Playing an afternoon round on the PGA National Palmer course with a member who is a retired PGA professional capped off a fabulous day at the venerable PGA National Resort.
The Palm Beach resort is home to four golf courses at the primary Avenue of the Champions address – The Champion (Home of the PGA Tour Honda Classic), The Palmer, The Fazio, and The Squire. A fifth course, The Estates, is 10 miles west. They allow members and resort guests only. Courses are rotated daily between members and resort guests. The resort is large, luxurious and legendary.
The Palmer Course opened in 1984 and was the last of the original four courses build at PGA National. A recent renovation that reshaped all bunkers recontoured the greens and converted to Champions Bermuda on the greens has significantly improved the attractiveness of this golf course. Our forecaddie on the Champions course was adamant that Palmer was now his 2nd choice to play. Fairways are open and with some undulation. Wayward shots are not penal. Greens are large and slightly undulating. The new Champions Bermuda is not over-seeded in the winter providing a faster firmer putting surface, but it isn’t as green as some might demand.
Two Par5s – the 8th and 12th holes – share a common green. The layout winds through a neighborhood, but the houses do not encroach. The Par 5 finishing hole is tremendous. Its 550 yards from middle tees and 601 yards from the tips. Bunkers with water right and left challenge the second shot. Although not heavily bunkered, they are well placed and shaped now that the renovation is complete. My successful third shot from the fairway bunker found the green on the closing hole enabling a nice Par to finish.
The recent renovation makes this the next best course after the Champions. Challenging yet forgiving it’s filled with risk/reward options. With a high-quality Florida resort and five courses to choose from you’ll find this an enjoyable retreat