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Park Ridge Golf Course, Lantana, Florida

By George Schissler

Articles by George SchisslerThere are a couple of cardinal rules when dealing with real estate. The first, and probably the most important is “location, location, location”. The other is also very vital and says that every location has but one best use. Like any other transaction including property these rules also apply when considering the construction of a golf course and choosing the County landfill as an appropriate site for a recreational facility would appear to be a poor and improbable decision. But such a parcel of land is now known as Park Ridge Golf Course in Lantana, Florida.

This transformation of seemingly useless property began back on March 1, 1987 when the Lantana landfill officially closed to the public and the engineering challenge began. The landfill was closed but it wasn’t until September 2007 that golf course construction was begun in earnest.


Along with the Solid Waste Authority (SWA), owner of the land, and Palm Beach County, the decision to jointly develop the property as a golf course was reached on December 1999. Almost five years later in September 2004 construction was underway. But serious engineering problems lay ahead.

Environmental standards required a landfill gas collection and flare system to be installed. Then final elevations were attained (the course now sits on what is most likely the highest point in the County) and 95 acres of landfill was capped with a 20-mil PVC liner.  A storm water system was constructed with 140 acres of lakes and swales and an irrigation system provided for closed areas.

Throughout the process the SWA worked towards the ultimate end use for the landfill as a multi-acre regional park dedicated to passive recreation and continues to maintain and monitor the site as environmental regulations require. The organization funded the perimeter landscaping and construction of underground facilities and supplied alternative fill material and also provided funding for half the total project cost. In short SWA provided the land and funding and without this commitment it is not likely Park Ridge Golf Course would exist.

But in September 2004 Mother Nature caused a setback when two hurricanes necessitated the conversion of the site for use as a temporary debris site. This not only caused delay in construction but it accelerated the settlement of some landfill areas and altered topography, adding to initial costs. Originally 485,000 cubic yards of fill were called for but with the condition changes an additional 160,000 cubic yards were necessary.

The construction project included the utilization of over 145,000 cubic yards of recycled and demolition waste material as alternate fill for storm water and erosion control. Another 7,000 cubic yards produced at the SWA composting facility was utilized in the construction of fairways.

Once everything settled it was time to find a talented golf course architect capable of making this dream a reality and this was most likely the easiest decision the planners had to make because they were already familiar with the work of Roy Case who had previously designed Okeeheelee, another County golf course.

Case, a British golf course designer practicing in the United States already had more than 400 holes in play in 2006.and along with his partner, Jeff Grossman, also specialized in building courses on closed landfills. He had also served as director of Palm Beach Golf Association in 1983-1988 and a talented golfer himself winning the Palm Beach 55 and over age championship in 1988 and adheres to the theory that “Golf is a game and games are to be enjoyed”. Thankfully for Park Ridge golfers he incorporated that thinking and designed the course in such a way that all golfers, regardless of talent or age, are able to walk off the course at the end of play with some sense of satisfaction.

Each hole has five sets of tees—black, gold, blue, white and red with black the longest playing 6,919 yards dropping all the way down to 4,814 if playing the red. So take your choice and have fun.

Keeping the average golfer in mind Case created a beautiful 6,919 yard, 72 hole course and still presented challenges to all with hilly terrain, 26 sand traps and native grasses as roughs unique to most south Florida courses. Park Ridge also provides a large practice putting green, a chipping practice area, a full pro shop and snack facility and also has been designated as a “Certified Audubon Cooperative Sanctuary.



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Last modified: February 02, 2009    Copyright © 2012-2018