Troon Living

BallenIsles Unveils More Big-Time Amenities

By Scott Kauffman

What do you do when your club already committed more than $80 million in capital improvement projects over a 10-year-period, including a new $35 million clubhouse unveiled four years ago and a $7.5 million completely renovated Rees Jones South Course in 2020? 

If you’re Troon Privé’s BallenIsles Country Club in Palm Beach Gardens, Fla., you don’t rest on your luxurious golf lifestyle laurels. You turn right around and invest $6.3 million to revamp the club’s famed East Course and $1.4 million to build one of the best practice facilities in the business, anchored by the newly 2023 opened $1.4 million ‘71 Learning Center, modern tech-fueled center for learning all things golf.

BallenIsles’ East Course is perhaps best remembered as the former home of the PGA of America and where Jack Nicklaus won the 1971 PGA Championship. Now, it’s known for having a new championship-level layout after the nearby Nicklaus Design team spent more than eight months “modernizing and upgrading” the entire Dick Wilson-designed course from a playability and agronomic perspective.

Among the highlights of the renovation led by Nicklaus’ senior designers Chris Cochran and Chad Goetz were shallowed bunkers and reshaped fairways and greens with “natural humps and hollows” giving golfers of all skill levels more run-off areas and recovery options to enjoy the course.

To top it off, the new practice facility features a 65-bay two-sided range with Toptracer technology and target areas, practice bunkers, a putting green and wedge range with targets from 30 to 105 yards. The four-acre short-game area has a 25,000 sq. ft. Snead Green putting course, plus five pitching and chipping greens. 

Club general manager/chief executive officer Ryan Walls and Nicklaus Design president Paul Stringer are particularly thrilled about the club’s newly reimagined practice facility, which Stringer describes as a growing trend in the private club industry.

“We call it the gamification of driving ranges,” says Stringer, who’s in his 20th year with Nicklaus Companies. “People are becoming a little bit more sophisticated about their golf … so we’re seeing more of these (renovation projects) involving any kind of technology to help players or to have an entertainment base.” 

BallenIsles president/member David Frank describes the new East Course and practice grounds as “simply spectacular.” Adds Frank: “We continue making BallenIsles Country Club better and better.”


Troon Living Tap-Ins

Black Desert Resort, the new mixed-used resort-style development, featuring a 19-hole course designed by the late Tom Weiskopf and his former design partner Phil Smith, is scheduled to be fully opened this May in Ivins, Utah.  According to Patrick Manning, managing director with developer Reef Capital Partners, the first nine opened last fall for “VIP play” but the developers closed the course in January to “let it continue to mature.”

In addition to the traditional 18-hole layout, the golf facility also features a 36-hole illuminated putting course for day or night play and the bonus “19th Hole,” an amphitheater-style lakeside gathering place terraced into the black lava landscape for golfers to settle bets and enjoy the striking “red mountain” scenery in these St. George suburbs. 

The 580-acre development also call for a 150-key luxury hotel and approximately 1,000 condos master-planned around a water park, miles of nearby trails, wellness spa and numerous retail and restaurant attractions.

Colonial Country Club in Fort Myers, Fla., has always been one of the more complete private club communities in southwest Florida. Now, it’s one of “America’s Healthiest Clubs,” according to a recent designation from Prevo Health Solutions 

Prevo Health Solutions is the premier wellness solutions provider in the club industry, offering online, onsite and on-target wellness programming to help clubs increase member usage and reduce health care costs. To qualify as one of America’s Healthiest Clubs, Colonial underwent an onsite evaluation and extensive interviews with key department heads. 

According to Prevo, Colonial received high scores across every department where “strategy” ranked the highest, thanks to the club’s ongoing commitment to providing the ultimate member experience. Among the “healthiest” highlights at Colonial are eight tennis courts, eight pickle ball courts, bocce courts, horseshoe pits, a championship golf course, a wellness center and spa, aquatics programming, bike and walker-friendly streets, accommodative culinary operations and 160-acre preserve with boardwalk.

“For Colonial Country Club to be recognized as one of America’s Healthiest Clubs is an honor and speaks to our incredible facilities, purpose and club culture,” said Robert Podley, Colonial Country Club’s general manager. “Our team continues to work hard to engage residents and members and truly live our motto of ‘Be Great, Have Fun, Practice Kindness.’”

Did You Know: The Troon golf and lifestyle brand continues to grow by leaps and bounds with the company’s food-and-beverage division now overseeing more than 600 operations at a variety of golf, resort, and recreational facilities. As for Troon’s golf-specific footprint, the company has clients in 750-plus locations in 30-plus countries and more than 45 states. 

Overall, Troon now counts the equivalent of 740-plus 18-hole courses in its growing global footprint. To put it into another perspective, if Troon were a state, the world’s largest golf and golf-related hospitality management company would be No. 6 on the list of America’s most golf-centric states.

Here’s the current Top 5 states with the most courses, according to a recently released “State Supply Standouts” report by the National Golf Foundation: Florida, 1,238; California, 964; Michigan, 860; New York, 830; and Texas, 819.