PGA Golf Club Wanamaker Course – A Rising Sunshine State Star
While Florida has nearly 1,300 golf courses that stretch from Pensacola in the far west to Key West in the far south, a must-play Florida golf destination is the Wanamaker Course at the PGA Golf Club at the PGA Village (www.pgavillage.com; 1-800-800-GOLF) in Port St. Lucie.
Owned and operated by the PGA of America, the PGA Golf Club, ranked as one of America’s top 75 golf resorts by Golf Digest, has three golf courses open to the public – the Wanamaker, Dye, and Ryder.
“Very few golf destinations in the world are the home of three championship golf courses,” says Adriana Vizcaya, marketing director at PGA Golf Club. “In essence, the PGA Golf Club is ‘one-stop shopping’ for golfers.”
The Wanamaker Course is named after Rodman Wanamaker, who was one of the driving forces behind the creation of the PGA of America in 1916. Of course, the winner of the PGA Championship each year is presented with the Wanamaker Trophy.
Designed by golf course architect Tom Fazio, the Wanamaker Course will deliver many memory-making moments, from the opening drive at the right-to-left dogleg, par five 1st to your journey up the left-to-right dogleg par four 18th. With five tees to choose from, this course ranges from 4,964 yards (Forward) to 7,123 yards (Medal). I highly suggest the Standard tees, which measure more than 6,100 yards.
If you are seeking a golf destination that has first-class practice facilities; perfect greens to putt; spacious, well-maintained fairways; rough that is tough but not unfair; and a design that captures the essence of what makes the game of golf so appealing, then the Wanamaker Course is now on your top-ten must-play list. Some of the many alluring aspects of the Wanamaker Course are its six short par fours that range from 313 yards to 351 yards. A birdie is as likely at each hole as a double or a triple bogey. Each of the four par three holes has a different distance, so you are not hitting the same club twice on your tee shots. And there’s a significant water hazard on 11 holes, including the last four, which you should expect when you play a golf course built in the middle of the Florida wetlands. While the presence of the water hazards is not too intimidating, if you find them, they are as unforgiving as the Swilcan Burn at the Old Course at St. Andrews or Rae’s Creek at Augusta National.
One of the more unique holes is the par four 8th, which has access to two different and independent greens – the American version of a double green. One is protected by sand, and the other one is protected by water. Playing the 18th hole well requires a pair of left-to-right power fades – one off the tee and another as you approach the green. The entrance to the 18th green is protected by a lake and a greenside bunker. The presence of the clubhouse behind the green gets your attention as you conclude your round.
After exchanging handshakes on the 18th green, head to the clubhouse for a meal at the Taplow Pub. You can’t go wrong with the Taplow Chili, followed by the Taplow Chopped Salad. If you have an early morning tee time, the Taplow Pub is open for breakfast at 6:30 – seven days a week. Why Taplow? This pub is named in honor of the New York City location (Taplow Club), where the decision to form the PGA of America was made about a century ago.
The PGA Golf Club and its Wanamaker Course are 100% focused on golf, your enjoyment of golf, and Mother Nature, as the course is a Certified Signature Sanctuary for Audubon International and is the home of a variety of wildlife which includes foxes, turtles, alligators, squirrels, rabbits, herons, osprey, and occasional birdie and eagle! So, suffice it to say, birds and bees, and you are welcome at the PGA Golf Club and the Wanamaker Course.