Breakers Palm Beach, Florida, has been recognised by the prestigious World Travel Awards as North America’s Leading Golf Resort for three consecutive years.
Following the resort’s 2010 triumph, Breaking Travel News called in to see just what it is that separates this world-class resort from its competitors.
Pictured: Views over the Ocean Course at Breakers
The multi-faceted Breakers Palm Beach features two memorable championship courses – 36 holes in complementary settings offering dimension and variety to a game at one award-winning destination.
The historic Ocean Course – an extraordinary vintage golf experience – and its accompanying golf and tennis clubhouse were designed in the grand Old Florida style of architecture.
Its contemporary counterpart - The Breakers Rees Jones Course – is located just 11 miles west of the main hotel and which underwent a $6 million reconstruction in December 2004, under its namesake, one of the golf industry’s most renowned architects.
Tim Collins, director of golf, explains: “As opposed to being a great resort with quality golf, we are a great golf destination.”
Originally laid out by Alexander Findlay in 1896, and completely redesigned by famed golf course architect Brian Silva in 2000, The Ocean Course is the state’s oldest 18-hole course.
Elements such as random bunkering throughout the landscape (as opposed to a more modern, repetitive scheme) and fairways that weave between sandy hazards embody an old-world sensibility.
Elevated putting surfaces flanked by deeply-recessed, vintage bunkers and close-cut ‘green surrounds’, make a variety of recovery shots possible.
In 2000, Silva’s redesign addressed tee elevation, tee sizes, surface slopes, pin placement areas, an integration of sand and grass-faced bunkers, as well as a complex installation of new drainage and irrigation.
Explaining the developments Silva said: “We successfully heightened playing interest while re-establishing vintage design characteristics of the course.
“Our goal was to preserve the unique and priceless attributes of the original course while reviving those details that have not survived the rigors of climate and time,” added the former Golf World magazine Architect of the Year.
The Ocean Course rewards wits over power and challenges skill.
Resort pros recommend playing the ball low to counteract the spirited ocean winds and to use the terrain to play the ball in front of the green.
The Ocean Course is the oldest 18-hole course in Florida
Rees Jones Course
In contrast, The Breakers Rees Jones Course, a contemporary championship course, delivers a more playable game and captures the interest of players of all skill-levels.
The resort engaged renowned golf course architect Rees Jones, a future Golf Hall of Famer, to reconstruct the Breakers West links in 2004.
Golfers appreciate the lush foliage and numerous water hazards in the style of a nature preserve, set against the backdrop of an immaculately landscaped residential community.
Rees Jones redesigned the West links course at Breakers in 2004
John Webster Golf Academy
Away from the courses the Breakers Resort is also home to the John Webster Golf Academy (JWGA).
The institution has transformed The Breakers into a world-class golf destination with a new platform of player-centred golf instruction.
Its core themes – personalised tutorial, equipment and physical fitness – are Webster’s recipe to fortify players at all levels.
Year-round golf instruction with a roster of highly skilled teaching professionals is available in private lessons, golf school formats and specialised instruction for kids and teens.
State-of-the-art Learning Centres at both The Ocean Course and The Breakers Rees Jones Course provide optimal settings for evaluating and accurately diagnosing an individual’s swing.
The JWGA offers personalised fitness evaluations as well as custom club fitting with the Titleist Performance Monitor. Webster is a Titleist Certified Fitness Professional and on the Titleist Leadership Advisory Staff; he is one of only four Prominent Titleist Club Fitters worldwide.
A PGA member since 1995 and PGA Class-A Teaching Professional, he has taught notable students including Cal Ripken Jr., Tom Kite, Candy Hannemann, Kyle Boller, former Secretary of Homeland Security Tom Ridge, and former USGA president/US Amateur Champion Fred Ridley.
A host of sporting activities are available at Breakers
The Breakers Ocean Clubhouse
The 32,000 sq. ft. world-class golf and tennis Clubhouse, the architectural highlight of The Breakers golf experience, is set across South County Road a few hundred yards from the main hotel.
The two-story building’s design is reminiscent of a grand old Florida estate; the exterior features wood clapboard on the first level and shingles on the second, capped by a slate roof.
The interior design is a timeless, casual elegance with a residential feel, while expressing the hotel’s unique, individual character and the locale in which it resides.
The Clubhouse features The Sports Pro Shop, recognised as one of the Top 100 Best Golf Shops by Golf World magazine, offering a broad selection of golf and tennis equipment and designer merchandise; luxurious locker rooms; a fitness centre featuring state-of-the-art cardiovascular equipment, free weights, sauna and steam.
Located on the second floor of the facility is The Flagler Steakhouse, a restaurant with porch seating, spectacular views of the fairways, and calm ocean breezes.
Prime-cut aged steaks are the centrepiece for its diverse menu.
On par with the golf facilities and adjacent to the clubhouse are ten beautifully groomed Har-Tru tennis courts, all lit at night.
Professional instruction is available along with clinics and private court time.
World Travel Awards
With all this on offer The Breakers Palm Beach is set to be among the front runners to retain the title of North America’s Leading Golf Resort in 2011.
Nominations for the prestigious prizes will be announced later this year, with more information on the official website.