The PGA Golf Club in Port St. Lucie, “Home to the Pros, Open to the Public,” is a near-perfect retreat built by the PGA of America on 430 acres between Lake Okeechobee and the Atlantic Ocean. In 1996, Tom Fazio crafted a pair of superb courses, to which Pete Dye added a third three years later. Also, the club’s 35-acre Learning Center ranks among the world’s most advanced. Add nearby beaches, spring-training baseball, and waterside dining, and this laid-back, citrus-producing area sizes up as a perfect long weekend .
Friday Pick up a rental car at Palm Beach International Airport and drive to Port St. Lucie.
After checking in at hotel (details below), warm up on the facility’s charming six-hole par-three course, with time to spare for your afternoon tee time on the Carolina-style North Course , a brilliant Fazio creation bordered by slash pines and palmetto scrub.
Enjoy post-round refreshments at 61st Hole Grill and dinner at Conchy Joe’s Seafood in nearby Jensen Beach, a large, lively, open-air dining spot beside the Intracoastal Waterway.
Saturday After breakfast, depart for the South Course , a stunning Fazio-designed layout with a bold, swashbuckling personality. Range rats can return to the Learning Center; hard-core players can book a second round on the North or South Course.
If 18 holes is enough for you, go barefoot at lovely Jensen Beach ; or take in a New York Mets spring-training game at Thomas J. White Stadium in Port St. Lucie. Dine waterside at Mangrove Mattie’s on Fort Pierce Inlet. Cap the night at one of the tiki bars in town.
Sunday Tackle the Dye Course , a links-style design marked by pine-straw roughs, vast coquina waste bunkers, and undulating greens defended by pot bunkers and grassy swales. Evening departure? Squeeze in a second round. Pick up a bag of Indian River citrus — tangelos, navel oranges, pink grapefruit — at an area fruit stand.
Return car. Fly home, refreshed, with a minimum of 54 holes under your belt.
The Deal [As of March 2003] Kolter Resort at PGA Village (877-519-6766). Kolter rents out a wide selection of timeshare condos. Through March 31, rate for a three-night, three-round package at PGA Golf Club is $745 per person, double occupancy; $667 quad occupancy. From April 1 to May 31, rates drop to $526 and $474, respectively. Tariff includes green fees, cart, and access to the Learning Center. PGA Golf Club, 800-800-4653, www.pgavillage.com. To book a vacation, 866-742-2582.