Fifty years ago, Palm Beach Gardens was a rather barren extent of swampland and pine forest that supported nothing more than a number of cattle ranches. Developer John D. MacArthur stepped in at the end of the 1950s and began the process of transforming the empty acres of grazing terrain into the upmarket residential area that it is today – one that supports no fewer than a dozen golf courses within its 55 square miles boundary.
MacArthur engaged the much under rated architect Dick Wilson to build three 18-hole courses then he teamed up with the PGA to establish new headquarters here in 1965. All was well for a few years and several top-flight competitions were held at Palm Beach Gardens including, in 1971, the World Cup (won by the 2-man USA team of Nicklaus and Trevino) and the USPGA Championship (when Jack Nicklaus won again).
Unfortunately, MacArthur’s relationship with the PGA ended soon after when the governing body moved first to Lake Park then back to its present home in 1981 at the PGA National Resort & Spa, a mile to the west on the other side of Florida’s Turnpike. After the split from the PGA in 1973, the property here became known as the JDM Country Club, which in turn became the BallenIsles Country Club.
Extending to over 1,300 acres, the beautifully landscaped BallenIsles housing complex – comprising a magnificent clubhouse, state-of-the-art tennis and fitness centre, spa and swimming pool – is laid out around the three top drawer golf courses named North, South and East.