BallenIsles has a very storied and prestigious history. The property was developed in 1963 by Florida developer John D. MacArthur in conjunction with the PGA of America. PGA National Golf Club, as it was known at the time, was designed by legendary golf course architects Dick Wilson and Joe Lee. Over the next 10 years, the club would host the PGA Championship and PGA Senior Championship and was also home to the PGA of America. PGA National Gol Club was the playing site for the original PGA TOUR Qualifying School and hosted the inaugural PGA Merchandise Show.
When the club’s 10-year commitment with the PGA of America ended, a name change was in order and the club became known as JDM Country Club and for the next 15 years played host to celebrities and golf professionals alike on their three championship golf courses. In 1988, the entire property were sold and the development was renamed BallenIsles Country Club. A plan was devised to develop a private country club community and today BallenIsles is recognized as one of the Top 100 Clubs in America.
The BallenIsles community has almost 1,600 residences set within 33 neighborhoods, each with its own unique identity. Inside the 24-hour guarded gates, you’ll find all varieties of homes, from expansive estates to single family homes and condominiums. Many homesites overlook shimmering lakes, botanical gardens or one of three magnificent golf layouts. BallenIsles has received a five-star rating for the Platinum Clubs of America.
The BallenIsles community has been blessed with three championship golf courses. The East and North courses were designed by two of golf’s most highly-acclaimed architects of their era: Dick Wilson and Joe Lee. Accomplished players can play at a championship level from the back tees while players of lesser skills will enjoy competitive playability from the more forward tees. All courses have a few things in common. First, they are all meticulously maintained with a lot of mature trees and fluffy sand in the bunkers. Most of the greens are elevated and feature a lot of undulation. Many of the fairway and greenside bunkers are deep-lipped and tend to be penal in nature but add tremendously to the aesthetics.
The South Course originally opened in 1964 and underwent its first modification in 1967 to accommodate the construction of the North Course. The South Course is considered by many to be the members’ favorite. It is the latest to undergo a recent renovation and reopened to huge accolades in January 2020. This renovation was a complete reconstruction of the golf course at the hands of world renowned architect Rees Jones and included the pump house, irrigation, drainage, design modifications, concrete cart paths.
The East Course is where most of the prestigious PGA tournaments were played and has 17 holes of meticulously maintained Florida golf; lots of water, sand and palm trees. The 6th hole breaks the mold, with more of a desert golf feel. It’s a par 3 that plays 155 yards from the Member tee box and features a large waste bunker between you and the large, elevated green. It’s a great contrasting look.
BallenIsles’ North Golf Course first opened for play as a nine-hole course; a second nine was designed by Joe Lee in 1969. Golf course architect Kipp Schulties, who does a lot of work in South Florida, performed an extensive renovation of the North Course in 2013. The North Course plays to a par of 72 and features generous fairways that wind their way around several lakes and nature preserves, with trees and water forming the borders of many holes.
In addition to championship golf, BallenIsles offers some of the nicest practice facilities in the area. There’s a double sided driving range with large portable shape canopies at each end. There are also multiple chipping, putting and practice bunkers where you can dial in your golf skills. In the event you need some help, the highly-respected professional golf staff is there to offer advice and lessons if needed.
If you’re looking for the latest equipment or apparel, the Golf Shop has the wares to fill your needs. This full-service golf shop offers apparel, shoes, bags, clubs, balls and a wide variety of men’s and women’s logo and non-logo merchandise. A popular item among the ladies is a custom print outerwear piece by designer Kaeli Smith. This piece is all BallenIsles – literally! There are hand drawings of the BallenIsles logo, the clocktower, clubhouse and even the golf course as well as a few others. It’s available in a couple of different colors. There’s also a matching tote! It’s quickly becoming a must-have for members!
BallenIsles is not afraid of spending money on capital improvements, all done for the benefit of the members. Over the years, they’ve spent well over $80 million on renovations: $5 million on the North Course in 2008, $26 million on The Sports Complex in 2010, $9 million on the East Course in 2013, $35 million on the Clubhouse in 2018 and $7.5 million on the South Course in 2019.
Inside the state-of-the-art Sports Complex you’ll find a full service spa and salon, fitness center, Pilates studio and resort-style swimming pool. The tennis facilities at BallenIsles are ranked #1 in the country and are enjoyed by both casual tennis players and serious competitors. There are 20 Har-Tru clay courts, including a stadium court that seats 500, a hard court and two permanent Pickleball courts. You’ll also find the men’s and women’s tennis & fitness lounges and a full-service tennis shop within the Sports Complex. Lessons and clinics are always available for adults and juniors, regardless of skill level.
The center pin of activity at BallenIsles is the clubhouse which underwent a $35 million renovation and reopened in November 2018. This opulent structure features 115,000 square feet of luxurious space. An additional 9,000 square feet of outdoor verandas was added to the Grand and Golf Terraces for dining or simply relaxing. Additions also included two new kitchens and expansion to both the Men’s and Ladies card Rooms, locker Rooms and meeting rooms.
The Clubhouse is also home to multiple dining venues, offering fresh fare for every member of the family. Harry’s Lounge, named after popular PGA Professional Harry Pezzullo, can be found in the heart of the clubhouse and is a favorite spot for evening drinks. Harry’s features martinis, craft cocktails, specialty coffees, and rotating small plates and unique handmade desserts.
Evolution is BallenIsle’s upscale dining venue and offers a weekly tasting menu with optional wine pairings. You’ll find a sophisticated atmosphere with a wide variety of batch bourbons, single malt scotches and an impressive international wine list. Evolution is the preferred venue for entertaining and impressing guests.
B.I.G (BallenIsles Grille) is a great place to enjoy casual all day dining; it’s also a great place to meet up with friends, grab a burger and watch the game on one of their 18 TVs. The Rendezvous Room, adjacent to B.I.G is a popular spot for a bagel and a newspaper.
Bistro 105 is known for their creative and healthy dishes such as salads, seafood and pasta. Dine inside or catch a sunset outside on the verandah. Bistro 105 features casual dining and wine by the glass
Circle 100 serves up classic American favorites and regional cuisine served buffet style for both lunch and dinner. During the dinner hours, you’ll find live carving stations; they also offer a la carte dining for lesser appetites.
One sure way to become a member of BallenIsles is to buy a home there. BallenIsles is a mandatory membership community meaning that all homeowners must be a member on some level. There are four membership levels available: Full Golf, Sports, Tennis and Social/Fitness, with the latter available on a limited basis. Full Golf is just that: Full. You’ll have access to everything BallenIsles has to offer. The Sports Membership is similar with a few seasonal restrictions on golf. Tennis is basically everything but golf and a Social/Fitness Membership is basically everything except golf and tennis. You can get more information on their website.
One of the biggest advantages of becoming a BallenIsles member is Troon Privé. Your membership privileges gives you reciprocal benefited and member pricing at nearly 300 private, resort and daily fee clubs around the world. Up to three guests will also receive special rates. For more information on BallenIsles or to consider it your new home, visit their website, www.BallenIsles.org.