By Craig Better
Courtesy of Golf Vacation Insider
In a recent tip about the newly renovated PGA National Resort & Spa in Palm Beach Gardens, Florida, we praised the marquee Champion Course but advised that there are better, off-resort options compared to the four other Palm Beach golf courses there.
We mentioned that there is, “an intriguing, stunningly remade muni just five miles away,” and that muni is North Palm Beach Country Club (village-npb.org). If you can put up with the sometimes heavy municipal crowds on your Florida golf vacation, we highly recommend it over the bland, “other” courses at PGA National Resort & Spa.
Despite its proximity to PGA National Resort, the North Palm Beach Country Club, now a Jack Nicklaus design, seems like a world apart.
Nicklaus transformed the overplayed, poorly conditioned layout into an aesthetically appealing municipal jewel — the rolling, even hilly, terrain is a treat for Florida golf vacations. Although a neighborhood surrounds the course, neither houses nor streets run through it. Likewise, you are spared the monotony of lake- and lagoon-lined fairways hole-after-hole, which is so common on Florida golf vacations.
Rather, this Palm Beach golf course provides a links-style game with an expansive feel and its many elevated tees present inviting and exciting downhill shots to wonderfully wide fairways. During our visit, the course was in splendid shape, too, except for several bunkers that needed raking.
Be advised, however, that this is a long, tough Palm Beach golf course. The par 71 routing now stretches to 7,071 yards, nearly 800 more than before. Wind is usually a factor, the rough can be thick, and the undulating greens often induce three-putts.
Non-residents on Florida golf vacations can reserve tee times up to five days in advance. And while the green fee has increased significantly since the Nicklaus redesign, at $55-$125, including cart, NPBCC is still a bargain compared to other Palm Beach golf courses.
Why so reasonable? As a labor of love for his home county and the game, the Golden Bear worked on this Palm Beach golf course free of charge.