Turkeys normally get the headlines this time of year, but there is nothing normal about this year.
So we start the month thinking about birdies – and jackets of green, and an Augusta National we’ve never seen.
The Masters is on deck and the defending champion is an out-of-this-world golfer from Jupiter named Tiger Woods. The conversational impossibility of getting Masters tickets is a verifiable reality this year as this legendary major will be contested without fans.
But that does not mean you cannot gather to watch it, and Woods’ upscale sports bar, The Woods Jupiter, is a great place to go as was proven in 2019. Craig Dolch takes peek into Woods’ connections to South Florida, from that restaurant, to PopStroke, to his after-school program that stokes interest in science, to his sponsorship of the Palm Beach County Golf Association’s Tour Championship (which was held in mid-October and saw Stuart’s Scott Turner, Juno Beach’s Pete Williams and Lake Worth’s Peter Metzler take Open, Senior and Super Senior titles).
Moving from superstar golfers to superstar course designers, we visited with Rees Jones, who has wrapped up work at Fort Lauderdale’s Coral Ridge Country Club. He has had a lifetime connection with the course, originally designed by his father, Robert Trent Jones Sr., in 1954. “Coral Ridge was his baby,” Rees said. “And, when I was first there I was 11 or 12, so I was just past a baby.”
Anything but a baby is Stuart’s Justin Peters, a talented and tough guy who has bruises and bad breaks – and not figurative ones – from chasing his pro golf dream. In 2015 he was bounced out of a cart at a Korn Ferry event and went tumbling down a hill, breaking a rib among his prizes. “The officials asked me if I was withdrawing,” Peters said. “My answer was ‘Can I stop bleeding before I make that decision?’” The following year Peters returned to the Korn Ferry Tour and peaked with a T35 finish. Plans altered, he’s a regular now on South Florida’s Minor League Golf Tour.
Golf plans in Boca Raton took a dramatic turn in October when the Boca Raton City Council agreed to accept a donation of the 167-acre, private Boca Country Club golf course from MSD Partners and Northview Hotel group, owners of Boca Raton Resort & Club. The deal, expected to close by the end of the year, includes the 18-hole championship course that was renovated for $5 million in 2018, a dozen clay tennis courts, aquatics facilities and a 42,000-square foot clubhouse. The fallout is that the City’s plans to turn the old Ocean Breeze facility into a new municipal facility, Boca National, are seemingly squashed and a new plan for the site will have to be developed.