myself and Flagstick Jeff Bauder.
As our last full day on this foray to South Florida we had every intention of getting in our round at the Ryder Course despite the intermittent pounding rains and high winds that came courtesy of Hurricane Sandy and pounded our windows all night at the Castle Pines Villa townhouse where we were staying.
Before we got to swinging the wrenches though, we took some time to meet with Steve Watters, the Membership Director for the PGA Village and get the inside scoop on the place.
Watters, the ultimate cheerleader for the destination, did more than prop up the offerings, but opened our eyes to exactly how comprehensive the place he promotes really is.
After our look we can easily say that there are few golf facilities that can match what PGA Village has to offer. Under the stable ownership of the PGA of America they have built more than a four-golf course complex, they have brought the golfing dreams of many to life.
On top of the full length courses and the short course that I mentioned yesterday, the other key feature here is the 35 acre PGA Center for Golf Learning and Performance.
There are two other major notable golf practice facilities of this scale in Florida, located at Orange County National in Winter Garden and World Woods Golf Club in Brooksville, but neither of those even hold a candle to what you find in Port St. Lucie.
The PGA Center for Golf Learning and Performance is open to the public for a daily fee with weekly, monthly, and annual packages also available. But it is more than a 100 station driving range that can be lit up for night use.
The practice facility itself also includes a number of putting and chipping greens and even has nine bunkers that simulate the design and sand of bunkers from around the world. Heading to Scotland? They have a stacked sod bunker with coarse sand. Maybe you want to get ready for golf in the Carolina’s? How about a melted edge design with native clay?
After you get you practice swings or instruction in you can test your enhanced skills on a three hole short course.
Inside the center there is a full repair and pro shop, a simulator with full club-fitting capabilities, a SAM putting lab, and a full fitness evaluation center.
But the real treat at the Learning Centre is located right next to the range at the PGA Museum of Golf. Here you can find artifacts from the nearly 100 year history of the PGA of America including the actual Wannamaker Trophy – the winner’s prize for the PGA Championship. There is also the Probst library that contains more than 6,000 golf books, 3,000 golf journals, and nearly 1,000 other volumes. You can also see the workbench of Donald Ross preserved under glass. It’s a golf history buff’s Nirvana.
And the best part? Admission to the PGA Museum is perfectly priced. It’s free.
It’s just one more reason for people to visit the PGA Village. One of many we discovered in our two-day stay and enough to convince us that the next time we make the trip, it HAS to be for much longer.