Honors Course

Ooltewah, Tennessee

PGA National Resort (Champion) (Palm Beach Gardens, Florida)

PGA National Resort (Champion) logo Golf Course Review by: Billy Satterfield

Rankings: 

 

The Takeaway:  Famous on the PGA Tour for its "Bear Trap" finishing holes, the Champion course at PGA National Resort is a challenging course where water hazards are the main features looking to derail your score. The flat terrain and heavy amount of residential development around the course is disappointingly typical of Florida, but the course itself is solid.  Grade B-

Quick Facts

Designer:  Tom Fazio and George Fazio 1981

Cost:  Varies based on season Click for current rates

Phone Number:  800-863-2819

Course Website:  Official Website - Visit PGA National Resort (Champion)'s official website by clicking on the link provided.

Directions:  Get here! - 400 Avenue of the Champions Palm Beach Gardens, Palm Beach Gardens, Florida  33418 – UNITED STATES

Photos:  See additional photos of PGA National Resort (Champion)

Similar Course:

What to Expect:  The Champion course is one of five courses at PGA National Resort and represents the first stop on the PGA Tour's Florida swing each March. The 1983 Ryder Cup host site was originally designed by Tom and George Fazio in 1981 but received some redesign work by Jack Nicklaus in 1990 and 2014. The layout is crafted over mostly flat ground with some memorable par threes; two of which are found in the famous Bear Trap holes that create the memorable final stretch at the course. As a whole, the layout is solid with a good amount of variety, excellent conditioning, and a handful of water hazards to contend with, however the lackluster terrain makes it difficult to be highly compelling to engage with. In addition, the dated residential development around the property offers little visually for views beyond the property. If you are a fan of Doral, you'll also enjoy PGA National. In the end, the location offers wonderful year-round weather and five courses to enjoy, however, beyond the Bear Trap, the Champion course shares too many similarities with typical Florida golf to stand out as anything exceptional.

By the Numbers

Tees Par Yardage Rating Slope
Black 72 7081 75.4 144
Gold 72 6712 73.6 142
Blue 72 6348 71.9 136
White 72 5988 70.3 133
Green 72 5280 67.0 125
Red (Women) 72 5061 71.3 130

Individual Hole Analysis

Signature Hole:  15th Hole – 178 Yard Par 3 – The start of the infamous Bear Trap, the 15th is a mid-length one-shotter that plays over water to a peninsula green with the only safe miss being on a left side where a large bunker awaits the faint of heart. With no pressure it isn't that difficult of a shot, but with the weight of a tournament being on your shoulders, the nerves can really play a part in this tee shot.

15th Hole at PGA National Resort (Champion) (178 Yard Par 3)
15th Hole at PGA National Resort (Champion) (178 Yard Par 3)

Best Par 3:  17th Hole – 173 Yards – The second of the two par threes in the Bear Trap, the 17th mimics the 15th with water essentially coming into play on all sides except the left; again with a bunker on that side. Bailing to the bunker is no treat though as you are faced with a bunker shot to a green where nothing but water awaits if you go long. Playing nearly the same distance at the 15th, you should have confidence in utilizing the same club to find success.

17th Hole at PGA National Resort (Champion) (173 Yard Par 3)
17th Hole at PGA National Resort (Champion) (173 Yard Par 3)

Best Par 4:  11th Hole – 449 Yards – A strong par four that yields a lot of bogies, the 11th plays straight towards a pond that comes into play on both the 5th and 11th hole. Tee shots need to either skirt it to the left or layup short of it before hitting an approach shot over the pond that runs all the way up to the green's front edge. There is no sand on the hole to contend with, but staying out of the water is critical for success.

11th Hole at PGA National Resort (Champion) (449 Yard Par 4)
11th Hole at PGA National Resort (Champion) (449 Yard Par 4)

11th Hole at PGA National Resort (Champion) (449 Yard Par 4)
11th Hole at PGA National Resort (Champion) (449 Yard Par 4)

Best Par 5:  18th Hole – 558 Yards – The final hole of the Bear Trap is also the course's best par five. The tee shot plays to a fairway framed on the right by water while bunkers protect the left side. The fairway then bends back to the left as it narrows and gets pinched further by the water before bending back to the right late in the design and featuring a large collection of bunkers protecting your final destination. Going for this green in two will take some length and some guts to be successful as there is plenty of trouble to contend with, but pulling it off will leave you with a smile on your face as you walk off the course.

18th Hole at PGA National Resort (Champion) (558 Yard Par 5)
18th Hole at PGA National Resort (Champion) (558 Yard Par 5)

18th Hole at PGA National Resort (Champion) (558 Yard Par 5)
18th Hole at PGA National Resort (Champion) (558 Yard Par 5)

Birdie Time:  1st Hole – 365 Yard Par 4 – The opening hole is as generous at PGA National Resort's Champion course is willing to be. Just 365 yards from the tips, a good drive will leave a wedge in your hand that you can go pinseeking with. When the pin is in the center of the green, players can use the sloping in the putting surface to spin one back towards the hole. Avoid the water on the left with your tee shot and you should be in great shape to start your round off with a good score.

1st Hole at PGA National Resort (Champion) (365 Yard Par 4)
1st Hole at PGA National Resort (Champion) (365 Yard Par 4)

1st Hole at PGA National Resort (Champion) (365 Yard Par 4)
1st Hole at PGA National Resort (Champion) (365 Yard Par 4)

Bogey Beware:  16th Hole – 444 Yard Par 4 – The only two-shotter in the Bear Trap, the 16th features water up the entire right side before the hole bends right and requires players to carry the water enroute to the green. The large bunker that covers part of the front and right sides of the green will get a workout as balls that aren't struck totally pure will find it while the small bunker on the left side of the green will prove to be a testy location to save par from with a sand shot towards the water. Add in the pressure that a tournament can create down the stretch, and this is a hole that can easily get away from you.

16th Hole at PGA National Resort (Champion) (444 Yard Par 4)
16th Hole at PGA National Resort (Champion) (444 Yard Par 4)

16th Hole at PGA National Resort (Champion) (444 Yard Par 4)
16th Hole at PGA National Resort (Champion) (444 Yard Par 4)

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