At PGA Village in Port St. Lucie, Florida - the only public-access resort owned and operated by the PGA of America - golfers will find three championship courses, two designed by Tom Fazio, the other by Pete Dye. But there's also the PGA Center for Golf Learning, the PGA Museum of Golf, resort lodging from the Hilton Garden Inn, and a location just 15 miles from the beach.
PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. -- When you are soaking in the history at the PGA Museum of Golf, one can't but think Bobby Jones never envisioned what lies just up the road: three championship 18-hole courses named Wanamaker, Ryder and Dye.
Donald Ross' 1900s-era workbench is here at the museum and he too probably never dreamed so big, especially in the days of mule-and-plow course sculpting. Take a long look at the recreated four major trophies of golf -- Masters, the PGA Championship's Wanamaker, the British Open's Claret Jug, and the U.S. Open trophy -- before you try and create your own history on the outstanding PGA Golf Club courses.
Designed by Tom Fazio, PGA Golf Club's Ryder Course is named in honor of Samuel Ryder, the namesake and founder of the Ryder Cup, the paramount event in golf. The course rolls out to 7,037 yards at par 72, with hills, tall pine trees and water hazards, and a feeling of Carolina golf. This course borders a wildlife sanctuary and with numerous pin locations, it is one of those courses that can look different each day.
Fazio's other course at PGA Golf Club is the Wanamaker, a 7,123-yard, par 72, named for Rodman Wanamaker, whose foresight and organization lead to the PGA of America's founding in 1916. Palms, palmettos, wetlands and gnarly vegetation make this a true Florida golf course and Fazio spaces bunkers and mounds throughout the trip to demand accuracy. With two par-three holes measuring more than 200 yards, and the other two near that, this course is difficult.
In designing this 7,279-yard par 72, Dye took the native surroundings and was creative in his use of coquina waste bunkers that are everywhere and surround many holes. Dye also used countless grass hollows and lots of pine-straw rough. It is a links-style course that winds through the 100-acre Big Mamu Wetlands. You will have countless opportunities to pick the ball clean from these mammoth waste areas.
All three PGA Golf Club courses made a variety of "top new courses in America" lists when they opened, and many honors have followed. Golf Digest has included PGA Village on its "75 Best Golf Resorts in North America" list. All three courses have earned the Audubon International Signature Status award making this a stroll through a beautiful wildlife area along with first-class golf that is as challenging as it gets.
Golfer Jim Thomas of Pennsylvania raved about PGA Golf Club.
"This is one of my favorite places to come south when it is cold at home," he said. "My favorite is the Dye Course because of all the options you have off the tee, and the challenge to stay out of all the shell waste areas.
"The Fazio Courses are both beautiful and a challenge because of all the contoured greens. Concentration is a must or you will three-putt. You also have to drive it precisely to give yourself the best entrances to the greens," Thomas continued.
PGA Village is an ideal place for any golfer to come that wants to improve his or her game. The 35-acre PGA Center for Golf Learning and Performance is an all-inclusive PGA of America Golf School that offers packages using the game's most up-to-date teaching methods and state-of-the art technology. Programs feature instruction for beginners, experts and everyone in-between -- on all aspects of game improvement, including full swing, short game, course management, physical conditioning and mental approach.
If you love golf history, you can be mesmerized by the PGA Museum of Golf. It is one of the world's top golf exhibits, tracing the history of the game with a showcase of rare golf artifacts, and the PGA Golf Professional Hall of Fame. There's even a golf library full of volumes written about the game. Admission is free.
The Hilton Garden Inn at PGA Village is just a couple of minutes from the clubhouse. It is just 15 miles from the coast, offering beach and ocean activities. It is also close to the New York Mets Spring Training facility.
The hotel also features Sam Snead's Oak Grill Tavern for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and evening room service, a complimentary business center, and 1,750 square feet of conference space for up to 100 people. Additional Hilton Garden Inn hotel amenities include a complimentary fitness room and outdoor heated pool with Jacuzzi. For more information, call (800) 800-GOLF.
February 4, 2011