I asked a long-time member if he remembered Seth Raynor’s original design before Jack Nicklaus blew it up to design a completely new layout. “There wasn’t much Raynor left when they hired Nicklaus,” he replied. “The course had already been ‘modernized’ (by Mark McCumber he thought) and the members didn’t care much for it.”
They seem to like Nicklaus’s work very much and I am inclined to agree with them. Jack even managed to re-install some Raynor ideas, e.g. a Redan green at #7, a cape hole at #8.
But the common claim that Nicklaus favors holes that bend to the right because of his fade was not in evidence here. Though holes 8, 10, and 13 do favor a fade from the tee, holes 3, 4, 12 and 14 curve in the opposite direction. Each has a definite line of charm as do some of the straight holes, most notably # 11, a short par 4 with a sea of fairway bunkers that will have the player scratching her/his head on the tee. Nicklaus has required an aerial approach on a number of holes, but there are just as many where the running game is in play. The greens are nicely contoured as well.
I thought the biggest negative was the conditioning. Apparently the powers that be agree as the course will be regrassed in the summer of 2018.
North Palm is pricey compared to many of its public access neighbors, but worth every penny of the premium.
Date: April 09, 2018