PGA Golf Club, the 54-hole flagship facility of the PGA of America in Port St. Lucie, Florida, has just re-opened the Tom Fazio-designed Ryder Course after an extensive renovation. Known as the “Ultimate Golf Destination,” PGA Golf Club is also home to two other distinct and award-winning golf courses—the Wanamaker, again by Tom Fazio, and Pete Dye’s eponymous track.
The renovation is the final piece in a $15 million, five-year, property-wide capital improvement program. Both the Wanamaker and the Dye have undergone similar enhancements and reconstruction as has the nearby but off-site PGA of America St. Lucie Trail layout, designed by Tom’s brother Jim Fazio. Central to the three courses is the newly enlarged and refurbished 20,000 square foot clubhouse. All four courses have carts that sport GPS systems with yardage directly to the hole.
The Ryder Course presents a Carolinas-feel with rolling hills, majestic pines, and several water hazards. The generous fairways are turfed with state-of-the-art Celebration Bermuda, a hybrid strain widely favored for its durability and quick recovery. Bunkers underwent a complete overhaul and have been refaced with Celebration as well. In addition to its impressive drought resistance and shade tolerance, the hearty grass presents a striking blue-green hue for great color contrasts.
Tees are Sea Isle Paspalum, another hybrid, and the TifEagle Bermuda putting surfaces, consistent with all the other greens on the property, are fast and true. Each hole is reframed with native and ornamental grasses, providing a new look and feel, and all new drainage has been installed. The six sets of tees graduate from the forwards at 5,038 yards to the tips at 7,000. This set-up makes the Ryder a pleasure to play for all skill levels, and new tees installed in the fairways now provide a short but fun golf course for the novice player and youngsters.
Widely regarded as one of the country’s turf grass experts, Director of Agronomy Dick Gray has employed blade-by-blade forensic restoration to all courses, and the results are impressive. Gray, who received the 2016 Superintendent of the Year award from the superintendents’ organization TurfNet, said of the 21-year-old layout, “We have not changed the initial design of the course at all. What we have done is to make the adjustments that Father Time and Mother Nature have mandated.”
General Manager Jimmy Terry, a longtime PGA member, praised Gray and his staff. He said, “Their dedication has accomplished an impressive transformation that cements PGA Golf Club as a top golf destination in Florida. These renovations and their maintenance provide great course conditions day in and day out to our club members, our PGA members, and our guests. Now is a great time to be a part of PGA Golf Club.”
The comprehensive revamping of both the Wanamaker and the Dye have earned them the #20 and #23 rankings respectively in the 2017 “Best State-by-State Courses You Can Play” by Golfweek. PGA Golf Club is one of only a handful of facilities nationwide with two layouts on that respected list. These updates to the Ryder may secure a spot on this list as well.
Added to the three world-class courses at PGA Golf Club is the recently modernized and expanded clubhouse, where the existing square footage has more than doubled. The Tom-Hoch design features members and guests dining, locker rooms, and outside lounge and lunch areas. He has utilized contemporary elements of style throughout the building to reflect the PGA of America’s rich 100-year history.
The PGA relocated some notable trophies, rare artifacts, and PGA champions’ memorabilia to the new “PGA Gallery,” an on-site museum. Highlighting the displays are replicas of the four Major Championship trophies, including the original Wanamaker Trophy. In addition, at each tee on the Ryder, a plaque relates a vignette about a dramatic moment in Ryder Cup history. Each Wanamaker tee presents a story about a PGA Championship.
Currently, the iconic Ryder Cup is located inside the main entrance, courtesy of America’s 17-11 win over Europe in 2016 at Hazeltine National in Chaska, Minnesota. Guests are encouraged to take photos of the Cup and the entire display before the trophy leaves with Captain Jim Furyk for the 42nd Ryder Cup at Le Golf National in Guyancourt, France at the end of September.
PGA Golf Club is less than a two-hour drive from Orlando and Miami and about three hours from Tampa, Fort Myers, Naples, Jacksonville, and The Villages. It is located 50 minutes north of Palm Beach International Airport (PBI), just off Exit 121 on I-95. Take a left onto Perfect Drive, and let the game begin.
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