Industry News

Ballenisles Country Club agrees to multi-year design partnership with Nicklaus Design

Palm Beach Gardens, Fla. (June 1, 2021) – BallenIsles Country Club is proud to announce a strategic design partnership with Nicklaus Design to take the Club through a multi-year renovation of its famed East Course and golf practice facilities. BallenIsles and Jack Nicklaus recently commemorated the 50th anniversary of Nicklaus’ victory at the 1971 PGA Championship held on its famed East Course (then known as PGA National).

The Nicklaus Design team is currently engaged with Project Manager Ron Despain from Troon, in completing the master plan for the Club to consider a complete renovation to its Learning Center and updates to the championship tested East Course – which are currently slated to take place in 2022, pending member approval. At this time, the team is working on a series of projects on the East Course that will take place this summer, including tree replacements, renovations to the 9th hole as the Club constructs a new pickleball center and other projects that will prepare the course for the upcoming renovation.

BallenIsles and Nicklaus Design

“If any name should ever be permanently tied to the East Course, there is only one name that fits, Nicklaus,” said BallenIsles Country Club General Manager and Chief Operating Officer Ryan Walls. “We are very encouraged by what the future will bring to complete a multi-year golf improvement project bringing all three courses to modern-day standard and quality of design.”

Under the refreshed master plan, the BallenIsles practice facilities will see a total re-imagination of the teeing grounds, target areas and practice greens. The new design will incorporate modern-day practice areas and targets to enable members to routinely practice the wide variety of golf shots demanded on BallenIsles’ three championship courses. The Learning Center will include state-of-the-art technology, multiple target areas, short game practice areas, a pitch-and-putt course and a putting course. The Learning Center will serve as an entry into golf, welcoming first-time players and professionals alike.

At the same time, BallenIsles and Nicklaus Design will refresh the famed East Course, with a goal of seeing Championship golf return to the revered venue.  The East Course renovation is expected to include a modernization of the irrigation system, a complete re-grassing of the course, improvement of tee locations and the return of original course design features from when the course hosted major championships. The Nicklaus Design team will add length and strategy that will test both members and tournament players alike.

Nicklaus Design’s senior design team of Chris Cochran and Chad Goetz will lead the mission of returning the East Course to its former glory – a tournament-tested layout that challenges the best players in the world, while providing a playable, enjoyable test of golf for members. Paul Stringer, President of Nicklaus Design said, “We are thrilled to be involved with a club of the stature of BallenIsles in restoring their East Golf Course and enhancing their practice facilities. With the history of Jack’s victory in the 1971 PGA, we are honored to carry out the legacy of the Nicklaus name and be a part of the long-standing history at BallenIsles.”

Originally built in 1964 and designed by Joe Lee and Dick Wilson, the East Course is a challenging 7,189-yard, par 72 layout. The course was last enhanced in 2008 under the direction of Keith Foster and Kevin Hargrave and included the planting of 2,600 additional trees as well as 20,000 new plants and shrubs. Greens were renovated to meet USGA standards and bunkers were reshaped to be more visible from the tee box areas. In 2008, Golf Inc. Magazine recognized the $9 million renovation of the East Course as a finalist for its national “Renovation of the Year” award.

The renovation of the East Course follows the 2019 $7.5 million dollar redesign of BallenIsles’ South Course by famed golf course architect Rees Jones, and a 2018 $35 million dollar clubhouse renovation and expansion project.

In February 1971, the PGA Championship was played at BallenIsles Country Club (then named PGA National). Jack Nicklaus was crowned the champion with a dominating wire-to-wire win. The victory was the ninth of his record 18 professional major championships and an important piece of history for the Club and Palm Beach County.

For more information on BallenIsles Country Club, visit

Photo caption: BallenIsles Country Club General Manager and Chief Operating Officer Ryan Walls (left) with Paul Stringer, President of Nicklaus Design.

In 1963 legendary Florida developer John D. MacArthur and the PGA of America teamed up with golf course architects Dick Wilson and Joe Lee to design a championship-caliber golf facility. Over the next ten years, BallenIsles, then called PGA National Golf Club, hosted numerous major tournaments like the PGA Championship and PGA Seniors Championship and was home for the Professional Golfers’ Association of America. The Club was also the host site for the original PGA TOUR Qualifying School and held the inaugural PGA Merchandise Show. When the MacArthur/PGA of America agreement expired in 1973, the Club was renamed the JDM Country Club for John D. MacArthur. For the next 15 years, the prestigious local country club hosted many celebrities and professional golfers and staged many events on the three golf courses on the property. In 1988, the three golf courses and surrounding property were sold by the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation and renamed BallenIsles Country Club. A multi-year and multimillion dollar plan to develop a private country club community was unveiled. Since the early 2000’s, BallenIsles Country Club has been consistently ranked as one of the Top 100 Clubs in America.

A $35 million clubhouse renovation was completed in November 2018, featuring 115,000 square feet of luxurious space; three championship courses with 54 holes of golf; a world-class 23-court tennis complex including an exhibition tennis court and pickleball courts; and a state-of-the-art Sports Complex with a full-service Cosmo & Company salon and spa, fitness center, Pilates & spin studios and resort-style swimming pool. For more information visit

BallenIsles Country Club is professionally managed by Troon Privé, the private club operating division of Troon. Headquartered in Scottsdale, Ariz., Troon is the world’s largest golf management company providing services at 585-plus locations around the globe, including managing 630-plus 18-hole equivalent golf courses. In addition to golf, Troon specializes in homeowner association management, private residence clubs, estate management and associated hospitality venues. Troon’s award-winning food and beverage division operates and manages more than 620-plus food and beverage operations located at golf resorts, private clubs, daily fee golf courses and recreational facilities. With properties located in 45-plus states and 30-plus countries, Troon’s family of brands includes Troon Golf, Troon Privé, Troon International, Honours Golf, OB Sports, Indigo Golf Partners, CADDIEMASTER, True Club Solutions, Cliff Drysdale Tennis and RealFood Hospitality, Strategy and Design. Troon-affiliated properties include Princeville Makai Golf Club on Kauai; Champion Hills in Hendersonville, North Carolina; Ocean Club in Paradise Island, Bahamas; and Vattanac Golf Resort in Phnom Penh, Cambodia. For additional news and information, visit

For 50 years, the mission of Nicklaus Companies has been to enhance the golf experience and to deliver quality branded products and services on a global basis that mirror the high standards established in the career and life of its Founder, Jack Nicklaus. The Nicklaus Companies businesses include golf-course design, the development of golf and real estate communities, and the marketing and licensing of lifestyle products worldwide under the iconic Jack Nicklaus and Golden Bear brands. Nicklaus Design, recognized as the world leader in golf course design, has created over 425 courses worldwide, open for play in 45 countries and 40 U.S. states.  In 2007, Jack Nicklaus partnered with Howard Milstein to further the growth of the company and expand the branded businesses. In addition to institutionalizing the Nicklaus brands for the future, Milstein has instilled a personal philosophy of “A Brand That Gives Back,” with products and partners committing to donations to help the Nicklaus Children’s Health Care Foundation and other charities. A leading entrepreneur in the golf industry, Milstein also created 8AM Golf, a family of companies that also includes GOLF Magazine and, Miura Golf, Club Conex, True Spec Golf and GolfLogix. All share a common mission to help players at all levels enjoy the game more.

Media Contacts:
Rob Myers

Becky Collison
BallenIsles Country Club
Director of Marketing & Communication

Tommy Hearden
Nicklaus Design
Business Development Manager