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Nicklaus' 'Bear Trap' provides a challenge at Honda Classic | 3.2.2011
He's no less of a beast to deal with when it comes to playing his golf courses. At PGA National's Champions Course in Palm Beach Gardens, Fla

"2009 Golfweek's
Best Resort Courses."

Golfweek Magazine

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course address

400 Avenue of the Champions,
Palm Beach Gardens, FL
USA 33418

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Course Video:

The Champion Course

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the honda classic champion course

The Champion is currently the home of the PGA Tour's Honda Classic, benefiting the Nicklaus Children's Healthcare Foundation (and an integral part of the FedEx Cup) and has been the site of the 1982 PGA Grand Slam of Golf, the1983 Ryder Cup, the 1987 PGA Championship and the PGA Seniors' Championships from 1982 to 2000. It has also been the site of the PGA Junior Championships from 1980-1987, 1989-1992, and 1994-2000, the PGA Club Professional Championships in 1980, 1982, 1983 and 1993, and the 2011 GCSAA National Championship & Golf Classic.

The Champion is a "must play" stop on any avid golfer's list and is included in the "Top 100" resort course rankings of several golf publications. In 2006, writer Brad Klein of GolfWeek magazine described The Champion as "an old Florida classic, core golf experience. Featuring "The Bear Trap," which spans three demanding holes designed by Jack Nicklaus and considered one of Florida's most notable golf challenges, USA Today calls The Bear Trap "one of the toughest stretches in golf."

The Verdict: Simply put, PGA National Resort and Spa is a fantastic all-around golf resort that excels in its amenities and accommodations. It's on a short list of resorts that include five golf courses. And here, four originate from one large golf shop.

PGA National is perfect for a guys' trip or a couples' retreat. It deserves consideration for anyone thinking about a luxury golf trip of more than two or three days.

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special offers...

Westin The Diplomat Country Club
Palm Beach Gardens, Florida
The Honda Classic

Play The Champion Course

$210. per person/per day
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    This Florida golf package replicates the tour pro playing experience during The Honda Classic, an official PGA TOUR event held on The Champion each March. The round begins in style at the first tee where photo ops are ample in front of authentic tournament signage. Hole flags designed after those used during the Honda Classic along with Garmin GPS for accurate yardages and year round green speeds in double digits highlight the playing experience. Complimentary replay rounds are included in this package to max out your time on the course. Mandatory forecaddies are included December 1 - April 30 and upgrades to walking caddies in Augusta-style jumpsuits are available for only $20 per person. Advance tee times are required.

    Package Includes:

    • 1 round per person per night on The Champion Course
    • Deluxe accommodations with private balcony or terrace
    • Daily breakfast buffet per person
    • Complimentary bag storage
    • Complimentary unlimited practice balls during stay
    • Unlimited same day replay rounds*
    • Mandatory Forecaddie - December 1 - April 30**

    Package Rates 2011:
    Jan 1 – April 18
    April 19 – May 21
    May 22 – Sept 24
    Sept 25 – Dec 31

    Package Notes:
    Price is per person per night based on double occupancy. Tax and resort fees not included. Restrictions may apply. Based on availability. Offer does not apply to groups. *Booked at the course after first round the day of play. **$25 mandatory forecaddie fee per person applies for replay rounds at The Champion.

course notes

18 holes, 7,048 yards,
par 72, 75.3 rating, slope 147

Designed by:
George and Tom Fazio
Redesigned in 1990, 2001 by:
Jack Nicklaus

Course Opened:
November 1981
Course Type/Style:
Resort - Seaside/Links
Number of Tee Boxes:
5 sets
Total Number of Sand Bunkers:
Number of Water Hazards:
16 of 18 holes
Most Challenging Hole:
No. 16
Most Memorable Hole:
No. 18
Sinature Hole:
No. 18
Acreage of Course:
150 acres
Average Size of Greens:
6,400 sq. ft.

Primary Grasses
perennial ryegrass

perennial ryegrass

TiffEagle Bermudagrass

Months Open:
January – December
High Season:

January – April

Rounds per year: 26,000

Green Fees:
Low: $180 High: $360
Walking Options:
Mandatory Cart

Director of Golf
Jane Broderick, PGA
Brian Sunderhaus, GCSAA

Course Record:
64 – Luke Donald (2008)
64 – Greg Chalmers (2009)

Golf Digest 4 stars rating

5 Things You Need to Know: TPC-Myrtle Beach

By Chris King on May 4, 2010

What do you need to know about TPC-Myrtle Beach, beyond the need to bring your 'A' game? Here are five tidbits that might enhance your enjoyment of the South Strand layout.

Hit it high – Generally speaking, the greens at TPC are elevated and well bunkered, so you aren't going to have much success trying to run the ball up. Make sure you iron game is sharp and be prepared to fly numerous bunkers on your way to the green.

Tournament Tested – TPC is one of Myrtle Beach golf's biggest challenges and it has the resume to prove it. The course has hosted the PGA Senior Tour Championship, the finals of the World Amateur Handicap Championship, and every spring it hosts the General Hackler Invitational, one of the nation's best collegiate tournaments. Take the time to check out the clubhouse memorabilia.

One of a Kind – In recent years Myrtle Beach golf courses have collected honors like a kid receiving candy on Halloween, but TPC is the only course in the area to earn 5-stars in Golf Digest's prestigious "Best Places to Play" guide and one of fewer than 25 layouts in the nation to earn the distinction.

Yes, that is Dustin Johnson – Rising PGA Tour star Dustin Johnson calls TPC-Myrtle Beach home. In addition to practicing and playing at TPC, the three-time winner on tour has been known to hang around the clubhouse. Don't be shocked if you see him, but he's just one of the guys in Murrells Inlet.

That's a wild turkey, not a drink – TPC-Myrtle Beach is built on 369 acres, much of it wetlands, which means the course has plenty of breathing room and there is ample wildlife. Wild turkey roost in the swamp to the left of ninth tee and there are an abundance of deer, alligators and fox, among many other animals. Enjoy the scenery.

The 3 Best Holes at:
TPC-Myrtle Beach

By Chris King on May 4, 2010

The TPC-Myrtle Beach is one of the Grand Strand's bluebloods.

It enjoys the benefit of a premium brand, superior design (the team of Lanny Wadkins and Tom Fazio is tough to beat), and it's the home course of Dustin Johnson, a three-time winner on the PGA Tour. Throw in a bevy of national honors, and it's not hard to see why the facility is so highly regarded.

Identifying the three best holes on a course that has hosted what was then the Senior PGA Tour Championship and gets a regular workout from Johnson is a challenging task, because the candidates are plentiful. We asked course owner Chip Smith to identify the best of the best at TPC-Myrtle Beach and he complied, with an assist from Johnson.

The three best holes at TPC are:
No. 5, 158-yard, Par 3: Despite being TPC's shortest hole, the fifth is one of its most challenging, particularly from the tips where the tee shot requires a long forced carry over water. The green is wider than it is deep, so your margin for error is limited. A bunker in the right front looms for players not playing from the tips, as does a bunker in back of the green. "There is almost a false front on the front of the green," Smith said. "It's a tough little shot because the green is narrow. The right side of the green is always better than short because of the lake."

No. 17, 193-yard, par 3: The words island green and TPC have almost become synonymous because of the famed 17th at Sawgrass, and No. 17 at TPC-Myrtle Beach is a reasonable approximation. The primary differences? The 17th in Myrtle Beach is a peninsula green surrounded by water on "only" three sides and it's approximately 50 yards longer. The 17th is TPC-Myrtle Beach's signature hole and with an almost constant wind, it represents a significant challenge. "Because of the distance, I think it's a little tougher than 17 at Sawgrass," Smith says. "Now I've never stood on 17 at Sawgrass on Sunday with $1.4 million on the line either (laugh)."

No. 18, 538-yard, par 5: The 18th, with a creek running along the right side of the fairway and a large lake on the left, is Johnson's choice as the course's best. It's a classic risk-reward hole. Players that can snuggle up to the creek before it runs out to the lake can get home in two, but there is considerable risk. Half of the green is exposed to water and with the rough surrounding it shaved, it's not an easy green to hold. One person who doesn't have to worry about length is Johnson. What does one of the PGA Tour's longest hitters use to reach the green on his second shot? "Depending on which way the wind is blowing, anywhere from a 5 or 6 iron to a 3-wood," he said. For the mere mortals among us, an iron on the second shot when attempting to reach the 18th green is out of the question!

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