May 6, 2021 — The proposed West Palm Golf Park is advancing, after the West Palm Beach City Commission gave unanimous approval to a ground lease, development and operating agreement with the West Palm Golf Community Trust (“Trust”), as well as the organization’s proposed concept plan, on First Reading during Monday’s City Commission meeting.
A community asset that can be enjoyed and utilized by West Palm Beach residents and visitors, the future golf park stands to activate and revitalize approximately 179 acres of city property in the South End. The future golf park will be dedicated to inclusivity, community outreach, junior programs and development.
The future West Palm Golf Park features a Gil Hanse designed 18-hole course, a 9-hole short course similar to his acclaimed “Cradle” course at Pinehurst, a full short game area and two putting greens, a practice range, clubhouse and facilities. The West Palm Golf Park will have a major focus on junior golfers with world-class coaching and golf experiences at affordable rates.
The West Palm Golf Park will be located at the site of the former West Palm Beach Municipal Golf Course, just south of Forest Hill Boulevard, east of Interstate 95, west of South Dixie Highway, and north of the Lake Worth “C-51” Canal.
The City of West Palm Beach and the Trust are partners in the initiative. The Trust was established as a non-profit organization to raise the funding to develop and operate the golf park. The committee leading the Trust is made up of local business, community and golf leaders. The City will have representation on the Trust’s Board of Directors.
The project vision has attracted broad financial support, and the Trust has received commitments for the funding necessary to develop and maintain the course through philanthropic contributions. To date, the Trust has received pledges in excess of $43.5 million for the development, programming and operation of the course. The funds raised to rebuild the West Palm Golf Park facility and create community programs is one of the largest private philanthropic investments in the city’s history.
A ceremonial groundbreaking attended by donors, city officials and members of the Trust was held at the site last week.
To view the lease terms between the City of West Palm Beach and the Trust, click here to see item 18 of the City Commission Pass/Fail agenda.
While the intended project schedule contemplates issuance of a Certificate of Occupancy for the golf course and clubhouse by September 1, 2023, opening day is anticipated in late 2022.
“On behalf of the City of West Palm Beach, I wish to express my heartfelt thanks to Seth Waugh, the West Palm Golf Community Trust, and legendary designer Gil Hanse for presenting a vision that is so special that it has attracted such broad private financial support,” said West Palm Beach Mayor Keith A. James.
“Thanks to the wonderful partnership between the Trust and the city, I am confident the West Palm Golf Park will become a place that promotes a love of the game, inspires a sense of community, and creates opportunities. This golf park is in line with my vision of creating a community of opportunity for all in West Palm Beach,” said Mayor James.
“I wish to thank Mayor James, City Commissioners and the generous donors for their wonderful support,” said Seth Waugh, West Palm Golf Community Trust President. “We are excited about this partnership that will change lives and make golf a destination for all. With legendary designer Gil Hanse, who in my opinion is one of the greatest golf course designers in the world, on board, we look forward to presenting a municipal golf course that residents and people from everywhere will come to see. No matter their zip code, background, or golf abilities, there will be something for everyone to pursue their dreams.”
Waugh continued, “The courage Mayor James showed and the leadership he showed throughout this process was amazing.”
Gil Hanse noted he was impressed with the unique topography of the entire property and the prevalence of useable sand.
“We have a blank slate, and it’s what every designer dreams of,” said Hanse. “Because of the makeup of the sand throughout, we can build this old-school. It has great economy and efficiency, which will make it better from an artistic standpoint.”
PGA TOUR Champions player Brad Faxon, who won eight times on the PGA TOUR, served as master of ceremonies at the groundbreaking.
“Golf is the greatest medium in the world,” he told attendees. “It brings people together.”
Commissioners will give final consideration to the ordinance at a Second Reading scheduled for May 17, 2021.