The Falls Club of the Palm Beaches in Lake Worth, Florida is a very unique country club for this part of Florida. Unlike many of the private clubs down here, The Falls Club is not part of a mandatory membership community, meaning to live in the community, you have to be a club member of some sort. The Falls Club isn’t part of any community; one of the best attributes of this club is that’s there are no homes whatsoever on the course.
The 18-hole championship golf course at The Falls Club is one of South Florida’s best kept secrets when it comes to private clubs. The facility is situated on 170 acres of prime real estate and was originally designed by Joe Lee. It’s also easy to walk, if you feel the urge. The fairways, tees and rough are carpeted in Tifway Bermuda grass. In 2007, architect Kipp Schulties added his masterful touch to the Falls Club and upgraded the greens to pristine Mini-Verde, a smooth, luxurious and fast putting surface. Massive bunkers protect the greens and not only add to the challenge of the course but add a lot to the aesthetics.
As it sits, the golf course at The Falls Club is challenging, fair and a lot of fun. With seven sets of tees the course can play anywhere from 6,757 – 4.894 yards, so there is a suitable yardage for everyone regardless of skill level. In addition to an immaculate golf course, The Falls Club has some pretty impressive practice facilities including a full length driving range, a short game area with sand bunkers and a large undulated practice green to get you ready for the putts you’ll face on the course. Should you feel the need to get some help fine tuning your game, the golf professional staff at The Falls Club can help you, whether it’s an individual or group lesson, club fitting or a playing lesson.
The course features modest elevation changes as can be witnessed on the 2nd hole, a dogleg right par 4 that plays 359 yards to a green that sits about one club above the fairway. The 4th hole features a lot of undulation in the fairways and another uphill approach shot.
Several holes stand out in my mind, starting with Number 5, a short 300 yard hole that is the first real encounter with water. It lines the left side of the fairway with more water coming into play on the right side as you approach the green. Look for the eagle in the tree next to the 5th tee overlooking the pond. If you’re lucky, you’ll get to see him swoop down and grab a fish out of the lake.
Number 16 is the signature hole at The Falls Club and arguably the most beautiful hole on the course. This stunning par 3 plays 142 yards from the White tees and requires a carry over water from an elevated tee box to a green surrounded by a rock wall. Although it’s rated as the easiest hole on the course, it is anything but. Not only do you have to carry the water off the tee but there is a large, deep bunker that must be navigated as well. If the pin is behind the bunker, good luck! Getting on the green is just part of the equation. The green features a lot of undulation and there’s about 2 ½ feet of elevation change from back to front. The waterfall in the background only adds to the luster of the hole.
The par 5, 18th hole is one of the most unique par 5s I have ever played. To some, it’s just a long par 5 around a lake, but for me, the look and feel of the hole is something special. It plays 515 yards from the White tees and requires an accurate and long drive off the tee to set up the layup shot. Water is in play all down the left side and if you want to try and carry the lake, you’re going to have to fly it almost 300 yards from the back tees. Your layup shot will be played down a fairly narrow strip of fairway with water all down the left and a strand of live oaks on the right. From there, you’re looking at a short pitch shot into a well undulated green with that water again on the left and two strategically placed bunkers. Shortly after the course opened Fred Couples was playing the course decided to give it a try and succeeded. A lady who was watching him play remarked on how terrific that shot was and asked if he could do it again, to which he obliged, again successfully. Since that time the number of failures have greatly outweighed successes.
Something else that sets The Falls Club apart is their caddie program. Anyone that has ever played with a caddie can easily attest to their value, especially if they’ve been at the course for a while. The caddies at The Falls Club provide unparalleled service from the moment you arrive at the property until the time you leave; not to mention their valuable expertise on the course. The caddies at The Falls Club have undergone intensive training and are able to provide a service the majority of golfers will never experience.
As a member of the Falls Club of the Palm Beaches, there’s plenty to do even if golf isn’t your game. Looking at the social calendar for November and December there are a myriad of activities including Yoga, tennis, canasta, book reviews and a number of events that center around food. The pool area was recently redone as part of a capital improvements project and looks spectacular. For golfers there are men’s and women’s leagues, couples play, interclub play and a bevy of tournaments. The pro shop also works with top manufacturers such as Callaway, PING and TaylorMade to set up demo days where you can test all the latest golf gear.
It doesn’t matter if you’re playing early in the morning or later in the afternoon, The Grille Room is a great place to enjoy breakfast with an early morning cocktail or lunch. Breakfast is served all day, including crepes, quiche and omelets. The Avocado & Pear Salad and Roasted Beets, Baby Kale & Goat Cheese Salads are two popular choices and their main dishes (served every day) include Kabobs, Grilled Salmon and Korean Beef. Of course, your favorite adult beverages are always available!
I had the opportunity to play the back nine with two members, David Friedman and Max Karyo. David has been a member of the club since it opened in 1985; Max has been a member for the past 5 years. Both men agreed that the main attraction is the golf course and the fact that there are no houses on it. They also commented on the membership and how easy it is to make new friends. Most people who join The Falls already know another member; those who don’t usually make new friends quickly.
Golfers looking to join a private club in this area have many options and there are several benefits to membership at The Falls Club. For starters, there are no initiation fees or assessments. The club is financially stable and the new members are adding vitality to the club and its amenities through increased participation.
Secondly, The Falls Club is managed by Troon Prive, part of Troon Management, the leading golf management company in the US. Troon Golf is making their Troon Advantage Program available to Falls Club members, providing up to 50% off of rack rates at over 85 Troon-managed facilities around the world. You’ll also be enrolled in the Troon Prive Privilege Program which grants reciprocal playing privileges with other private clubs managed by Troon Golf. You’ll be able to play these courses for no more than a cart fee and bring up to three guests who will receive discounted rates. They also have a tremendous reciprocal program with other private clubs in the area.
Thirdly, there are no tee times, just show up and play. Golf memberships will be capped at 225, so showing up and playing without a wait should not be much of a problem.
Technically, membership at The Falls Club is by “invitation only.” That being said, if there’s a will, there’s a way. Contact Membership Director Steve Brauner who will do his best to help you navigate this hurdle! He can be reached vis email at email@example.com or visit their website, www.thefallsclub.com.