Review: PGA Village Wanamaker Course

A Classic Florida Course
There will always be new courses and new ideas when it comes to golf, but sometimes you go to a golf destination expecting certain qualities. The PGA Village Wanamaker Course is a classic Florida golf course.  It has excellent weather for most of the year, several water holes, ample vegetation, green lush green fairways, a few condos around the course and a number of retirees playing golf everyday. 
There are more than couple reason to play the PGA Village Wanamaker Course in Port St. Lucie.  First off any PGA professional gets special rates.  With so many all around the world, you can come to PGA Village and play any of the 4 courses at a reduced rate, and the Wanamaker is the crown jewel of the resort.  You can also see the PGA museum on site.  Lastly the sprawling practice facilities could keep you busy all day practicing that you might even forget about playing golf on the course.  I don’t suggest you do because the Wanamaker  is a true Classic Florida golf course.

The front nine holes are a great collection of mounding, winding, turning, rolling holes on relatively flat ground.  There isn’t much elevation change at the resort, yet this course wasn’t the least bit boring.  The opening hole is a slight dogleg left par 5.  While sometimes par 5s are a tough way to open a round, this one isn’t too bad because it isn’t too long, nor too narrow and the green is big and receptive.  This is just a set up because the 2nd hole is one of the more difficult holes on the course.  It played into the sun as we were the first group out and plays up hill.  It is bombs away, yet requires some accuracy on the second shot.  Thankfully for the next couple holes, nothing too difficult, until you turn around and start working away from the sun, the front 9 has a string of 3 really great holes. 6,7,and 8 are a fun stretch of some challenging holes.  The 6th hole is a par 3 with water guarding the left side.  The green is big and undulated, but a par should be had here.  The 7th hole is a great par 5.  It can be reached in two if you want to challenge the green, bunkers and even water.  There is water that runs up the entire left side of this hole along with sand.  The green juts out left into the sand and water, making it risky to attempt it in two shots.  The 8th hole is a really cool double green short par 4.  The only problem was, both pins were in, so half of our group played one green, while the other half played the second green.  I honestly didn’t even see the right hand green, I just saw the left green and fired at it.  Clearly it is the more difficult green.  This postage stamp green is perched high with water danger to the left again.  The front nine wraps up by bringing you back to the clubhouse.
A quick snack and over to the 10th hole which plays parallel to 18.  It is a good way to ease into the back nine since it is short and only a very wild short slice will find the water.  The 11th hole is a fun par 3 that again has water on the right side, but a solid long iron or maybe even hybrid will put you right on the green.  The 13th hole is really a cool hole.  It has a wide landing area, but still with wind most likely in your face, the right side water is definitely in play.  But this hole is more about the next couple shots because of the giant mounded bunker.  You can be blinded from the green, and may have to play over it if you don’t get to the right side.  From the 15th hole on in, each hole is a solid test of accuracy.  The 15th hole is very short par 4, but don’t be fooled, the bunkering and OB can get you.  Laying up off the tee is the best option.  Leaving just a wedge or short iron in is the safest way to play it.  The 16th hole is a solid shorter par 5.  There is water on the left of this hole as it kind of doglegs around it.  The 17th is a long par 3 that seems to play longer than the yardage.  Thankfully I ripped my 3wood pin high and tapped in for birdie.  The 18th is a great finishing hole.  It plays long from the back tees toward the beautiful clubhouse.  The 2nd shot is the real knee knocker.  It is long and over water into a well guarded green.  Finishing with a par is a great feeling.
The overall conditions of the Wanamaker course were some of the better ones of all the courses I’ve played in FL.  They had everything cut perfectly;  firm and tight was to be found at every turn.  The fairways actually had some bounce in them instead of the overly wet “drop and stop” of some of the others I played.  The greens too were smooth, firm and speedy.  They were just a touch sandy the day I was there, but still in excellent condition.  The back tees offer a great challenge, while the forward tees would be enjoyable for any caliber of player.  Landing areas were mostly wide and forgiving yet second shots often required accuracy.  It is a classic FL course, it is lush, has plenty of water, framed by many palm trees and offers what you are looking for when you vacation in FL during the month of Jan.

If you want to take a classic Florida golf vacation, PGA Village offers a great collection of courses, the Wanamaker being the signature course, you won’t be disappointed.  It offers excellent conditions, a great layout, and something for all levels.  Add to that you can spend some time in the museum and learn some history while you’re at it.  The PGA Village Wanamaker course is a classic FL golf course.

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Quick Hits
+Classic Florida golf course
+Excellent conditions
+Fun yet challenging layout
+Great year round weather
+Museum and other courses

–Weaving through the condos