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PHOTOS: A Palm Beach golf course first laid out in 1897 is getting a makeover

Posted On: 06-18-2018

The Breakers should be able to move more quickly with the makeover of its golf course this summer now that Palm Beach has agreed to allow work to occur on Saturdays.

President Paul Leone said says The Breakers is believed to be the state’s oldest actively used golf course.

The Town Council on Wednesday granted the resort a waiver from normal construction hours, which limit work to 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. on weekdays. Jamie Crowley, the lawyer representing the Breakers, said it has lost more than 1,300 construction hours because of the recent rain and needs to make up that time to meet a late-fall completion goal.

Protecting neighbors’ peace and quiet is a concern, however. Bulldozers are being used to reshape the course, which means dust and noise. “We’re moving a 

lot of dirt,” Crowley said.

That phase of the work will end in early August, followed by 12 weeks of seeding and growing grass, he said.

The Breakers Ocean Course Renovation The Breakers Ocean Course Renovation

The council granted the Breakers’ request to allow work on Saturdays between 7 a.m. and 5 p.m. but prohibited the use of heavy equipment on Saturdays on the two fairways near Via Bethesda and Pendleton Avenue.

The board also allowed work to begin an hour earlier, at 7 a.m., on weekdays, but said heavy equipment can’t be used before 8 a.m. on the four fairways near Via Bethesda, Pendleton Avenue and the northwest corner of the golf course near Cocoanut Row and Royal Poinciana Way.

But the council set a condition: If there are valid complaints from neighbors about the pre-8 a.m. work or the Saturday work, then it must immediately stop and the matter must come back before the council.

Councilwoman Bobbie Lindsay said no one wants to see work on the 80-acre course continue into the winter holidays.

“It’s in everybody’s interest to get this finished before the season,” she said. “This has been extraordinarily wet weather.”

Council President Danielle Moore recused herself from the discussion and unanimous vote because she lives on Pendleton Avenue, which abuts the course to the south.

Originally laid out by Alexander Findlay in 1897, the course was redesigned in 2000 by Brian Silva.

The Breakers has hired renowned golf architect Rees Jones to design this latest project, which began in late April. The new design eliminates many side bunkers and increases the size of the greens.

After 18 years of wear and tear, it was time to replace the grass, Leone said Thursday. But he said there’s a larger goal at play – to make the course more enjoyable for players.

“The game of golf has changed,” Leone said. “Twenty years ago, designers and resort owners were trying to make these courses more challenging. It sort of backfired. People don’t want to spend five hours playing a round of golf. They want to have fun and they want to move around the course more quickly.”




Source: Darrell Hofheinz, June 18, 2018, Palm Beach Daily News

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