Facing the clutches of The Bear Trap may be one of the most daunting and memorable experiences ever for an amateur golfer. The results may or may not be pretty, but, alas, it is survivable. Jack Nicklaus is known as a kind and gentle family man. But when it comes to challenging fellow world-class golfers with his designs, Nicklaus can sometimes be perceived as an unsympathetic overseer. Arguably the game’s greatest player has earned the right to set the bar at any height he so chooses.
The Bear Trap, holes 15, 16 and 17 on the Nicklaus-designed Champions course at PGA National Resort & Spa are among the most challenging back-to-back-back holes on the PGA Tour. The course is annual host to the Honda Classic.
Five of the game’s best players have four-putted the No. 16 green since 2007. Sixty-five balls found the water on No. 17 in the 2011 Honda Classic.
“It’s not about length,” said Nicklaus himself regarding The Bear Trap. “It’s about precision. It’s about guts.”
The Champions Course, one of five challenging layouts at PGA National Resort & Spa in Palm Beach Gardens, Fla., has also hosted a Ryder Cup and PGA Championship along with the Honda Classic.
The resort’s 90 championship holes include The Palmer, designed by The King himself; Arnie’s course was renovated in 2012. Additional courses include The Estates, The Fazio (formerly The Haig), and The Squire. The latter two courses are collaborations between architects Tom and George Fazio.
This luxurious South Florida golf oasis provides golfers at all levels the opportunity to improve their game amidst the swaying palm trees. PGA National Resort & Spa is home to schools headed by two of the game’s pre-eminent instructors. The David Leadbetter Golf Academy and the Dave Pelz Scoring Game School are on site to hone every conceivable golf stroke.
Oh, yes, and The Spa, which offers more than 100 treatments ranging from the exotic-sounding Cranio-Sacral Therapy to the Detox Seaweed Wrap (not available as a sandwich).
There are numerous dining options on the property, most notably Ironwood Steak & Seafood, which has earned the Wine Spectator Award of Excellence.
While the three-hole stretch of The Bear Trap has the potential to dole out a little mistreatment, every other amenity at PGA National Resort & Spa is designed for ultimate pampering. Visit www.pgaresort.com.