PGA National Resort & Spa in Palm Beach Gardens Florida, has broken ground on a plan to completely renovate The Squire Course, with a new design by Scottsdale based golf course architect, Andy Staples, ASGCA, (Staples Golf Design).
The Squire, originally designed in 1983 by Tom Fazio, ASGCA, and George Fazio, one of five distinct 18-hole courses at PGA National, has not had any significant updates since opening nearly three decades ago. The Re-Imagination Plan envisioned by Staples looks to upgrade the facility, while looking for ways to expand 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,” says 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, and second, 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 design philosophy of the new course revolves around creating golf holes that foster the match-play style of golf design harnesses a player’s emotion of attempting heroic shots on each hole – take a risk, and hopefully the player will 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 speeds 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.
The reimagination of the Squire Course will be overseen by Nick Mazzella of Mazzella Partnership, a Charlotte 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.
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.
Owner’s representative Nick Mazzella is happy to see the project get underway; “We’re excited to finally get started on this re-imagination of the Squire Course at PGA National. These have been particularly challenging times, but this entire team is committed to making something great.” Mazzella continued, “Andy’s unique vision coupled with the industry leaders in construction and irrigation we’ve assembled is second to none and we expect great results.”
The project is expected to be completed in early 2021, and debut when both courses are fully grown in and ready for play.