The Golf Scene in the Palm Beaches


Photo Courtesy of Flickr 14348085392

There are more golf courses in Palm Beach County than any county in the United States. Hall of Famer Jack Nicklaus is among the five dozen or so current and former PGA Tour players who reside here. Each year it plays host to two major professional tournaments, the Honda Classic and the Allianz Championship. It’s a year-round golf mecca that provides an array of diverse courses for pros and weekend duffers alike. No wonder Palm Beach County proudly boasts that it’s the golf capital of the world.

There’s something here for every level of player, from lengthy challenging layouts to shorter executive courses and par-3 venues. Some offer views of the Atlantic Ocean, the Intracoastal waterway or the Lake Worth Lagoon. About three-fourths of the 150-plus golf courses are private. Heading the list is PGA National Resort & Spa. Located in Palm Beach Gardens, the venue also is the headquarters of the PGA of America and each spring hosts the PGA Tour’s Honda Classic, which annually attracts many of the world’s top professional golfers. Four of PGA National’s five championship courses are ranked among the top 75 layouts in Florida by Golf Digest.

Another first-class private destination is The Breakers Ocean Course in Palm Beach. It’s the oldest 18-hole golf course in Florida, and its sister course, the Rees Jones Course at Breakers West, is another wonderfully challenging layout. Many of the private golf-centered clubs also offer other amenities, especially The Club at Ibis, a gated community in West Palm Beach that in addition to three Nicklaus family-designed golf courses includes a sports village, four dining venues, social and cultural activities, swimming, tennis, fitness center and full-service spa.

One of the most renown public layouts is West Palm Beach Golf Course, a former stop on the PGA Tour. It’s one of the few courses in the county that has no water hazards, but is a challenging 7,000-yard layout from the back tees.

Speaking of water, there’s no more picturesque course than the Palm Beach Par-3 that is nestled between the Atlantic Ocean and the Intracoastal waterway. Golf Digest rates it “one of the best par-3’s you can play anywhere.”

Park Ridge Golf Course in Lantana is one of the more unique courses in the county because it was built over a former landfill and has more elevation changes than most courses in the area, topping out at 85 feet at its highest point.

Another unique and picturesque playing experience awaits you at Osprey Point Golf Course in Boca Raton in the southwestern corner of the county. It’s a natural wildlife habitat and one of only five Audubon International Classic Signature golf courses in the world. It features three nine-hole courses and Golf Digest rates it among the top 50 courses in Florida.

At the northern end of the county is North Palm Beach Country Club, an 18-hole public layout that is one of the few Nicklaus Signature municipal courses in the United States. Many of the courses here have teaching pros, and there’s also the John Prince Park Golf Learning and Practice Center in Lake Worth in the central part of the county that includes a four-hole mini-course. Greens fees fluctuate throughout the year, with the summer months offering some great deals. The sunshine and balmy ocean breezes are free year-round.

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