Steve Pike Anywhere: The Breakers Ocean Course

The Breakers Ocean Course in Palm Beach is Florida’s oldest golf course, and in late 2018, the course emerged from a full-scale renovation by renowned golf course architect Rees Jones.

PALM BEACH, Florida – The Breakers Palm Beach prides itself in its high standards. Anyone who has been to The Breakers knows the that historic oceanfront resort lives up to those standards at every turn.

The latest of example is the renovated Breakers Ocean Course. The oldest course in Florida, Rees Jones spent the summer and fall of 2017 re-designing the contours of the fairways and greens and removing the landscaping between holes.

TifEagle Bermuda grass was installed on the greens and Paspalum grass planted on the tees, fairways and rough.

The result is a stunningly beautiful, emerald green golf course that plays fast and fun. The removal of the landscaping has opened up the views of the fairways, while the new contouring gives the greens and greens complexes give the course more character without being too difficult for the average resort player.

“These changes make the course more enjoyable and playable for all,’’ said Tim Collins, director of golf on the Ocean Course. “We look at golf as a signature amenity and it helps to have a great product to drive demand.’’

Built by Alexander H. Findlay, the Ocean Course is recognized as Florida’s oldest golf course. Findlay was a Scottish golf champion who came to the U.S. in the mid 1880’s. He’s believed to have built the first six contiguous golf holes in America in Nebraska in 1887. Findlay went on the build or help design more than 300 courses in the U.S. over the next 40 years.

For more than 100 years, Palm Beach has been the quintessential, luxurious South Florida vacation spot, offering gorgeous ocean front mansions, white sand beaches, and palm trees, and there are only a few hotel properties on the island of Palm Beach, and The Breakers Palm Beach Resort is by far the most famous and a round of golf should be on your bucket list

Findlay is said to have talked his friend, Harry Vardon, into coming to the U.S. at the turn of the 20th century. The first “rock star’’ golfer, Vardon went on to win three U.S. Open titles. He and Findlay played more than 400 exhibition matches across the country, including matches at the Palm Beach Golf Club – what is now the Ocean Course at The Breakers.

Given that history, Jones, the fabled “Open Doctor,’’ was the perfect choice to renovate the Ocean Course. It helped, too, that Jones designed the outstanding course that bears his names at Breakers West, the resort’s sister property and private community about 10 miles west of the Ocean Course.

“Rees did an amazing job of staying true to the original design while modernizing where appropriate for fun play for all skill levels,’’ Collins said.

The legendary Ocean Course features:

TifEagle Bermuda greens
56 sand- and grass-faced bunkers
Six lakes
Lush tropical landscaping and hundreds of palm trees
Continuous cart paths
6,500-square-foot putting green
18,000-square-foot practice green
Left-to-right and right-to-left holes

Championship Course Details
Yardage: 5,778 | Par: 70
Rating: 67.8 | Slope: 126

Men’s Course Details
Yardage: 5,308 | Par: 70
Rating: 65.8 | Slope: 119

Ladies’ Course Details
Yardage: 4,823 | Par: 70
Rating: 68 | Slope: 121

Steve “Spike” Pike is a lifelong journalist whose career includes covering Major League Baseball, the NFL and college basketball. For the past 26 years, Spike has been one of the more respected voices in the golf and travel industries, working for such publications as Golfweek, Golf World and Golf Digest for The New York Times Magazine Group. In 1998, Spike helped launch the web site for the PGA of America. As a freelance travel and golf writer, Spike’s travels have taken him around the world. He has played golf from Pebble Beach to St. Andrews, walked the Great Wall of China, climbed an active volcano in the Canary Islands, been on safari in South Africa and dived with sharks off Guadalupe, Baja California. He lives in Delray Beach, Fla, and can be reached at

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