From Destin to Miami, with Orlando in between, Florida is filled with an abundance of great golfing destinations. With so many options to choose from, however, it is easy for some courses and resorts to be overshadowed by the bigger, flashier names found elsewhere around the state.
For this lifelong Floridian, one such destination is the PGA Village in Port St. Lucie; which until recently had never appeared on my golfers radar.
My avoidance of the PGA Village was really an unintended slight. The fact is, Port St. Lucie just isn’t the first destination that comes to mind when planning a weekend golf getaway. But with a host of accommodation options, a PGA museum, a leading teaching academy in Florida and three award-winning courses by Tom Fazio and Pete Dye, it was pretty clear that, until now, I was the one missing out.
The area surrounding the PGA Village offers a wide range of accommodation options for your Florida golf getaway. The Sheraton PGA Vacation Resort is located adjacent to the entrance of The Village and features an array of one- and two-bedroom villas — a perfect choice for the buddies golf trip or the family vacation to Florida. For my short overnight, the nearby Hilton Garden Inn brought comfortable accommodations with an equally convenient location.
Before heading to the course the next morning, I first paid a visit to the complex’s PGA Museum. The museum featured numerous exhibits on the Ryder Cup, PGA Championship and other historic moments in golf. For any fan of golf and the game’s rich history, the PGA Museum makes for a nice stroll before the round, or perhaps after as a reminder of why you still love the game.
Nearby, you’ll find the PGA Center for Golf Learning and Performance — one of the leading teaching facilities in Florida. The 35-acre complex features more than 100 practice stations, a sprawling short game area and a wide range of the latest in golf-performance technology. The center offers instruction in daily, weekly — or in extreme cases of the shanks — monthly packages personalized to meet every golfer’s needs.
Of course, the main attraction at the PGA Village is the golf itself, and it delivers in a very big way. The Wanamaker and Ryder courses are Tom Fazio at his finest, and toy with the golfer with a host of risk-reward opportunities. In addition, the Wanamaker is consistently ranked among the top-25 public golf courses in Florida.
We teed it up on the Dye Course, where the greens rolled smooth and fast, and poor shots to the wrong sides were often severely punished. The course featured the winding waste areas often found on Pete Dye designs, plus an abundance of mounding and bunkers which often made judging distance a challenge. Despite a little summer renovation work which is to be expected in the off-season, the Dye Course was in great condition overall and was a difficult, but fair, test of golf.
Although it took many years for the PGA Village to appear on my radar, in the end it proved to be worth the wait. From the PGA Museum, to the teaching facility, to the incredible array of championship golf, the PGA Village is a great choice for both the buddies golf trip and the extended Florida golf holiday. The resort is often overshadowed by the more famous names around the state, but it’s clear the PGA Village deserves a place among the best golf destinations in Florida.