South Florida Escape – Day 3

October 24 (Palm Beach Gardens, Florida) – Day three in South Florida dawned much like the rest (hot and sunny) save for the winds growing even stronger.  It’s a trend we expect to continue over the next few days as Hurricane Sandy builds to the south of us.

The gusts of near 50 km/h added some zest to today’s round at PGA National, the last of our stay at this iconic Florida locale.

Our foe was The Fazio Course, a week shy of it’s debut to the public after a massive renovation.  Formerly known as the Haig Course, it was the first of the five built here on this property.  George and Tom Fazio were responsible for the design and the rework was kept in the family with Tom Fazio II completing the work.

We had little expectation for the course.  With no prior knowledge of the layout what we ended up discovering was a design we enjoyed the most of the three we had been able to play here.

While The Fazio will never substitute The Champion as host of The Honda Classic, at 7,000 yards and with an ample share of bunkers and water hazards there is plenty to draw your attention.

Like almost every Florida destination, PGA National is void of much elevation but Fazio II made the most of it in his reshaping of The Fazio.  In his bunker work he broke up the level ground and artfully defined the corridors of play.  It gives your eyes something to focus on they provide perfect accents to the well contoured fairways.

With newly resurfaced greens, the first bounce on every approach that struck them was a very active one but it did not take long to adapt.  Every shot was a fight with the winds as high as they were but ultimately we found few weaknesses in the course.  When it is finally opened to the public in a few days it should get some very favourable reviews.

Tomorrow we’ll shift an hour up the coast to the PGA Village in Port St. Lucie.  It is home to four of the five courses that the PGA of America owns (the other is Valhalla in Kentucky) and with it being a 1st stage site for the PGA Tour Qualifying this week it should be a hive of activity.

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