“The Breakers Rees Jones® Course” Transformed as one of South Florida's Finest Golf Experiences
“THE BREAKERS REES JONES® COURSE” TRANSFORMED AS ONE OF SOUTH FLORIDA’S FINEST GOLF EXPERIENCES
Eminent Golf Course Architect Achieves Dramatic Reconstruction of The Breakers Resort’s Championship Links
WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. – Located just 11 miles west of the legendary Breakers resort in Palm Beach, The Breakers Rees Jones® Course – one of the resort’s two championship golf courses –has evolved from a dramatic reconstruction under the guidance of Rees Jones, one of the golf industry’s most renowned architects. The extensive, $6 million project, completed in December 2004, has elevated this West Palm Beach course and The Breakers to one of the top-shelf golf experiences of the southeast and was recently awarded “Renovation of the Year,” by Golf Inc.
Formerly known as Breakers West, The Breakers Rees Jones® Course bears the imprint of Jones’ incomparable neo-classic style with its magnificent new layout. As one of the resort’s two championship courses, it is a contemporary counterpart to the historic Ocean Course (the oldest in Florida), which is located adjacent to the main hotel.
Dubbed the “The Open Doctor” for his highly acclaimed work remodeling seven U.S. Open courses (including The Country Club, Brookline, MA; Hazeltine National, Torrey Pines South, Baltusrol Lower, Congressional Blue, Pinehurst No. 2, and Bethpage Black), Jones is a future Golf Hall of Famer who has made his first mark in Palm Beach County, distinguished for having the most golf courses of any county in the state of Florida. The Breakers Rees Jones® Course is open to resort guests and to a limited number of private memberships.
“With Rees Jones behind this project, we not only transformed this course into 18 holes of exceptional golf, but we reaffirmed The Breakers Palm Beach as a true golf destination,” said David Burke, vice president of sales and marketing for The Breakers. “A great golf course became a spectacular one and is clearly one of the best courses in South Florida. We have achieved what we’re after in resort golf: to challenge golfers at every level and to generate repeat play -- Rees designed it with this goal in mind,” Burke continued.
In his signature style, Rees Jones artfully reconstructed the course by working in harmony with the natural terrain, as opposed to incorporating artificial elements. Another four and a half acres of new lakes were added to spaces previously inhabited by non-indigenous trees; all remaining trees are native to the locale, including 450 relocated sable palms, 400 new pine trees, as well as 39 transplanted oaks and another 40 added.
The Breakers Rees Jones® Course flows with friendly, gentle contours, where one can view the elevation changes and the roll of the greens; nothing sharp or rigid. It’s as if “the golf course found itself,” said golf course superintendent Mark Reid. “We discovered an extraordinary course that no one knew was there.” The new layout marries re-instated natural elements with what was already in place.
Rees Jones purposely designed flexibility into the course. There are ample landing areas from all tees; bunkers, contouring and elevation changes, and the fairways help direct the golfer to the green. “Positioning off the tee and choosing the right spots on the green directly influence the golf experience,” said Burke. “You’ve got to know where to hit.”
This strategy makes the course uniquely playable and challenging at the same time, and its many attributes ultimately empower the flow of the game for all play levels. Seasoned players enjoy some challenging water carries, varied pin positions, and appropriate entrances to artfully bunkered greens. Every hole is the chance to rise to the occasion. According to Reid, “It’s a ‘player’s choice’ golf course that provides multiple options – the beauty of a great golf course – unlike other links that necessitate playing according to the course’s set rules. There is always a different view of the course and a different way of playing it.”
For the leisure or beginner player, The Breakers Rees Jones® Course is coveted for its generous landing areas and the diversity of the greens. The golf course gives options to take chances where they present themselves. With almost 400 yards in additional course length, the layout now plays to a par 72. Jones also created room to design a bail-out area at most greens complexes. Each hole is forgiving to the person who wants to play it strategically; but it is not forgiving to the player who wants to take dead aim.
Some highlights of the reconstructed course include: Hole #9, a spectacular carry over water; Hole #11, a medium length par 3 with a peninsula green; and Hole #14, a picturesque par 5 with numerous shot options – a decision-making hole that one can play conservatively or gamble to go for the green in two, while navigating a tight approach and steep drop-off to water at the back of the green.
The nuts and bolts of the reconstruction project entailed a state-of-the-art drainage system that ensures the course does not hold water for any length of time; a new irrigation system, from pump station to sprinkler heads; five sets of tees for each hole; USGA greens, many featuring new bulk heads and lakes brought into play; new hard-surface cart paths with natural wood bridges to enable play during inclimate weather; reshaped lakes to bring more water into play; and new wall-to-wall grassing with the latest strains of Bermuda grass.
Rees Jones and The Breakers – A Marriage of Classicism The partnership between Rees Jones and The Breakers Palm Beach started with a like-minded chemistry, each possessing a rich heritage for golf and a timeless tradition of first-class standards. In 2004, Jones celebrated a remarkable 40-year career with more than 100 completely redesigned and newly constructed courses under his belt. He spent his first 10 years working with his father, the late Robert Trent Jones Sr. Both father and son were recipients of the Old Tom Morris Award, one of the highest honors in the golf course industry.
The Breakers was founded in 1896 by tycoon Henry Morrison Flagler, the man who transformed South Florida into a vacationland for millions. He enlisted Alexander H. Findlay, the father of American golf and a close friend of Flagler’s partner, John D. Rockefeller, to design the first golf course in the state of Florida adjacent to the “Palm Beach Inn,” the forerunner of The Breakers. This Ocean Course was originally constructed with only nine holes. Today, Flagler’s descendants still operate The Breakers under single family ownership, and the luxury oceanfront resort remains one of the few, privately-held hotels in the US independent of chain affiliation.
About The Breakers Palm Beach One of America’s legendary resort destinations, this 540-room, Italian Renaissance-style hotel resides on 140 acres of oceanfront property in the heart of Palm Beach. The Breakers was founded in 1896 and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places, and continues to thrive independent of chain affiliation. Renowned for its gracious service, the modern classic resort indulges its clientele, whether couples on a romantic getaway, multi-generational travelers on a family vacation or large gatherings in celebration. Its timeless atmosphere -- from its magnificent interiors to its artfully designed landscape -- has been renewed in a style of relaxed elegance.
A multi-faceted destination, The Breakers features 36 holes of championship golf, including the Ocean Course and The Breakers Rees Jones® Course; 10 Har-Tru tennis courts; luxury spa; a breathtaking oceanfront with a half-mile of private beach, Mediterranean-style beach club, as well as luxury beach bungalows for daytime-rental, four oceanfront pools, five whirlpool spas and a variety of water sports; a Family Entertainment Center and an extensive program of family and children’s activities. Nine distinctive restaurants and nine bars, with settings ranging from casual beachfront to stylishly sophisticated, including HMF, the resort’s destination for social drinking and eating and the newly transformed Flagler Steakhouse; as well as an array of on-site boutiques, are all owned and managed by the resort. The Breakers is recognized as a AAA Five Diamond property and has earned numerous accolades for its commitment to the environment, community service and the quality of life it provides to its employees. For reservations or more information, contact the resort toll-free at 1-888-BREAKERS (273-2537), (561) 655-6611, visit www.thebreakers.com, or contact your travel professional.