Inside Panther National, Justin Thomas’ and Jack Nicklaus’ luxe South-Florida collab

It’s a sunny Friday morning in Palm Beach Gardens, Fla., and Justin Thomas has 223 yards to the flag. I can’t help but wonder how many 4-irons Thomas has hit on sunny Florida mornings, but I know he’s never hit one quite like this. We’re on the 7th hole at Panther National, a new South Florida enclave that also happens to be Thomas’ first course design credit. Swiss developer Dominik Senn brought the project to Jack Nicklaus, Nicklaus reached out to Thomas and a partnership was born. Now it’s Opening Day — Nov. 17, 2023. Later, there’ll be an exhibition match involving Thomas and some pro-golfing friends (Xander! Rickie!). But Thomas has 10 spare minutes in the morning, which means this is the first hole played on the first day of Panther National’s official life. Water lurks left and the wind is off the left. A steep slope repels balls off the right side, leaving a challenging chip. Thomas knows the perils that lurk; he helped design them.