Historic Florida muni saved for the community

Growing Golf
The Park at West Palm Beach opens for play

Some of the most influential people in golf, including PGA of America CEO Seth Waugh and Tiger Woods, have donated $56m to reopen a historic Florida municipal course that has lain fallow since 2018; reimagining it as an inclusive, accessible community venue.

The Park in West Palm Beach has opened for general play with a new 18-hole Gil Hanse and Jim Wagner-designed course, state-of-the-art practice facility, floodlit nine-hole short course and two-acre children’s-only golf zone.

It occupies the site of the former West Palm Beach Golf Course, a 1947 Dick Wilson design, which was consistently ranked as one of America’s finest municipal courses before falling into disrepair.

It is the latest in a series of public and private sector partnerships that have redeveloped municipal golf courses across the U.S. and involved the City of West Palm Beach partnering with a group of private citizens and donors.

As well as golf, The Park has been designed as a community gathering space comprising youth activities, educational programs, shopping and dining. 

Children at The Park West Palm Beach community centre

Speaking to Golf Digest at The Park’s opening, Waugh said: “We love the idea of ‘open golf’. We wanted to call it The Park because this is 190 acres owned by the residents and, like a park, it should be open to all.

“We have the abiding view that if we can help to make the game look more like the world, then just maybe the world will adopt some of the core values of the game.”

Tiger Woods, a 15-time Major Champion and resident of Jupiter, Florida, donated to the project and hit the ceremonial opening tee shot.

The Park was completely redesigned by Hanse and Wagner in the style of the courses on Australia’s Melbourne Sand Belt, with the addition of wider fairways and generously sized greens.

“One of the cool things Tiger said when he was here, and he’s been by a few times, was this is a ‘one-ball course’—you’re not going to lose a ball out here,” said Hanse.

Rates for West Palm Beach residents are set at $60. Green fees for Florida residents start at $160 and out-of-state rates are $220.