South Florida – The Perfect Pairing of Diamonds and Divots
For baseball fans, the smell of freshly cut grass – along with the sound of bats cracking and gloves popping – signal the start of spring. Springtime also signifies the time for golfers to get ready for the new season, especially in Florida, where 16 major league baseball teams conduct spring training.
Below are two of our favorite South Florida places perfectly pairing “diamonds and divots”.
PGA Golf Club
The quiet town of Port St. Lucie is the spring training home of the New York Mets featuring Robinson Cano, returning to the Big Apple this year, and fan-favorite, Noah Syndergaard. Port St. Lucie is not only a focal point of the Grapefruit League, but a place where fans can enjoy the shortgrass of PGA Golf Club, as well.
Ranked among the “Top 75 Golf Resorts in North America” by Golf Digest, PGA Golf Club is home to three breathtaking golf courses offering truly unique experiences.
The Wanamaker Course is widely considered as one of the most picturesque layouts in Florida. Legendary architect Tom Fazio designed a course that blends seamlessly into its natural surroundings. Fairways routed around wetlands, gentle hills and native palmetto and sabal palms will have fans forgetting about baseball players, bleachers and scoreboards for a while.
However, you will find it hard to escape the sand on the Dye Course, which features some of the most elaborate bunkers east of the Mississippi. Designed by the mastermind himself, Pete Dye, it’s as beautiful as it is challenging. Deep pot sand traps, vast coquina waste areas and devilish greens will surely entertain golfers of all skill levels.
Finally, spring training may also inspire team golf, and what better course to gather with friends than on the Ryder Course? After a recently completed renovation project that enhanced the greens and surrounding areas, this course is in prime shape for some friendly competition. The layout meanders over rolling hills and through majestic pine trees along with several lakes and ponds lining the fairways and guarding the greens.
Find multiple stay-and-play options at www.pgavillage.com.
PGA National Resort & Spa
A plethora of teams make their spring training homes near Palm Beach, making it a baseball fanatic’s dream start to the season.
Roger Dean Stadium in nearby Jupiter serves as the home of the St. Louis Cardinals and Miami Marlins, and the Houston Astros and Washington Nationals share The Ballpark at Palm Beaches. While the baseball players are warming up, golfers swarm to PGA National Resort & Spa in nearby Palm Beach Gardens.
Site of the PGA TOUR’s Honda Classic since 2007, PGA National is home to the legendary “Bear Trap” – hole Nos. 15 through 17 on its Champion Course that USA TODAY hails as “one of the toughest stretches in golf.” In addition to the Bear Trap, immaculate conditions and a challenging layout make the Champion Course a favorite among TOUR pros and amateurs.
PGA National also features four added first-class layouts for baseball fans to take their best swing at: The Palmer, The Fazio, The Squire and The Estate. Additionally, “on campus” are the David Leadbetter Golf Academy and David Pelz Scoring Game School for individual instruction and group clinics.
Guests may also be late to spring training after they see the resort’s 33,000-square-foot world-class Sports & Racquet Club which features a wide array of fitness activities and classes. After a hard workout, a visit to The Spa is in order where guests can consult with a team of skilled therapists and enjoy the steam rooms, saunas and Waters of the World. The visit can be concluded in style at the chef-driven Ironwood Steak & Seafood restaurant just off the resort’s lobby.
PGA National’s Gold Golf package is ideal for a fan spring training / golf getaway. It features luxury accommodations with a private balcony or terrace, full breakfast daily in the Palm Terrace, one round per day as well as unlimited range balls and complimentary bag storage. Rates start at $339 per person (per night, based on double occupancy) through April 30. A surcharge is required for all rounds on The Champion ($135) and Palmer Course ($50). To learn more visit www.pgaresort.com.