A new look at the Champion Course at PGA National Resort & Spa in Palm Beach Gardens, Florida



PALM BEACH GARDENS, Fla. -- After being closed down during the summer of 2014, the Champion Course at PGA National Resort & Spa got new turf and a newly designed 14th hole from Jack Nicklaus.

After a bunker renovation in 2013, crews came back in 2014 to re-grass tees, greens and fairways with Celebration Bermuda, a more weather-resistant strain. As a result, the golf course is no longer over-seeded, which means there won't be any transitional problems going into the Honda Classic, which is played as part of the Florida Swing on the PGA Tour.

Just as noticeable, however, are the changes on the 14th hole. When Nicklaus redesigned the course in 1990, he incorporated a tough stretch of holes (15-17) that played into the water and would become known as the Bear Trap (named after the Golden Bear). As part of the redesign, though, he moved the green on the par-4 14th away from the water, since water would become such a primary element on the new finishing holes. The change on the 14th, though, brought out-of-bounds more into play. This time around, Nicklaus moved the green away from the homes and closer to the water. Players, do not, however, have to carry the water to get to the green.

The golf course, which has evolved greatly over the years, is a par 72 with five sets of tees. It can play as long as 7,045 yards. For the Honda Classic, it plays as a par 70.

In addition to the Honda Classic, which has been played here since 2007, PGA National's Champion Course hosted the 1983 Ryder Cup, the 1987 PGA Championship, 18 Senior PGA Championships and the 2014 final stage of the Web.com Q-school.

Oct 24, 2014



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Mike Bailey

Senior Staff Writer

Mike Bailey is a senior staff writer based in Houston. Focusing primarily on golf in the United States, Canada, the Caribbean and Latin America with an occasional trip to Europe and beyond, he contributes course reviews, travel stories and features as well as the occasional equipment review. An award-winning writer and past president of Texas Golf Writers Association, he has more than 25 years in the golf industry. Before accepting his current position in 2008, he was on staff at PGA Magazine, The Golfweek Group and AvidGolfer Magazine. Follow Mike on Twitter at @MikeBaileyGA and Instagram at @MikeStefanBailey.