The first mini golf course from Jack Nicklaus’s design company celebrated its grand opening in Abacoa on Wednesday.
And, what better way to celebrate the opening than with the golf legend himself?
Surrounded by friends, family and a few town councilors, Jack and Barbara Nicklaus helped kick off the ribbon-cutting ceremony for Golden Cub Mini Golf, which had a soft opening in July.
“We’re delighted to be here,” Jack Nicklaus said.
The term Golden Cub is derived from the retired golfer’s nickname, Golden Bear, which he was anointed with after his first clothing sponsorship when he turned pro. Barbara Nicklaus says after they landed in Australia, a sports writer wrote “Golden Bear from U.S. to Arrive Today.” His high school mascot was also a Golden Bear.
When Barbara Nicklaus designed a line of children’s clothing with the same name in the mid-1990s, she explained her children and grandchildren were dubbed “the cubs.” The cubs were brought back to life for the mini-golf course, at 1145 Main St. in Abacoa, and can be seen riding a bike, holding a surfboard or posing as a lifeguard.
Nicklaus Designs has come up with more than 400 golf courses, but this mini golf course designed by Chad Goetz is a first. Nicklaus said he wasn’t involved in the design process, but at least one of the holes reminded him of St. Andrews.
The course looks much like a shrunken version of the real thing: sprawling green with sandless bunkers. Nicklaus noted that he wasn’t much of a mini-golf player, and at least one hole on this course had him stumped. After more than a half-dozen tries with a blue putter, Nicklaus finally sunk a hole-in-one, striking a celebratory pose with one fist held high.
“I’ve only played one hole, and I was challenged on that one,” he said.
With every full-priced round, the mini-golf course will donate $1 to Nicklaus Children’s Health Care Foundation, which was founded in 2004.
Josh Simon, co-founder of FLF Holdings that owns Downtown Abacoa, said he expects these donations from the course to raise $30,000 a year. Ahead of the ribbon cutting, he handed over a $5,000 check for the foundation from the company’s development team.
“We all know how great Jack and Barbara are to the community,” Simon said of the North Palm Beach residents. “I’m very, very grateful” for being able to work with their organizations.