Fiery fuchsia tabebuias, gloriously golden jacarandas and more than 100 varieties of palm trees shade the serene streets of BallenIsles. And if the Palm Beach Gardens country club’s East Course could talk, it would wax poetic about serving as the site of the 1971 PGA Championship where Jack Nicklaus defeated Billy Casper by two strokes.
One of the larger clubs in the county, the 1,300-acre residential community bountifully bordered by PGA and Northlake boulevards boasts 1,575 homes that continue to surge in sales.
“It’s been busier the last two years than it was when the place was first built,” said Derrick Barnett, general manager of the 25-year-old private development. “Whatever we’re doing, it’s appealing to people, because it’s selling.”
Home prices average $550,000 and range from $300,000 to $5 million. Options include everything from luxury condominiums to spacious single-families to grand estates that grace 32 distinctly designed communities tucked behind stately entrances that read Bermuda Bay, Sunset Cove or Vintage Isles. The lush landscaping allows each neighborhood to live up to its name.
“BallenIsles has long been renowned for its landscaping,” Barnett said. “It’s generally regarded as the best in the area. People like it when they come in. It makes a good first impression.”
BallenIsles is also renowned for its golfing; its three professional courses draw players not only from within the club but also around the world. It annually serves as a site for the PGA Tour’s U.S. Open qualifier.
“You can’t do that unless you have a good golf course,” Barnett said. It’s quite a place. It’s got some history. Tom Watson got his tour card here.”
The winner of eight majors joins a legion of legends who have teed off on the storied links originally commissioned by local landowner John D. MacArthur in the 1960s.
BallenIsles has an equally high-profile tennis culture punctuated by two of the sport’s most well-known athletes, Venus and Serena Williams.
“We’ve got one of the finest tennis facilities in the world,” said Brian Merbler, the club’s director of marketing. “Venus and Serena could call any place home, and they call BallenIsles home. They have been training here for over 10 years.”
When the celebrity sisters practice, they do so on the club’s two blue hard courts, which sports complex director Michelle Doherty makes sure to block off.
“What’s better than to be out there playing tennis and to be playing on the next court while they’re playing?” Doherty asked. “It’s inspiring to watch the power and the dedication with which they train. They work out relentlessly. When they’re not traveling, they’re practicing, every day.”
A total of 22 courts surround the sports complex with one featuring stadium-style seating for exhibition matches, local tournaments and round-robin games.
“Our tennis following – it’s a pretty large program,” Doherty said. “Our members are so active; everyone’s so involved.”
The 55,000-square-foot sports complex has bustled with bodies since it debuted in 2009. It offers an equipment-laden fitness center with a group-exercise room and Pilates studio; physical therapy and wellness programs; a full-service salon and spa; and a members lounge and bistro.
“By adding this building, there’s no question it brought a significant amount of value,” Doherty said of the $40 million undertaking. “You know the good-old thing, ‘Build it, and they will come?’ That’s what happened here.
The social side of BallenIsles makes the family-friendly community a club within a club, or more accurately, many clubs within a club. Homeowners belong to the art, book and photography clubs, the numismatic and philatelic clubs and the wine club. More than two dozen clubs meet regularly and provide participants with an abundance of extracurricular activities.
“People are very close here,” said Bob Davis, general manager of the BallenIsles Community Association. “People use the clubs as a social connection. They’re golfing buddies, they’re tennis buddies, they play cards together – it’s definitely a circle.”
Those in the bicycle club have a wide and winding path that threads through the community and leads to such amenities as basketball and volleyball courts, a children’s play area, a neighborhood park with picnic tables and outdoor grills, and two grassy areas for frolicking dogs.
“The bike path [is] great for those that want to get some exercise,” Davis said. “People can get from one point to the next with easy access.”
Runners and walkers can make use of the one-mile trail outfitted with 12 workout stations.
“Everyone who works here works hard to maintain these great facilities,” Davis said. “The goal is trying to keep up property values at BallenIsles. That’s real important to all of us, from the association to the club.”
Cover and cover advertorial rights are made possible by Gene Arky of Illustrated Properties. For details on all BallenIsles listings, call Gene Arky at (561) 714-4568 or visit www.arkyhomes.com.