Rodman Wanamaker’s name is already famous for the trophy received by winners of the PGA Championship, the headlining event of the golf tour he worked to found. He also has a course named after him at the PGA Village Golf Resort, and it’s a more attainable prize than the aforementioned trophy.
A Tom Fazio design, the Wanamaker course plays a hair under 7,100 yards, with significant sand and water to challenge the skilled golfer (as well as entertain the tourist golfer). No. 8 is a highlight for many groups, as it features a split green. Although there is plenty of hazard to avoid on the way to the more conservative rightward green, weaving among large sand complexes, the leftward option raises the bar one step higher, requiring a carry of wetland to reach an even higher-bunkered putting surface.
No doubt the choice of green is a reflection upon how many balls have already been lost to hazards. If you hadn’t gone through several sleeves before you arrive at the finals few holes, you’re in luck. If you have, hopefully you’ve got a few more sleeves to get you past this barrage of water and sand.
I lived in PGA Village for 7 years and played all the courses often. The Wanamaker was the course the Club held as it's go to for tournament play for wintering northern pros who were snow birding. That itself sets up the view that the Wanamaker is the best of the 3 on campus.
The Wanamaker starts with a par 5 slight dogleg left with bunkers set at that dogleg. It's a nice starter which gently steps you in. The 2nd steps up and is the #1 handicapper and with good reason. A long par 4 somewhat straight but with problems left with water and right with bunkers as the hole climbs slightly. The green is raised and bunkered left and right and water over the back. 3 is a slight dogleg left requiring a forced carry over a pond and bunkers just past that. The green is large and diagonally placed with bunkers left and a short steep hill to the right. 4 is the first par 3 of good length and a massive green. 5 is a straight away par 4 which has a pond to the left which comes into play with your drive. The green is raised and on a table top which deflects balls left toward the water. 6 is a downhill par 3 with water left and a diagonal green to the left. 7 is a dynamic par 5 with water the whole way left and a bunker that is on the left and traverses to the front as you approach the green. The green is right next to the water left and long. 8 is a par 4 that offers two greens. The standard play green sets up as a slight dogleg right, The green straight away over the water with bunkering is usually held for tournament play only. 9 closes the front with a strong par 4 with ample space for the drive and a sloping left to right deep green with water to the right.
10 is a par 4 straight away with a well protected green that gently slopes away. 11 is a par 3 with water right that comes in short too and over. 12 is a straight away par 4 of not much distinction. 13 is a big par 5 with water on the right and a large fairway bunker left that sits on a hill. The green is well protected and very shallow and diagonal. 14 is a strong par 4 with boundary trouble left and a depression area right with bunkers to a well protected large green with much slope. 15 is a short par 4 which follows the fairway but has bunkers left and very reachable boundary and a downslope right with bunkers and then water. A very contoured green to finish. 16 is a short par 5 with water left which juts out front also. The fairway is 10 feet above the water level and bunkers are set in that hill on the left. 17 is a long par 3 with a deep green. 18 is a dynamic finisher par 4. The landing area has a bunker right which covers 100 yards and sits next to a pond which you must carry to get to the green on the other side. Out to the left is a group of palm trees that are very much in play. Split those two and hit a crisp iron to a contoured green to finish.
The Wanamaker is a very nice course. I tended to discount it as it sat in my backyard. It along with the Ryder and Dye offer a nice spot to spend some time.
I love the village. I actually prefer the looks, feel and pro shop to that of PGA National. The National has the awesome bear statues though and the honorable Honda Classic including the bear trap. Wannamaker is a challenging fair golf course with amazing fairways bunkers and greens. Everything is consistent at this place. The pro shop is very impressive. Although paying 17 bucks for a yardage book was insane I still did it. So yes the entire place is over priced but it continues to be busy and I am sure I will be back to play the other two courses someday. Hopefully prices may drop by then. An enjoyable round - Bring the wallet!
The PGA Wanamaker course is part of a 54 hole complex in Port St. Lucie, FL. I highly recommend it over it’s sisters down in West Palm Beach. A lot fewer people, better pricing and better courses!
The first hole is extremely welcoming, a short reachable par five slight dogleg left. Favor the right side off the tee to avoid the left bunkers. It has a narrow back to front sloping green but danger lurks to the right with a long greenside bunker. The 2nd hole is a bear, long uphill par 4. Favor the right off the tee as everything will trundle left. Take an extra club on your approach. The short par 4s 3rd and 5th are great birdie opportunities provided you hit a decent tee shot in the fairway. The 6th is a tricky little par 3. The green slopes hard left towards the water hazard. My high hook failed to hold. The par 5 7th looks much more intimidating than it is. Big hitters can get home, but the risk reward is stacked against them. A water hazard runs the length of the hole on the left along with several bunkers. Still favor the left off the tee to give you the best angle to choose your preferred distance on your 3rd shot. The short par 4 8th has two greens. As a hooker, I preferred the left green alternative. The long par 4 9th has a large landing area with a green that slopes hard left to right toward the water hazard. Favor the middle of the green.
The 12th is a short uphill par 4 that provides a good birdie oppty. The green is well protected by bunkers on compass quadrants. The par 5 13th is definitely reachable, but you will earn it. Water all down the right with a BAB on the left corner. Ideal drive is over that bunker. This then gives you a long carry over two more left BABs to a redan green. I woosed out and hit a short iron right to give me a wedge to the green. The 15th is a fun cute little (pick your adjective) par 4. Depending upon your tees, you can go for it, hit a hybrid or long iron off the tee. The short par 5 16th is also a fun hole (unless you were in our group, 3 bogeys and a double). Reachable in two it has water all down the left with a plethora of sand. Favor the right off the tee as everything will roll towards the water. If you are going for it in two also favor the right side. On the left all you have are bunkers and water. I was delighted when we played the last par 3. The Wanamaker did not have the classic, i.e. boring Florida par 3 all carry over water. The 17th is uphill, so take an extra club with a bunker left and a false front right. The dogleg right, around a water hazard, par 4 18th is a super finishing hole. Additionally, there is a BABs BAB on the right side, supposedly 2 acres in size. If you hit this green, tread lightly as everything rolls hard towards the water hazard.
The Wanamker is a good course. I think it is under-rated. It has s0me demanding holes but some really neat fun holes. Lot of bunkers and the greens are TOUGH.