PGA National - Champion golf course - No. 14
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PGA National - Champion golf course - No. 14
On the par-4 14th, the hole before the Bear Trap starts, Jack Nicklaus redesigned and pushed the green closer to the water. Mike Bailey/GolfAdvisor
Images
PGA National - Champion golf course - No. 2
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PGA National - Champion golf course - No. 2
The second hole on the Champion Course at PGA National is a medium-length par 4 with a water hazard on the left side. Mike Bailey/GolfAdvisor
PGA National - Champion golf course - No. 4
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PGA National - Champion golf course - No. 4
No. 4 on the Champion Course at PGA National is a relatively short par 4 that sets up well for birdie. Mike Bailey/GolfAdvisor
PGA National - Champion golf course - No. 5
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PGA National - Champion golf course - No. 5
No. 5, the first par 3 on PGA National's Champion golf course is a short one, especially from the forward tees. Mike Bailey/GolfAdvisor
PGA National - Champion golf course - No. 6
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PGA National - Champion golf course - No. 6
The sixth on the Champion Course at PGA National is a short par 5. But with water all the way down the left side, it's anything but easy. Mike Bailey/GolfAdvisor
PGA National - Champion golf course - No. 7
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PGA National - Champion golf course - No. 7
The par-3 seventh on the Champion Course at PGA National can play as long as 225 yards. Mike Bailey/GolfAdvisor
PGA National - Champion golf course - No. 8
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PGA National - Champion golf course - No. 8
Approaches over water, like this one on the par-4 eighth, is a common theme on the Champion Course at PGA National Resort & Spa in Palm Beach Gardens, Fla. Mike Bailey/GolfAdvisor
PGA National - Champion golf course - 9th
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PGA National - Champion golf course - 9th
The no. 5 handicap hole on PGA National's Champion Course is the dogleg-left, 404-yard ninth. Mike Bailey/GolfAdvisor
PGA National - Champion golf course - No. 11
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PGA National - Champion golf course - No. 11
One of the harder holes on the back nine of PGA National's Champion Course is the long par-4 11th, where water comes into play often. Mike Bailey/GolfAdvisor
PGA National - Champion golf course - 3rd
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PGA National - Champion golf course - 3rd
The Champion Course at PGA National, home of the Honda Classic, got new Celebration Bermuda grass and a redesigned 14th hole. The third hole is shown here. Mike Bailey/GolfAdvisor
PGA National - Champion golf course - No. 15
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PGA National - Champion golf course - No. 15
The "Bear Trap," named of course for Jack Nicklaus, begins with the difficult par-3 15th. Mike Bailey/GolfAdvisor
PGA National - Champion golf course - No. 16
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PGA National - Champion golf course - No. 16
The second hole of the Champion Course's Bear Trap is the par-4 16th, where both the tee shot and approach are difficult. Mike Bailey/GolfAdvisor
PGA National - Champion golf course - No. 17
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PGA National - Champion golf course - No. 17
The final hole on the Bear Trap, no. 17, is another par 3 over water. Mike Bailey/GolfAdvisor
PGA National - Champion golf course - No. 18
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PGA National - Champion golf course - No. 18
The finale on the Champion Course at PGA National is a strong par 5 that plays along the water. Mike Bailey/GolfAdvisor

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.

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.
Related Links
New grass and a new and improved 14th hole are in store for guests and players on the Champion Course at PGA National in Palm Beach Gardens, Fla., home of the PGA Tour's Honda Classic.
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A new look at the Champion Course at PGA National Resort & Spa in Palm Beach Gardens, Florida
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