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PGA National Championship Golf Course

PGA National championship golf course

our golf pro give some course tips

pga national championship course

PGA national is known as the mecca of golf resorts, home of five champion level golf courses loved by pros and amateurs alike, the best of Floridian golf. The Champion is, in most pros opinions, the toughest course of the resort. It is the be all and end all of them all.

PGA national championship golf course

history of the course

It was originally designed by George & Tom Fazio and opened in 1981. However, the fairways and greens were deemed almost unplayable and unfair so the course underwent a complete redesign by Jack Nicklaus and was reopened in 1990. He may have softened some fairways and a few greens but he added entirely different elements of terrifying to keep you on your toes. Like the famous Bear Trap (holes 15, 16, 17) that has brought about the crushing of many a golfer’s dreams.

The original Fazio design hosted the likes of the ’83 Ryder Cup and the ’87 PGA Championship. From ’82 to 2000 it also held the Senior PGA Championships. Nicklaus did a little bit of renovating in 2002 to change it up a bit and make it a little more interesting, and in 2007 it became the official home of The Honda Classic. There was also a more recent renovation done in fall of 2014 when the 14th hole was redesigned to be more challenging as a smooth lead in to the Bear Trap and of course, more water and bunkers were also added. 

It is the Champion Course that has led to the PGA National Resort & Spa hosting the most PGA Tour events in the country. Unlike the other four courses on the property the Champion has a links like feature of undulated greens as well as numerous white sand bunkers. To be more forgiving towards golfers of all levels the course has five sets of tees to choose from.  

golf holes at pga national golf course

get top tips before your round of golf

The opening par four is a somewhat short one with bunkers and tree to the right and a lake to the left leaving a rather thin window of opportunity. While there is much chance of blowing it, you have just as much of a chance of walking away with a birdie on this one. The fifth hole is a particularly trying one with a 217 yard carry over water with a strong right to left prevailing wind on the water making it rather difficult to target the pin on the left side. 

Now moving on the aforementioned lead in to the Bear Trap, let’s talk about the newly renovated 14th hole. It is a dogleg par 4 with a body of water on the right off the tee, an elevated green that slopes on each side and bunkers heavily guarding the hole itself. And now the moment you’ve all been waiting for, 15th hole, the first of the trifecta that can win or lose a championship. It has all the factors of an accident just waiting to happen and no room for errors. You’ve got a diagonal green from left to right, the front of the green falls away to the left, toward the water and away from the bunker in the bunk. 

The wind conditions can either make you or break you on this one. Hole 16 is considered the toughest par 4 in the entire resort, and for those of you that haven’t been counting, that’s the best par 4 of 5 entire courses. It’s a dogleg right, with water to the right and funnily enough everything sloping toward the right, if you were to shoot left you have to carry 220 yards over water into prevailing wind. So yes, buckle up for that one. The last of the Bear Trap is no easier framed by bunker on the left, water to the right, and a teeny tiny landing zone that’s about 20 feet. You’re going to lose a lot of golf balls but gain so much more out of this bucket list course. Playing on the same greens as the pros do every year is really a feeling like no other. 
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golf tips for pga national course

"As Nicklaus himself said “It’s about guts. It’s all about what do you have in your chest that you can finish those holes” 

Do you have it in you? 

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