Jack Nicklaus, Justin Thomas team up to launch new Florida golf course and community

Rendering of Panther National Clubhouse

Courtesy: Panther National

A golf legend and a one of the PGA’s hottest young stars are teaming up to create a luxury golf community in Palm Beach County, Florida.

Hall of fame golfer Jack Nicklaus, 82, and 28-year old PGA Tour star Justin Thomas broke ground Tuesday at Panther National in Palm Beach Gardens. The golfers are designing a community of high-end estates surrounded by a championship golf course set to open in late 2023. It’s the first new golf course in the area in nearly two decades.

“It’s great to see golf grow out here,” Nicklaus told CNBC. “We’re going to use everything we can over this wetlands area,” he added.

Check out the full interview with Jack Nicklaus and Justin Thomas where they discuss their latest business venture, the state of golf and PGA Tour’s newest latest competitive threat:

Panther National will be spread across 400 acres, surrounded by a 2,400 acre conservation area. The community will include 218 estates surrounding the 18-hole golf course. Properties will range in size from 4,700 square feet to as large as 10,000 square feet. Living at Panther National won’t come cheap. The estates will cost $3.5 million to $12 million depending on size and amenities.

To date, Panther National has 125 reservations. Those are refundable deposits.

It will be Thomas’ first golf course design project. He said he’s just trying to absorb as much as he can from a legend.

“I’m fascinated with golf course architecture…I’m going to learn from one of the best in the game,” Thomas said. “I’m going to sit back and listen more than anything,” he added.

As part of their plans to create an eco-friendly community, they’ve partnered with Tesla Energy to provide power wall back up systems within the estates. This will allow owners to add green features like solar panels. Each estate comes with a two or three car garage with electric charging units, space for a golf cart, an outdoor kitchen and private pool.

Jack Nicklaus and Justin Thomas broke ground on Tuesday of the golf community they are designing together in Palm Beach, Florida

Courtesy: Panther National

Some of the other amenities on the property will include a state of the art golf ball tracing technology, access to elite pros for instruction, golf simulators, a putting room and world class training facilities. Members will also have access to Panther National’s custom fitting facility, and stocked clubs by all the major equipment manufactures.

“It’s our job to try to make this golf course a little different, a little more special, something that’s as interesting and something that will attract people out here…we want to create a successful mousetrap to draw the mice,” Nicklaus said.

The collaboration between Nicklaus and Thomas marks their first ever joint course design. Nicklaus has helped design over 420 golf courses worldwide through his company Nicklaus Designs.

The two golfers also addressed the growing threat of a Saudi golf league that has resurfaced into conversation recently. The upstart golf league is trying to lure some of the biggest PGA Tour stars through guaranteed money and bigger purses.

“I don’t think something like this belongs in the game of golf – the whim of an advertising agency for 40 players,” said Nicklaus. “I think [PGA Tour Commissioner] Jay Monahan is doing a great job,” he added.

Nicklaus said golf in the United States and PGA Tour are in really good shape… “basically it’s a total maverick situation that I don’t think is healthy for the game of golf.”

He pointed out the major charity component of the PGA Tour and how they raise more charitable money than any of the other sports leagues.

“They’ve got a purpose,” Nicklaus said.

Thomas, who reaffirmed his loyalty to the PGA Tour this week, says for him it’s not about the draw of big money that the Saudi league is promising.

“If I won $15 and I win the Masters and a green jacket, I’d be very content and pleased. You know, the check that I get at the end of the week is not the reason that I play major championships.”

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