Women’s Am to Take Center Stage at BallenIsles
TAMPA, Fla. – It is fitting that the oldest and most prestigious event on the FSGA women’s championship schedule will take center stage at a South Florida club that is rich in history and tradition.
The 91st Women’s Amateur Championship will be contested July 10-12 on the East Course at BallenIsles Country Club. The Palm Beach Gardens club was originally slated to host the Women’s Amateur Stroke Play Championship, but due to COVID-19 pandemic the Women’s Amateur will be held in place of it.
Opened in 1963 as the original PGA National Golf Club, BallenIsles Country Club was commissioned by John D. MacArhur to serve as the home of the PGA of America. The Champions Course (now the East Course at BallenIsles) was designed by Dick Wilson and Joe Lee and was the only 18-hole course when the property opened. The North and South Courses, also designed by Wilson and Lee, opened the following year and began as nine-hole courses.
Over the next ten years, the course hosted numerous major tournaments and events, including the World Cup, PGA Championship and Senior PGA Championship. Jack Nicklaus won his second of five PGA Championships at the original PGA National, going wire-to-wire to complete his second-career Grand Slam.
Later that year, the World Cup was contested on the Champions Course, with Nicklaus and Lee Trevino taking home the win for the United States. The club hosted eight-straight Senior PGA Championships and was the original site for the PGA Tour Qualifying School.
When the PGA of America agreement expired in 1973, the club was renamed the JDM Country Club for MacArthur. Fifteen years later, the three golf courses and surrounding property were sold to John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation and renamed BallenIsles Country Club.
The three courses have undergone multiple renovations in the club’s 57-year history. Lee added the back nine to the North Course in 1969 and followed with the South Course’s back nine in 1970. The North Course went through an extensive renovation in 2013 by golf course architect, Kipp Schulties. The South Course was recently reopened, following a major renovation by golf course architect, Rees Jones.
In 2008, the East Course went through a renovation by golf course architect, Keith Foster, his first in Florida. All greens and tee boxes were rebuilt, along with the rebuilding of bunkers. A new tree-lined perimeter was introduced to help redirect the view to the course and away from the residential area.
BallenIsles has previously hosted one FSGA championship, the 2016 Mid-Senior Four-Ball Championship. This will be the first FSGA women’s championship to be conducted at the club.
The Women's Amateur Championship is the oldest event on the women's championship schedule, with past champions including Cristie Kerr, Meghan Stasi, Taffy Brower and other notables. The 2020 championship will feature a championship format change, due to the rescheduling of the event, with 84 players competing in 54 holes of stroke play.