The 18-hole course originally designed in 1983 by Tom and George Fazio at the Palm Beach Gardens, Fla. property will be renovated with a new design by Andy Staples, through a project that will have two scopes of work. The existing 1st and 18th holes will be converted to a 9-hole, par-3 practice course, and the remaining 16 holes will be turned into a new 18-hole layout of “heroic” holes using the match-play style of golf design and encouraging risk-reward play. Both courses are expected to debut in 2021.
PGA National Resort & Spa in Palm Beach Gardens, Fla. has broken ground on a plan to completely renovate The Squire Course, with a new design by Scottsdale, Ariz.-based golf course architect Andy Staples, ASGCA, of Staples Golf Design.
The Squire, originally designed in 1983 by Tom and George Fazio, is one of five distinct 18-hole courses at PGA National and has not had any significant updates since opening nearly three decades ago. The Re-Imagination Plan looks to upgrade the facility while also expanding its appeal to the avid golfer, the casual player looking to improve their game, as well as beginners and even non-golfers.
“I intend to take The Squire to another level in terms of strategy, playability, and most importantly, the fun factor,” said Staples. “I’m focusing on the three most innovative trends in the industry: 1) reducing the time it takes to play; 2) increasing player enjoyment, and 3) instilling classic design principles that spur interest in the game of golf.”
The project is broken into two scopes of work. First, the existing parallel holes #1 and #18 will be converted to a 9-hole, par-3 practice course. The remaining 16 holes will be renovated to create 18 “heroic” holes inspired by some of the greatest strategic concepts in golf from across the globe.
The project is expected to be completed in early 2021 for a debut when both courses are fully grown in and ready for play.
The design philosophy of the new course will revolve around creating golf holes that foster the match-play style of golf design and seek to harness a player’s emotion of attempting “heroic” shots on each hole— take a risk and hopefully reap the rewards of a bold and courageous shot.
The hazards will be kept to a minimum, focusing on the expansion of short-grass fairways, chipping swales, and grassy hollows. All teeing grounds will be modified to accommodate all skill levels of players and located based on appropriate swing speed,s to allow for a more friendly entry to the game.
It’s also anticipated the course will undertake a rebranding, including a name change, to ensure the most dramatic impact once the facility reopens to the golf community.
The plan focuses on expanding the current user group of the course, while providing long-term sustainability for the future. All greens will be generous in size, rebuilt to increase drainage, and planted with Tif Eagle Bermudagrass. The fairways and tees will be modified to improve drainage and planted with Celebration Bermudagrass. The approaches to the greens will be planted with Tif Grande Bermudagrass.
Various areas of existing turf will be converted to a coquina-styled material to provide a contrast of textures and definition, while reducing overall maintenance. Additionally, all cart paths will be converted to a coquina-style surface to blend into the new course surrounding. A pallet of native plants and grasses will increase the aesthetics surrounding the course, while providing the necessary buffers to the nearby home sites.
The reimagination of the Squire Course will be overseen by Nick Mazzella of Mazzella Partnership, a Charlotte, N.C. based golf course renovation management firm. Other partners include irrigation designer Sean Hyduk of Aqua Turf International, local landscape architects Insite Studio, Pennsylvania-based Total Turf Golf Services as general contractor, and Nutt Irrigation for irrigation installation.
Jeremiah Lockhart, the Resort’s Director of Agronomy, will oversee the maintenance planning and grow-in.
“We’re excited to finally get started on this re-imagination of the Squire Course at PGA National,” said Mazzella. “These have been particularly challenging times, but this entire team is committed to making something great. Andy [Staples’] unique vision, coupled with the industry leaders in construction and irrigation we’ve assembled, is second to none, and we expect great results.”