Consider the hometowns of many of golf’s greats, and Palm Beach County addresses come up again and again. Among the big name golfers that call this part of Florida home are Jack Nicklaus, Greg Norman, Ray Floyd, Tom Fazio and Dottie Pepper.
It’s no surprise such serious swingers have made their way to Palm Beach County. Known as Florida’s Golf Capital, this region has the largest number of golf courses in the entire state (and that’s saying a lot – Florida has more than 1,300 golf courses!).
From first-rate fairways that draw golfers from around the world to casual public courses beloved by the locals, the options for getting in 18 holes are as dependable as the region’s perpetually fine weather (golfing 365 days a year here is par for the course). And the fact that Palm Beach County abounds with some of the finest luxury resorts in the state only adds to the appeal.
From Old Florida fairways to cutting-edge golf academies, Palm Beach County’s diverse golf destinations don’t disappoint. Read on to learn about them:
PGA National Resort & Spa in Palm Beach Gardens played host to the 1983 Ryder Cup and the 1987 PGA Championship, with a whopping five championship courses designed by big names like Fazio and Nicklaus that mix it up with varying doses of sand, water and lush greenery. While the courses were built in the 1980s, they continue to lure players in search of a guaranteed challenge at one of the state’s finest public golf locales.
The Breakers takes the golfer’s good life and distills it to its essence at this legendary Palm Beach resort, where two private courses and an academy appeal to the casual player and more serious golfers, too. The vintage Ocean Course (designed in 1896 and recently re-imagined) sits right on Breakers property, overlooking the Atlantic. A more contemporary par-72 Rees Jones layout is minutes away. And get tips for lowering your handicap and smoothing your swing at the John Webster Golf Academy. A perk? Since all facilities are open to resort guests and members only, the crowd factor isn’t an issue.
The Boca Raton Resort & Club brings two championship courses to the table, as well as the Dave Pelz Scoring Game School—the world’s only golf school devoted entirely to the short game. Recent renovations to the tune of millions of dollars at both the nearby Country Club Course (par 72) and the Resort Course (on resort property), make the experience more luxurious than ever, with full practice facilities and high-end pro shops.
Emerald Dunes Golf Club incorporates waterfalls, rolling green dunes and acres of shimmering lakes that make playing at this public course in West Palm Beach magical (ascend the super dune, 50 feet high, for views of an Oz-like golfer’s paradise). Like your water hazards? Good news. Tom Fazio incorporated liquid fun into 16 of 18 holes here. And there are five sets of tees on each hole, making group play with various ability levels more feasible. The course has been awarded numerous accolades, among them Golf Magazine’s Top 100 and 2004 Florida Golf Course of the Year.
Delray Beach Golf Club is a bunker-rich public course, near downtown Delray Beach, that was built in 1923. Rates are extremely affordable, even without the Palm Beach County resident discounts offered. You can take lessons here, too.
Polo Trace Golf Club is another fine public course in Delray, although the rolling, links-style layout might have you feeling closer to Scotland.
This article is brought to you by the Palm Beach County Convention and Visitors Bureau. For more information, visit Palm Beach County’s official website for help planning your golf getaway.