Ten Most Prestigious Courses in Florida’s Golf Capitol

While glistening Atlantic waves may beckon beach lovers and deep-sea fishermen, it’s the perfectly top-dressed putting greens that attract golf enthusiasts from around the world to Palm Beach County, a.k.a. Florida’s Golf Capitol. With over 160 picturesque golf courses ranging from ones that challenge the pros to family friendly, and 234 days of sunshine, it’s easy to see why the county is not only home to the PGA, the largest working sports organization in the world, it also helps fill municipal coffers with tourism revenues.

For anyone planning a special vacation to the links or looking to live their dream by buying into a golf club community, the following is a curated list of some of the most luxurious and enjoyable sites of the county’s award-winning public and private courses.

Top Ten Palm Beach County Golf Courses

1. Seminole Gulf Club

Originally designed by Donald Ross in 1929 and renovated in 2016 by Bill Coore and Ben Crenshaw, the Seminole Gulf Club’s course is considered to be Donald’s Ross’ masterpieces and it’s the only Florida course that made Golf Digest’s list of the top 100 golf courses in the world. It has a reputation for being one of the most exclusive clubs in the US and recently hosted the 2021 Walker Cup. The private 18-hole links-style golf course is known as a golf club for the corporate elite and has hosted both kings and presidents throughout its history.

The course features a number of sand dune ridges that were carefully integrated into the design of some of the fairways when it was constructed. Two tracks begin on level ground near the clubhouse and then swerve into a forty-foot dune ridge to the west. The Atlantic Ocean borders the layout to east. The tracks are noted for their greens, some of which are cleverly angled resulting in a new wind direction at each hole. The rear pin positions are extremely tough and the fairway bunkers are mostly shallow. The sand traps abutting the putting greens are often deep and difficult.

2. PGA National Golf Resort

The PGA National Golf Resort has six golf courses, each distinguished with uniquely challenging tracks. Tom and George Fazio designed the original Champion course and Jack Nicklaus remodeled it years later. It features a 7,000-yard track well-known for its Bear Trap, a very difficult three-hole stretch. The Palmer course is considered The King of the PGA National Golf Resort golf courses due to its celebrated designer, Arnold Palmer, configuring it to give plenty of opportunities for creative shots. Additionally, since it’s a most forgiving course, it’s great for all skill levels.

The resort has also just opened two new courses, The Match, a space created to encourage participants in match play and strategic competition, and The Staple, named after Andy Staple who designed it to be nine holes of pure fun that can only be played with a putter, making it a great place for casual fun or practicing before moving on to a more demanding course. The inviting space includes a relaxing outdoor lounge area with companiable seating beside fire pits and a cafe and bar.

3. Admiral’s Cove Jupiter

At the Admirals Cove Country and Golf Club members of all skill levels can play amidst world-class amenities. The intricately designed forty-five-hole course boasts magnificent views, scenic waterways and a challenging layout. It’s recognized as one of Florida’s best private golf country clubs and the USGA has been hosting its US Open Qualifier there for more than a decade.

The 18-hole East Golf Course was originally designed by Robert von Hagge, whose unique mounding and creative green complexes are both gorgeous and challenging. The golf course was redeveloped by Kipp Schulties in 2015, who added 130,000 cubic yards to its unique landscape. The course winds throughout the community, criss-crossing 6 miles of scenic waterways. The western part of the community is called “Golf Village” because it’s dominated by three 9-hole golf courses.

4. The Frenchman’s Creek Beach and Country Club

Within its premier golf community, Fisherman’s Creek Beach and County Club boasts two championship golf courses to complement the community’s upscale lifestyle. Just as the waterfront community is noted for its celebrated idyllic views, both of its courses are completely ensconced in natural landscaping and absent the borderline row of housing typical of most community clubs. Intertwined with creeks and lakes, the native habitat creates a beautiful and challenging site for golfers. Designed by Jim Fazio and Bob Cupp, the North and South courses accommodate players of all skill levels and  include six different tees, a bi-level driving range, and a short game practice area.

5. The Bear’s Club

The backstory is that Jack Nicklaus wanted to bring a first-rate golf club to his adopted home of South Florida that was designed as beautifully as Muirfield Village Golf Club, his masterpiece near his Columbus, Ohio, hometown. He created The Bear’s Club in Jupiter in 1999 and spared no expense to create another seminal golf experience.

The 18-hole championship course includes a collection of par-5 holes, anchored by a gorgeous home hole featuring a long green tucked into the elbow of a lake, leaving a generous bailout area to the right. Just beyond the water is the clubhouse, an impressive stone façade in the grand Tuscan style. Additionally, the club’s Jack Nicklaus Performance Solutions academy has state-of-the-art technology not seen at other private clubs. There is also a par-3 course that offers a mix of challenges ranging from 100 to 180 yards. Out-of-town members or their guests can stay in one of four elegant suites named for Nicklaus’ favorite addresses in golf: Pebble Beach, Augusta National, St. Andrews and Muirfield, the Scottish links where he won the 1966 British.

6. Breakers Resort and Hotel

The ultra-exclusive Breakers hotels, renowned as world-class recreation destinations, provide opulent palatial settings on and off the greens. The five-star resorts each have their own courses, which are advertised as “decidedly different, yet equal in caliber.” The Palm Beach based hotel and resort is a masterpiece of old world charm and elegance. Its historically preserved Ocean Course is over 100 years old and offers acre upon acre of lush greens. It was fully renovated in 2018 by Rees Jones whose design respected its heritage as well as its seaside location. The West Palm Beach hotel and resort, The Breakers West, is the home of the Rees Jones Course, also designed by Mr. Jones. This course, more representative of Rees’ signature contemporary styling, is recognized as one of the best-designed courses in the country.

7. The Country Club at Marisol

Tom Fazio and Arthur Hills designed the Sunrise and Sunset courses at the Country Club at Marisol around nature preserves and beautiful lakes in Palm Beach Gardens. At the Sunrise course golfers have the option to play 4,892 yards or 7,298 yards and the Sunset course offers 4,848- or 7,141-yard play. The prestigious club upped their anti by appointing celebrity Suzy Whaley, PGA Master Professional & Honorary President and the first woman ever elected to serve as an officer of the PGA of America as their Director of Golf Instruction. When guests aren’t golfing on Marisol’s two gorgeous courses, they can take instruction from Whaley, recognized in 2019 as one of GOLF’s “Top 100 Teachers in America.”

8. Trump International Gulf Club

The Trump International Golf Club located in West Palm Beach boasts two upscale golf courses, both designed by Jim Fazio. The Championship 18-hole course layout includes coconut palm trees, a cascading stream, and a 58-foot waterfall. In the tradition of his distinguished family of course designers, Mr. Fazio planned each hole to be challenging and complex in a unique way. In contrast, The Trump Nine is a traditional 9-hole course that combines a good mixture of green, wooded, and open areas, and a signature ninth hole on an island green.

9. North Palm Beach Country Club

The North Palm Beach Country Club is a publicly owned by the Village of North Palm Beach and is open to the general public seven days a week. It’s one of only two public courses in the US that are Jack Nicklaus Signature courses. As the mastermind behind the layout, Mr. Nicklaus included elevation changes throughout to create a uniqueness that typically cannot be found in South Florida. The course is considered a “thinkers” course with challenging rolling fairways, an Intracoastal Waterway borderline, and undulated well-bunkered greens.

10. Boca Rio Golf Club

Perhaps underrated, the very exclusive Boca Rio Golf Club in Boca Raton has only 150 members but some think it’s one of the strongest courses in South Florida. And, the LPGA (Ladies Professional Golf Association) would agree as they have chosen the venue to host their Tour in 2022, which is the third year in a row. Designed by Robert von Hagge in 1967, the course is situated on 200 acres of native Florida wilderness just four miles from the Atlantic Ocean and features undulating greens and white sand bunkers with no developed real estate. The club’s promotional literature says it’s an “elegant retreat offering camaraderie and friendly competition, a place where luxury meets tradition unlike any other in South Florida.” 

New Residents & Vacationing Golfers Alike Can Find Their Bliss

Palm Beach County has everything you can imagine in golf courses, from luxury options to fabulously challenging courses. If you’re considering moving to Florida and love the game, you may want to set your sights on one of the many luxury country club communities. However, you don’t need to be a resident member to enjoy putting on first-class greens. Many public and open membership clubs can also be found in Florida’s Golf Capital.

At Rabideau Klein, we have extensive experience handling real estate transactions in the Town of Palm Beach. David E. Klein, Esq. and Guy Rabideau, Esq. are Florida Bar Board-Certified Real Estate Attorneys with the experience you need to manage all legal aspects of your Palm Beach real estate property transaction.  Contact Rabideau Klein today to discuss your real estate legal needs.

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