# 17 at PGA Nationals The Match
PGA National, the destination in Palm Beach Gardens where the Florida swing of the PGA Tour tees off in late February, now offers 99 holes of golf to play.
Toronto’s Brookfield Asset Management, which purchased the resort and spa in late 2018, added $ 100 million to the property’s pin-flag bounty as part of a renovation tour. The Squire course, plagued by drainage problems, has been completely converted into a 9-hole, par-3 pitch, punch-and-putt short-game spectacle that opened in July and a 5,841 yard 18-hole course which was specially built to make it easier to play the game, which opens on September 10th.
Golf enthusiasts have long been drawn to the home of the Honda Classic to brave the “bear trap” of Champion Course, one of the Tour’s most notorious golf courses, but the resort also sees many inexperienced players far too intimidated to even set a foot Bet on the equivalent of a double Black Diamond ski slope. Both new golf facilities aim to capture the large cohort of hotel guests who just want to go outside for either a few hits and giggles, or perhaps a spirited buck-a-hole competition among friends or colleagues.
“By weakening some golf offerings and moving away from the traditional championship-length play-from-the-tips mentality, we can attract and retain a different type of customer,” said Jane Broderick, PGA National Golf Director.
While enthusiastic players long to test their skills on the other courses, they won’t want to miss these dazzling golf courses either.
“We believe they will be extremely attractive to the golf buddy groups that come to the resort. We have these groups of 15, 20 or 24 people who come and play three or four days of golf. You can play the champion in the morning, have lunch and then go out in six or eight at The Match, play a match-play format and just have fun, ”added Broderick.
Bump and run
Landing on the short grass with the chance of reaching the green on the second shot puts golfers in a good mood and with The Match the entire lawn is cut at fairway height. There is no club grabbing depth with this Andy Staples design.
“First of all, it’s an impressive look to walk across a golf course with no rough. It feels tidy and upscale and opens up many different angles and different strategies, ”says Staples, emphasizing that the contours of the floor offer many possibilities.
“You feel good in the short grass, but that doesn’t mean you are in the right place. You could still be behind a feature or at a poor angle to the green. The floor game is number one and the good feeling while playing golf is number two. Nobody feels better than on the fairway, ”he adds.
A few other side benefits of nothing but short grass are no lost balls, much faster pace of play, and recovery shots on missed greens become much more interesting. You can choose to hit a wedge, 3-wood, or even a putter to poke the ball and bring it to the cup.
“And when that ball lands on the green, you will see different spots that you can use as backstops and funnels to the hole,” says Staples.
Excursions to the beach are also minimized with only 16 traditional bunkers in the squares. In keeping with an old-school design aesthetic, there are also a handful of inverted bunkers, which are sand mounds in place of pits, as well as dugout areas that look like they used to be bunkers, but the golfing gods decided to loosen up the players a little.
“I wanted it to feel like a bunker, and then someone just planted it up like they did in the 1930s during the Great Depression,” explains Staples.
The 18th hole at PGA National’s The Match
Another unique feature of The Match is that instead of the tiered tea boxes you see on traditional golf courses, golfers choose their own adventure between a maximum and a minimum mark that is the distance of a hole from 50-75 yards up to 200-300 yards Yards can vary on its length.
An acolyte of the classic designs of CB Macdonald and Seth Raynor from the 1910s and 1920s, Staples drew inspiration from the duo’s famous stencil holes when designing The Match. Golf architecture students will see a Redan hole, a Biarritz hole (pictured), an Alps hole, and more as they move down this route where everything old is new again. The exclusive Everglades Club is the closest Seth Raynor golf course in the area, but unless you’re a member or guest, good luck with your progress.
“Some of the most famous private golf clubs have these features, and I hope I’ll give players a taste of them in a match-play environment,” says Staples.
If they write new ads for PGA National, it sure sounds good to “test your courage with the champion and place your bets on the match”.