The PGA National Resort & Spa in Palm Beach Gardens is famed among golf aficionados for the chance to tee off on the same hallowed greens as the pros. Since 2007 the incredible 2,340 acre property has played host to the Honda Classic, a key event on the PGA Tour. It was also the site of the 1983 Ryder Cup, the 1987 PGA Championship, and the Senior PGA Championship from 1982 to 2000. The resort is not home to just one championship course however, but five in all comprising a total of 90 holes, designed by the legendary likes of Jack Nicklaus, Arnold Palmer and Tom Fazio. While golf is undoubtedly the main draw, there’s much more to the property than that.
The 379-room resort has a AAA Four Diamond rating, and it’s easy to luxuriate on the premises for days without even touching a golf club. PGA National recently unveiled a stunning $100 million revitalization that saw enhancements in all facets of the impressive property. There’s a 40,000-square-foot European Spa with 32 treatment areas and an exclusive "Waters of the World" enclave of outdoor mineral pools mimicking the benefits of legendary places like the Dead Sea; a world-class 33,000-square-foot health and racquet club with 19 Har Tru tennis courts, racquetball and handball courts, five croquet lawns, and free weight and cardiovascular exercise rooms; and 39,000 square feet of self-contained conference space for events and meetings. The spa was recently named one of the “Best Spas in the Southeast” by Spa Magazine.
All guestrooms received floor-to-ceiling makeovers with everything from bedding to bathrooms, fabrics and furnishings upgraded and updated. The Palm Terrace looking out onto the pool, the site of the daily gourmet breakfast buffet, was created from an existing venue as was Bar 91, the 19th hole bar and grill with great golf course views and fire pits for cozy cocktailing, with classy clubhouse decor. And a new permanent venue dubbed the Lakeside Lawn was created specifically for the burgeoning number of outdoor weddings taking place by the resort’s tranquil lake with a panoramic view of PGA National’s golf courses. There are nine on-site restaurants and lounges in all offering every conceivable option for dining and entertainment, from cool and casual to elegant and epicurean.
The resort’s signature venue is Ironwood, considered by many to be one of the best restaurants in Palm Beach Gardens. Winner of a Wine Spectator 2012 Award of Excellence, the eatery focuses on the best in steak and seafood. This is contemporary American cuisine with an extra flair, as evidenced by the restaurant’s marquee creation, the Tomahawk for Two – nothing less than a 32-ounce cross of Wagyu and Black Angus beef dry-aged for 21 days and cooked to perfection in a Vulcan 1,200-degree broiler. Locally caught oceanic delicacies like Cobia and Mahi-Mahi are also on offer. And their floor-to-ceiling wine room features 36 wines by the glass including 13 different varieties from 19 different growing regions and 6 different countries.
In keeping with the golf theme the offerings include wines produced by PGA tour legends Jack Nicklaus, Greg Norman, Ernie Els, Nick Faldo and Luke Donald. Private dining is also available for those who prefer a more intimate setting. Evidence of the $100 million investment can also be seen in the resorts grand new front entrance, beautiful outdoor pool and pavilion, iBar, the cool new watering hole in the lobby dispensing cocktails until 1 a.m. as well as bar bites. DJs and live musical acts make frequent appearances, and you can also indulge in a cigar on the terrace overlooking the pool. The PGA-Tini, a blend of Ketel One Vodka, Grand Marnier and cranberry and lemon juices, is a particular favorite of return visitors.
In addition to the on-site attractions, the hotel offers easy access to the area’s best dining and shopping options. PGA Commons, an enticing collection of high end boutiques, restaurants, specialty stores and more adjacent to the resort, features standouts like Vic & Angelo’s, an upscale Italian eatery with an amazing wine list and outdoor patio perfect for people watching. Or enjoy some Mexican food at local hotspot Rocco’s Tacos & Tequila Bar. Also nearby is the Gardens Mall, a luxurious 1.4 million-square-foot shopping center boasting over 150 fine specialty boutiques including Chanel, Gucci, Jimmy Choo, Louis Vuitton and an Apple store that can easily take a full day to explore.
On the golf front, the resort’s major revitalization money was spent on creating The Fazio, a complete revamp of The Haig, PGA National’s original 18-hole course opened in 1980. The Haig was designed by George and Tom Fazio in tribute to five-time PGA champion Walter Hagen, and the revitalization was spearheaded by Tom Fazio II, the third member of the famed Fazio family to work on the course. When not actually playing, skills can be honed at the resort’s David Leadbetter Golf Academy and David Pelz Scoring Game School for individual instruction and group clinics; its three practice facilities provide over 150 stations for long- and short-game tune-ups. There’s also a state-of-the-art, tour-level club fitting service at the PGA National Club Fitting Lab.
A number of luxurious, customized suites were also part of the recent renovations. Designed by Boston’s award-winning CBT Architects they feature spacious living areas with perfect property views from private terraces or balconies and are themed for different occasions. Media Rooms comprise the ideal man cave creature comforts with HDTVs and the latest gaming technology, while Bridal Suites are fine tuned for the ultimate romantic retreat and Spa Suites are set up for in-room treatments from the award-winning spa including massages and facials.
Jared Paul Stern
Jared Paul Stern has written for the Wall Street Journal, New York Times, the New York Times' T magazine, GQ, WWD, Vogue, New York magazine, Details, Hamptons magazine, Playboy, BlackBook, the New York Post, Bergdorf Goodman magazine and Luxist among others. The founding editor of the Page Six magazine, he has also served as a judge for everything from the International Best Dressed List to the F...(Read More)