The Best Golf Courses in the Palm Beaches and the Treasure Coast

PGA National

With five championship courses played by some of golf’s greatest, it’s hard to beat the allure of PGA National. The courses, open to resort members and guests, include The Champion, redesigned by Jack Nicklaus; The Fazio and The Squire, designed by George and Tom Fazio; The Palmer designed by Arnold Palmer; and The Estate designed by Karl Litten. Each course may be “Tour-worthy,” but Jane Broderick, the resort’s Director of Golf, says to not let that intimidate the average player. “Our courses can be played by golfers of all skill levels. Each course offers several different tees and yardages, and by matching the ability to the correct tees, all of our courses can be enjoyed by anyone,” she says. So, don’t let the legends stand in your way.

Special features: PGA National Resort hosts The Honda Classic golf tournament on the resort’s Champion course each spring. This year’s classic is planned for Feb. 23 to March 1. It’s one of the premier events on the PGA Tour and the first stop on the “Florida Swing.” Top players compete for a purse of more than $5.6 million. The Champion course was also ranked as one of the “Top 100 Resort Courses in America” by Golf week for four years in a row.


PGA Village

Make it a point to play a different course each day at PGA Village, which offers four great options – the Wanamaker and the Ryder both designed by Tom Fazio; the Dye designed by Pete Dye; and the St. Lucie Trail Golf Club designed by Jim Fazio. Plus, the Village offers a PGA Short Course designed for beginners and avid golfers alike. Each course has its own distinct flavor, but the Dye is the most challenging. “With its vast coquina waste bunkers and grass-based bunkers, the Dye is the most challenging, but the most fun of our four courses,” says Adriana Vizcaya, the Village’s Director of Marketing. All of the courses have numerous accolades, including recognition from Golf Digest Magazine, honoring the Village in the “2015 Best Public Courses in Florida.”

Special features: Stop by the Village’s PGA Museum of Golf, filled with displays, championship trophies and artifacts that honor some of the great names in golf history. Visitors will see Donald Ross’ 1900s-era workbench, as well as rare golf artifacts, such as the Ryder Cup and PGA Championship Trophies.

Abacoa Golf Club

If you’re golfing for a good time, Abacoa is your course. This public course, which opened in October of 1999, was designed by Joe Lee and offers beautiful greens with varying elevations, and wetland areas that attract wildlife. “The course offers a perfect mix of just enough challenge without beating the player up to where it’s no fun,” says Club Administrator, Terri Dew. The Club is also undergoing a $1 million face-lift. The renovation includes improvements to the lake banks, landscaping and cart paths on the course. The driving range, which was also renovated, will be the home of the new Abacoa Golf Club Golf Academy. Plus, there’s a new outside bar at the clubhouse for a refreshing drink after 18 holes.

Most challenging hole: Watch out for the sixth hole, which is 587 yards and a par 5. It’s guarded by two oak trees on the right side of the fairway off the tee. “A hazard runs the length of the hole on the left side and continues on to guard the front of the green. The green is not particularly large or deep, but it gradually slopes from back to front,” Dew says, adding that it requires a well-placed shot to the green in order to avoid a putt from above the hole on the quick putting green.

Ibis Golf & Country Club

This private club lives up to the Nicklaus standard. It’s the only club in the world with three Nicklaus family-designed 18-hole championship courses. The club’s oldest and signature course, The Legend, is considered the “Masterpiece” of Jack Nicklaus, Sr. Golf week magazine has named it one of the country’s “Most Distinctive Courses.” The Heritage course, designed by Jack Nicklaus, Jr., was named as the “Most Women-Friendly Course in America” by Golf for Women magazine. Golf Director, John Jorritsma says that 80 percent of members’ spouses also golf. The third course, The Tradition, designed by Steve Nicklaus, is best known for its breathtaking views with undulating greens. “Every course gives you a different golf experience,” Jorritsma says.

The club is bordered by the Grassy Waters Nature Preserve and includes a 20-acre practice facility designed by Jack Nicklaus, Sr. that includes three chipping greens, five target greens, two putting greens and complimentary range balls.

Special features: While playing the Legend course, expect lots of mounding. At Heritage, expect to encounter water obstacles, and at Tradition expect a more “traditional” links-style course.

What to watch for: “Ibis has arguably the three hardest finishing holes in Palm Beach County with water by each green,”


The Breakers Ocean Golf and Tennis Clubhouse

The Ocean Course offers the perfect blend of old and new. It was originally designed by Alexander H. Findlay in 1896, making it Florida’s oldest 18-hole course. But the private course, which covers nearly 85 acres of the “The Breakers” property, was redesigned in 2000 by famed golf course architect Brian Silva. As part of the restoration, Silva recovered the vintage characteristics by addressing tee elevation and sizes, surface slopes, pin placement areas, and integrating sand and grass-faced bunkers, says Media Relations and Communications Manager, Shannon O’Malley.

Most challenging hole: The sixth hole plays like an island green, O’Malley says. She also recommends watching out for the 16th hole, which is a 212-yard par 3 that not only has the smallest green on the course, but is also surrounded by hazards and out of bounds, and fronted by water.

Special features: As the oldest existing 18-hole golf course in Florida, the Ocean Course has a notable history. It was the first course Harry Vardon played in the U.S. when he visited on Feb. 22 in 1900. Vardon was famous for using the grip we still use today. At the time he played the Ocean Course, he was a three-time British Open champion, and he later went on to win six.

Osprey Point Golf Club

Osprey Point Golf Club in West Boca Raton, is the newest of Palm Beach County’s public golf courses.  Since its doors first opened in 2010, this eco-friendly golf course has gained a lot of attention.  Offering three 9-hole courses (the Hawk, Falcon and Raven) which can be played in three 18-hole combinations, and open 7 days a week, including holidays. It has raised the bar for public golf courses in the area.  In 2015, TripAdvisor named Osprey Point as the best public golf course in South Florida.  The players card, for just $80, includes a free round (use it in-season for the most value), discount pricing on range balls, and the option to reserve a tee time online a week in advance (vs. three days for non-members).  If you want to play this course, we highly recommend the players card, as tee times book up fast, and without the players card, you won’t get a chance to play in the morning or reserve a time easily (or possibly at all).

There are no homes on this golf course which make it relaxing and it feels like you are on a nature preserve.  There is some trouble to get into (lateral hazards), with plenty of water and hazard areas on the course.  Be careful, as this course gets a lot of play, and there are locations where you need to look out for flying golf balls.  Just be safe out there and be present, and you will enjoy this gem of a facility in Boca Raton, Florida.



See more Golf Course and Country Club Homes in Palm Beach and Treasure Coast

Michael Stone


Share This Page

Translate »