Development features 300th golf course designed by Jack Nicklaus
WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. (Jan. 22, 2018) — Nicklaus Design and Noble House Hotels & Resorts, a collection of luxury hotels and resorts, in November opened the Jack Nicklaus Signature Golf Course at Banyon Cay Resort & Golf (Banyan Cay), a private, members-only golf club in West Palm Beach, Fla.
The golf course is the latest addition to Noble House’s recent expansion of its roster of premier properties throughout the United States. Situated on 250 acres in the heart of West Palm Beach, the redesign of Banyan Cay began in November 2016 with a groundbreaking ceremony attended by golf icon and globally acclaimed course designer Jack Nicklaus. The layout has the distinction of being the 300th golf course worldwide to feature the design work of the Golden Bear.
“I’ve been blessed to have the opportunity to design golf courses all over the world, but there is something special about having my 300th golf course open right in my own backyard,” Nicklaus said.
“Banyan Cay is a piece of property that had plenty of room and opportunity to take a course that first opened in 1969, redo it, and make it into a modern-day golf course and something special. It’s got a lot of excitement, but at the same time, it is very user-friendly. I’m delighted for people to have the opportunity to play a golf course that will have a lot of challenges, but also one that can be played in an easier, fun way. I think for a resort and membership club, we’ve got a winner.”
Nicklaus’ first design opened in 1969, when he collaborated with Pete Dye to create Harbour Town Golf Links—the Top-100 layout in Hilton Head, S.C. Since then, the Golden Bear’s North Palm Beach-based firm Nicklaus Design has created 415 courses in 45 countries and 39 states.
“As both his son and a fellow designer, I am amazed at the résumé Jack Nicklaus has put together,” said Jack Nicklaus II, president of Nicklaus Design. “To celebrate the opening of his 300th course design speaks volumes about the depth, the breadth, and the longevity of his work. He has provided us the cornerstone and a firm foundation for Nicklaus Design’s imprint and impact around the world. It is our mission to continue and even enhance the design legacy Jack Nicklaus has created.”
Noble House Hotels & Resorts has long-standing ties to South Florida, including ownership and management of La Playa Beach & Golf Resort (Naples), Little Palm Island Resort & Spa (Little Torch Key), Ocean Key Resort & Spa (Key West), and Pelican Grand Beach Resort (Fort Lauderdale). In addition to the new Jack Nicklaus Signature Golf Course, a state-of-the-art practice facility, and a new clubhouse, Noble House’s future plans for Banyan Cay include the addition of a 150-room luxury hotel in 2019, plus residences, membership levels, and a Great Lawn.
“Banyan Cay has been a favorite West Palm Beach destination for more than 40 years and Noble House is extremely pleased to assume management of the property,” said Pat Colee, Noble House founder and chairman of the board. “We’re confident that the transformation we envision, featuring the new course by golf’s greatest champion and one of history’s greatest designers, Jack Nicklaus, will not only reignite excitement among longtime loyalists, but will also prove instrumental in attracting new visitors to this prestigious property.”
The world-class Jack Nicklaus Signature Golf Course at Banyan Cay is unlike most South Florida layouts, which get their personalities from the typically flat terrain. The Banyan Cay course showcases a character highlighted by subtle changes of elevation—with as much as 25 feet in changes within the golf course—more than double most courses in South Florida. Additionally, the course features gently rolling fairways, land forms, various water features, and bunkers that provide both aesthetics and strategy. Also, as a unique feature, a handful of revetted bunkers—reminiscent of the stacked-sod bunkers seen on links layouts in Scotland and Ireland—have been scattered strategically throughout the course.
“We basically have taken the golf course and created a lot of really nice strategic golf shots,” Nicklaus added. “We created a lot of elevation changes in areas where we had the ability to do so, including four holes on the front and four on the back. We also created land forms to play off of, such as No. 12. It is a short par 4 with a huge area for a green that was about 8,000 square feet. We put a bunker in the middle of the green to play around and, in effect, created three separate green areas to play to with a short club. We have a half-dozen revetted bunkers on the golf course and we put those in strategic places.
“We also had a very good tree program, keeping most of the existing trees where they were, and transplanting others when grading and shaping dictated it. Additional trees were brought in where we needed more screening or accent planting.
“The original golf course was up in the air, meaning the fairways were high and there was a big difference between the fairways and any surrounding water. We dropped the fairways down to relate them to the water. We took the dirt and created space. It was low in between the holes before and now it’s high in between the holes. We used it as mounding to turn the holes in most places. In the end, it is a very pleasant golf course.”
The course layout provides members and their guests with a challenging, yet playable golf experience. The new par-72 design features five sets of tees to accommodate players of all skill levels, and the course yardage ranges from 4,800 yards to a championship-length 7,200 yards from the tips. The practice facility, as well as the course’s opening hole, is located in front of the future home of a new full-service clubhouse, which will open in 2018. Inspired by West Indies décor, the clubhouse will feature member facilities, a grille, a golf shop, and social areas for member activities.
Emphasizing “location, distinction and soul,” Noble House Hotels & Resorts is dedicated to creating and managing exceptional properties that contribute to their communities and faithfully reflect local history, culture and ambiance.
For more information, call Noble House Hotels & Resorts at 877.NOBLE.TRIP or visit noblehousehotels.com.