Most professionals aren't able negotiate the Bear Trap and escape the week even par through the three holes. In one recent tournament at PGA National, though a fan favorite and notoriously accurate player, Boo Weekley, the Bear Trap left a five-over-par mark on him by week's end. South African, Ernie Els, the big easy, has fared somewhat better over the years, as have a few others. Take heart in knowing the pros play a much harder and longer layout than the rest of us.
Amen Courner at Augusta has arguably lost some of the dread from players in recent years. August National takes steps every year to make the course tougher. Every April, the world discovers whether Augusta National took the necessary steps to challenge players for their Masters Tournament. To their credit, the staff of PGA National took that route with The Champions Course.
The difficulty level of the Bear Trap is due to two separate rounds of renovations to The Champ course in as many years. According to PGA National's managing director, Joel Paige,
"We are thrilled with the extensive renovations by Nicklaus Design and Superior Golf Concepts," said Paige. "The combined scores from holes 15, 16 and 17 have shown that our "Bear Trap" offers professional golfers the toughest three-hole stretch anywhere in the world." It also proves that Jack Nicklaus, as designer, is continuing to leave an indelible mark on golf, much like he did as a player.
Improvements to The Champion Course were part of an extensive, multi-million dollar resort-wide makeover that included a new resort front entrance, lobby bar, steak and seafood grille, free-form zero-entry pool and waterside bar and grill. The Champ Course's re-shaped and expanded bunkers has drawn significant attention from players and spectators who commented on the course's demand for a focused game. It isn't simply a bomber's course, as the Bear Trap's par-three, par-four, par-three stretch has proven.
The Champions Course isn't simply for the pros or a select few members. Anyone can play the course and be caught by the Bear Trap. The South Florida location of PGA National, as well as the other activities and amenities offered by the golf resort, make it a great vacation spot for golfers and non-golfers. Its 339 guest rooms, restaurants, five golf courses, European Spa health club, and other activities make it a world-class resort destination. Golf is only the beginning.
Fly day — Edmonton, Canada
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