TOUR Players are flocking to the shores of Palm Beach - why? Let’s see, shall we?As with most golf stories, it began with Jack Nicklaus. The genesis of golfers moving to Palm Beach traces back to 1965 when Nicklaus moved his family from Columbus, Ohio to quiet North Palm Beach, Florida. His wife Barbara recalls, “We fell in love with the area. Jack and I felt then and still feel now that Palm Beach County is a great place to play golf, a great place for convenient travel, and -- most of all -- a great place to raise a family.”
Based on their recommendation, Greg Norman moved to the area soon after, thus solidifying the transition of stateside professional golfers to Palm Beach County. Unlike Orlando, the former golf epicenter, Palm Beach County is not landlocked, touristy, or overly populated. The golf courses are always manicured; the country clubs are first-class, and the overall attitude combines a laid-back mentality with an active lifestyle. From young stars such as Dustin Johnson, Rickie Fowler, Justin Thomas, and Rory McIlroy to legends like Nicklaus, Norman, Gary Player, Nick Price, and Bernhard Langer, Palm Beach County is a friendly fraternity for past and present PGA tour players. Here are a few reasons why more and more tour players are migrating to the Palm Beach region.
Above image and header image by Jim Mandeville
When the “Greats” Come TogetherSimilar to the friendship of the big three, golf legends Jack Nicklaus, Gary Player, and the late Arnold Palmer, many of the current PGA Tour players have a familial friendship that transcends on and off the course. “We get together for dinner parties, holiday cookouts, or social outings,” says Daniel Berger, who competed in the final pairing at the U.S. Open this year. Berger’s girlfriend and NV Realty Group professional Victoria Slater notes that while players are super competitive on the greens, they all have mutual respect for one another and enjoy each other’s company. “Plus,” she adds, “what better way to improve your game than to practice with top players in the world?” Slater certainly has a point. Brian Wacker of www.pgatour.com reported in 2012 that golfer Kris Blanks increased his yearly income from $300,000 to $1.1 million in just two years after relocating to Jupiter from Washington D.C.
Locals commonly see the golfers snacking on chips and salsa at Rocco’s Tacos in Palm Beach Gardens, bowling at Bowlero Jupiter, or sipping cocktails at The Woods, a swanky restaurant owned by Tiger Woods at Harbourside Place. Interestingly, when a golf group frequents an establishment or entertainment venue, other patrons do not harass or bother them. In fact, the low-key mentality of residents is one of the reasons golfers are attracted to the area. Will Rosselle, who specializes in golf course properties, explains that “people here are used to seeing celebrities around town. Whether it is Venus or Serena Williams, Joe Namath, Michael Jordan, Kid Rock, Burt Reynolds, or one of the many professional baseball players who live here during spring training, locals may give a nod in their direction, but rarely - if ever - do you see someone ask for a picture or an autograph.” The Palm Beaches and Treasure Coast are a mecca for professional athletes, celebrities, and business tycoons, and that trend continues to grow with the influx of new and upcoming golfers.
A Golfer’s DreamAfter moving to the area, Norman and Nicklaus would often practice together at The Loxahatchee Club in Jupiter and Lost Tree Village in North Palm Beach, two highly revered clubs known for their fastidious fairways. Years later, the golfers’ dream to create their own private clubs came to fruition, with Norman designing the magnificent Medalist Golf Club and Nicklaus building the iconic Bear’s Club. No surprise, these two clubs remain the most popular among PGA Tour players.
Located in Hobe Sound, the Medalist Golf Club is a picturesque and private course flanked by natural preserves and freshwater lakes. Designed by Greg Norman and Pete Dye, this club is a primary practice facility for famous athletes such as Dan Marino, Michael Jordan, Tiger Woods, Rickie Fowler, and approximately 22 other LPGA and PGA members. About 15 miles away, Nicklaus’s The Bear’s Club in Jupiter is a true golfer’s oasis. Apart from the signature Jack Nicklaus design course, this club is perhaps best known as a quiet, secluded retreat. In this regard, players can practice on the course, hang out in the lounge, or dine in the clubhouse without disruption from other guests. “In my opinion, the combination of privacy and golf facilities are what makes the Bear’s Club so unique. Tour players can relax and just be themselves,” says member Michael Nicklaus, President of NV Realty Group. Rory McIlroy, Luke Donald, Dustin Johnson, Ernie Els and approximately 15 other professional players are also members here.
The Dye Preserve in Jupiter is another popular club for PGA Tour players. An invitation-only club, The Dye Preserve is characterized by its rustic, well-appointed clubhouse, Pete Dye-designed greenbelt, and adherence to golf’s most revered traditions, including no scheduled tee times. Members have additional privileges at other opulent golf and sporting clubs such as the Boathouse and Field Club at Martha’s Vineyard; Spanish Peaks Club in Big Sky, Montana; Pine Creek Sporting Club in Vero Beach, Florida; and Old Head Golf Club in Ireland.
Other optimal clubs for professional golfers to practice or play include The Loxahatchee Club, Lost Tree Village, Old Palm Golf Club, Mirasol Country Club, Old Marsh Golf Club, and The Floridian. In addition to the courses and facilities, Palm Beach County has several nationally-known and highly respected golf instructors such as The Harmons, Bob Ford, David Leadbetter, and Martin Hall to name a few.
The Best Golf Courses & BeachesThe Florida lifestyle encompasses more than just golf, too. Palm Beach County is just a few miles from the gulf stream, gifting golfers with the opportunity to exchange clubs for rods and catch a wide variety of saltwater fish such as tarpon, snook, dolphin, wahoo, marlin, and sailfish. A surreal place to snorkel or dive, the area has a copious amount of ancient limestone bedrocks that form complex labyrinths and elongated escarpments, sheltering tropical fish, loggerhead sea turtles, nurse sharks, goliath groupers, and many other aquamarine life. Golfers residing along the Intracoastal Waterway or Loxahatchee River can easily access the dive sites or fishing holes via the Jupiter or Palm Beach Inlets. Moreover, since these homes have their own private docks and boat lifts, residents enjoy fishing, snorkeling, paddle-boarding, kayaking, or sunset cruising right from their backyard.
With vibrant Miami just an hour and a half away, TOUR players can catch a Marlins baseball game at the new Marlins Park; a Dolphins football game at Hard Rock Stadium, a Panthers hockey game at BB&T Center; or a Heat basketball game at American Airlines Arena. Closer to home in Jupiter, Roger Dean Stadium is the home venue to the Jupiter Hammerheads and Palm Beach Cardinals baseball teams, which represent the Florida Marlins and St. Louis Cardinals, respectfully. “Often, baseball players who travel to Jupiter for spring training will end up moving or retiring in the area. Johnny Bench, Matt Holliday, Jim Palmer, Mike Schmidt, Tom Koehler, Jimmy Key and several others all call the Treasure Coast home,” says Rosselle of NV Realty Group. Equestrian enthusiasts enjoy Wellington’s Winter Equestrian Festival (WEF) and elite polo matches at the International Polo Club Palm Beach, which hosts the annual U.S. Open Polo Championship. Finally, tennis fans can practice, play or spectate at the number 1 ranked tennis facility in the nation: BallenIsles Country Club in Palm Beach Gardens. A private club, this 62,000 square foot sports complex features 22 courts, indoor viewing, food and beverage service, and a 500-seat stadium.
Another advantage of the Florida lifestyle is its pleasant climate and advantageous tax tier. Referred to as an “endless summer,” South Florida has warm winters and warmer summers. Unlike other parts of the Southeast, Palm Beach County carries coastal breezes, which keeps it cooler in the summer months than neighboring Miami or suffocating southern states. “Of course, Florida’s no state income tax and homestead exemption are added incentives as well,” notes Rosselle.
Finally, the Palm Beach International Airport (PBI) is a quaint and timely airport, making commercial travel to domestic and international golf tournaments an easy venture. The facility features an indoor putting green, a comfort zone spa, and delectable dining options such as Rooney’s Pub, Sam Snead’s, and Flagler Gourmet Market. Presently, many of the golfers travel as a group on private jets with Wheels Up or NetJets, the official private jet provider for the PGA Tour. This convenient option is ideal for players because they do not have to worry about airport delays, overcrowded flights, or checked golf bags. Palm Beach private aeronautical services are organized by a Fixed Base Operator (FBO) and located adjacent to the PBI Airport.
With all the available amenities, stately waterfront homes, and pleasant weather, it is no wonder that so many PGA tour players call Palm Beach home. Truly, this tropical paradise is desirable for anyone, golf clubs in hand or not. Here are just a few of the homes available in the area. If you’re interested in seeing one of the properties listed or to explore other golf course listings, please contact NV Realty Group today!