PGA National Palmer hole 5
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PGA National Palmer hole 5
The long par-3 5th is a real challenge, especially now that it has a two-tiered green. Tim Gavrich / Golf Advisor
Images
PGA National Palmer hole 18 bunker
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PGA National Palmer hole 18 bunker
Brandon Johnson and his team from the Arnold Palmer Design Company have done a wonderful job renovating The Palmer Course at PGA National. Tim Gavrich/Golf Advisor
PGA National Palmer 4 green
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PGA National Palmer 4 green
This view from the left of the 4th green shows some of the interest added to The Palmer's putting surfaces. Beware the false front short of this pin! Tim Gavrich / Golf Advisor
PGA National Palmer hole 8
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PGA National Palmer hole 8
Close study of this greenside bunker at the par-5 eighth shows a subtly irregular edge, which gives this hazard a classic look. Tim Gavrich / Golf Advisor
PGA National Palmer hole 10
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PGA National Palmer hole 10
The tenth green has three distinct levels. Tim Gavrich / Golf Advisor
PGA National Palmer hole 12
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PGA National Palmer hole 12
The reachable par-5 12th has an interesting split fairway. Hit it through the gap left of the tall palm for a chance to get home in two, or play out to the right and make it a three-shot hole. Tim Gavrich / Golf Advisor
PGA National Palmer hole 15
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PGA National Palmer hole 15
This greenside bunker at the par-4 15th is a little larger and more expressive than some of the others on the course. Johnson and his team made the bunkers diverse but cohesive. Tim Gavrich / Golf Advisor
PGA National Palmer hole 16
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PGA National Palmer hole 16
This knob that intrudes onto the right-middle of the 16th green is much more severe than even the photo suggests. Tim Gavrich / Golf Advisor
PGA National Palmer hole 18
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PGA National Palmer hole 18
The par-5 18th at The Palmer offers one last, big test to golfers. Tim Gavrich / Golf Advisor
PGA National Palmer flag
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PGA National Palmer flag
The flag for The Palmer at PGA National brands both the resort and the course. Tim Gavrich / Golf Advisor
PGA National Palmer gator sign
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PGA National Palmer gator sign
Just a friendly reminder that you're in South Florida... Tim Gavrich / Golf Advisor
PGA National Palmer logo hedge
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PGA National Palmer logo hedge
A hedge trimmed to say "PGA" sits behind the 18th green at The Palmer. Tim Gavrich / Golf Advisor
PGA National hall of faces
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PGA National hall of faces
An array of bronzed faces of golf legends hangs in the hallway of the PGA National clubhouse. Tim Gavrich / Golf Advisor

Long live the new-look Palmer Course at PGA National Resort & Spa

PALM BEACH GARDENS, Fla. - Golf courses are living, evolving organisms. That means that they cannot be left alone for too long, lest they start to go wild around the edges.

That's why you've probably noticed the steady stream of headlines about courses undergoing renovations and restorations over the last few years.

The Palmer Course at PGA National Resort & Spa is the latest Florida layout to reopen after receiving its own touch-ups. Brandon Johnson, one of the principals of the late, great golfer's course design firm, led a team that preserved the resort's winding layout but renovated all 62 bunkers, replaced the fairways with Celebration Bermuda grass and the greens with TifEagle Bermuda grass.

Johnson also enlarged The Palmer's putting surfaces by more than half an acre in total, which means much greater variety of hole locations going forward. He also complicated the contours of the greens, which had been fairly flat before the project. Now, they have interesting knobs, tiers and swales that make for more intriguing approach shots and exacting putting without verging into the frustrating. There are also more fairway-length chipping areas by some greens. Donald Ross would approve of these new green complexes. So would Mr. Palmer.

The most striking green on the course is found at the longish par-3 tenth, a deep, three-level affair that will give players fits if they find themselves in the wrong section. Even though the green is not terribly wide, the day's hole location will also determine whether a fade or draw is called for on a given day. Strategic par threes are uncommon; Johnson and his team did well to fashion one here.

With The Palmer now up and running again, it joins The Champion, The Fazio and The Squire in having new-generation Bermuda greens, which don't require wintertime overseeding. This should save the PGA National maintenance staff both time and water resources, and the increased speed and firmness should appeal to members and resort guests alike.



Tim Gavrich is a Senior Writer for Golf Advisor and the Managing Editor of the Golf Vacation Insider newsletter. Follow him on Twitter @TimGavrich and on Instagram @TimGavrich.
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Long live the new-look Palmer Course at PGA National Resort & Spa
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