TPC at Heron Bay

TPC at Heron BayWhen Mark McCumber was asked to create a Tournament Players Course on a flat piece of ground at the edge of the Florida Everglades, he did it with flair. The course designed by McCumber is now the centerpiece of an all-new development in Coral Spring that just breathes "class.” Most of the year this is a daily-fee course. The folks there like to say this is a "daily-fee course with a private-course experience." They're not kidding. TPC at Heron Bay's shining moment comes each March when it hosts the PGA TOUR for the Honda Classic.

That's when the difficulty of the course is dictated by "the length of the rough, the width of the fairways and the firmness of the greens," according to McCumber. March is also when Florida’s spring winds kick up, adding to the challenge of play on this vast 220-acre chunk of real estate.

Located on Coral Ridge Road just off the Sawgrass Expressway in Coral Springs (just minutes from Ft. Lauderdale and Boca Raton), this new (1996) facility is growing into a world-class golf and residential community. This is not city golf and this is not country golf. This is more "nouveau suburbia" golf - a great course and a new luxury resort, the Radisson Resort Coral Springs at Heron Bay (soon to be the Marriott Resort at Heron Bay!), surrounded by new, upscale residential dwellings.

The 18-hole, par-72 course offers wide fairways and large greens. Mounds are here to offer good vantage points for spectators, but there are no great walls of earth that would create the stadium feel found in other TPC courses. The mounds at this course are subtler. Subtle is also the word for the contouring of the greens. The greens, fairways and tees are hybrid Bermuda grass.

The distinctive characteristic of the TPC at Heron Bay is its sand. The crews that carved this venue out of the flat Florida earth moved a million cubic yards of dirt around to form peaks and dips, fairways and greens… and then they brought in the sand. McCumber's bunkers (more than 100) cut into driving zones and guard greens from every imaginable angle. Water comes into play on only three holes.

"User-friendly" is a term that crops up often in reference to the TPC at Heron Bay. With five tee choices, that's understandable. Forward players get a generous advantage on every hole, especially the par-5s, while those choosing the back tees get the challenge they're seeking. Championship tees will give the player 7,268 yards of golf thrills, while those using the forward tees will have 4,961 yards of fun.

Not only is the TPC at Heron Bay player friendly, as a certified Audubon Sanctuary Golf Course, it's a welcome base of operations for wildlife as well. A variety of migratory and indigenous birds will be seen year round.

And when it comes to amenities, TPC at Heron Bay has much to offer. From the moment you arrive at the imposing entrance lined with 100 stately royal palms and drop your bag with the friendly attendant, the staff will do everything possible to make your stay pleasant. The coral-colored clubhouse has a definite tropical feel and is designed in the distinctive style of Addison Mizner. Here you'll fine the fully stocked golf shop, locker room and dressing room facilities for both men and women, and a full-service grille room.

Be sure to look for the frame holding Mark McCumber's wedge with which he made an eagle the year he won the Honda Classic here. It's on the wall in the lobby, facing the front door.

Practice facilities are no less inviting, offering one of the largest real-grass practice venues in the area. Brush up your game with quality practice balls, realistic target greens and a complete short-game area. Of course, a full range of instruction is available from the talented staff of PGA professionals including Nicklaus/Flick trained instructors.

The Nicklaus/Flick Game Improvement program announces a new and exciting relationship with the TPC at Heron Bay.

Formed in 1991 by Jack Nicklaus and Jim Flick, Nicklaus/Flick Game Improvement has been dedicated to helping golfers of all skill levels become better players. Their mutually shared anti-tension philosophy is presented by the highly acclaimed instructional staff, which is personally selected by Nicklaus and Flick.

The Nicklaus/ Flick program at the TPC at Heron bay will provide daily private lessons and group clinics for individuals and corporate guests. If you're looking for a place for your next business meeting or charity function, you couldn't find a more convenient facility. Just steps from the front door of the clubhouse is the new Marriott Resort at Heron Bay, housing 224 spacious guest rooms and suites surrounding a tropically landscaped seven-story atrium. The resort offers a state-of-the-art 30,000 square foot conference and catering center with two beautiful ballrooms accommodating groups of up to 1,400 attendees. Whether you need a boardroom or an elegant ballroom for a corporate meeting, fundraising dinner or a wedding reception, the new Marriott Resort at Heron Bay can accommodate your needs.

After your day's activities, keep in shape or work out the kinks at the well-appointed fitness center with sauna and whirlpool spa just off the resort lobby, or enjoy a relaxing swim in the heated outdoor pool. Friends and family can share their day's experiences when they meet in Bogeys atrium lounge or Breezes Tropical Patio Bar. And there's no need to stress about where to find meals. The Links at Heron Bay Restaurant serves sumptuous meals for breakfast, lunch and dinner.

Naturally, the resort offers Stay and Play golf packages. Reserve tee times as far as 60 days ahead of play. For those wishing to play this course often, an associate program is available, which will save you as much as 30 percent off the stated daily fee.

The TPC at Heron Bay has received its share of accolades in its short life. Golf Magazine has listed it as one of the Top 10 Daily Fee Courses You Can Play in Florida and Florida Sportsfan Magazine listed this course at Number 5 in its list of Florida's Top 50 Courses.

So, in answer to the question, "Can I play where the PGA TOUR plays?," the answer is, "Yes, you can". And you can have a great time playing at the TPC at Heron Bay.


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