With Banyan Cay Resort & Golf Club in West Palm Beach, Fla., and Via Mizner Golf & Country Club in Boca Raton, Fla., in the works, Nicklaus has more than a dozen course designs in his home county, and is showing no signs of slowing down.
At 76, Jack Nicklaus is adding Banyan Cay Resort & Golf Club, a $280 million project with a luxury hotel, a condo tower and 94 single-family residences in West Palm Beach, Fla., and another new project at Via Mizner Golf & Country Club in Boca Raton, Fla., to a list of a dozen or so Nicklaus course designs in his home county, and more than half of the ones already in use have undergone some level of renovation or redesign in the last year, The Palm Beach (Fla.) Post reported.
Nicklaus has seen all the local trends cycle through since taking up permanent residence at North Palm Beach in 1965. The influence of his presence and his passion for Palm Beach County is about the only thing that hasn’t changed around here, the Post reported.
Nobody’s ever been able to match Nicklaus’ levels of energy and production, though there’s another local guy, Tiger Woods, who people keep pushing to chase Nicklaus’ record of 18 major championship titles, the Post reported.
Tiger’s been stuck on 14 for a while, and not only because of surgeries and such. It’s a mental grind, too, trying to keep a game at world-class level over a period of decades, and this week Tiger feels finally ready to dip back into it after 15 months away from the PGA Tour, teeing it up on December 1 at the 18-player Hero World Challenge in the Bahamas, the Post reported.
“I have no idea what we’re going to see, and I’m not sure Tiger knows what he’s going to see,” Nicklaus said. “I would think he’ll do all right. He’ll play well. I don’t think the injuries are going to be a big issue for him. The biggest issue is going to be between his ears, how does he mentally get back in the game?
“I think the game is happy to have him back. Every time I’ve seen him in recent months, he looks great, so the proof will be in the pudding, I suppose.”
Now there’s a phrase from another era, and with Nicklaus there always is a touch of nostalgia in every conversation. Talking about Arnold Palmer, who died September 25, is still difficult. Thinking of his own prime playing days takes a little more work these days, too, but Jack continues to operate as an innovator. The long-awaited appearance of golf at the 2016 Olympics in Rio, for instance, was an idea that Nicklaus championed, somewhat wistfully, the Post reported.
“Six different countries medaled, three guys and three girls, and I thought that was really neat,” Nicklaus said. “Everyone who came back that I talked to said it was one of the great experiences of their lifetime. The Olympic experience is something that I wish I’d had the opportunity to have, but never did.”
Banyan Cay is another fresh idea, from Nicklaus’ “reimagining” of the golf course to the developers’ home-run swing at creating a five-star resort right in the middle of the city, and just minutes from the airport. It’s sure to make PGA National and other area resorts step up their games, the Post reported.
“The (outlet) mall sort of started the rejuvenation of this area of West Palm,” he said. “It’s a big step. It’s a big gamble in this area to take an older golf course that got very tired and turn it around and put in a hotel with the investment they’ve put into it. So far, they’re taking all the right steps.”
Taking them quickly, too, now that the instant credibility of Nicklaus’ signature is on the place. Call it a backyard project for the Golden Bear, but a strong magnet for tourists from all over the world, the Post reported.
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