With the Honda Classic just days away, let Eagle Golf give you a great insight into the wonderful set up at the PGA National Resort with a personal experience from our leading golf expert to the USA, Robin Couchman.
I have been fortunate enough to visit the PGA National Resort twice over the years and would not hesitate to take the third visit there tomorrow, given the opportunity. With regards to location, it is in West Palm Beach, a stunning stretch of coastline along the west coast of Florida and although the resort is not on the beach, it’s only a short drive away should you want to feel the sand (that’s not in a bunker!) between your toes! It is easily accessible with a direct flight into Miami or Orlando and straight forward drive, or travel via a US hub to West Palm Beach Airport and there is no need for vehicle hire.
After a recent renovation at the resort, especially all their rooms, even the lead in “Resort Guest Room” now has stylish bedding, large flatscreen televisions and soft furnishings to make it feel like a home from home. There are ample places to eat and drink on the resort, such as the Ironwood Steak and Seafood restaurant, Bar 91 and the “iBar” is my absolute favorite choice.
The iBar is based right in the lobby area which sounds odd, but actually works really well, with an ideal welcome upon arrival after a long flight. The atmosphere really ramps up at the weekend (Thurs through Saturday) with live music and many locals, as well as residents, enjoying the variety of drinks and cocktails available, with the patio and firepits an added attraction, just steps away. To go off property, it’s only around a 15-minute drive or taxi to downtown West Palm with many more things on offer.
First and foremost, the golf is what you come here for and with 5 excellent courses (4 on-site and 1 just minutes away), this becomes an easy choice for a 5 or 7-night stay to play all of the courses, with the hi-light being the PGA Tour Honda Classic Champions Course. Let’s start with the others, to begin with, and the Estates Course (located 5 miles off property) is an ideal first-round course, not the longest, but with plenty of strategically placed bunkers and water hazards to keep you on your toes and sharpen your game. It has generous fairways and is ideal for all standards of players from beginner to professional.
The Fazio and Squires are two courses designed by Tom and George Fazio and between them they cater to a lot of “risk and reward” holes entwined with quite a few dog-legs and therefore precise iron play required, to get the best score possible. The Palmer course (originally designed by Arnold Palmer as the name would suggest) had a recent make-over and it is one of the more scenic courses with undulating fairways and will take all your concentration to make sure you pick the right yardage for every approach shot.
Finally, it is Champion by name and Champion by nature, a course that as tested some of the very best on Tour, with the cream rising to the top providing past winners including Rory Mcilroy, Justin Thomas, Ricky Fowler, Adam Scott, Matt Kuchar, Ernie Els, and our Ryder Cup Captain Padraig Harrington…twice!
Renowned for the treacherous Bear Trap, holes 15, 16 and 17 consists of two Par 3’s over water and a strong Par 4 with water all along one side and as Jack Nicklaus once said… “It should be won or lost right here”…and seeing as he re-designed these 3 holes in 2014, he should know! As far as I was concerned, I was just happy to try and hang on to the same golf ball for these 3 holes, which I managed, albeit with one par and two bogies! The course is a wonderful testament to both design and enjoyment, with 5 different sets of tees to make it possible for all standard of golfer, to try their best to match the pros!
I am a big fan of the PGA National Resort and Spa, with its modern feel to a classic set up and a place that many will come to experience and want to return year after year.