Jack Nicklaus Design has created over 415 golf courses in 45 countries around the world, and over 1,000 professional tournaments have been staged on them. As a result, it is not easy to come up with a first after 50 years, but it just happened in Jupiter, Florida. Jack and his design group have created their very first putting course just five miles from his corporate headquarters. You might ask why. Well, simply ‘putt’- to help the Nicklaus Children’s Health Care Foundation and local children’s healthcare facilities.
“Jack and I are thrilled to see this unique idea become a reality,” said Barbara Nicklaus, Founder and Chairperson of the Nicklaus Children’s Health Care Foundation (NCHCF). “It is especially nice to have this facility here in our own backyard for families to enjoy and to help support children’s healthcare in South Florida.”
The new Nicklaus putting course, named after the Golden Cub character created by Barbara, is a first of its kind… and it is definitely not “windmill” miniature golf. The Golden Cub Miniature Golf Course features holes inspired by famous designs like the road hole at St. Andrews, Scotland, Spectacles, the notable par-five, 14th at Carnoustie Golf Links where the Open Championship is being played this month, and of course, designs by the Golden Bear himself at some of his famous signature courses.
“This was definitely a new and different project for us,” explained Nicklaus Design Associate Chad Goetz. “We approached the process for the Golden Cub in a manner similar to the methods and philosophies Jack taught us for laying out full scale courses. We looked beyond typical miniature course design elements and instead focused on variety, strategy and creating a unique and fun experience for children, parents and grandparents. The team worked hard to create holes that replicated certain types of putts found on full size designs. This putting course will be unlike anything people have seen. Golden Cub relies on slope and undulation to create interest and strategy. The design emphasizes touch, with control of pace being a critical element. Additionally, many holes try to tempt players with high risk-reward elements that bring excitement into play. The result is a golf course that is fun to play for the casual player and a challenge for seasoned golfers.”
When it was time to actually construct, the team sought the help of its partner, Southwest Greens, to build the course which features the patented Golden Bear Turf. “What a pleasure it was to work with Southwest,” said Goetz. “Their on-site crew has unparalleled experience
in bringing to life the unique green complexes, and they were able to guide us through various challenges of implementing this never-seen-before design. The final result exceeded our expectations, and it will be something we at Nicklaus Design plan to explore in the future.”
With the course opening this July, the Nicklaus Companies have enjoyed bringing such a unique attraction to the Downtown Abacoa development of retail and restaurants, and most importantly, to the many children who will benefit from the donations to the NCHCF, including those being served at nearby Jupiter Medical Center and the Nicklaus Children’s Outpatient Centers.
“It is our mission as a company to give back,” explained Nicklaus Companies CEO John Reese. “We are always striving as a company to find new ways to attract people to the game and to explore innovative ideas to bring entertainment through the game to people of all lifestyles who enjoy family activities. We are actively pursuing new business models-non traditional, tech driven businesses-to expand entertainment into not only golf, but other sports, with millennials and families as our focus.”
For more information, visit Nicklaus.com.