SPECIAL TRAVEL EDITION FALL AND WINTER 2011
Bandon Dunes Oregon’s wind-swept coast is golf’s newest “Place to Play”
Where To Play
Where To Stay
What To See
Banff Springs Hotel in Canadian Rockies
Sandestin Resort on Florida’s Emerald Coast
Ernie Els exhibit at Golf Hall of Fame
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Experience the beauty of the
CGM Golf Trail
Robert Trent Jones, Jr.
OWNED AND OPERATED BY
Robert Trent Jones, Sr.
Top 25 Woman Friendly Courses & Best Family Golf Resorts ~ Golf For Women Magazine
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“Top 25 Golf Courses in Florida” 4.5 Stars Rating
~ Golf World Magazine
~ Golf Digest
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“Great value in Orlando,” teetimesusa.com “What a fantastic place!” insiderpages.com “Not only was the course in very good shape the staff was incredibly friendly and could not have been more helpful,” tripadvisor.co.uk “Fantastic Round! ... I’m looking forward to my next round at this place, that’s for sure,” Google
Your Premiere Golf Courses in Orlando, Florida
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Contents Fall/Winter 2011
22 Bandon Dunes With several courses ranked among the top 100 courses in the world, Bandon Dunes has become the “in place” to play for serious golfers looking to test their games amid breathtaking scenery.
30 Swinging Scottsdale
36 Sandestin Resort
With 51 golf courses within Scottsdale’s city limits, and an additional 156 courses sprinkled across its Valley of the Sun neighbors, Scottsdale bills itself as the World’s Finest Golf Destination
Baytowne Golf Club is one of four golf experiences at Sandestin Resort in the Florida Panhandle.
36 Getting a handle on the
to the hottest and best golf equipment on the market today.
that get more attention, but there are none better than the Destin area of western area of the state known as the “Panhandle.”
16 Participation A new program
60 Touring the RTJ While you
74 Instruction PGA Tour Academy
Panhandle There are areas of Florida
might not have played it, you’ve certainly heard about it. Welcome to the Robert Trent Jones Golf Trail in Alabama.
41 Edwin Watts A complete guide
geared toward making the game easier to play and enjoy is gaining steam. Find out why it’s better to “Tee it Forward.”
Lead Instructor Todd Jones works with professionals and amateurs alike and he approaches both category of player the same way when helping them improve.
83 Business Briefs Golf is an allconsuming pursuit, but it’s also a big business.
88 Competition The Presidents Cup, which pits U.S. professionals against International stars, returns this November. By the way, Tiger Woods will be there.
INSIDE THIS ISSUE: MAKING SENSE OF SOUTH BEACH FALL AND WINTER 2011
Bandon Dunes Oregon’s wind-swept coast is golf’s newest “Place to Play”
68 The World Golf Hall of Fame The World Golf Hall of Fame is enjoying a renaissance of sorts that is shining the spotlight on the still relatively-young museum dedicated to the history of golf and those special players that made history playing it.
8 Travel Shorts We look at the hot-
78 OH Canada, Eh…Whether it’s
12 PGA Tour For more than 40 years
the summer and time for golf or the winter months and time for extreme sports, Canada has the answer for the outdoor enthusiasts. enthusiasts
The Heritage has been a staple of the PGA Tour spring schedule. Thanks to the Royal Bank of Canada, that Hilton Head Island tradition will continue.
Departments test places and best deals for your next golf vacation.
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Where To Play
Where To Stay
What To See
Banff Springs Hotel in Canadian Rockies
Sandestin Resort on Florida’s Emerald Coast
Ernie Els exhibit at Golf Hall of Fame
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On Our Cover Bandon Dunes has rightfully joined Pinehurst and the Monterey Peninsula as “the” go-to golf destinations in the U.S.
4 Golfer’s Guide Lifestyles
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LAS VEGAS Golf
Book online for best rates guaranteed!
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Despite headwinds, golf continues to grow and prosper
Fall/Winter 2011 GOLFER’S GUIDE, INC. PO BOX 5926 HILTON HEAD ISLAND, SC 29938-9790 (843) 842-7878 • Fax (843) 842-9387
James McMahon, Publisher
or the millions who play it, golf is certainly not a game of perfect. It is, however, a pursuit that is rooted in passion and commitment that, even in the most trying of times, keeps the game vibrant, progressive and growing. The naysayers might not want to hear it or believe it, but I trust the more than 16 million golfers that play it, the game of golf has never been in a better place than it is today. That’s a statement that lives at the local amateur level, continues to the big business of golf travel and is certainly being stamped on the professional stage where the PGA Tour is more than surviving what is becoming the post Tiger Woods era. Tour events have found new sponsors in a difficult environment and new stars are emerging both domestically and internationally. At the same time, amateur golfers are finding the resources to play the game both at home and on the road as travel throughout the United States and across the pond has remained resilient. It’s encouraging to see that the game of golf, both from an amateur everyday operational standpoint and the big business of professional golf, is just as resilient, reliant and resolute as the very players that find the game so consuming and important. Character is never defined in the easiest of times but rather in the most challenging of them, and the determination of those that operate golf courses, run professional events and down to those of us that play the game on a daily basis cannot be questioned. In fact, in my opinion, it should be saluted. Golf courses are striving to make the game more affordable, easier and accessible. Tour events are reaching out to new business opportunities and in
places such as Hilton Head, SC and San Diego, tournaments have found new sponsors to carry them forward for years to come. This is not to say that the same obstacles – cost, time, economy, etc. – aren’t still factors to face, but for the smart operators and committed professionals they have not proven tombstone readings either. This fortitude in the face of fire is something we “average” golfers can relate to quite easily. We pursue a game that isn’t to play, to learn and, at times, to afford, yet we find our way clear to do it. We make the sacrifices necessary to play, we pass the game along to our children and loved ones and we make it the core of many of the most meaningful of friendships. It’s the enduring part of the game and a significant reason why it continues to hold court even in the most difficult of environments. These are also the aspects we celebrate in the pages of this, our secondever edition, of Golfer’s Guide Lifestyles. As we grow, we hope to mature into our mission of being the “Voice of the Game” and to shine the light on all the positive aspects of golf and the lifestyles that have the game at their very core. Having been a part of the golf industry for nearly two decades, I take pride in its resiliency and what it brings in terms of enjoyment and life lessons to its most avid followers, many of which are juniors surging to adulthood. Like many other aspects of our personal pursuits, golf has had its fair share of challenges, but as I write this today I’ve never felt better about the game and those that manage it. Every golfer believes his next round will be his best. Likewise, I know the days that lie ahead will be the best for the industry we dedicate this publication to.
PUBLISHER firstname.lastname@example.org (843) 842-7878 52 New Orleans Rd. Ste. 300 Hilton Head Island, SC 29928 DIRECTOR OF SALES
Mike Choma email@example.com (904) 697-9070 EDITOR
Ed Cherry firstname.lastname@example.org ASSISTANT EDITOR
Greg Cappel email@example.com PRODUCTION DIRECTOR
Shawn P. Grimes firstname.lastname@example.org
PHOTOGRAPHY COURTESY OF
Bandon Dunes Golf Resort, Fairmont Hotels & Resorts,Sandestin Golf & Beach Resort Scottsdale Convention & Visitors Bureau CONTRIBUTORS
Joel Zuckerman, Brett Borton Circulation
200,000 per year reaching an estimated 750,000 readers Issue 1 of 2 ANNUAL EDITIONS For subscriptions or single-copy orders, go to www.golfersguide.com/order Copyright ©2011 Golfer’s Guide, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Reproduction without permission is prohibited. Golf course rates are subject to change at any time. Golfer’s Guide is not responsible or liable for any errors, omissions or changes in rates or information. *Publisher’s data. We are expanding our network of magazines and will be adding several new regions within the next year. If you would like to publish a Golfer’s Guide magazine with us in your home region send your resume and previous publishing samples to Golfer’s Guide, P.O. Box 5926, Hilton Head Island, SC 29938-9790, ATTN: Executive Publisher.
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It’s Always Sunny in FLA For those heading to the Sunshine State for an early fall golf getaway, there are plenty of opportunities for hot deals at some of the state’s best courses and resorts. • Through Oct. 28, 2011, Doral Golf Resort & Spa in Miami offers packages from $119/night that include daily rounds and free replays on the Great White, Jim McLean, Red and Gold courses with an opportunity to upgrade (at a surcharge) to the TPC Blue Monster Course. Packages also include full breakfast daily, unlimited range access, and a Jim McLean golf clinic (Wednesday through Saturday only). 305-5916409, www.doralresort.com. • A Girlfriends Golf and Spa Getaway at the Greg Norman-designed Ritz Carlton Golf Club in Orlando includes two nights’ accommodations, two rounds of golf, two one-hour lessons, two massages, and a $50 golf shop credit per room. Package rates start at $1,719 (two nights for two guests, excluding tax and gratuities) and are based on availability. 407-393-4900, www.grandelakes.com. • Also in Orlando, Grande Pines Golf Club, a Steve Smyers-Nick Faldo collaboration, is offering three-day and seven-day membership packages that include unlimited daily play and replay (based on availability). The membership also includes half-off on green fees at nearby Hawk’s Landing Golf Club and instruction at the Faldo Golf Institute at Marriott’s Grande Vista Resort. Grande Pines is included in a number of stay-and-play packages at many Marriott, Courtyard, Renaissance, Residence Inn, Fairfield Inn, and Springhill Suites properties in the greater Orlando area. 407-239-6108, www.marriottgolf.com. • A Golf Alliance Club program between a pair of Orlando Marriott Golf properties, Metrowest Golf Club and Falcons Fire, offers a year’s worth of benefits including reduced green fees, guest privileges, discounts on food & beverage and merchandise, and special member-only promotions, events and tournaments. Initiation fee is just
$189, and rates range from $25 to $49 based on day and time. 407-239-5445, falconsfire.com.
Red Rockin’ One of the country’s most stunningly beautiful destinations beckons golfers this winter. Hilton Sedona Resort & Spa, located in the heart of Arizona’s Red Rock Country, is offering a Stay and Play package with deluxe guest room or suite accommodations and a round of golf for two at the award-winning Sedona Golf Resort. Cart and range balls are included, as is breakfast for two at the resort’s Grille at ShadowRock and discounted rentals of Titleist clubs and FootJoy shoes. Available from Nov. 26, 2011 through Jan. 19, 2012 (with certain blackout dates), the Winter Play and Stay package starts at $316/ night. 877-2REDROCK (877-273-3762), www.hiltonsedonaresort.com for more information.
Credit Where Credit Is Due
Chesapeake Bay Golf Resort, Spa and Marina. 800-233-1234 (reference offer code WELCRE), www.hyattwelcomecredit.com.
Bermuda “Short” With more golf courses per square mile than any other country in the world, Bermuda’s landscape and warm climate make it a year-round golfers’ paradise. Golfers can stay a little but play a lot with The Ultimate Tee Time Vacation Package at The Fairmont Hamilton Princess Hotel, Bermuda. Flexible and convenient, it’s ideal for quick golf getaways. Package Includes: • Room accommodation for a minimum of two nights • Every 4th Night Free • Unlimited daily golf at The Fairmont Southampton Golf course OR one round of golf per person per day at
Hyatt Hotels & Resorts is rewarding its loyal guests with free golf…and dining, spa services, in-room movies, and more. Through Dec. 30, 2011, travelers who stay at participating Park Hyatt, Andaz, Grand Hyatt, Hyatt Regency, Hyatt, and Hyatt Place hotels worldwide receive a hotel credit based on their length of stay that can be can be applied to charges posted to the room during that stay. Credit ranges from $20 on a two-night Fairmont Southampton Golf Course stay at Hyatt Place hotels to $150 the famous Riddell’s Bay Golf Course for a four-night or more stay at Park This offer is available year-round, Hyatt, Andaz, Grand Hyatt, Hyatt subject to availability and advance Regency and Hyatt hotels in the U.S. reservation. and Canada. That includes a number Rates from $549 US based on double of top-rated golf resorts, from the Hyatt occupancy. Rate does not include tax, Regency Scottsdale Resort and Spa in gratuities and levy. Arizona to Maryland’s Hyatt Regency
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H O T
S P O T S
Trio Elevates all Five Senses
ou just shot three better than your handicap and you want to elevate your “feeling lucky” mood to the next level. There is no better place than Trio on the Bay to celebrate. If, on the other hand, none of your shots went quite the way you envisioned them, you will soon forget your game, because the minute you step into Trio everything is forgiven and the pulsating positive energy will soon have you enthralled. Trio on The Bay is Miami’s premier high-energy event space, restaurant, and ultra lounge, where dinner, drinks and dancing merge at this stunning 23,000-sq.ft. space, which includes a stylish indoor dining room and outdoor terrace space with breathtaking views of Biscayne Bay. What makes Trio such a unique place is that it appeals to all five senses at the same time. As a starter, for the eyes you have the “smart” looking people, the engaging interior, the sumptuous terrace and
the magical water-view over the bay. For the ears you have the sounds of a professional DJ going from mood to dancing later at night. Your taste buds will explode savoring the plates super chef Klime Kovaceski is preparing from his stunning kitchen. And the aromas emanating from Chef Kovaceski’s kitchen will positively put you in trance-like state. Finally, for your sense of touch there is the velvet, wood and steel of the interior and exterior spaces, and the cool drinks flooding past your palate. Trio is of one of these rare places that makes you immediately feel welcome. Regardless if you are by yourself, a romantic couple or are coming with your entourage, it all effortlessly mixes on this world stage that simply elevates every occasion to an unforgettable experience. Trio’s New American Cuisine flaunts a bright Mediterranean flair. A late night tapas menu runs until 3 a.m. With its
state-of-the-art sound system and dining room capacity of over 200, Trio on the Bay provides an ideal setting for corporate events, private parties and weddings. Conveniently located at 1601 79th Street Causeway, just minutes from South Beach and Bal Harbour, Trio is South Florida’s most unique and talked about new venue.
OVERALL RATING: Definitely worth the drive CROWD: Relaxed, smart, sexy FOOD: Mediterranean taken to the next level ATMOSPHERE: Miami magic THEME: Dine, Drink, Dance (in any order you feel like) AWARDS: 2011 “Best Outdoor Dining” by My City Eats! WEBSITE: www.trioonthebay.com
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FALL SPECIAL $
published rate *Not valid with other promotions or specials. Must present this ad a check in. One coupon good for all players in group.
Hilton Head National is my promise to you of an exceptional golf experience. — Gary Player
It is by far the best landscape I have ever had the pleasure of working with. — Bobby Weed
Two of the most noted golf architects in the game today have collaborated on two unique nines to form the nationally recognized design of the Hilton Head National Golf Club. One of the games greatest Champions, Gary Player and architectural award-winning Bobby Weed, have provided the ultimate golf experience with this Lowcountry designed masterpiece. Hilton Head National Golf Club is golf in its purest form, with mother nature as its boundaries and no development in sight. Accessible to all with a private club atmosphere, find out why local residents consider it the best of the best.
SCAN WITH YOUR SMART PHONE TO BOOK YOUR TEE TIME
LIKE us on Facebook
Just one minute from the bridge to Hilton Head Island, South Carolina Call (877)207-2726 for tee times • www.golfhiltonheadnational.com
Voted USA Today’s “50 Top-Rated Courses” & Top 20 Coastal Carolina Courses
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P G A
U P D A T E
Tour News The Heritage Classic survives, and there’s a lesson to be learned.
Photo courtesy of Heritage Classic Foundation
Hilton Head Island, SC
he warm blast of air emanating from the South Carolina Lowcountry on June 16 had nothing to do with the wacky weather experienced throughout the U.S. during 2011. It was a collective sigh of relief from 30,000 or so local residents upon hearing that their PGA Tour event had a future. The Tour and event operator Heritage Classic Foundation jointly announced that day that the Royal Bank of Canada agreed to a five-year deal to serve as title sponsor for the Heritage tournament, played for the past 43 years on Hilton Head Island, S.C. Also announced was the participation of The Boeing Company as a “local presenting sponsor” for the tournament. Earlier this year, the aircraft company opened a manufacturing facility near Charleston, Hilton Head Island’s coastal neighbor to the north. The announcement ended 18 months of discussion, debate, hand-wringing, and more than a few sleepless nights for those intimately associated with or even remotely concerned about the tournament. Verizon discontinued its sponsorship of the event in 2010, the end of a 24-year partnership that also included the communications giant’s predecessors, MCI and WorldCom. Since then, tournament officials worked tirelessly to secure a new title sponsor against formidable odds. As the weeks and months passed, it became eminantly clear that few, if any, corporations would be willing to devote $8 million to a golf tournament in the midst of a historic economic recession. As the 2011 tournament approached, the cautious optimism long expressed by Tournament Director Steve Wilmot and his staff seemed to give way to quiet desperation. Wilmot, one of the most likeable guys in the golf business, admitted to Fox Business News that the tournament was strapped for cash and that “closing the doors” had become a reality. Golf Digest
The first Heritage was won under the unfinished Harbour Town lighthouse in 1969 by Arnold Palmer.
The Royal Bank of Canada has agreed to a five-year deal to serve as title sponsor through 2016 for the RBC Heritage on Hilton Head Island, for 43 years one of the most popular stops on the PGA Tour for both players and fans.
and Golf Magazine both hinted that the end was near for the Hilton Head Island event and that its demise was virtually guaranteed if a sponsor wasn’t secured by the close of this year’s tournament on April 24. And there was no shortage of possible solutions proposed online by the public. One wag suggested that the Heritage become a joint event with the LPGA (as if that tour doesn’t have its own problems, but more on that in a moment). Another commentator inexplicably proposed that Augusta National take on the sponsorship role, with no viable rationale other than the fact that the Heritage has traditionally followed the Masters on the Tour schedule. Hmmm… But, of course, the 2011 Heritage came and went without a new sponsorship commitment. It took almost two more months before a formal announcement was made, with smiles and handshakes all around among RBC and Boeing officials, Wilmot and Heritage Classic Foundation Chairman Simon Fraser, South Carolina governor Nikki Haley and PGA Tour Commissioner
Tim Finchem. Indeed, it took a village, but the event that helped define Hilton Head Island won a five-year reprieve. And this is where a valuable lesson can be learned about the future of bigmoney sponsorships in professional golf: take nothing for granted. The Heritage was certainly not alone in its arduous quest to survive. If you want trouble, take a look at the LPGA Tour. The women’s circuit began 2011 with just 23 events on its calendar, as disappearing sponsors helped shutter long-standing tournaments. From the final round of the U.S. Women’s Open on July 10 to the start of the Safeway Classic on Aug. 18, there were no official LPGA events held. Zero. The Heritage beat the odds, but it’s a safe bet that Wilmot and his staff have already begun plotting a strategy for 2016 when the RBC agreement comes to an end. As anyone in the golf business will attest, the halcyon days are long gone. Running a professional golf tournament is undoubtedly a monumental task, but it’s nothing compared to trying to save one.
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At Belfair, you are never just a visitor. We pride ourselves on providing our members with a seamless Bluffton, South Carolina
first class experience, whether its playing our Fazio designed championship courses, dining in our superb restaurant, staying in our charming cottages, enjoying a private golf clinic, or luxuriating at our spa and fitness center. We make it our precedence that all of your expectations are exceeded from the moment you arrive. We cordially invite you to Discover Belfair.
Discovery Package Includes:
2 night stay in one of our cottage junior suites, 2 rounds of golf on each of our championship courses, lunch for 2 at our Clubhouse and access to our world class golf learning center and fitness center. $499/couple
FOR MORE INFORMATION, PLEASE CALL 843.757.0700 OR VISIT WWW.BELFAIR1811.NET
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Myrtle Beach, South Carolina
WHERE AMERICA COMES TO PLAY More Courses. More Holes. More Fun.
KING’S NORTH AT MYRTLE BEACH NATIONAL
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Myrtle Beach, FOUNDER’S CLUB
AT PAWLEYS ISLAND
It’s Where America Comes to Play With an oﬀering of over 100 championship courses along a 60-mile stretch of Carolina coastline, hundreds of great restaurants, aﬀordably priced oceanfront and fairway accommodations, comfortable year-round climate and a healthy dose of warm Southern hospitality, it’s easy to see why more vacationing
SEA TRAIL PLANTATION
golfers choose Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. A recent National Golf Foundation survey of golf travelers placed Myrtle Beach at the top of the leader board for Quality, Selection and Aﬀordability of golf.
Now with aﬀordable nonstop ﬂights from 25 cities, including New York, Chicago, Boston, Pittsburgh, Atlantic City, D.C. and Atlanta, getting to Myrtle Beach has never been easier.
RIVERS EDGE Start planning your next golf vacation with a visit to our Web site, and be sure to request a custom QUICK QUOTE for the best package prices.
ARROWHEAD GOLF CLUB
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Making a Difficult Game Easier Courses Embrace Tee it Forward
olf is anything but a game of easy. In fact, for more than 90 percent (if not higher) of the amateurs that play the game of golf, it’s a hard damn game. The object of putting a small ball in an equally small hole some 400 yards away on average is equally nuts as it is difficult. The equipment is hard to hit. The rules are hard to understand, remember, and, to be honest, always adhere to. So it’s with that in mind that any idea, inclination or innovation that makes the game easier to play, more enjoyable to endure and more satisfying at the end is worth exploring at the very least. Such an innovation is taking root and being championed by leaders of the sport that promises to lower the scores of even the lowliest of players. A joint venture between the PGA of America and the United States Golf Association, the country’s two most influential golf organizations, has spawned a new concept geared toward making the game more “hacker friendly” (my term, not theirs). It’s one that is beginning to gain some steam and make its way across the municipal, public and resort tee boxes across the country. The idea is simple: “Tee it Forward,” and watch the game become more enjoyable and, ultimately, easier to play. Tee it Forward is actually based on one simple concept, play the golf course from the distance that suits ability level, thus reducing the game’s difficulty while maintaining its primary challenges. The shorter you hit the ball, no matter how good the other aspects of your game are, the shorter tees you play. For instance, most golfers hit their drive somewhere between 200 and 225 yards on average (albeit not always straight). Those players should play the course of their choosing somewhere between 5,400 and 6,000 yards to take on what their game can essentially chew. In creating the program, the PGA and USGA have incorporated a grid of sorts that matches driving distance with the length of course that should be played. In the instance the distance leaves a player between tees, the program suggests they “move it forward” and enjoy shorter approach shots with easier-to-play clubs. Following that rule, golfers will have shorter distances to navigate hazards off the tee and when in trouble will be further down the hole to help get out of it without a figure resembling a snowman appearing on the scorecard. In other words, the game becomes easier even when our swings make it harder. “Simply put, Tee It Forward can make golf much more fun for millions of people,” said Allen Wronowski, president of the PGA of America. “We believe that by moving up to another set of tees,
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golfers will experience an exciting new approach to the game that will produce more enjoyment and elevate their desire to come back and play even more golf.” The movement, which had its origins with Barney Adams of Adams Golf and is now being championed by the PGA and its membership, has moved somewhat slowly but is starting to gain steam, especially among players that care more about enjoying the game than feeding an ego through it. Granted it’s never easy to beg forward a tee box when partners are playing the course back, but acknowledging the limitations of one’s own game doesn’t mean that game is unworthy of the golf course being played. Distance from tee to green and from one side of a hazard to the other is a constant challenge of the game; but it’s one made all the more easier when the proper distance is adhered to. “The passion that golfers have for our game has the potential to be enhanced by the Tee it Forward initiative,” said Jim Hyler, president of the USGA. “This is an innovation that we think will appeal to golfers of all skill levels because it gives
them a new challenge that better aligns with their abilities. We hope that Tee it Forward will be embraced by players and golf facilities across the country.” Not only should the theory be embraced by players of average ability but also by lower-handicap golfers that might just find the time of rounds reduced as the idea gains momentum. With middleto higher-handicap players finding more suitable tees, less trouble might be found and more easily escaped from when it does rear its ugly head. The end result might be more fourhour rounds of golf, which the game desperately needs, rather than the often unbearable five- or five-and-half hour weekend odysseys. It’s a fact that even one of the greatest professionals golfers of any generation agrees with. “I love the game of golf but I will be the first to tell you that there are things about our game we need to improve,” said 18-time major winner Jack Nicklaus. “Now
the PGA of America and the USGA have come together to develop ways to make the game more attractive and enjoyable.” The program, Nicklaus believes, will also help the game continue to cultivate the positive family appeal that could help it rebound from several years of a backward slide in participation. If father, mother and
“Simply put, Tee It Forward can make golf much more fun for millions of people,” siblings can play from different tees that fit their skill and length, a more enjoyable round of golf, and even some fair competition, can well be the end result. “I think families around the country will enjoy alternate formats like this to make the game more fun,” Nicklaus said. At the end of the day, that’s the goal of Tee It Forward; make the game a little easier and a whole lot more fun so a whole lot more people play it and stay with it.
Your personal vacation caddy. THE BUCKET LIST If ever there were three courses that belong on every golfers bucket list, these are it! Grande Dunes Resort Club, Grande Dunes Members Club and Pine Lakes 3-round golf itinerary starting at $243
MIDTOWN SPECIAL Three nights accommodations in the heart of Myrtle Beach and three rounds of golf at Myrtlewood Palmetto, Myrtlewood PineHills and Arcadian Shores Packages with accommodations starting at $231
Golfer’s Guide Lifestyles 17
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Best of the Beach Golf is grand from the heart of Myrtle Beach to the Carolina border Just by its sheer size, the greater Myrtle Beach area has naturally evolved into a collection of smaller regions, each with its own character, features and attractions. But the legendary stature of this coastal destination is perhaps best defined by the exhilarating excitement of Central Myrtle Beach and the stellar resorts and courses that comprise North Myrtle Beach. Together, these two areas offer an unforgettable experience that exemplifies the allure of the “Grand Strand.”
Central Myrtle Beach: A Seamless Blend of Old and New Emboldened by the opening of the nationally-acclaimed Grande Dunes Resort nearly a decade ago, and lifted by the redesign of the venerable Pine Lakes Golf Club, the heart of Myrtle Beach is quickly claiming the hearts of the millions of golfers that flock to the Grand Strand every year. Further en-
hancing the area’s profile is the 36-hole Myrtlewood Golf Club and longtime Strand favorite Arcadian Shores. There’s little argument that the creation of the Grande Dunes Resort, which includes a private Nick Price-designed Members Club and a Resort Course crafted by Roger Rulewich,
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SPECIAL ADVERTISING SEC TION has been the most significant addition to the Myrtle Beach golf scene in the past decade. Rulewich, a disciple of the legendary Robert Trent Jones Sr., crafted the Resort Course as a challenging but fair test with seven holes along the Intracoastal Waterway, 34 acres of fresh-water lakes, rolling fairways with dramatic elevation changes, and strategic bunkering throughout. Myrtle Beach’s reputation was well established long before Grande Dunes, thanks in large part to Pine Lakes Country Club. Affectionately dubbed “The Granddaddy,” Pine Lakes dates back to 1927. A few years ago, owner/operator Burroughs and Chapin closed the course for an extensive renovation intended to return the course to its glory days and pay homage to the original design by Robert White. The course reopened almost two years ago, and the redesign has been praised for the striking balance between the original design elements and some exciting new features. The new and the newly restored in central Myrtle Beach are complemented by the 36-hole Myrtlewood Golf Club. The PineHills and Palmetto courses, crafted by Arthur Hills and Edmund Ault respectively, offer unique challenges with strategic water hazards, mounded fairways, challenging bunkering and well-guarded greens. PineHills is Hills’ only Grand Strand design, and Palmetto has long been ranked among the finest repeat play courses in Myrtle Beach. Speaking of impressive, Arcadian Shores has been just that for many years. Designed by Rees Jones and opened in 1974, Arcadian Shores combines tree-lined Bermuda fairways, imposing lakes and dramatic bunkering into a design that has challenged and thrilled Grand Strand golfers for nearly four decades. Bringing the past to the present and ensuring the future of Myrtle Beach golf, Pine Lakes, Grande Dunes, Myrtlewood and Arcadian Shores have all built and built upon the legend of the Grand Strand.
owlands and Farmstead. Located less than a mile from one another, these two layouts are perhaps the most underrated among the classic courses that hug the South Carolina/North Carolina border. Farmstead offers not only one of the best layouts in Myrtle Beach, but also one of the most unforgettable holes in the region. The Grand Strand’s only par-six, the 600-yard-plus 18th hole begins in South Carolina and finishes in the Tarheel state. With five sets of tee boxes and an open, spacious layout, Meadowlands has also been cited as one of the country’s most women-friendly courses. While just a sampling of the North Myrtle Beach golf experience, Tidewater, River Hills, Farmstead and Meadowlands are certainly representative of what golfers can expect when they “head for the border” at the upper reaches of the Grand Strand.
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North Myrtle Beach: Bordering on Perfection Encompassing an area that stretches across the South Carolina border into North Carolina, the northern end of Myrtle Beach is as rich in golf as its beaches, entertainment and overall family fun. The courses of the “northern Strand” range from well-known and acclaimed courses like Tidewater Golf Club and River Hills to hidden gems such as Farmstead and Meadowlands. Long regarded as a must-play in the North Myrtle Beach area is Tidewater Golf Club. Crafted by Ken Tomlinson, this layout meanders along the Intracoastal Waterway and around breathtaking salt marshes. The course recently underwent an extensive and ambitious redesign in conjunction with its 20th anniversary. As a result, a course deemed the “Pebble Beach of the East Coast” and perennially ranked by leading publications as one of South Carolina’s best is better than ever. Nearby is another golf course that has earned its fair share of accolades, the Tom Jackson-designed River Hills Golf and Country Club. Noted for its design and playability, River Hills was carved from the quiet woodlands of Little River, and with elevation changes of up to 40 feet, it is as visually stunning as it is challenging. Another strong pair on the northern end of the Strand is Mead-
THE FAB FOUR 4-round golf itinerary starting at $188. Choose from Meadowlands, Farmstead, River Hills and Arcadian Shores.
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andon BDunes With all four of its courses on the Top 30 list of modern layouts, this golf-only resort on Oregon’s wind-swept coast has quickly become one of golf’s newest “Places to Play” By Joel Zuckerman Photography Courtesy of Bandon Dunes Golf Resort
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he late English golf writer Peter Dobreiner’s commentary about the fabulous Irish links land of Royal County Down is equally appropriate at Bandon Dunes, opened in 1999 along the Oregon coast. “The essence of golf is to say that it enhances the feeling that it is good to be alive,” said Dobereiner. “That’s the first priority and absolute justification. The links of Royal County Down are exhilarating even without a club in your hand. This strip of dune land was 90 percent along on the road to being a golf course long before the game was invented.” The analogy is admittedly imperfect. The rugged Oregon terrain of Bandon Dunes wasn’t 90 percent a golf course a dozen years ago; perhaps not 19 percent or even nine percent. Bulldozers, graders and backhoes tamed the landscape, machetes won the war with the gorse, and incredible, indelible golf emerged. But the “feeling good to be alive” part?
Bandon Dunes founder Mike Keiser has always loved links golf – the rustic, windblown, seaside courses with ultra-ﬁrm turf and deep pot bunkers found primarily in the United Kingdom and Ireland.
The “exhilaration without a club in hand” comment? Those couldn’t be more appropriate. Looking back on its remarkable, albeit limited history, it’s almost as if founder and visionary Mike Keiser wanted to ensure failure when he conceived and executed Bandon Dunes Resort. The entrepreneur, who made his fortune in recycled greeting cards, has always loved links golf – the rustic, windblown, seaside courses with ultra-firm turf and deep pot bunkers found primarily in the United Kingdom and Ireland. When he found suitable land on the Oregon coast, he didn’t seem fazed by the fact that it was a five-hour drive from the nearest major airport in Portland. He decided there would be no other on-site amenities such as pools, bike rentals, spas
or tennis courts. He also decreed that the facility would be walking-only. Thus, the millions of cart-tethered golfers throughout the land would either have to get in game shape or forgo the trip entirely. But his seeming recipe for disaster has paid off wonderfully, and his contrarian theory for the first course led to a second, then a third, and now a fourth. The entire Bandon Dunes quartet is well ensconced in the Top 30 courses in Golfweek magazine’s list of Top 100 Modern Courses. Currently under construction is a 13-hole, ocean-view par-three course slated to debut in 2012, and will be a perfect afternoon alternative for those who wish to play more than 18 holes, but lacking the energy and/or courage to play 36. Bandon Dunes continues to evolve in magnificent fashion, and for the game’s cognoscenti, has rightfully joined Pinehurst and the Monterey Peninsula as “the” go-to golf destinations in the United States.
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he handsome sign on the Pacific Coast Highway south of Coos Bay and north of the town of Bandon reads “Bandon Dunes Resort,” but this is not a resort in the conventional sense. Guest quarters are mostly simple, though the recent addition of the upscale Grove Cottages and the even-newer Inn has upped the ante in terms of accommodations. The food is great, but simple and straightforward. Bandon Dunes is all about the golf – walking only, caddies preferred, wind, cool weather, and precipitation ranging from light to ferocious, all potentially part of the daily equation. Golfers used to GPS systems, roving beverage-carts, ribbons of cart paths and fleets of Club Cars might consider Bandon Dunes a resort of last resort. Bandon Dunes, the original course dating from 1999, was designed by 28year-old Scotsman David McLay Kidd, who got the job from Keiser despite the fact that his only previous 18-hole design was in, of all places, Katmandu. A native Scot hadn’t designed a golf course on American soil since Donald Ross, but Kidd produced an elegant figure-eight routing which extends from the clubhouse to the sea and back on each nine. Several holes on each nine are in close proximity to the cliffs abutting the roiling sea, which is pockmarked with elaborate rock formations jutting from the water and pounded ceaselessly by the surf that makes this stretch of coastline so memorable. Pacific Dunes, designed by iconoclast architect Tom Doak, debuted in 2001 and is even more dramatic than the original. Pacific Dunes has seven holes perched precariously 100 feet above Whiskey Run Beach, where one might be lucky enough to catch a glimpse of migrating whales beyond the surf line. Pacific Dunes is quirkier and riskier golf than the original, with less dirt moved and more humps and hummocks in the fairways. Tee shots and approaches are more exacting here than on Bandon Dunes, and the routing is decidedly nontraditional, with four par-3s and three par-5s on the inward nine. Bandon Trails was designed by the sought-after duo of Ben Crenshaw and Bill Coore, and is a wholly different experience than the seaside pair that preceded it. Crenshaw and Coore’s inland
effort begins and ends on high ground, with distant views of the sea. The course descends, traverses and then climbs again through ecosystems ranging from dunes to forests to meadows. The bunkers have a ragged, eroded-edge quality. Even though it meanders away from the ocean after the first few holes, Bandon Trails continues to engage the senses while testing one’s mettle with holes routed up and over, down and through, left and right, long and strong, short and deadly. Completing the Bandon Dunes quartet is Old Macdonald, which officially opened in the summer of 2010. This latest offering pays homage to the classic architecture styling of C.B. Macdonald, the “Golden Era” architect best known for his work at Chicago Golf Club and Long Island’s National Golf Links of America. For the Old Macdonald course, Doak and longtime associate Jim Urbina relied on input from a range of architectural
experts to capture the nuance and tone of Macdonald’s work without creating any sort of carbon copy or “tribute” holes. The playing corridors are massively wide, and multiple holes can be viewed from almost anywhere on the course. The greens are the largest in the U.S. and not by a little. Do the math: 255,000-sq.-ft. of putting surface equates to an average green size of more over 14,000-sq.-ft. They also meander in every direction with slants, tilts, inclines and rolls. The green on the fifth hole has nine feet of elevation change from back to front; walking, let alone putting, is a challenge here. Old Mac pushes Bandon Dunes to the forefront of the country’s elite golf destinations, those that celebrate golf purely for golf’s sake. To paraphrase former football coach Bum Phillips, speaking of Herschel Walker, “I’m not saying (it) is in a class by itself. But whatever class it’s in, it doesn’t take long to call roll.”
With four memorable courses open for play and a 13-hole Par-3 Course on the way, Bandon Dunes has quickly and quietly moved to the forefront of the country’s elite golf destinations, those that celebrate golf purely for golf’s sake.
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Golf in this world-renowned destination leaves visitors praising Arizona
Photography Courtesy of Scottsdale Convention & Visitors Bureau
W Troon North Golf Club oﬀers an exceptional desertgolf experience, winding through the natural ravines and foothills in the high Sonoran Desert. The club’s Monument and Pinnacle courses consistently rank at the top of every golfer’s must-play list.
ith 51 golf courses within Scottsdale’s city limits, and an additional 156 courses sprinkled across its Valley of the Sun neighbors, Scottsdale bills itself as the World’s Finest Golf Destination. It’s a difficult argument to refute. More than 330 days of sunshine and less than eight inches of annual rainfall means Scottsdale-area courses host more than 12 million rounds every year. A year-round median average temperature of 70 degrees and well-below-par humidity fills out Scottsdale’s scorecard nicely. Golfer’s Guide Lifestyles 31
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S C O T T S D A L E Speaking of scorecards, Scottsdale is home to 13 of the Top 25 golf courses in Arizona, according to Golf Magazine’s 2010 rankings, six of the 75 Best Golf Resorts as determined by Golf Digest, and six courses listed on Golf Magazine’s 2010 Top 100 You Can Play. And for those who’d rather watch the pros play, Scottsdale hosts the PGA TOUR’s Waste Management Phoenix Open, the best attended golf tournament in the world, welcoming about 500,000 spectators a year. An internationally renowned landmark that helped put desert golf on the map when it first opened in 1990, Troon North Golf Club now plays better than
Above: The lobby of the Hyatt Regency Scottsdale Resort and Spa looks out over the property’s beautiful Fountain Court, which oﬀers breathtaking views of the McDowell Mountains, Gainey Ranch Golf course and resort pools. Below: The Boulders Golf Club features two Jay Morrish-designed courses that are known for breathtaking surroundings and sweeping panoramic views. Both 18-hole courses stretch across an enchanting Sonoran Desert landscape and are ranked among the ﬁnest in the United States.
ever thanks to a reconfiguration and renovation. Overseen by Tom Weiskopf, original designer of Troon North’s Pinnacle Course and co-designer of its Monument Course, both tracks were blended and resequenced in 2007 to create new layouts with improved playability. Undoubtedly Scottsdale’s most recognizable club, TPC Scottsdale is a 36-hole jewel best known as the host of the aforementioned Waste Management Phoenix Open. Here you can attempt to replicate Tiger’s hole-in-one on the Stadium Course’s famed 16th hole, or try to carry the water right onto the 15th hole’s island green. In-the-know locals, however, rave
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S C O T T S D A L E about TPC Scottsdale’s lesser known but equally scenic Champions Course, which meanders across natural ravines and rolling terrain.
them from the panoramic surroundings. Sports Illustrated named the Cholla Course among the Top 10 New Golf Courses in the World when it opened in
Considered by many to be one of Scottsdale’s most stylish, Grayhawk Golf Club oﬀers two outstanding golf experiences, the par-72 Talon and Raptor courses . The club’s Kostis McCord Learning Center oﬀers individual workshops, corporate lessons and junior instruction camps. After your round, stop by Phil’s Grill, named after PGA Pro Phil Mickelson.
Grayhawk Golf Club, a favorite of 2010 Masters champ Phil Mickelson (for whom the club’s grillroom is named) has developed a reputation as one of Scottsdale’s most stylish. Grayhawk’s Talon and Raptor courses are superstars in their own right, highlighted by Talon’s scenic back nine and Raptor’s tournament history. In fact, Grayhawk hosted a variety of topflight competitive events, including the Andersen Consulting World Championship of Golf, Williams World Challenge hosted by Tiger Woods, Tommy Bahama Challenge and, of course, the Frys.com Open, a PGA TOUR event held on the Raptor Course 2007-2009. Hand-stitched into the wilds of the Fort McDowell Yavapai Nation bordering Scottsdale,We-Ko-Pa Golf Club offers a desert golf experience like no other. Golfers are completely immersed in the Sonoran Desert with no dwellings, roads or even out-of-bounds markers to distract
McCormick Ranch Golf Club is a public 36-hole facility with restaurant, lounge, banquet areas, pro shop and practice facilities. This Desmond Muirhead-designed course features a traditional 18-hole layout, breathtaking Southwestern scenery and immaculate course conditions.
2001, and it’s since become a fixture on Golf Magazine’s list of the Top 100 You Can Play. Although desert golf is the typical golf experience in Scottsdale, the city features several outstanding courses that provide a traditional look and feel. McCormick Ranch Golf Club offers 36 holes that unfold around sprawling water hazards and along fairways of mature pine, eucalyptus and palm trees that compliment the wide open spaces of the Scottsdale’s desert tracks to the north. At Camelback Golf Club, golfers play through lush, tree-lined fairways, gently sloping contours and sparkling water hazards with magnificent mountain backdrops. The Indian Bend Course is a traditional American linksstyle course, and the Padre Course was designed by renowned course architect Arthur Hills. Both McCormick Ranch and Camelback opened decades ago and have since undergone the occasional renovation to maintain high standards of conditions and integrity of the original designs. Enjoy world-class resort golf atThe Boulders Resort, where the top-flight North and South courses wind around and over the property’s namesake rock formations. Golf Magazine deemed the resort a Gold Medal award-winner in 2010, while Golf Digest ranked the resort No. 40 in its 2009 list of the 75 Best Golf Resorts in North America. The Westin Kierland Resort & Spa offers three picturesque, nine-hole layouts, allowing golfers to mix and match to create a variety of playing experiences. Kierland Golf Club was one of first in the world to feature the G2 climate-control device that changes the air temperature in and around golf carts by more than 40 degrees, keeping golfers warm in the winter and refreshed all summer long. The Westin Kierland also pays homage to the Scottish immigrants who helped develop Arizona’s railroads, mines and towns by offering the Scottish Golf Experience, where golfers don rented kilts and sample Johnnie Walker beverages while perfecting their swing on the course. So, while labeling yourself the World’s Finest Golf Destination may sound at least a little bit cocky, in the immortal words of Muhammad Ali, “It ain’t bragging if you can back it up.” When it comes to golf in Scottsdale, it ain’t bragging.
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Sandestin Resort A sleepy corner of the Gulf has grown up to be a golfing jewel on Florida’s Emerald Coast By Joel Zuckerman Photography Courtesy of Sandestin Golf & Beach Resort
ne of the key components of a reputable resort destination is accessibility. A bagful of stars, diamonds or other industry accolades doesn’t carry much weight if prospective guests can’t get there without expending an unusual and unnecessary amount of time, effort and money. That brings us to the Florida Panhandle town of Destin and Sandestin Resort. Northwest Florida Regional Airport in Destin may not be O’Hare in Chicago or Hartsfield-Jackson in Atlanta, but it serves the area quite well from several southeastern cities, as far north as Buffalo, and as far west as Las Vegas. This is great news for golfers, because less time flying means more time for driving… not to mention putting, chipping, wedge-work, bunker play, and all the disparate elements that draw ardent golfers to places like Sandestin Resort. Encompassing 2,400 acres of sugarysand beaches, a lively and attraction-filled waterfront village and marina, a proliferation of pools and tennis courts, and particularly its quartet of fine golf courses, Sandestin deserves plenty of quality time. Golfer’s Guide Lifestyles 37
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S A N D E S T I N The Raven Golf Club, former host venue of the Boeing Championship on the Champions Tour, is a Robert Trent Jones Jr. design and a lovely walk through the marshes, wetlands and pine trees of the resort. Its accolades include “Best New Course in Florida in 2000” by Florida Golf News, and a 4 1/2 Star rating by Golf Digest in both 2006 and 2008. The course offers mostly generous landing areas and has a sense of spaciousness lacking at several of the other courses. The configuration of the various layouts on property results in the unique distinction of a single juncture of parallel fairways between the Raven and Burnt Pine, designed by the architect’s brother, Rees Jones. In golf circles the Jones brothers are well known for their strained personal relationship, but at least at Sandestin their golf holes can exist peaceably side by side. Burnt Pine is not only the priciest, but also the least accessible of the four courses. Outside play must commence prior to 8 a.m. or after 1 p.m., but being a “dew-sweeper” or teeing it up post-lunch is well worth it. “We offer a private course
feel, and do far fewer rounds than the other courses at Sandestin,” said head professional Jared Morton. “It’s not a resort feel, rounds are faster than at the other courses, and we do only about 20,000 rounds a year, which is light for a year-round facility.” Burnt Pine is a very stately golf course; isolated, with great tree cover, generous housing setbacks and a real sense of remove. CaAbove: The resort’s signature luxury condominium hotel, The Grand Sandestin features Southern-inspired architectural design and detail, a sweeping two-story veranda, lushly landscaped gardens and soothing water fountains surrounding a restful poolscape. The Raven Golf Club, below, is a Robert Trent Jones Jr. design and a lovely walk through the marshes, wetlands and pine forests of the resort.
pacious bunkering surrounding smallish greens puts a real premium on approach shots. But this woodsy environment ends abruptly midway through the inward nine when players are confronted with the most arresting of the 72 holes available at Sandestin Resort. The Links Course has some of the most memorable views on the entire property. Architect Tom Jackson designed this winding layout against the backdrop of the Baytowne Marina with five holes
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S A N D E S T I N running along Choctawhatchee Bay. There are few trees, but plenty of wind and some spectacular views, none better than the gorgeous 8th hole, a 355-yard par-4 with a tough carry from the tee. This combination of stirring golf holes and scintillating water views make the Links Course a worthwhile golf experience. And then there is Baytowne Golf Club, originally designed by Jackson as a 27-hole layout. But the architect directed a major renovation of the course in 2005. The “new” Baytowne burrows through a tunnel under the main highway outside of the resort and offers a number of holes on the beach side of the highway before coming back to the bay side. While Baytowne doesn’t afford a direct view of the ocean, you can smell the salty air, enjoy the cool breeze and can at least imagine the crashing surf beyond the condos and hotels in the medium distance. With some challenging holes, Baytowne is a good test of one’s game, but quite different from the bucolic experience at the adjacent Raven. A visit to the resort’s bustling Vil-
lage of Baytowne Wharf, with some 45 separate businesses in one centralized pedestrian plaza, underscores the point that business is on the upswing since last year’s oil spill. Happy vacationers – be they couples, singles or families – can be found practically shoulder-to-shoulder, enjoying kids activities, shopping, live music, al fresco meals, libations of every stripe, and even fine dining. As for the latter, gourmands could do much worse With miles of Gulf coastline as the backdrop, one of the most popular “activities” at Sandestin Resort is doing nothing at all.
that the Marlin Grill, just on the immediate outskirts of the action. Its handsome décor, delectable and wide-ranging menu, lively bar and eclectic drink list are some of the reasons for its longstanding reputation as one of the resort’s most popular upscale eateries. Traditionally, Sandestin has been a drive-in destination, drawing from East Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia, Kentucky and Ohio. But the new air service provided by up-andcoming Vision Airlines is opening up the resort to markets that would otherwise never consider the somewhat circuitous drive to this small, but lovely portion of coastline. And though they come for a variety of reasons, golf is at or near the top of many a visitor’s list, with Burnt Pine and The Raven the main draws. “I don’t think that Burnt Pine is just the best course in Sandestin, or even greater Destin,” said head professional Jared Morton. “In my opinion, it’s the best course on what’s known as the Emerald Coast, from Pensacola to Panama City and beyond.”
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“…Besides, when was the last time you heard laughter coming from the next driving range stall? Changing Brands Two of golf’s most venerable brands made significant media splashes recently, but the play was more prominent on the business and financial pages than in the sports section. Achushnet Company, maker of Titleist golf balls and equipment and FootJoy shoes gloves and apparel, was purchased for
a reported $1.2 billion by a Korean investment group that included sporting goods company Fila Korea. Achushnet had been owned since 1976 by Fortune Brands, Inc., which planned to focus on its booming liquor business with brands that include Canadian Club, Jim Beam and Maker’s Mark bourbon and Sauza tequila. From a global perspective, the deal made sense: Nearly half of Achusnet’s $1.2 billion in revenues in 2010 came from outside the U.S., and Asia continues to be the primary growth market for all things golf. Meanwhile, kudos to those savvy investors who chose to buy Callaway Golf stock this past summer instead of the company’s Diablo Octane driver. Callaway took the golf world by storm in the late 1980s and 1990s with its innovative Big Bertha drivers and irons, but the company lost much of its value through the recession and its continued impact on an already struggling industry. In July, when the company announced losses of $55 million for the second quarter, its stock price fell to a 52-week low of $5.80 per share. But thanks to the vision of its new president and CEO, Anthony Thornley, Callaway Golf appears to be back on the rise. Thornley’s “immediate and aggressive actions” to restore profits have helped slowly but steadily drive share prices back up.
Practice Made Fun Pounding out a large bucket of balls off plastic turf has never been anyone’s idea of exhilarating. But Top Golf is redefining the traditional driving range by bringing a novel concept to the practice experience: fun. At a Top Golf facility – there are
currently four operating in the U.S., with many more planned – players compete with each other by firing microchip-imbedded balls at a variety of targets. Points are awarded based on how close one’s shot lands to the target, and scores are displayed on large touch-screen monitors in each oversized driving bay. There are sofas nearby when you need a break, and “caddies” are on hand to bring you nachos and a cold one. A typical visit to a Top Golf facility runs around $35; not surprisingly, the centers averaged 200,000 visitors last year, and developer Joe Vrankin hopes to have 50 Top Golfs open by the end of 2014. At $10 million per facility, that projection may be ambitious, but Vrankin’s concept of “golf entertainment” certainly seems to have legs. Besides, when was the last time you heard laughter coming from the next stall?
on items such as equipment and apparel. More information on the report is available at www.americanexpress.com/press.
Recommended Reading In case you missed it, SIGolf+’s inaugural Jobs Issue (July 4-11, 2011) featured an illuminating view into the economic
With all of the negative economic trends experienced by the golf industry over the past several years, there is a glimmer of hope represented by one of the game’s more unlikely market segments.
A Generation of Promise? With all of the negative economic trends experienced by the golf industry over the past several years, there is a glimmer of hope represented by one of the game’s more unlikely market segments. A recently released report on consumer and business golf expenditures from American Express revealed that Generation Y, comprised of individuals between the ages of 18 and 29, increased its spending on golf by 27 percent between 2007 and 2011, the only demographic to spend more at public and private courses and golf retail stores during this period. Seniors (ages 66 and older) reported a 21-percent decrease in golf-related spending since 2007, while Baby Boomers (ages 46 to 66) and Generation X (ages 30 to 45) each posted decreases of 19 percent. Other key findings from the study revealed a 10-percent increase in golf retail spending in the first quarter of 2011
impact of the game, not only on specific jobs within the industry, but on the entire world economy. Author Farrell Evans dug deeper into the financials than anyone we’ve read thus far, and the results are, frankly, staggering. A few of the examples Evans cites: Work at U.S. golf courses (only) accounts for $26 billion in wages; the domestic golf industry accounts for more than 2 million total jobs; in San Diego alone, 75 golf-related equipment companies in 2008 employed 27,000 workers, with an average wage of $62,000; and the European golf industry employs close to 400,000 workers and pays about $13.4 billion in wages. In that same issue author Alan Bastable’s article, From Top to Bottom, provided an insider’s look at the approximate salaries of a number of positions in the industry, from PGA Tour Commissioner Tim Finchem ($5.2 million) to the typical clubhouse dishwasher ($8 per hour). One of the more interesting statistics is that the average teaching pro can expect to make about $42,000 per year (head pros $64,000; assistant pros $38,000), while a caddie at a top club brings in about $1,000 per week. Interesting to note that the men and women who carry your clubs make 20 to 30 percent more per year than the person who teaches you how to use them. Golfer’s Guide Lifestyles 57
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The number of applications currently
The Digital Game
available for golfers is more than
There’s an App for That
irst of all, let’s get one thing clear: We wholeheartedly believe that the best way to improve your golf game is by consulting with your local PGA professional. With that said, there is nothing wrong with referring to a few “quick fix” pointers to tweak your game mid-round. We’re assuming you have some make or model of a smartphone, which also means you have access to myriad golf-specific applications that can help improve your game in more ways than simply preventing your next chili-dip. Our crack team of digital duffers reviewed the top-rated golf applications for Apple and Android platforms and found far more than basic swing tips. These programs can help improve your game, give you exact yardages to the pin, compute your handicap and clarify a tricky rules question… though not all at once. Technology has only come so far.
GPS/Rangeﬁnders Golfshot: Golf GPS Compatible with: iPhone 4, iPad, iPod Touch, Android Cost: $29.99 Golfshot’s claim as the “No. 1 golf GPS application worldwide” is hard to dispute given its array of features, strong graphics and high customer ratings. More than 35,000 courses worldwide are mapped, and the program automatically charts statistical data such as fairways hit and missed, greens in regulation, sand saves and putts per hole. The graphics are outstanding, but like most GPS apps, it can be a serious battery drain depending on the device. Info: www.golfshot.com. Golf Card Pro Compatible with: iPhone 4, iPad, iPod Touch, Android Cost: iPhone, $9.99; Android, $10.99. Maybe the best value among golf GPS apps. Versatile and easy to use, the Golf Card Pro can handle all of the tasks that most golfers need – distance measurement, club
tracking, scoring and handicapping – with a database of more than 23,000 courses worldwide. A more stripped-down version, Golfcard GPS, is free and also compatible with Nokia and Windows 7 phones. Info: www.senygma.com.
Swing Analysis/Instructional Golf SwingPlane Compatible with: iPhone 3GS, iPhone 4, iPod touch (3rd & 4th generation), and iPad Cost: $3.99 This app has gotten a lot of press for its ease in analyzing your swing using frame-by-frame advance and rewind, slow-motion playback and repeat. Match your turn side-by-side against those of Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson and Ernie Els; additional swing videos of players such as Rory McIlroy and Lee Westwood are available for purchase. The most obvious downside: The app is only available on Apple platforms. Info: www.igolfapps.com. V1 Golf Compatible with: iPhone, iPad (iOS 3.2 or later), iPod Touch w/camera; Android. Cost: iPhone, $4.99; Android, Free but also requires Premium Unlocker app at $2.99. Convenient and functional, the V1 Golf app allows golfers to easily record and playback their swing and use one of the several drawing tools to analyze their work, in both vertical and landscape views. A library of game improvement video drills from PGA professionals is included, and split-screen comparisons with a library of top Tour players is also available. Users can store their videos in an online “locker” for future reference. Available for both Apple and Android mobile devices. Info: www.v1golfapp.com. GolfPlan with Paul Azinger Compatible with: iPhone, iPad, iPod touch; Android. Cost: $.99; in-app purchases of updated instructional videos from $1.99. One of the most popular instructional
apps on the market, GolfPlan offers more than 80 drill-based instructional videos, including indoor drills that are appropriate for home or office use. The app takes user data from various handicap ranges to help create a personalized practice plan specifically tailored to the weaknesses in one’s game. Critics have played the “get what you pay for” card (the basic app is just $.99), but then again, there seems to be more reward than risk in working under the tutelage of one of golf’s most likeable stars. Info: www.golfplanpro.com; www.shotzoom.com.
Rules & Rulings USGA Rules of Golf Compatible with: iPhone, iPad, iPod touch; Android; Blackberry. Cost: $3.99 The “official application” for golf rules and decisions was released last year by this country’s ruling body and also includes “Decisions on The Rules of Golf” and “Rules of Amateur Status.” The app provides instant access through simple navigation and a convenient word-and-phrase search function. A great program for impressing your buddies and settling on-course disputes without slowing play. Info: www.usga.org. The R&A’s Oﬃcial Rules App Compatible with: iPhone, iPad, iPod touch; Android. Cost: Free For a more global perspective, the Royal and Ancient’s free app summarizes the most fundamental rules while also providing access to the complete Rules of Golf from 2008-2011. Also included is a section on etiquette – in which two-time Open Champion Padraig Harrington explains pace of play, course care, and consideration for other golfers– as well as an interactive rules quiz that, unfortunately, never gets updated. Still, a nice package for free. Info: www.randa.org.
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Experience the Difference
epresenting a consolidation of the best traditions of the game combined with the latest in golf course design, Jacaranda Golf Club embodies the best of both worlds for today’s golf enthusiast. A $10 Million renovation to both courses breathed new life into a classic South Florida design. Both East and West courses have been transformed with new fairways, tees, greens, cart paths and landscaping. The restoration showcases a combination of new technology and traditional design allowing both the scratch golfer and the weekend warrior to compete on the same playing ground. Impeccable conditions paired with private club atmosphere & service provides players an opportunity to “Experience the Difference” Jacaranda’s new look brings to a South Florida visit.
For T-times and info call or visit…
(877) 676-2641 www.golfjacaranda.com 9200 W. Broward Blvd., Plantation, Florida 33324
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Happy Trails Golf Photography Courtesy of Mike Clemmer | Hotel Photography Courtesy of RTJ Golf Trail
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Capitol Hill in Prattville/Montgomery is the home of the Navistar LPGA Classic and oﬀers three 18-hole courses: The Senator, a traditional, Scottish-style layout; The Legislator, comparable to some of the more famous courses in North Carolina; and The Judge, featuring elevation drops of more than 200 feet.
olf course architect Robert Trent Jones saw the group of public courses he designed in Alabama as his version of the Sistine Chapel, and as The Robert Trent Jones Golf Trail prepares to welcome its 10 millionth visitor next year (its 20th) golf enthusiasts can be forgiven for comparing it to Michelangelo’s masterpiece. The 26 courses, now widely known simply as “the Trail,” offer a total of 468 holes at 11 locations across the state, and its long list of accolades includes recognition as the best golf-destination value in the country, according to a recent Golf Digest survey. Golfers in the same survey put the Trail among the top eight in the nation for quality of golf. Additionally, the Trail has been a strong contributor to Alabama’s economy: In the past 10 years, tourism dollars have
increased from less than $2.5 billion to roughly $9.3 billion. The Trail’s artfully designed and beautifully landscaped courses, according to The New York Times, are “some of the best public golf on earth.” The Wall Street Journal said the Trail “may be the best bargain in the country.” Green fees along the Trail average $50; during peak season, the highest fee at most courses is $64. The Trail stretches from the rolling hills of northern and central Alabama to the wetlands and woods near the Gulf Coast, and is the largest golf course construction project in history. More than 100 miles of courses have been built, with each course ranging from 4,500 to 8,191 yards. Each of the eight stops on the Trail is within a two-hour drive of the Trail course closest to it, and each is within
15 minutes of a major interstate. Courses are located in or near Anniston, Auburn, Birmingham, Dothan, Greenville, Huntsville, Mobile, Point Clear, Prattville (near Montgomery), Hoover and Muscle Shoals/Florence. Cambrian Ridge in Greenville features three nine-hole courses. The Loblolly exudes a stately, Augusta-like quality. The Canyon is carved from former hunting grounds where deer blinds remain nailed to the hardwoods, and offers a thrilling stretch of “target-style” golf. The Sherling’s ninth hole rises straight uphill past a deep ravine strewn with ochre boulders to a lolling tongue of a double green. Capitol Hill in Prattville/Montgomery is the home of the Navistar LPGA Classic, and offers three 18-hole courses. Golfer’s Guide Lifestyles 61
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The Senator is a traditional, Scottishstyle layout, with more than 150 pot bunkers and mounds 20 to 40 feet in height located so that the cart path or any other hole cannot be seen from a given fairway. Bent-grass greens provide exceptional conditions 12 months a year. The Legislator features huge pine trees and has been compared to some of the more famous courses in North Carolina. The Judge plays alongside the Alabama
green on the 15th hole might be the most picturesque on the entire Trail. More than half of the Short Course’s 18 holes touch the lake. Hampton Cove in Huntsville also offers three 18-hole courses. The Highlands emulates a Scottish course and is planted with thousands of Japanese black pines, oaks, dogwoods and crepe myrtles. The River is the only Trail course without a bunker. Laid out on former soybean
marsh filled with lichen-dappled trees. The Short Course has perhaps the bestputting Bermuda greens in the South. Magnolia Grove in Mobile comprises three 18-hole courses, as well. The Falls is laced with large, liberally contoured greens and massive cloverleaf bunkers. Its 570-yard, par-5 10th hole has a waterfall that cascades across steps immediately below a green that falls eight feet from front to back. The Crossings is a shot-maker’s heaven, with several pulpit greens elevated well above fairway levels. Most of the holes on the Short Course call for forced carries over marsh to liberally sloped, bulk-headed greens. Lakewood Golf Club in Point Clear is the site of the historic Grand Hotel Marriott Resort, Golf Club & Spa, built in 1847. Lakewood’s Azalea course was renovated in 2005, and the Dogwood course renovation was completed in 2004. The Grand Hotel sits on 550 acres along Mobile Bay and has 405 rooms, 23 meeting rooms, a European-style spa, multiple beaches and magnificent feature pools. Grand hotel guests have playing privileges at these two amazing tracks, and the resort consistently ranks as one of Marriott’s best hotels in North America for guest satisfaction. At 8,191 yards from the back tees, Ross Bridge in Birmingham is the third
Cambrian Ridge in Greenville features three nine-hole courses: The Loblolly exudes a stately, Augusta-like quality; The Canyon is carved from former hunting grounds and is a target-style track; and The Sherling’s ninth hole rises straight uphill past a steep ravine to a treacherous double green.
River, with 12 water-bordering holes that provide some of the most spectacular scenery and golfing exhilaration in the world, along with elevation drops of more than 200 feet. Grand National in Auburn/Opelika and its three 18-hole courses has been named the best public golf in the country by Golf World readers. The Links is the cornerstone of the Grand National complex, and its 18th hole is billed as the strongest finishing hole on the Trail. The Lake course includes 12 holes that hug the lake’s shore, and its 230-yard island
fields in the flood plain of the Flint River basin, The River is a throwback to the way courses were built long ago – dirt has been simply pushed up to create the greens and tees. And 11 of the Short Course’s 18 holes have water in play. Highland Oaks in Dothan features four distinct 9-hole courses. The Highlands is relatively open, with several lakes in play. The Marshwood is known for its notorious par-5 6th hole, a 701-yarder. The Magnolia is graced by magnolia trees on high ground that is reached via a 1,000-foot wooden bridge spanning a
Magnolia Grove’s The Falls course is laced with large greens and massive cloverleaf bunkers. The Crossings is a shot maker’s delight, with several pulpit greens, while the Short Course calls for forced carries over marsh on many of the holes.
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longest golf course in the world. The course meanders through indigenous landscape and around the new Renaissance Ross Bridge Golf Resort and Spa. Symbolic of an old parkland style course, 10 holes play along the banks of two significant lakes connected by a spectacular water fall dropping over 80 feet between the ninth and 18th greens. Ross Bridge is the host of the Regions Charity Classic, a PGA Champions event each May. Oxmoor Valley in Birmingham is another 54-hole gem. The Ridge boasts rolling fairways, heavy tree cover and sharp, 150-foot elevation changes. Extremely photogenic, this course’s par-5 12th hole is buttressed by a shelf of exposed shale rock - a reminder of the area’s strong mining and manufacturing past. The Valley’s 18th hole – nicknamed “The Assassin” – is a 441-yard par-4 that rises to a dramatic finish. Golf Digest’s Places to Play listed the Short Course one of the nation’s Great Value courses. These courses are located adjacent to Renaissance Ross Bridge Golf Resort & Spa. Silver Lakes in Anniston/Gadsden – and its four nine-hole courses – is currently closed due to tornado damage. The Heartbreaker is considered by many to be the most challenging nine holes on the Trail if played from the championship tees. The Backbreaker is a photographer’s dream, with stunning views of the Appalachian foothills from the elevated tees. Other courses include The Mindbreaker and The Short Course, both with their own unique challenges. The Fighting Joe course at the Shoals in Florence course opened in August 2004 and is the first Trail course to break 8,000 yards. First reports indicate The Schoolmaster may be a tougher course than Fighting Joe, with narrower fairways, tree-lined greens and a length of nearly 8,000 yards. The nearby Marriott Shoals Hotel & Spa has 200 luxurious rooms overlooking the Tennessee River and was ranked one of Marriott’s top hotels for guest satisfaction and golf in 2006 and 2007. After challenging round of golf, splurge a little and enjoy the luxurious Resort Collection on the Robert Trent Jones Golf Trail. The Resort Collection features six of Alabama’s Four Diamond Hotels and some of the finest spas in
North America. With four fullservice Marriott Hotels and four Renaissance Hotels, the good life on the Robert Trent Jones Golf Trail just got better and more affordable. Since 1847, The Grand Hotel Marriott Resort, Golf Club & Spa in Point Clear has maintained a gracious tradition of Southern hospitality on historic Mobile Bay. The Grand Hotel consistently receives the AAA Four Diamond Award and is a family-friendly historical hotel that is 164 years young. All 405 luxurious guest rooms were updated in 2010. In addition to world-class golf and the 20,000square-foot spa, the Originally built in 1852, the 238-room Battle House Renaissance Mobile Hotel & Spa, resort has a variety of renovated and reopened in May 2007, has been named one of National Geographic’s “Top activities including Places to Stay in North America.” eight rubico tennis erview Plaza Hotel in Mobile a favorite courts, a croquet for business guests. Leisure travelers will lawn, horseshoes, bikes, kayaks, sailboats enjoy easy access to the Alabama Cruise and other watercraft for guests’ enjoyment. Terminal, the home port for the CarniOriginally built in 1852 and closed val Cruise Line’s Holiday ship. Renaisin the mid-1970s, the 238-room Battle sance Riverview Plaza also is a short House Renaissance Mobile Hotel & Spa has been restored to its original grandeur. walk from the city’s Carnival Museum, the Museum of Mobile and the Gulf The Battle House reopened in May 2007 Coast Exploreum Science Center, which and has been named as one of the “Top also features blockbuster exhibitions 500 Hotels in the World by Travel + Leisure in 2009. The new spa and historic Having just undergone a $50 million renovation, the 374 plush guest rooms lobby, restaurant and ballrooms make are as popular as the hotel’s spectacular Battle House the perfect urban retreat views of Mobile Bay. for business and leisure guests with an The Renaissance Montgomery Hotel affinity for the finer things in life. The & Spa at the Convention Center opened hotel has been named one of National in February 2008 and brings Alabama’s Geographic Traveler’s “Top Places to Stay” capital city a great cultural, culinary and in North America. corporate hub. The hotel features 346 A prime downtown location with a luxurious rooms and suites, several rescovered walkway to the Mobile Conventaurants and bars, an 1,800 seat performtion Center makes the Renaissance Riv-
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One of Naplesâ€™ Signature Golf Courses has as New Name Panther Run Golf Club, formerly known as The Golf Club at Del Webb is an 18-hole championship golf course designed by noted architect Gordon Lewis located within the Del Webb Naples community. Opened in 2007 and managed by Troon Golf, the golf club boasts an expansive practice facility with five practice greens, a short game area, which includes two practice sand bunkers and an aqua driving range with natural turf target greens. PGA professionals are on-site for individual lessons and group clinics. A pro shop also features all the latest equipment, accessories and apparel. The golf club was recently named as a 2010 Top 50 golf course for women by Golf Digest magazine and was nominated as a Top 10 New Public Course in 2007 by Golf Magazine. Panther Run Golf Club is within Del Webb Naples, an active community for those aged 55 and older. The community will have 2,000 homes at build out, with a 35,000-square-foot amenity center which is expected to open in 2012.
www.playpantherrun.com | 239.304.2835 6005 Anthem Parkway, Ave Maria, FL 34142
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ing arts center and a European-style spa. Located near the Alabama River, Renaissance Montgomery is a part of the cityâ€™s downtown revitalization. For concerts, plays and general entertainment, the hotelâ€™s 1,800-seat performing arts centre is quickly becoming the cityâ€™s social hot spot. The Renaissance Montgomery is approximately 10 minutes from the Capitol Hill site on the RTJ Trail. Minutes from downtown Montgomery and near the Bass Pro Shop, the Montgomery Marriott Prattville Hotel and Conference Center at Capitol Hillâ€™s 95 guest rooms were completely renovated in 2009. Seventy-four spacious guest rooms are located in the main lodge. Two eight-room luxury villas have living areas for informal gatherings and are ideal for golf groups. The Marriottâ€™s Oak Tavern offers dining with an extraordinary view overlooking the 17th Fairway of the Senator Course. Indoor and outdoor dining options are available for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Renaissance Ross Bridge Golf Resort and Spa in Birmingham has been named â€œOne of the Top 500 Hotels in
the Worldâ€? by Travel + Leisure magazine. This four diamond resort has 259 guest rooms, with balconies overlooking the fourth longest golf course in the world at 8,191 yards from the tips. The resort has 11 spacious suites, for an extra level of comfort and indulgence. Between Ross Bridge and nearby Oxmoor Valley, golfers have access to 54 holes of golf at this luxury resort. Overlooking the Tennessee River and historic Wilson Dam in Florence, Alabama, the Marriott Shoals Hotel &
After a day spent pounding a golf ball around the Ross Bridge Course, at 8,191 yards from the tips the third longest golf course in the world, a cool libation at the Clubhouse Bar is the â€œorder of the day.â€?
Spa continues to be the Marriott leader for exceptional golf, hotel rooms, pools and overall guest satisfaction. The 200 guest rooms, including seven suites, have private balconies and riverfront views. The Marriott Shoals Hotel & Spa is a short distance from two new Robert Trent Jones Golf Trail courses: Fighting Joe and Schoolmaster. In addition to great golf, the Shoals area is internationally known for two things: bass fishing and a rich musical heritage. Granted, it may be something of a stretch to compare the Trail to the Sistine Chapel. After all, as it turns 20 next year the Chapel will be turning, oh, about 800. And it is rather difficult, when you really think about it, to conflate the paint brush of Michelangelo with the backhoe of Trent Jones. But itâ€™s apparent that they both have an eye for beauty, and if Michelangelo were a golfer it wouldnâ€™t be at all surprising to find him teeing it up on the Trail. But since it took him nearly six years to complete just the Last Judgement portion of the Chapel ceiling, youâ€™ll want to be sure youâ€™re not playing behind him.
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Els’ Hall of Fame exibit includes trophys from some of his most signiﬁcant victories. The display open with his inaguration in May 2011.
The World Golf Hall of Fame Time for a visit! Photography Courtesy of World Golf Hall of Fame
uoyed by an impressive 2011 induction class, new exhibits and plans to take one of its most popular displays on the road, the World Golf Hall of Fame is enjoying a renaissance of sorts that is shining the spotlight on the still relatively-young museum dedicated to the history of golf and those special players that made history playing it. This past May, the Hall, which is located at the scenic World Golf Village in St. Augustine, Fla., inducted a class led by International golf star and three-time major winner Ernie Els, former President George H.W. Bush and famed CBS golf producer Frank Chirkanian. The diverse class and a new induction date that coincides with THE PLAYERS Championship at the famed TPC Sawgrass Stadium course brought significant attention to the World Golf Hall of Fame.
“There was a lot of electricity and energy around this class and the induction,” said Travis Hill, director of communications for the World Golf Hall of Fame. “It created a huge golf week here in the Jacksonville area with such a great class coming in the same week of THE PLAYERS Championship. It’s something we are looking forward to enjoying in the future as well.” By all accounts the headliner of the induction celebration, Els is among the most popular golfers to enter the Hall in the past decade or so. A two-time U.S. Open champion and a winner of the British Open, the South African has truly been a globetrotter, winning multiple tournaments in the U.S., Europe and in his native country as well. It’s an international style Els learned from his mentor and fellow South African Gary Player.
“Most of the people in here are idols and heroes of mine,” Els said of the hall. “To think you are in the same group as them, well, it really makes you stop and think about it a little bit. It is truly special.” Granted, Els has been less legendary and more ordinary the past several years on tour, but as he joins longtime greats such as Jack Nicklaus, Arnold Palmer and Player, and contemporaries such as Vijay Singh, the man they call “The Big Easy” because of his graceful swing and easygoing personality, can forever add “Hall of Famer” to his title, even as he toils on tour to add to his resume. “I know time is running out, but I also know there have been plenty of players that have won major championships in their 40s,” Els said. “I’m hoping to get a kick start. I need to get going.”
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Experience p the Pride Wildcat Run Golf and Country Club is a private member owned Club located between Naples and Fort Myers, Florida. Founded in Golf & Country Club 1985, Wildcat Run is known as one of the most st prestigious private country clubs in Southwest Florida. Amenities include an exceptional Arnold Palmer 18-hole golf course, a state of the art fitness center, five Har-Tru tennis courts and a spacious clubhouse that comfortably accommodates the many dining and social activities of this vibrant community.
(239) 947-6066 www.wildcatruncountryclub.com 20300 Country Club Drive, Estero, FL 33928
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Along with Els, the induction of President Bush gave the class a special addition. Bush was inducted into the class by the 300 voting members of the Hall that attributed the President’s contributions to the game, especially his tireless efforts to help grow The First Tee initiative, as invaluable to the sport. Like many presidents before him, Bush has long held a passion for the game both as a player and an advocate for its important role in teaching valuable life lessons to our youth. Both those traits will be on display through the hundreds of pieces Bush has donated to the World Golf Hall of Fame. “The addition of President Bush made it such a diverse and special class,” Hill said. “To have him associated with the Hall of Fame and to have him be part of the class gave it a lot of clout.” The same can be said about the potential for next year’s class. Looking forward, another popular player in the form of Phil Mickelson could headline the 2012 class into the Hall of Fame, continuing the momentum that began this summer with the Els and President Bush induction and is being continued with some exciting things going on within the World Golf Hall of Fame itself. Mickelson would qualify for the PGA Tour ballot as he turns 40 before next year’s inauguration, the same path Els took into this year’s class. There is, however, so much more to the current goings on around golf’s hallowed halls that has World Golf Hall of Fame officials excited about the future of the museum that is supportEls will now forever be ed so well by golf’s governknown as a hall of famer. ing bodies and several major corporations including Shell. For the first time ever, the World Golf Hall of Fame will send one of its most popular exhibits – the Bob Hope display – on the road to visit various locations of the country. The Hope exhibit, which has received significant acclaim, will begin its five-year road trip in Grand Rapids, Mich., in February 2012 before making its way across the Atlantic to London for the 2012 Summer Olympics. While it might not seem like such a big deal on the surface, bringing the Hall of Fame out to avid golfers rather than waiting for them to find it in North Florida is a positive move forward to increasing the significance and exposure to the game’s official museum of record. “We hope this brings at least some of the experience of the World Golf Hall of Fame to those that might not have been exposed to it,” Hill said. “Considering it will be five years on the road it is definitely a big deal for us.” Considering the way the summer began and the way it has continued, the expression “big deal” is extremely appropriate when it comes to discussing the World Golf Hall of Fame. From its newest members to its most treasured exhibits, this is a place avid golfers must experience. Even better, if you can’t make it to the East Coast, hang tight, golf’s most treasured history could be coming to you.
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SPECIAL ADVERTISING SEC TION
oseph Coonick loves the game of golf so much he just can’t help but wear it on his back. In fact, he is so passionate about the game that he has spent the past two years putting that passion on the back, and front, of thousands of avid golfers. The creator and owner of “birth.golf.death,” Coonick has built a cutting edge apparel company that specializes in T-shirts and other apparel items that depict the love of the game that so many golfers share while putting a little bit of laid-back style into the equation. “The way I look at it you’re born, you play golf and then you die,” Coonick quipped. “I’ve always been a diehard golfer and I wanted to put that love of
the game into the design of our clothes.” Given the response to his line of T-shirts, golf shirts, outerwear and hats, all of which bear the company’s distinctive logo, Coonick has done just that. Described as modern and unconventional, Coonick’s line is “diehard apparel for diehard golfers.” Especially the T-shirts, the “birth.golf.death” line is street smart, cutting edge and comfortable while at the same time displaying a true passion for the game. Coonick dreamed up the line while looking for appropriate T-shirts to wear when off the golf course that both displayed and respected his appreciation for the game. That search yielded no acceptable options and spawned an idea that Coonick has turned into an emerging business. “The response has just been phe-
nomenal,” Coonick said. “It’s been a thrill to share our passion for the game with other golfers through our apparel.” What started out as a T-shirt line has grown to include both men’s and women’s outerwear, golf shirts and hats. The clothing lines are available for purchase on www.birthgolfdeath.com and in some select golf shops, and given their success additional products bearing the distinctive “birth.golf.death” logo may be forthcoming. “We’ve been approached about expanding our line to include items such as golf covers and ball markers,” Coonick said. “The demand seems to be there but we’ll see how things go.” If they go the same way the first two years of “birth.golf.death” have, expect to see a lot more from this cutting-edge, golf-passionate company.
die-hard golf apparel for the course & street separate yourself from the typical golfer status quo by playing through the conservative! now you can express your love of golf off the course with our modern golf designs created on ultra soft & stylish t-shirts. make a statement on the course with our eye catching polos, caps and outerwear.
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Where PGA TOUR players have been playing since 1969.
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Building Better Golfers PGA Tour Academy works with amateurs and professionals alike with one goal in mind – Improvement Photography Courtesy of PGA Tour Academy and World Golf Village
n the same day, sometimes even minutes apart, Todd Jones works with talented golf professionals seeking to make a living at the game and then hard-working amateurs just trying to improve upon a passion for it. Thing is, whether it’s a Champions Tour stalwart looking to break through or a mid-handicapper looking to figure it out, the method Jones uses to create better golfers is as consistent as it has proven to be tried and true. As Jones sees it and his students buy into it, improving at the game of golf
is a dedicated process of goal setting, mechanical dedication, consistent drill work and mental commitment that will lead any golfer to the desired outcome – whether that end result is a Tour victory, a club championship or just a $5 Nassau win when painful defeat had been the previous standard. The head instructor at the PGA Tour Academy at TPC Sawgrass in Ponte Vedra, Fla., one of several such schools located across the country, Jones is the swing coach of Champions Tour stars Blaine McAllister and Sandy Lyle and
Nationwide Tour stalwart Gary Wheatcroft. At the same time, Jones teaches low-, mid- and high-handicappers looking to improve their games just enough to better enjoy the game. While the aptitudes of the two segments of players are certainly light years apart, the program and processes Jones uses to help all his players improve are essentially the same. “Really the key is to establish a game plan as to where we want to be and what the realistic goals are,” Jones said. “That way we have an end goal and then we put the program in place so that the improve-
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ment happens. If we stick to that plan, everything else takes care of itself.” When discussing his professional stable, which includes Lyle, a past winner of The Masters, that program is certainly one that Jones follows almost to a tee … if you’ll excuse the pun. Jones is hands on with his professionals during golf’s traditional offseason – November to January – where he works with them on particular phases of the game that will help drive the ultimate goal: lower scores and larger paydays. Most of Jones’ work takes place at the Academy, but the teaching professional will also travel with his players to tournament sites when immediate work is needed. Each fall, Jones will work on specific parts of the game that are intended to improve the whole. Driving accuracy will help greens in regulations. Better putting will help sand save percentage. More greens in regulation will help putts per round. Bottom line, you improve one aspect of the game for the most talented of players and it will filter through the entire round. That, Jones says, is a multiple-purpose approach to one singular focus.
Along with the World Golf Hall of Fame, the PGA Tour Academy calls the World Golf Village home.
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When you combine one of the best layouts in Central Florida with 120 feet of elevation change and customer service second to none, you’ll understand why golfers from all over the world have put Highlands Reserve at the top of their “must play” list of Orlando golf courses. With pine treelined holes reminiscent of the Carolinas and vast waste bunkers providing a Scottish links feel, Highlands Reserve provides a unique experience you won’t find anywhere else. We’ll see you on the first tee!
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Outside of one primary diﬀerence – playing ability – instructors put the same processes and programs in place for a 10-handicapper as they do for a Nationwide or Champions tour winner.
“The end result we are looking for is lower scores,” Jones said. “The fact is there are different ways to get there that need to be focused on.” Ultimately, the same thing is true for the more average variety of golfers that Jones spends as much or even more of his time with on the practice range and in the video room at the PGA Tour Academy, which is located in the shadow of the famed Stadium Course. Outside of the one primary difference – playing ability – Jones puts the same processes and programs in place for a 10-handicapper as he does a Nationwide or Champions tour winner. In fact, the conversation with an amateur golfer essentially begins the same way when Jones is on the other end of the desk. Just as with a pro it’s about setting goals, establishing the type of player the golfers wants to be and then heading out to the range to work on the appropriate mechanics to make that plan a reality. The practice range relationship begins extremely technical, but once the player gets a feel for the new swing or different shots, it becomes more of a psychological relationship. “I start out as the teacher but my goal is to eventually become the coach,” Jones said. “What I want to be to my players is a coach that helps them stay with the program and understand what they are doing on the golf course.” To accomplish that, whether it’s with a tour player or a Saturday scratcher, Jones asks for a commitment from his players that keeps them working with him for months if not years. With every aspect of the game that gets tweaked or maybe even overhauled other facets much also be addressed, meaning a long-term relationship will prove a better option than the traditional quick fix many amateurs seek. “The goal is to make the swing less mechanical and more feel,” Jones said. “I tell the player that he can now just start to play because he if free of all the swing thoughts.” No matter why a player comes to Jones and the PGA Tour Academy, that is ultimately the goal – to play the game free of thoughts that get in the way of a free swing and an enjoyable round of golf. For some it’s a million dollar goal. For others it’s just a desire to play better than their peers. Thing is, Jones doesn’t really care about the reasons; the end game is all the same to him.
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IT DOESN’T GET ANY BETTER THAN THE DESERT. Arizona is the place to be for an unparalleled golf experience. And if you’re going to play in Arizona, you’ve got to play the Raven at Verrado. With breathtaking views and a thrilling design crafted by Tom Lehman and John Fought, the Raven at Verrado offers the ﬁnest elements of Arizona golf. See for yourself why golf here deﬁnes golf everywhere.
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Whoa! …Canada Fairmont’s Banff Springs Hotel gets it right in a two-sport town Photography Courtesy of Fairmont Hotels & Resorts
hen it comes to sports, Americans have more in common with Canada than with any other country. Sure, our neighbors to the North invented hockey, but during the past few decades our Russian players have won just as many Stanley Cups for us as their Russian players have won for them. We came up with baseball, but there have been
230 Canadian players in the major leagues since 1871, and two MLB Canadian franchises: the consistently competitive Toronto Blue Jays, winners of the 1992 and ‘93 World Series, and the incessantly inept Montreal Expos who, ironically, sported garish red-white-and-blue uniforms. And while the field is longer and wider and everyone on offense except the quarterback and
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center flitters around at the start of each play like fleas on a scratching dog, at least Canadians know that football is meant to be played in pads and helmets, and not by men in short pants toiling for 90-plus minutes in pursuit of a 0-0 tie. But the two sports that truly glue us together like evaporating maple syrup are golf and skiing. Golf, especially, is the strongest of the ties that bind. The Royal Bank of Canada sponsors the RBC Canadian Open – the third oldest national golf championship in the world – and beginning in 2012 will be the lead sponsor of the RBC Heritage on Hilton Head Island, one of the most popular stops on the PGA Tour. Canadians love to play golf in the U.S., and Americans feel the same way about golfing in Canada. They
Stunning mountain vistas surround virtually every hole on the Stanley Thompson 18 and the Tunnel 9 at Fairmont’s Banﬀ Springs Hotel and Resort. Above, golfers must occasionally share the courses with disinterested wildlife.
love our desert and beachfront courses. We love the majestic mountain backdrops on seemingly every golf hole north of the border. And occasionally we both love to dress up in peculiarly colored clothing, strap over-sized boards to our feet, and then, without a hint of embarrassment, roll like tumbleweeds down steep slopes, knocking over anything or anyone in our path. Now that’s what we call sport. In the parlance of the lodging industry, Fairmont Hotels owns Canada. The irony being that Fairmont – actually its parent, Canadian Pacific Hotels – once really did own Canada, at least the most beautiful portions of it. While building the Trans-Canada railway system from East to West in the late 1800s and early
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The Banﬀ Springs Hotel, fondly nicknamed the Castle in the Rockies, has been a Canadian landmark since 1888. While the golf season lasts only ﬁve to six months, a treasure trove of winter activities ﬁll the rest of the year.
1900s, Canadian Pacific Railway acquired the land and built a series of hotels and resorts in the most scenic and remote locations in that vast wilderness. “If we can’t export the scenery, we’ll import the tourists,” said railway construction manager and visionary William Cornelius Van Horne, who was primarily responsible for both the railroad and the hotels. A century later, in 1999, CPH acquired the Fairmont Hotel brand, whose hotels and resorts are renowned for luxury, service and setting. And no hotel in Canada, or anywhere else for that matter, can challenge the setting of the Fairmont
Banff Springs. The original hotel, though much smaller than the current iteration, became so popular so quickly that the CPR encouraged the federal government to establish Canada’s first national park in the territory surrounding it, thus ensuring that the scenery will never change. Located approximately 80 miles west of Calgary, the nearly 800-room “Castle in the Rockies” features two swimming pools, 30 shops and boutiques, 11 restaurants, four tennis courts, an award-winning Willow Stream Spa, and 27 holes of championship golf. A renowned ski resort for much of the year,
Banff Springs dusts itself off every spring and welcomes golfers from around the world to its 27 holes. The two original nines, Sulphur and Rundle, were designed by Canada’s master of golf course architecture, Stanley Thompson, and opened in 1928. The course winds along the Bow River under the snow-capped peaks of Sulphur Mountain and Mount Rundle. Now appropriately named the Stanley Thompson Course, the initial 18 is a par 71 playing to nearly 7,000 yards. The third nine, Tunnel, originally designed by Geoffrey Cornish and later refined by Bill Robinson and opened in 1989, plays 3,357 yards and is widely regarded as the easier of the two on which to post a decent score. Both designs are considered “Old School,” with no trickery, no gimmicks, and most of the bunkering to the sides or behind the greens, allowing bump-andrun shots when flying it in doesn’t really work. The thinner mountain air will on most days carry your golf ball further than you ever thought you could hit it, so proper club selection is paramount here. The courses are open from May to October, and both early and late in the golf season the opportunity will sometimes present itself to ski and golf during the same visit. Sometimes during the same day. To satisfy this need for speed, three of the region’s finest mountains are just a short drive from the hotel, Sunshine Village, Lake Louise Mountain Resort, and Ski Banff at Norquay, all offer deep, soft powder, terrain suitable for all levels of ability, and most important to many skiers, short lift lines. And the surrounding Banff National Park has much to offer non-skiers, as well: outdoor ice rinks, toboggan hills, sleigh rides and ice walks on millenial-old glaciers. In Banff, the problem isn’t finding something to do, it’s finding enough time to do it all. And don’t worry about the dress code, if they’ll let skiers get away with those outfits, you can get away with anything. For more information or to book your next golf or ski vacation go to www. fairmont.com or www.fairmontgolf.com, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org, or call toll free 1-866-540-4406.
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New Zealand – Golf, Grandeur & Grapes Photography Courtesy of PerryGolf
Golf down under is over the top. How many reasons do you need to take the golf trip of two lifetimes? Here’s five: 1. Our winter is their summer. (Florida is fine but New Zealand is phenomenal.) 2. Their golf is played among some of the most dramatic and diverse landscapes on earth. (Keeping your head down is not an option.) 3. New Zealand is unique for its collection of boutique luxurious lodge-style properties. (Think Four Seasons gets back to nature.) 4. Fly fishing here is absolutely second to none. (The ladies will catch Art Deco City.) 5. Their dollar exchanges favorably with our dollar. (Start packing!)
he marvel of New Zealand has always been its stunning, varied and pristine natural beauty. Every imaginable landform is at hand including vast snow capped mountain peaks, steaming volcanoes, cliff hanging coastlines, and deeply indented fjords. Comparable in size to California or Japan, New Zealand has a population of just 4 million making for a refreshing change of pace. As a people, the Kiwis are among the most relaxed and engaging in the world.
It is no wonder that thrilling golf is abundant in such a place. More than 400 courses exist today, with roots dating to 1871. Local hero Sir Bob Charles has authored perennial favorite Millbrook offering a “big sky” golf experience on the South Island set against the stunning alpine backdrop of The Remarkables mountain range. The North Island is home to astounding World 36 Cape Kidnappers whose seaside holes are perched 500 feet above the Pacific and played along fingers of land separated
by deep chasms extending tee to green. Further north is World 78 Kauri Cliffs, another scenic extravaganza routed through 800 acres of strange fern forest, marshland and along cliff tops 200 feet high. Away from the golf course you’ll find one of the most respected wine producing nations in the world. Hawke’s Bay is one of the country’s three major winemaking regions, and New Zealand’s premier destination for food, wine and lifestyle leisure. Relax on golden sand beaches, swim with
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SPECIAL ADVERTISING SEC TION dolphins, visit the National Aquarium or tour the largest mainland gannet colony in the world. Nearby Napier is home to one of the world’s largest concentrations of Art Deco architecture. Leveled by an earthquake in 1931, the city’s re-founding fathers built what looks to be a Jazz Age movie set but it is quite real and uniquely charming with excellent shopping and restaurants. Ninety miles west is world fishing famous Lake Taupo. (Ask Jack Nicklaus) The pristine lake is prized for the quality of its Rainbow and Brown trout, legendary for their condition and size. The Tongariro River at the southern end of Lake Taupo is one of the best fly fishing rivers in the world. This area of the North Island is also famous for its boutique lodge style accommodations. Fifteen minutes south of Napier is prestigious Mangapapa Lodge. This 1885, colonial-style homestead with a wraparound veranda and with just 12 individu-
ally decorated suites is surrounded by more than 20 acres of lush, green, manicured gardens brimming with roses, established trees and orchards, it is one of the country’s very finest small hotels. Hidden on the banks of the Waikato River below Lake Taupo is Huka Lodge, just 300 meters up-stream from the mighty Huka Falls. Started some 70 years ago as a simple fishing lodge, today this luxurious property lures anyone seeking an extraordinary retreat. Huka has just 20 guest rooms and suites; each set privately in native bush, each overlooking the swift flowing Waikato. The Lodge’s own fishing guides will steer you to some of the finest Rainbow and Brown trout spots in existence. Fly fishing is available on 23 nearby streams and rivers. Wilderness areas are offered by helicopter and off-road vehicles. On Lake Taupo, boat fishing will explore the many isolated coves and inlets fringing the edges of the great lake.
The South Island is home to New Zealand’s other two wine regions, Marlborough and Central Otago which is home to 75 wineries serving 177 vineyards. Pinot Noir from this region is widely recognized to be among the best in the world. You can visit over 200 ‘cellar door’ operations under your own steam or with a wine tour. West of the magnificent Millbrook Resort and deserving a full day of your attention, is stunning Milford Sound. Located in 3 million acres of the Fiordland National Park and reaching nearly 10 miles inland from the Tasman Sea, sheer rock faces rise more than 1,300 feet about the water on either side. In Maori legend, the fiords were created not by rivers of ice, but by Tu Te Raki Whanoa, a godly figure who came wielding a magical adze and uttering incantations. By any measure, Tu Te had quite a swing. PerryGolf can be contacted at www.perrygolf.com or 800.344.5257.
Top left: The Main Lodge at Kauri Cliffs affords spectacular 180-degree views of the Pacific Ocean over Cape Brett and the Cavalli Islands. Each of the 22 guest suites offers a private porch, bedroom with sitting area and open fireplace, walk-in wardrobe and bathroom. Above: New Zealand wine is distinctive for its purity, vibrancy and intensity. The long ripening period - a result of cool temperatures - allows flavor development whilst retaining fresh acidity, a balance for which New Zealand wines are renowned. Bottom left: Kauri Cliffs plays to a par 72 from five sets of tees to challenge every skill level. Fifteen holes view the Pacific, six of which are played alongside seaside cliffs. The beautiful inland holes wind through marsh, forest and farmland. Golf Magazine ranks the club among the World Top 100 at No. 78.
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SPECIAL ADVERTISING SEC TION
Royal St. Cloud Golf Links
ince its earliest days, Royal St. Cloud Golf Links has paid homage to the grand history of golf, dating back to its European roots. Today, the authentic American links course is building upon its own storied history with a relatively new clubhouse, a new nine and a continued commitment to providing a quality golf experience In the heart of Central Florida. Located a mere 25 minutes from the gates to Disney in quaint, small-town St. Cloud, Royal St. Cloud Golf Links has long been a favorite of local and visiting golfers, providing an experience few other Florida layouts can offer. And with the November 2008 opening of nine new holes that was joined by a new clubhouse, Royal St. Cloud Golf Links has never offered more to visiting and local golfers alike. In fact, $6.7 million was spent in course and club improvements at Royal St. Cloud Golf Links. A claim no other course in Orlando can currently make.
At Royal St. Cloud Golf Links, golfers discover a course that takes them thousands of miles from the traditional Florida landscape to a Scottish-inspired layout complete with stacked-sod and wood-faced bunkers and charming stone bridges. A traditional links-style layout, Royal St. Cloud Golf Links challenges golfers with tight and fast greens and strategically-placed fairway and greenside bunkers. Not to mess with a good thing, the new nine blends seamlessly with the existing 18 and offers golfers the links golf experience they have come to expect at Royal St. Cloud Golf Links. The course features a couple unique characteristics for which it is well known. On the eighth hole, golfers will find Royal St. Cloud Golf Links’ own “Deli Tele,” an authentic shiny red British phone booth where lunch at the turn can be ordered in advance. On the ninth hole, golfers will be surprised to find the face
of Hooken-Facher embedded on a stone wall behind the back tees. Golfers are encouraged to rub the nose of this God of Long Drives with the head of their drivers before taking on the difficult 525-yard par-5. Rub the nose well, because length is crucial on this tough hole. To be fair, each hole at Royal St. Cloud Golf Links is a memory worth taking all its own. Combined, however, the create a must-visit golf course that continues to honor Its past while ensuring a celebrated future.
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here has been a great deal of discussion and debate about the power shift in professional golf and how Americans have been overtaken by the Europeans, the Australians, the South Africans, the Asians – in short, pretty much everyone else. Appropriately enough, we may be witness to this paradigm change in progress at the forthcoming 2011 Presidents Cup matches, slated for Nov. 14-20 at Royal Melbourne in Melbourne, Victoria, Australia. At first blush, you might look at this simply as a rematch of the 2009 Presidents Cup at San Francisco’s Harding Park Golf Course, when Fred Couples captained the U.S. team to a 19 ½ to 14 ½ win over Greg Norman’s Internationals. But save for the fact that Couples and Norman are once again guiding their respective squads, the 2011 matches will look very different. The 2009 American squad was anchored by Tiger Woods, who was still the world’s top player. Woods was a monster at Harding Park, crushing Y.E. Yang six and five in his lone singles match and teaming with Steve Stricker to go unbeaten in foursomes and four-ball. Tiger will be somewhere other than at Royal Melbourne this November, as will (at this writing) the top four players in the world – Luke Donald, Lee Westwood, Martin Kaymer and Rory McElroy. Because this is not the Ryder Cup, the Europeans are ineligible. But don’t get too excited. The American boys will still have their hands full. At press time, the International team was anchored by Jason Day, Charl Schwartzel, K.J. Choi, Luke Scott, Yang and Louis Oosthuizen. That roster includes the winner of the 2009 PGA Championship (Yang), the 2010 British Open (Oosthuizen), the 2011 Masters (Schwartzel) and the 2011 Players Championship (Choi). But wait, there’s more. So far this year, Yang has posted a T3 at the U.S. Open, a T5 at the Accenture Match Play and a T16 at the British, and Choi complemented his win at Sawgrass with a T2 at the AT&T, a 3rd at New Orleans,
and a T8 at the Masters. Granted, Oosthuizen hasn’t sniffed a leaderboard since winning the Open at St. Andrews last year, but the improbability of Schwartzel’s win at Augusta has been dampened by his seven top-25 finishes this year. There’s also this: Jason Day has just one career win, but his 2011 has included top-six finishes at the Masters, the U.S. Open, the Byron Nelson, and The Player’s Championship. Scott has only three career wins but this year he tied for second at Augusta, third at the AT&T, and sixth at the WGC/Cadillac. Providing veteran leadership on the International squad is Retief Goosen, Ernie Els and Tim Clark. They have five major championships among them (seven, if you want to throw in The Player’s Championship), and their combined record in Presidents Cup play is 33-29-7. Els’ best days may be behind him, but it’s worth noting that he has won the European Tour’s World Match Play Championship seven times. On the other side, the American team will be led by Phil Mickelson, Steve Stricker, Matt Kuchar, Hunter Mahan, Dustin Johnson, Nick Watney and Bubba Watson. Mickelson has had another outstanding year, with five top-10 finishes including a win at Houston, a T2 at the British, and T9s at Pebble Beach and Charlotte. But at the Accenture Match Play, he was a more pedestrian T17. And here’s the scary number on Lefty this year: At this writing, Mickelson was the best on the PGA TOUR in approaches from 50-75 yards, but he ranked 129th in putting from inside five feet. Lest you think that is a typo, let me repeat… No. 129 from five feet or less. Nate Smith, Jim
Renner and Kevin Kisner are all better than that. George McNeill and William McGirt are a lot better. Ouch. Stricker is a great player who has had a stellar career. He has won seven times in the past three years, including wins in 2011 at the Memorial and the John Deere. His record in Ryder Cup and Presidents Cup play is 12-9-1, but six of those wins (against only one loss) came when paired with Tiger Woods. Kuchar, Mahan, Johnson, Watney and Watson are all rising stars on the PGA TOUR. But Mahan is the only young American with significant experience in international match-play pressure cookers like the Ryder and Presidents cup matches. That makes the presence of veterans Jim Furyk and David Toms on the U.S. squad even more significant. In fact, if there is a wild-card in this whole deck, it may be the 44-year-old Toms. He’s having a terrific year with a win at Colonial, a 2nd at the Player’s (losing in a playoff to Choi) and a T3 at Bay Hill. In his last Presidents Cup appearance in 2007, Toms went 4-0-1 and led the U.S. to a 19 ½ - 14 ½ victory. The stage is set and the storylines are intriguing for November’s titanic struggle Down Under. Will Tiger’s absence be a factor as the Americans try to maintain their grasp on the Presidents Cup? Can Stricker be effective without Woods in 2011? Can Norman capitalize on a bit of home-field advantage to motivate his troops? Having already slipped behind the Euros for world golf dominance, can the Americans hold off this global contingent of young stars? All are fair questions, but we can be certain that neither side will go quietly. And don’t expect any concessions on three-and-a-half footers.
The stage is set and the storylines are intriguing for November’s titanic struggle Down Under.
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The accolades keep coming. Desert Canyon was just named “Best Places To Play” by Golf Digest! This honor, combined with Market Surveys of America’s award of “Best Public Golf Course” seven years in a row (2005-2011), means that Desert Canyon should be on your golf agenda. Desert Canyon is a challenging yet playable experience. The course winds its way through wonderful desert terrain up and down the natural arroyos and canyons that occur in the Sonoran Desert
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We polled five of the top golf tour operators in the country to find out why international golf travel has rebounded faster than U.S. packages. Their answers may surprise you.
Despite the down economy, upper-tier international golf packages have come back faster than less-expensive domestic golf travel, and we wanted to know why. We allowed the GTOs to remain anonymous, so their conversation was candid, and compelling. If you had money then, you probably still have money now. GTO1: The ongoing recession has undoubtedly been a punch in the gut to most Americans, but, far and away, Main Street has absorbed a much harder blow than Wall Street. Recent fluctuations in the stock market aside, the Dow is nearly double what it was in 2008-09, so if you’re living on income that’s market-based, and you’re paying a much lower tax rate – capital gains tax is currently 15 percent, I think – than everyday working people, you’re getting to keep more of it. GTO5: Discretionary spending by wealthier Americans, in general, has returned nearly to pre-recession levels. Everything from luxury automobiles, jewelry, clothes, even Sweet 16 birthday parties – you name it. The wealthy are spending money like there’s no tomorrow.
GTO4: If Congress and the Administration don’t pull it together soon, there may not be.
A golf trip of a lifetime has become the golf trip of a lifetime. GTO2: For years we’ve marketed our international golf trips, especially Scotland and Ireland and the exotic golf cruises, as a “once in a lifetime experience.” Whether it’s solely financially based or that people are feeling more vulnerable – fragile, even – now than ever, many believe that if they don’t take the trip now they may never get another chance.
International golf travel is still dominated by men, comprising as much as 85 percent of golf tour operator business. Scotland is by far the most sought-after destination, but Ireland, Spain and Portugal, as well as Asian destinations such as Vietnam and Thailand, are quickly making up ground.
GTO3: Part of that is what we’ve been calling that the Bucket List effect. In many cases it’s the age of the golfer that is the primary determining factor; affordability is a distant second. A few months back I had one of my clients tell me that he ate a hot dog at the snack bar when he made the turn at his home club, and by the 12th hole he had indigestion so bad he thought he was having a heart attack. He swears that his first thought wasn’t of his family or friends or his career or of the person he wished he had been, but that he was consumed by the thought of never having played the Old Course at St Andrews. Can you imagine?
It’s like nowhere I’ve ever played. GTO2: I think the overheads (camera shots from blimps and airplanes) during the majors have been responsible for a lot of my Photography Courtesy of PerryGolf
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international bookings. Looking down on those layouts provides a much different perspective pers of the courses and their immediate surroundings than a flat camera angle ever could. Look at this year’s tournament at Royal St Georges, for example. During the flyovers the camera showed a landscape that probably hasn’t changed much since the course first opened o in 1887 or ‘88. The deep pot bunkering more resembles a moonscape than anywhere here on earth, and if during the broadcas broadcast they told the TV audience that the grass was trimmed by goats goats, who wouldn’t have believed them? Face it, most Americans re regularly play in a parkland setting. Leaving the country virtually guarantees an environment that few would experience here at ho home. GTO1: You know, sam GTO same goes for my Canada groups. The mountain golf experience is pre pretty darn good right here in the U.S., but the Canadian Can nadian Rockies are just bigger, higher, more majestic. Who doesn’t does sn’t want to play iin the most dramatic surroundings possible? GTO3: New Zealand? South Africa? China? Even Vietnam and GTO Thailand. Unbelievable!
No one’s going anywhere without me (us). GTO2: I think you’ll find that even high-end domestic travel has rebounded faster than normal, and that may have something to do with the annual family vacation. Or lack of it, actually. GTO5: Exactly. Spouses who sat at home while their mates went off with their friends two or three time a year on golf trips are no longer willing to wait “their turn.” I’ve had couples in my office arguing about the time spent and the cost of these trips, and wondering out loud why they, and the rest of the family, may not be able to take a vacation this year, or next, while the boys (or the girls) are jetting off to Las Vegas or Myrtle Beach. GTO3: A couples or family golf vacation is more likely to be closer to the high-end than the low. Golf cruises, especially, have become a particular favorite. There’s more to see and do in more places, and that’s proven to be a very valuable commodity these days.
If Tom Watson can still do it, so can I.
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GTO4: This may be part of the Bucket List theory we spoke of earlier, but remember back in 2009 when an about-to-turn-60 Tom Watson was on the green of his 72nd hole with a chance to win the Open Championship at Turnberry? That was a full 32 years after winning his first Open (also at Turnberry) in 1977. In the first weeks after that nearly monumental event we had more 60-something men book golf trips to the U.K. than we’d had in the entire 12 months beforehand. GTO5: Same thing happened with us. We’re still booking predominantly men – 80 to 85 percent of our business, probably – and Watson showed that getting around a links course requires as much guile as guts. Male golfers, perhaps to their detriment, are more aware of their limitations on a golf course than most female golfers are. Middle-age men realize that they can no longer stripe it 275 or 280 down the middle of the fairway, if they ever could, but Watson proved that keeping it in play – even when you’re 60 or 70 yards behind the big hitters for your second shot – usually means you have a better-than-average chance of posting a decent score. GTO1: We should have all sent Tom a thank you note for that little boost in bookings. GTO5: What do you mean, “Should have?” (Laughs.) I sent him candy and flowers.
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WEâ€™VE GOT FOUR SPECTACULAR REASONS TO PLAY GOLF IN MYRTLE BEACH THIS YEAR. AND THEYâ€™RE MAKING QUITE A NAME FOR THEMSELVES.
hen youâ€™re great, people stand up and take notice. And the Barefoot Resort courses in North Myrtle Beach have certainly been getting their â€œjust due.â€? In addition to having received numerous Golf Digest
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Orlando’s “Bear” is Back Black Bear Golf Club returns to its former glory
t’s been nearly a year now that a new ownership group and a dedicated staff have been restoring Black Bear Golf Club back to its rightful place among Central Florida’s most challenging, scenic and unique golf courses. Now with summer thankfully giving way to fall, there’s never been a better time to acquaint or maybe re-acquaint one’s self with Black Bear and discover what has so many people buzzing. A P.B. Dye-designed classic located just outside of Orlando, Black Bear is one of a very few true links style layouts located in Central Florida. The course takes full advantage of spectacular mounding, significant bunkering and challenging well-guarded greens. From the back of its four sets of tees, the course can stretch to more than 7,000 yards, providing more than a stiff test for the finest of golfers. Since taking over the course in late 2010, managing partner Richard Horton, his partners and his staff have moved
quickly to return The Bear to its former glory – now nearly 12 months later, the results simply cannot be argued with. From rebuilt bunkers to enhanced and well-maintained landscape, the course has simply never looked better than it does today. In addition to on-course improvements, ownership focused on improving the already-impressive 40,000-square-foot practice facility that includes a 400-yard double-ended driving range complete with seven target greens and a large practice putting green. The work and attention has certainly helped to restore the courses best asset – its incredible design – which has been drawing both local and visiting golfers to Black Bear since day one. Visually and strategically defined by rolling mounds and deep, gorgeous bunkers, Black Bear truly is a special course. When played early in the morning and late in the afternoon it’s even more spectacular as the rising
Black Bear Golf Club
and setting sun illuminates the challenging terrain as it moves beyond the large moguls. “Play this course at just the right time of day and it is a truly inspiring experience that you will want to repeat again and again,” Horton said. Inspiring is a good word to use regarding Black Bear’s return to its rightful place among the elite courses in Florida. It’s a layout that needed only some attention and care and it has gotten just that during the past year.
COURSE FACTS Par 72 (men and women) Yardage: 7,062 from back tees 5,044 from front tees Designer: P.B. Dye, a renowned golf course designer and architect of many fine courses throughout the world. MORE INFORMATION: Pro Shop Number: 352-357-4732 Web site: www.blackbeargolfclub.com Address: 24505 Calusa Blvd. Eustis, FL 32736 “Black Bear is a unique, challenging, links-style golf course, said Travis Owens. As a result Black Bear plays host to several pro and major amateur events each year. While very open, Black Bear challenges golfers of all levels with undulating fairways, monster bunkers and slippery fast greens. It is simply different than most Florida courses, thus a pleasure to play. With our new ownership in place for nearly a year the course is in the best shape in years.”
“This 432-yard par 4 is one of the few holes at Black Bear where trees actually come into play. Two great oaks frame the tee shot thus requiring an accurate drive down the middle. The approach shot is one of the toughest on the course. Golfers hit into a two-tiered green in an amphitheatre setting. The green is well protected by 3 bunkers on the right and one on the left making this the No. 2 stroke hole at Black Bear.”
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C O M M E N T A R Y
Under the Radar by Ed Cherry
have a bone to pick with Butch Harmon. Yes, that Butch Harmon. First I want to make it clear that my issue with him has nothing to do with anything he’s done. He hasn’t attempted to change what for nearly 30 years has passed for my golf swing, he hasn’t kicked my dog, and he hasn’t tried to steal my wife, the three things -- in relative order of importance – that would send me over the edge. Rather, I’m upset with Mr. Harmon for what he hasn’t done. Allow me to explain. Mr. Harmon is on the Board of Directors of the Troops First Foundation (T1F), the organization co-founded in 2008 by Rick Kell and David Feherty. According to its website, www. troopsfirstfoundation.org, “Troops First Foundation develops, operates and supports a synergistic group of wellness, quality of life and sports-based initiatives in support of today’s military personnel. In addition, these T1F initiatives facilitate a greater recognition and an enhanced understanding of the quality and character of the men and women who volunteer to serve, their families, their daily sacrifices and the constant need to evaluate and improve their quality of life.” Shortly after visiting deployed troops in the Middle East in summer 2005, Kell visited Operation Enduring Freedom (OEF) and Operation Iraqi Freedom (OIF) patients recovering from serious combat injuries at Walter Reed. Over the next two years Kell gained invaluable insight into Warrior Care and used it to create concepts for new programs, with the underlying belief that new initiatives needed to be relevant and unduplicated. One of these extraordinarily successful programs is Harmon’s Heroes, during which our Warrior Golfers are brought at no expense to them to Las Vegas to experience the best golf facilities, visits from PGA and LPGA tour players and Harmon’s commitment to make certain that they know their service will always be appreciated and remembered. I know what you’re thinking: So what’s the problem here? What possible reason could I have for taking Mr. Harmon to task? It’s simple: Mr. Harmon has failed to use the power of shameless self-promotion to further the cause. I mean, has the man never heard of the Kardashians? That entire family has achieved celebrity status and made quite a bit of money for doing nothing more than pointing their ... um, assets toward the nearest camera, and either breaking up with or marrying professional athletes. That’s it. Imagine what Butch could do with actually contributing to the well-being and dignity of the brave men and women who went down the line to do a job, and came home
Photo courtesy of Martin Photo Group
irrevocably changed physically, mentally and emotionally. He could be on every cover of every trashy magazine in the grocery store check-out line if he wanted to. And yet ... The point was driven home to me when I asked around about Mr. Harmon’s own service to our country. I’d have had a better chance of being struck by an asteroid. All I wanted was a little more information on Butch’s rank – he’s referred to as Sergeant in some places but I haven’t been able to verify that – his Army unit in Vietnam; and when he was “in country,” as it’s commonly referred to. Like I said, total asteroid. “Butch is the most low-key, high-profile guy I’ve ever met,” said Eric Dutt, V.P. of Golf Ops for Harrah’s Las Vegas. “He doesn’t like to call attention to himself, especially when it comes to our Wounded Warriors. It’s never about him. It’s always about them.” It should be noted that in addition to being V.P., Dutt is also the general manager of Rio Secco Golf Club, and Rio Secco shares its property with, of all things, the Butch Harmon School of Golf. So for more than a decade Dutt has “interacted” with Mr. Harmon; heck, they may even be best friends, and even he doesn’t know much about Butch’s military service. That’s almost impossible. I find this baffling on so many levels. First and foremost is that Kardashian thing. Really, c’mon. Second, he works with Feherty, and if he needs some remedial work with his self-aggrandizement skills, I would think there could be no better role model. Finally, I’m a retired Marine who served with an infantry unit – Hotel Company, 2nd Battalion, 7th Marines, 1st Marine Division (think Belleau Wood, Guadalcanal, Chosin Reservoir) – working out of LZ Ross and LZ Baldy in 1969-70, and as you’re probably aware by now, Marines can’t stop talking about themselves. So now Mr. Harmon is involved with a new T1F initiative, Operation Front Door, and apparently he’s going to go about it in the same quiet, unassuming manner as has been his wont since Day One. Operation Front Door is “a grant initiative that assists OEF and OIF combat-wounded and disability rated veterans in order that they may secure and sustain homes of their own.” Working with John Manni of JMA Services, Feherty and Harmon will execute an online auction from
September 11 to November 11, and a golf tournament at Rio Secco on November 11, to raise the money necessary to get it off the ground. To that end, they are asking for donations of items of value to be auctioned at www.biddingforgood.com/operationfrontdoor, and they need those donations ASAP. To donate an item you can use the link in the right-hand column of the web page, you can call 877-456-2778, or you can send an email to email@example.com. The golf tournament includes a two-night stay at the Paris Hotel & Casino, welcome cocktail party, a practice round and an 18-hole team competition at Rio Secco, tee prizes and an awards luncheon. “We really need Team Sponsors and Presenting Sponsors to sign up as soon as possible,” said Kyle Helms, a PGA professional and the tournament director for the JMA/T1F Golf Classic. “That can be accomplished either online at www.operationfrontdoor.org or via the same contact informa-
Mr. Harmon has failed to use the power of shameless selfpromotion to further the cause. I mean, has the man never heard of the Kardashians? tion at JMA used for the auction. It’s the best investment you’ll make this year, you can be sure of that.” So, Mr. Harmon, you can either continue on the path you’ve chosen, to be the quiet man behind the scenes, bringing hope, dignity and some well-deserved fun to our most precious resource, our veterans, our heroes, or you can start thinking big, really big, and follow this sage advice: WWPHD? (What Would Paris Hilton Do?) Perhaps not. And if I ever have the chance to meet you in person, I’ll have a few more choice words for you: Thank you, Sir, for your service to our country. And thank you for all you have done and continue to do for these special men and women, who have given so much and received so little in return. God bless you. And God bless the United States of America. As for you Feherty, Kell, Manni, Dutt, Helms and everyone else involved in this wonderful program: Likewise.
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