NORTH PALM BEACH COUNTRY CLUB:
A TROPICAL DELIGHT

Story by: Mike May

The North Palm Beach Country Club (951 U.S. Highway One, North Palm Beach, FL; 561-691-3433) is a course which has experienced true transformation -- a facelift and a name change -- since it opened in the mid-1920s.  And, today’s golfers are reaping the benefits of this change on this golf course which is one of the 53 courses on the Florida Historic Golf Trail.

Funded by developers Paris Singer and Harry Kelsey and designed by golf course architect Seth Raynor, the North Palm Beach Country Club opened for play in 1926.  It was originally called the Palm Beach Winter Club.  Located not far from the Atlantic Ocean and alongside the Lake Worth Lagoon, local newspaper articles at the time reported that the club was accessible by either an automobile or a fast motor boat, directly from the Everglades Club, its ‘sister’ club in Palm Beach.  Back then, the green fees were quite affordable by today’s prices -- as low as $2.50.  Oh, how times have changed!

In 1962, the club and golf course were purchased by the Village of North Palm Beach.  A new clubhouse was built and opened in 1963. The original 1926 clubhouse remained until 1980.

On May 3, 2006, local resident and golf legend Jack Nicklaus entered the picture, as he oversaw major renovations on the course.  By November of that year, the course re-opened for play. 

During the renovation process, the Golden Bear took an active role in the course redesign and reconstruction.

With his creativity, Nicklaus maintained the integrity of the original design while sharpening its appearance.  And, in some cases, the Golden Bear added a ‘roar’ to the course, especially to the 10th, 11th, and 18th holes which have heavily, but not unfairly, bunkered fairways.  As you play the 5th and 6th holes, you get a great view of the Lake Worth Lagoon and its upscale boat traffic.  The waterway flanks both fairways, but doesn’t impact play.  Many of the greens have enhanced undulations, which makes putting an experience at times.  The greens are always in great condition.

This newly renovated golf course became only the second public municipal golf course in the U.S., at that time, to bear the prestigious moniker of a Jack Nicklaus “Signature” Golf Course. Nicklaus stated that the North Palm Beach Country Club would be a great showcase course for Palm Beach County.  He was right.  And, many golfers who now play the course would agree. 

For this major renovation project, Nicklaus charged the Village of North Palm Beach just one dollar for his expertise.

"This was my way to give a little something back to the community and the people who have given me so much," said Nicklaus, who has lived in the area since the early 1960s.

The North Palm Beach Country Club remains an 18-hole, par-71 golf course, which now features six sets of tees, including a family tee.  Depending on the tee, the course plays from 3,600 to 7,000 yards, so each golfer gets to play the course in a manner that is equal to their level.

The course features first-class practice facilities – a lighted driving range, a practice putting green and a pitching/chipping green.

The renovated North Palm Beach CC has received many accolades -- the #1 municipal golf course in Florida and the #27 municipal golf course in the U.S. by Golfweek.  The Palm Beach Post has ranked the North Palm Beach CC as the top public golf course in Palm Beach County.  And, AAA Magazine rates this course as a Must Play Course in Florida.

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The writer of this story, Mike May, is a south Florida-based golf writer.  Mike can be reached at mmaymarketing@gmail.com

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