By Steve Plunkett
If you play golf, you’ve probably played — or wish you had — on a course designed by one of the 15 architects who want to draw up Boca Raton’s newest 27 holes.
Arnold Palmer, Jack Nicklaus and Greg Norman are the most recognizable names on the list, which also includes the design firms of past PGA Tour champions Tom Lehman, Mark McCumber and Nick Price. Noted course architects Arthur Hills, Rees Jones and Robert Trent Jones Jr. also want to be considered. Richard Mandell, former Norman associate Matthew Dusenberry, former Nicklaus designer Troy Vincent, Jan Bel Jan, Kipp Schultes and Andy Staples fill out the group.
The Greater Boca Raton Beach & Park District plans to buy the golf course surrounding the Boca Teeca condominiums in the north part of the city at the end of February. The Boca Raton City Council gave its thumbs-up to the project Jan. 23, approving an interlocal agreement under which the city will lend the district $19 million for the purchase backed by municipal bonds.
The district will purchase nine holes of the course, all east of Northwest Second Avenue, for $5 million. The bond money will pay for the 18 holes west of the road. Currently called Ocean Breeze, the course will be renamed Boca National.
Arthur Koski, the district’s executive director, has promised the acquisition will create “a public golf course with a private course atmosphere.”
District commissioners planned to interview the 15 potential course architects over three evenings, on Jan. 29, Feb. 2 and Feb. 12, scheduling a half-hour each for presentation and questions. They invited the public to attend, but said public comments would have to wait until they choose the winning proposal at a later date.
The golf course proposals — all 1,567 pages — are posted on the district’s website, www.mybocaparks.org. Caution: Most files are large, up to 1.1 gigabytes, and may have to be downloaded first to view.
Boca Raton is selling its 188-acre golf course west of the city to GL Homes for $65 million. Under the interlocal agreement, the Beach & Park District will hire any golf course workers who would otherwise lose their jobs because of that sale.