Altvater: PGA has improved three courses at PGA Village Golf ClubWritten by Fred Altvater | | BackNine@toledofreepress.com
When Ted Bishop began his term as the president of the PGA of America, one of the first items on his agenda was to hire Tom Watson as the Ryder Cup Captain for the U.S. Team.
After that minor decision was settled, he next explored ways to restore PGA Village in Port St. Lucie, Fla., as a first-class golf resort destination.
Bishop began his career as a Purdue University graduate in turf management and understands the importance of the care and maintenance of a golf facility.
PGA Village includes two 18-hole championship courses designed by Tom Fazio and a third course designed by Pete Dye. The courses host several tournaments for PGA professionals over the winter months, but also accommodate amateurs wanting to escape the cold.
Bishop asked an old friend Dick Gray to survey the three courses at PGA Village and submit an action plan to improve the quality of the facility. Bishop and Gray had known each other since the early days back in Indiana, when both were just starting their golf careers.
While Bishop became a golf professional and golf course owner, Gray pursued a career in golf maintenance and has been a golf course superintendent for over 30 years.
Gray submitted his report to the PGA brass and soon after was asked to implement his plan to return the courses to world-class condition.
Gray accepted the challenge and for the past year has used every trick in his tool box to improve the three courses.
The Ryder and Wanamaker Courses were both designed by Fazio. Several tee options allow each golfer to choose the appropriate length and difficulty for their ability and enjoyment. Both courses are playable by high-handicappers and scratch golfers alike.
The Dye Course at PGA Village is the gem of the resort and offers the most challenging test. Contouring, mounding and deep bunkers provide the challenge for golfers on this beautiful track. Elevated and undulating greens demand the best efforts from every golfer and three putts are lurking with every pin location.
PGA Village offers a complete golf experience. For those that want to improve their game, the 35-acre state-of-the-art PGA Center for Golf Learning and Performance provides every possible practice area to perfect even the most difficult golf shots.
The PGA Museum of Golf houses the Probst Library with more than 6,000 hard-cover books that document the history of golf and golf instruction. It is also home to the Ryder and the Wanamaker Cups, when they are not required to be exhibited outside the museum.
When golf fans, who are stuck in the snow and cold in the northern United States, see the beautiful sunshine and green golf courses on their televisions, they begin to think of traveling south for a golf getaway.
The PGA has done an excellent job of restoring the PGA Village. It is just a short drive north of the West Palm Beach airport and will please even the most discerning golfer’s demands.
Tags: Dick Gray, Dye Course, Fred Altvater, Pete Dye, PGA Center for Golf Learning and Performance, PGA Museum of Golf, PGA of America, PGA Village, PGA Village Golf Club, Probst Library, Ryder Cup, St. Lucie, Ted Bishop, The Back Nine, Tom Fazio, Wanamaker Cup