PGA NATIONAL RESORT (800-633-9150) The Champion
Florida Golf Course Review
PGA National in Palm Beach Gardens is a full service resort featuring a variety of accommodations with upscale amenities, to compliment world class golf
experiences that include 90 holes of championship golf along with some of Florida's most comprehensive practice facilities. Resort features include a
variety of fine and casual dining opportunities (including Shula's Staekhouse), spacious meeting/conference rooms (35,000 square feet total), multiple
swimming pools and Jacuzzis, a 33,000 square foot health & racquet club (with 17 tennis courts and spacious gymnasium with 2 separate aerobics rooms),
a full service European-style spa (with 56 treatment rooms, steam rooms & saunas plus the unique "Waters of the World" mineral baths),and more.
Memberships are available at this AAA 4-Diamond resort and golf club, and golf here is available for members and guests of the resort only! For more info,
visit our page for the resort, with direct link to their website by clicking here.
The Champion Course(home to the PGA Honda Classic), Squire, General and Haig courses are all on resort property and are serviced by the same
beautiful clubhouse, which includes a nicely stocked pro shop. There are locker rooms with showers for men and women, and the 19th Hole, Bear Trap Bar
& Grill, plus hall of fame lounge are all accessible. Members also have the luxury of a private locker room with full time attendant. Practice facilities include
three driving ranges plus multiple short game areas and putting greens. The Golf Digest Academy is also on property, providing a variety of lessons and
clinics, and the PGA of America also calls this resort home.
The Estate Course (Bay Hill Estates) is located about 8 miles away, and features its own clubhouse with snack bar and pro shop, plus beautiful practice
facilities. All five courses have carts with rear weather protectors, and coolers are also standard on the carts at the Estate Course. Guests playing any of
the other four courses can fill up with complimentary ice and water at the clubhouse station on resort property. Tees and towels are also provided. On
course yardage markers are positioned on the fairways and cart paths at 100, 150 and 200 yards, with 150 stakes also present on all par fours and fives.
Each tee box has yardages plates, and color coded flags on the greens indicate the front, middle or back pin placements. Sprinkler heads on all courses
(except the Estate Course) are also marked to the center of the green.
The Champion Course
The photos in this review are of the Champion, one of the four championship layouts on resort property - and annual host to the Honda Classic PGA Tour
event. The Champions Course has helped PGA National to become recognized as the resort that has hosted more PGA Tour events than any other
property in the country. The longest course of this resort, The Champion plays to over 7000 yards and was originally designed by George and Tom Fazio, with a makeover by Jack Nicklaus.
This layout features large undulating greens, which immediately separate it from the other four PGA National courses (which all feature small, traditional
green complexes). Sand is a strong feature, as 74 soft white sand bunkers are situated greenside or near the landing zones on the manicured Bermuda
fairways. The water hazards that come into play in some shape or form (mostly on the perimeters) on 17 holes provides challenge and aesthetic beauty,
and also are home to abundant native waterfowl and wildlife.
This is perhaps the most beautiful, and certainly is the toughest course on property. The tips play to 7048 yards with a slope of 147 and course rating of
75.3 - one of the tops in the region! Alternate sets play to distances and slopes measuring 6721 yards/144 slope, 6379 yards/137 slope, 5984 yards/129
slope for men and 154 for women braving the white tees, and 5145 yards with a slope of 136 for ladies playing from the red tees. Though daunting, we
found the white tee areas to be very playable and quite enjoyable - especially on the second and third attempts (we played this course three times during
our visit!). Some of the pins were extremely well tucked into the narrow greens - creating the need for some soft, high approach shots. We highly
recommend a round here - a must play for visitors to this resort! For more info, visit our page for the course, with direct link to their website by clicking here.