Approaching the age of 82 (Jan. 21, 2022) Jack Nicklaus doesn’t walk as fast as a few years ago, but the Golden Bear’s memory is as quick as ever, particularly when it comes to golf course design.
Case in point, Nicklaus and his wife, Barbara, recently attended the re-opening of the Lakes Course at Bear Lakes Country Club in West Palm Beach. The Lakes, built in 1986, was the first of two Nickaus Signature layouts at the private club community in the heart of West Palm Beach.
“I remember sitting in this same spot trying to figure out what to do,’’ said Nicklaus as he sat in a clubhouse ballroom overlooking the Lakes Course. “There was a canal that ran through the property. This was the highest point in West Palm Beach – probably still is.
“At that point out here, there were no houses and no trees. So, we had two things to do – build greens and bunkers.’’
Nicklaus briefly chuckled. “A lot of bunkers.’’
That remark brought down some good-natured jeers from the ceremony attendees.
“You either had bunkers or you had nothing,’’ Nicklaus said with a large grin. “You’ve got a windswept prairie.’’
Nicklaus then proceeded to go through the changes to the courses, most of which involved reducing and removing the size of some bunkers and removing invasive vegetation.
“I think you will find it enjoyable and playable,’’ Nicklaus told club members. “Over the years, all courses need to be re-done and updated. Otherwise, you can’t market your product.’’