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OUR 14th YEAR!

THIS MONTH: My Turn • SweetStuff • ChipShots





THE BOULDERS RESORT Plus: A Family Affair At Baja Country Club www.golfvacationsmag.com

Golf Vacations • February 2016 1

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TPC Scottsdale No. 18 Church Pews, Scottsdale, AZ


Chip Shots


TPC Stadium Course Makes A Comeback


Family Affair at Baja Country Club


TPC Scottsdale: Party On!

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by Terry Ross

It has taken almost three decades, but one of the most iconic—not to mention controversial—golf courses in America has finally made it back to center stage.

by Dave McKibben

ENSENADA, MEXICO--Ken and Sigi Bentham were making the long trek home to British Columbia from their vacation house in Loreto, Mexico when they stumbled upon Baja Country Club, an undiscovered 18-hole, par 72-course than meanders through the San Carlos Valley, 10 miles south of Ensenada.

by David R. Holland

SCOTTSDALE, AZ – The rowdy fans of the Waste Management Phoenix Open showcased at TPC Scottsdale willed their way to make a PGA Tour stop become a party and a fun experience. They come in huge numbers, get loud and then go home.

Resort Report: The Boulders Resort

by David R. Holland

CAREFREE, AZ – The moon is in full bloom above The Boulders Resort. It’s a mystical setting. Giant granite formations and mammoth rock balls, 12 million years in the making, cast shadows across the peaceful and sleepy Sonoran Desert. Stately saguaros, hundreds of years old, mark the ghostly landscape like sentinels.

Sweet Stuff

by Terry Ross

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CONTRIBUTINGWRITERS Dave McKibben has been battle-tested in raucous newsrooms and dimly-lighted press boxes for nearly 20 years as an award-winning Los Angeles Times journalist. He’s covered the PGA Tour, Major League Baseball, NFL, NBA, NCAA sports and even local high schools sports. In his career he’s interviewed such greats as Muhammad Ali, Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson, Cal Ripken, John McEnroe, Arthur Ashe, Tony Gwynn and Michael Jordan.

Executive Editor Jeffrey Diaz

David R. Holland is an award-winning former sportswriter for The Dallas Morning News, football magazine publisher, and author of The Colorado Golf Bible. Holland, whose favorite golf moment was teeing it up with former Dallas Cowboys coach Tom Landry, splits home time in Colorado and Texas. He has written for GolfWeek’s Superintendent News, Colorado AvidGolfer, Midwest Golfing Magazine, South Central Golf Magazine, and Fairway to Green (UK). He also worked for the Dallas Cowboys Weekly, United Press International and the Fort Worth Star-Telegram.

Terry Ross has covered sports as both a print and radio journalist for more than 35 years, and also has served as a consultant to the golf industry in a variety of capacities. He has been a regular columnist for the Long Beach Business Journal and is based in Orange County, California.

JD Latorre is a freelance travel writer currently calling South Florida his home base. He has a knack for finding himself in some of the world’s most exotic locations, including Bangkok, Montego Bay, Bogata, Havana, Tenerife, St. Kitts, Cancun and Marseilles. His past lives included working for the Miami Herald, Chicago Daily Herald, Boston Globe, Daily News of Los Angles and Southern California Golf Newspaper.

Associate Editor Terry Ross

Features Editor Larry Feldman

Senior Writers JD Latorre Andy Reistetter Fred Robledo

For Editorial:

call (760) 774-2655 e-mail: Info@GolfVacationsMag.com

Regional Advertising Los Angeles Terry Ross • 949-279-7801 terryr@GolfVacationsMag.com Atlanta Harold Chambliss • 770-239-7500 haroldc@GolfVacationsMag.com

Published by


portsMedia publications

President Jeffrey Diaz

455 NE 5th Avenue, Suite D-151 Delray Beach, Florida 33483 (760) 774-2655


Destiny Media, LLC President/CEO James A. Diaz

Golf Vacations Magazine is published in digital format monthly and distributed online to over 1,000,000 golfer’s email inboxes each issue. Entire contents of this publication is copyright 2016 SportsMedia Publications, all rights reserved and may not be reproduced in any manner, in whole or in part, without written permission from the publisher.

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New “Honors Package” Allows Golfers to Play 7 Top Courses on One Star-Studed Trip

MYRTLE BEACH, S.C. – Myrtle Beach’s premier golf courses have banded together to create the “Honors Package,” an exclusive 5-night, 7-round offer that rivals any in American golf travel. Each round of the trip will be hosted by a Top 100 course as golfers will play Caledonia Golf & Fish Club, Dunes Club, two of Barefoot Resort’s three top 100 layouts - Dye, Fazio or Love courses - Grande Dunes Resort Course, Tidewater Golf Club and True Blue Golf Club as part of the star-studded offer. The package will be almost as good off the course as golfers will be staying at Marina Inn, the Myrtle Beach area’s only 4-Diamond property. The package starts at $1,195 and will also include breakfast each morning at Marina Inn, daily lunch at the course, and a pair of dinners at the acclaimed Waterscapes restaurant. For more information, go to http:// marinainnatgrandedunes.com/golf_packages. html. “The Honors Package is for players who want to experience the best the game has to offer while enjoying the virtues of Myrtle Beach off the course,” said Bob Seganti, Director of Operations at True Blue and Caledonia. “The

Honors Package brings together some of the greatest courses in all of America, giving golfers an opportunity to experience them on a dream golf vacation.“ Caledonia, a consensus top 100 public course, according to Golf Digest, Golf Magazine and Golf Channel, was Mike Strantz’ first solo design. From the drive through Oak Alley to an unforgettable 19th Hole, Caledonia is one of the game’s most unforgettable courses. Ranked among America’s top 100 public courses by Golf Digest, Golf Magazine and Golf Channel, Dunes Club is a Robert Trent Jones Sr. design that was the driving force behind Myrtle Beach’s emergence as a national golf destination. The course has hosted 6 Senior PGA Tour Championships, among numerous other high profile events. The longtime host of the Hootie & the Blowfish Monday After the Masters Celebrity Pro-Am, the Dye Course has been ranked among America’s 100 Greatest Public Courses. The home of the championship match on Big Break Myrtle Beach, the Fazio Course has been ranked among America’s 100 Greatest Public Courses and is, by consensus, one of the area’s best tests of golf. The former host of the PGA Professional National Championship, Grande Dunes has seven holes that play along the Intracoastal Waterway, providing stunning visuals to a

layout that has been ranked among America’s 100 Greatest Public Courses. The Love Course, a DLIII design, has been ranked among the nation’s top 100 public courses by Golf Digest and Golf Magazine and is renowned for its creativity and playability. The faux ruins on the fourth hole alone make it an unforgettable round. The first course ever named best new public course by Golf Magazine and Golf Digest, Tidewater has graced every major top 100 list and is among the prettiest golf courses in the United States. Golf Channel and Golf Magazine have True Blue ranked among America’s top 100 public courses and the reasons are many. The course is a visual and creative masterpiece designed by Mike Strantz. The Marina Inn, with its elegant and oversized rooms, overlooks the Intracoastal Waterway and has the amenities to match its elegance. There are three restaurants onsite with Ruths Chris and Anchor Café, a great happy hour spot, joining Waterscapes, a Mediterranean-themed restaurant specializing in fresh, local seafood. While it’s not included in the cost of the trip, Marina Inn staff can arrange for car service to transport your group to and from the course each day, eliminating the hassle of driving.

Tidewater Golf Club

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Griffey,Strawberry, Dickerson, Participating in He Got Up Celebrity Golf Tournament

Newly elected Baseball Hall of Famer Ken Griffey Jr will be joined by other major league greats like Johnny Damon and Darryl Strawberry, as well as football legends Lawrence Taylor, Eric Dickerson, Darrell Green, Mark Schlereth, Charles Mann, and Fred Stokes, and others, as they participate in the He Got Up Celebrity Golf event in late February, benefiting the Orlando Serve Foundation. The golf tournament will be held on Friday, February 26 at The Ritz-Carlton Golf Club, Orlando. The tournament will be preceded by a dinner and celebrity auction on Thursday, February 25 where golfers can bid on the celebrity they want to be paired with during the tournament, as well as a silent auction and live auction. Vacation packages provided by the American Fundraising Foundation to be auctioned off include:



• A trip to San Francisco Wine Country • Golf at St. Andrews • Vacation to Milan • Trip to explore the castles of Ireland • An adventure to China • Alaska vacation • and a trip to explore locations in Europe made famous in James Bond movies Continental breakfast at the course will begin at 7 a.m., followed by a shotgun start at 8 a.m. Participants will be able to enter various competitions held in conjunction with the tournament for prizes, including hole-in-one, longest drive and closest to the pin contests. Following the tournament, there will be an awards ceremony and recognition luncheon on the lawn at the Ritz-Carlton. Golfer packages / per foursome are available for $2,600 per group and include four tickets to the Pairings Dinner; continental breakfast for four in the Ritz-Carlton Club House; a celebrity paired with the group; a caddie; golf carts; on-course beverages and activities; awards luncheon in the Ritz-Carlton

Golf Club; and a Player Gift Bag. Larson Consulting Services, an independent SEC and MSRB registered financial advisory firm, has signed on as a $10,000 sponsor. Other sponsorships available. All proceeds from the golf festivities will benefit the Orlando Serve Foundation, a 501(c)(3) tax-exempt charitable organization that is organizing He Got Up, a day of celebration and service for families, veterans and individuals in need or homeless in Orange, Osceola and Seminole counties. The event will take place at the Citrus Bowl on Easter Sunday 2016 (March 27) and include an inspirational Easter celebration as well as a day-long Community Resources Fair. The fair will provide those in need with training, job-readiness and employment opportunities, medical and dental screenings, legal services, and connections to other agencies and organizations that can offer other resources and assistance for self-sustainability. For more information about the ‘He Got Up” Celebrity Golf Day activities, visit www. orlandoservefoundation.org.


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BOYNE Winter Golf School Coming to Florida’s PGA Village

PETOSKEY, MI – BOYNE Golf – home to 10 premier golf courses spanning three resorts in the scenic northwest corner of Michigan’s Lower Peninsula – will host its third season of the BOYNE Winter Golf School at PGA Village (Port St. Lucie, Fla.). Three-day programs are available from January through April and will be led by BOYNE Golf Academy veterans Brian O’Neill and Mike Fay. Instruction will take place at the PGA of America’s acclaimed Center for Golf Learning and Performance (CLP) and PGA Golf Club. The CLP is a 35-acre facility featuring more than 100 full-swing practice stations, a worldclass fitness and performance center, multiple pitching and chipping areas, 7,000 square feet of USGA-certified putting greens and a three-hole teaching course. Nearby PGA Golf Club boasts 72 holes of championship golf (Wanamaker, Dye, Ryder and St. Lucie Trails golf courses), as well as a new 20,000-square-foot clubhouse. “BOYNE Winter Golf School is an excellent opportunity to escape to sunny Florida for a few days and sharpen your game for the heart of the 2016 season,” says Bernie Friedrich, Boyne Resorts’ senior vice president of golf and resort sales. “Brian and Mike have a strong track record of success incorporating state-of-the-art technology with tried and true techniques to help players of all ages and abilities.” Highlights of the BOYNE Winter Golf School include: • 3:1 student to teacher ratio • 24 total hours of coaching • Trackman ball flight analysis • V1 coaching video analysis with voice over • Three rounds of golf with on-course coaching throughout

• Individualized golf fitness evaluation with a Titleist TPI Professional • Custom, take home BOYNE Golf Academy Total Game Evaluation booklet • Lunch daily at the recently revamped and renamed Taplow Pub at PGA Village • One hour follow-up lesson with the BOYNE Golf Academy at Boyne Mountain Resort, Boyne Highlands Resort or Bay Harbor Golf Club • Continued instruction through BOYNE’s on-line coaching system Rates begin at $2,000 per person; more details are available here. For more information about BOYNE Golf and the BOYNE Golf Academy: www. BOYNEGolf.com, info@BOYNE.com, 844.634.5315

Follow The Tour Pros To Omni Tucson National Resort

TUCSON, AZ – While the tour golf professionals enjoy their return to play Omni Tucson National Resort this spring, everyday golfers from around the country can enjoy the same experience at the iconic desert venue with vacation packages that feature championshipcaliber golf year-round. Both the Unlimited Golf Package and Stay & Play Golf Package are ideal for golfers to share in the history and tradition of Omni Tucson National Resort, which has hosted PGA Tour sanctioned events more than 30 times between 1965 and 2006 – and is gearing up for the return of the 2016 Tucson Conquistadores Classic, a Champions Tour event, March 18-20, 2016. Numerous players who won at Omni Tucson National during their PGA Tour careers are now competing on the Champions Tour, including Kirk Triplett, Jeff Sluman, David Frost, Tom Watson, and Craig Stadler. The Unlimited Golf Package is ideal

for golfers who want to play Omni Tucson National from sunup to sundown and includes deluxe accommodations, golf and golf cart. In addition, guests can enjoy a 20 percent culinary credit at the resort’s Fiesta Cafe, Legends Bar & Grill, and Sweetwater Cabana (excludes alcohol). Unlimited Golf Package rates start at $185 per room, per night based on double occupancy. The Stay & Play Golf Package is more relaxed, with one round per day, with golf cart, along with deluxe accommodations (children up to age 12 play free with paying adult). Rates for the Stay & Play Golf Package start at $155 per room, per night based on double occupancy. And for those who would like to spend time around the pros during the Tucson Conquistadores Classic, the two-night Premium VIP Package features a complete tournament experience. Enjoy exclusive access to the Champions’ Suite on the 18th Green, VIP area, and Conquistador Club. Available for the nights of March 18 and 19, included are deluxe accommodations, daily breakfast, and $100 resort credit. The VIP Package is $2,599, based on double occupancy. Named one of the “75 Best Golf Resorts in North America” by Golf Digest, Omni Tucson National is part of the unique collection of Omni golf courses throughout the country. The resort boasts two golf courses – the Catalina Course, a renowned Robert von Hagge-Bruce Devlin parkland design built in 1963, and the Sonoran Course, which Tom Lehman designed in 2006. The Catalina Course – the longtime home of the tour pros and site for the Tucson Conquistadores Classic – is known for its magnificent views and traditional parklandstyle layout with gentle contours, tree-lined fairways and eight sparkling lakes. The Sonoran

PGA Village in Port St. Lucie, FL

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• • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • CHIPSHOTS Omni Tucson National Resort

Course is a pure desert-style layout, with steep elevation changes that create uphill and downhill shot opportunities not typically found in Tucson. The Sonoran also offers spectacular vistas of natural beauty of the surrounding terrain. Located in some of the country’s most beautiful destinations, Omni Hotels & Resorts golf courses are designed by award-winning golf architects, some of who are legendary champions of the game. Each golf resort is complete with luxurious accommodations, and superior service, on and off the course. For more details and reservations, visit www.omnihotels.com/hotels/tucson-national/ golf/packages or call (888) 444-6664.

The Sea Pines Resort Announces Enticing Spring Golf Packages

HILTON HEAD, SC – The Sea Pines Resort – Hilton Head’s flagship luxury destination – announces an array of enticing spring golf packages featuring its acclaimed Harbour Town Golf Links and Heron Point by Pete Dye from March 1 – May 31. The RBC Heritage Package starts at $524 (per person, per night) and emulates the popular PGA TOUR event held annually on famed Harbour Town. Highlights include a walking caddie, access to the full-service professional player’s locker room, practice area with customized nameplate, one-hour of professional instruction prior to playing, and first tee introduction. This premier package also features two


nights of luxurious accommodations in the acclaimed Inn & Club at Harbour Town along with breakfast or lunch at Links, an American Grill in the Harbour Town Clubhouse. Players also receive custom branded gifts including a locker room plaque and desktop mount, personalized caddie bib and bag tag, sleeve of golf balls, tees, sunscreen, visor or hat, golf shirt, towel, ball marker, divot tool, and Harbour Town yardage book. Starting at $195 (per person, per night), the Villa Golf Package is ideally suited for small groups to enjoy Harbour Town and Heron Point while staying in one the resort’s 300 well-appointed private villas (one to four bedrooms). All units feature a fully-equipped kitchen, dining room and living room for relaxation après golf. Perfect for couples, The Inn & Club at Harbour Town Golf Package begins at $375 (per person, per night) and features a stay at resort’s boutique hotel with daily breakfast for each guest. Overlooking Harbour Town, the inn is the only Forbes Four-Star rated property on Hilton Head Island. Play on both Harbour Town and Heron Point is available. For golf groups of 12 or more ($225 per player, per night), the Pete Dye Signature Group Golf Package features three rounds of golf (including Harbour Town), three nights’ deluxe villa accommodations, complimentary resort gift card, and personal on-site coordinator. Additionally, the group organizer plays free. Afternoon replays on Heron Point (cart fee only) are offered subject to availability and included in the packages above (excluding the

RBC Heritage Package). Free warm-up range balls, complimentary wireless Internet, and use of The Sea Pines Fitness Center are included. “We’ve invested millions of dollars improving and enhancing most every aspect of our golf and resort amenities,” says Cary Corbitt, Vice President of Sports & Operations. “From checking in at the pro shop to playing our incredible courses to savoring the cuisine in our exceptional clubhouses, we offer the absolute best golf experience to be had anywhere.” Harbour Town – the seminal Pete Dye / Jack Nicklaus design – reopened last Sept. following agronomic and playability enhancements. The entire layout was re-grassed and a new state-orthe-art irrigation system was installed making a truly great course even better. Recently named “Golf Course of the Year” by the South Carolina Golf Course Owners Association, Heron Point underwent a series of subtle modifications in 2014 under Dye’s close supervision to make the layout more “player friendly.” Together, the courses provide golfers with two stylistically different, yet complementary, experiences. Visitors to The Sea Pines Resort will discover the new Harbour Town Clubhouse which opened in March as well as resort’s recently built Plantation Golf Club, winner of Golf Inc.’s 2015 “New Clubhouse of the Year.” The Plantation Golf Club is also home to the resort’s topnotch Golf Instruction Center led by Tim Cooke. For more information about the resort and its wide-variety of golf packages: www. seapinesgolf.com, 866.561.8802.

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photos by Paul Lester

The TPC Stadium Course Makes a Comeback


t has taken almost three decades, but one of the most iconic—not to mention controversial—golf courses in America has finally made it back to center stage. The TPC Stadium Course in La Quinta, California was built in 1986 under the direction of master course designer Pete Dye, who needs no introduction when it comes to golf layouts that have sent players screaming into the night. At the time it was deemed one of the toughest courses in America at 7,300 yards, a stroke rating of 76.1 and a slope of 150—not to mention enough sand and water to supply the entire Palm Springs area. The year after it was completed, it was used as the host course of the PGA Tour stop in the Coachella Valley region—The Bob Hope Chrysler Classic—but after its 1987 debut was taken out of the rotation. The reasons that a TPC Course with as much fanfare as this one—and built just for hosting professional golf events—was never allowed back into this event for almost 30 years are not as easy to pin point with the passage of so much time.

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Much of the popular lore centered around the pros dislike of the course as being the primary reason it was taken out of the rotation until last month’s annual PGA Tour event in the Southern California desert that now goes by the name of the CareerBuilder Challenge. Too hard, too penal for an event that annually has players shooting some of the lowest rounds of the year because of a combination of great weather and course conditions that allow the professionals to go low were the standard reasons given for the pros supposed unhappiness with the track. This in spite of the fact that the Stadium Course was used for five Skins Games during the 80’s and 90’s, a Champions Tour event for two years and has been used for the PGA Tour Qualifying School numerous times over the past three decades. The problem with the course back in 1987 might have had more to do with the old Bob Hope Classic format, where you had four amateurs playing in every group for the first four days of what was then a 5-day tournament. The course was just too-hard for the celebrities and other non-pros who

highlighted the event at the time and made the rounds of golf excruciatingly long. Fast forward to 2016 and things are much different. Not only has the TPC Stadium course been overhauled in recent years to make it more user friendly, but still very formidable, but the tournament now fields less than half the number of amateur players, who compete in just three rounds now—and with equipment and techniques much improved over the passage of time for all levels of players, this course is not the over-sized brute in comparison to what it was when it opened and first hosted The Hope Classic. In 1987 Corey Pavin canned a 15-foot put on the final hole to shoot a 67 and win the Hope with his best round of the week. This year Jason Dufner shot 25-under over four days (including a 65 at the Stadium Course) to win the tournament in a two-hole playoff. Two of his four rounds were played at the Stadium Course. As one of only two public Tournament Players Courses in the state of California, the Stadium Course at PGA West still justifies its reputation as a demanding layout that


requires precise course management and shot making. The final three holes, beginning with the Par-5 16th and its cavernous bunker running all along the left side of the hole (and needs its own stairway to get in and out of) can turn something like a PGA Tour event into some dramatic theater down the stretch. The 17th hole is a 168-yard Par-3 nicknamed Alcatraz because its island green is much harder to hit than the huge lake that surrounds it. Even though Lee Trevino aced the hole in the 1987 Skins Game, heartbreak at this hole happens more than not. The water-lined Par-4 18th hole is sneaky difficult and prone to the unexpected as well as evidenced at the recent Career Builder Challenge when runner-up David Lingmerth lost the playoff by hitting his second shot into the water next to the green. As a spectator course—or as a treat to play during a trip to the desert region--the TPC Stadium Course at PGA West is one of those bucket-list type courses that demands to be seen and played. And it has finally made its way back to the main stage after all these years.


Golf Vacations • February 2016 13

A Family A Baja Coun

14 Golf Vacations • February 2016


Affair at ntry Club


By Dave McKibben

Golf Vacations • February 2016 15


NSENADA, MEXICO--Ken and Sigi Bentham were making the long trek home to British Columbia from their vacation house in Loreto, Mexico when they stumbled upon Baja Country Club, an undiscovered 18-hole, par 72-course than meanders through the San Carlos Valley, 10 miles south of Ensenada. After their round, the Bentham’s toured the few residences that existed in 2008 and continued driving to Canada. As they made their way through the small desert town of Blythe, California, they abruptly turned the car around and drove four hours back to the Baja Country Club. Within hours, they had purchased a plot of land overlooking the golf course. Eight years later, the Benthams are year-round residents, owning two homes within the now bustling 250-acre gated community, which offers completely finished custom homes starting at $119,000. The homes feature modern kitchens with granite countertops, laminate flooring and completed baths with modern appliances and fixtures. Sigi plays golf three to four times a week and participates in a variety of activities--yoga, water aerobics and cycling and hiking in the multiple trails surrounding the course.

“It’s perpetual spring here,” Sigi said. “You can be as busy as you want or not at all. Everyone is here to help everybody else. It’s a very healthy and vibrant style of living.” The nearly 80 full-time residents (more than half are Americans, rest are Mexican nationals and Canadians) enjoy 70-degree year-round temperatures and the bucolic charm of the San Carlos Valley, located just 25 minutes from the crowded streets of Ensenada, Mexico and two hours south of San Diego. “It’s a very secure and welcoming place,” said Paula Bowers, who proudly counts herself and husband Jim as the community’s first residents. “If they would build a bank and a Costco, I’d actually never leave here.” The Bowers relocated here from St. George, Utah, but they also spent a few summers in Bajamar, another golf course enclave, some 50 miles north on the Baja Scenic road, overlooking the Pacific Ocean. “That’s a beautiful place too, but we’re 15 degrees warmer here because we sit in the valley and we don’t have the fog in the mornings,” Paula said. “So we can get out and play golf early and we don’t have to wait for the fog to clear.” Other than Alonso Esquer, Baja Country Club’s director of sales and marketing, Jim Bowers might be the community’s most successful real estate agent. “We’ve owned three houses in here and sold 12,” Jim Bowers said with a chuckle. “We found out it was paradise and we wanted our friends to experience it too. It wasn’t hard to convince them to buy a place and join us.” Surrounded by mountains, oak and olive trees, the 6,900-yard course includes 12 acres of natural lakes that swallow that come into play

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throughout the front nine. The most demanding and maddening hole on the front side is No. 7, a 352-yard par 4 with a heavily-sloped and narrow island green that plays close to 390 yards. “I’ve personally raised the level of the water on No. 7,” joked Sigi Bentham. “And I always carry my most trusted club on that hole, my ball retriever.” Even though the back nine is 350 yards longer than the front at 3,600 yards, it can play several shots easier, especially for high-handicappers golfers who like wide-open fairways, mountain backdrops and large greens. The 602-yard 16th is the longest hole on the course, but its inviting fairway and massive green gives even the inexperienced player a fair chance at par. The finishing hole, an uphill, 325-yard par 4 dogleg left, is rated as the easiest on the scorecard, but it doesn’t play that way. A lot of players unwisely try to cut the corner, winding up with a blind approach shot over a cluster of trees and a scramble for par. The country-club style course, which was designed by Pete and Roy Dye and opened in 1990, has been hit hard by the drought that has stricken courses up and down the Pacific Coast. But Esquer said hasn’t had any problems selling property around the course. “We’re selling four to five lots every month,” he said. “This place is a hidden gem in the canyons. You can live a great, relaxing lifestyle here for a fraction of what you can buy in the states. This place would be even more popular, but I just don’t think that many people know about it because it’s on the south side of Ensenada.” Esquer believes Mexico’s relatively low tax burden might be driving the canyon community’s recent popularity. Property taxes in Mexico are less than $200 per year and homeowner’s association monthly dues are only $120. The monthly fees afford residents 24-hour security and access to swimming pools, hot tubs, a workout gym,


barbecue areas and basketball courts. And there are big plans in the works, according to Marena del Pacifico, the development group behind Baja Country Club and a group of high rise condos near Rosarito Beach. A second clubhouse with a luxury spa, a fine regional cuisine restaurant and a wine cellar are planned for 2017. A 32-suite hotel that was never completed as part of the original clubhouse could also open next year. There is even more exciting news on the horizon for current and prospective Baja Country Club residents. A new road connecting Ensenada to Baja Wine Country, which includes some 100 wineries, is half-finished and will trim nearly 45 minutes off the one-hour drive to Valle de Guadalupe. An international airport is also being planned for Ensenada, making the area more accessible to U.S. and Mexico residents. Golf Packages: For those interested in visiting Baja Country Club, three day, two-night golf packages are available for $150 per person. The packages include unlimited golf and a welcome cocktail. Guests will stay in luxurious three bedroom townhouses on the golf course. A minimum of four persons are required for the packages. Craft beer tours, wine tours, fishing tours, whale watching, skydiving and mountain biking can be booked through the club. For more information on golf packages or becoming a resident, visit http://bajacountryclub.com/en/index.html Grub and Grog around Ensenada: http://wendlandt.com.mx/. If you’re looking for a spot with an eclectic menu and award-winning beers, try Wendlandt Cerveceria brewpub in downtown Ensenada, located about 30 minutes from the country club. Our favorite dishes: the Korean tacos, New York tacos, Pork Belly sliders and tangy green salad. Favorite brews: Vanilla, Coffee Imperial Stout, Perro Del Mar IPA and Vaquita Marina Pale Ale. Wendlandt Brewery was named Mexico’s best brewery in Mexico at Copa Cerveza, the country’s equivalent to the Great American Beer Festival.

Golf Vacations • February 2016 17


Party on with the P

TPC Scottsdale No. 16

18 Golf Vacations • February 2016




By David R. Holland


COTTSDALE, AZ – The rowdy fans of the Waste Management Phoenix Open showcased at TPC Scottsdale willed their way to make a PGA Tour stop become a party and a fun experience. They come in huge numbers, get loud and then go home.

Most everyone has a good time minus perhaps a few grumpy pros. But as a travel golfer you can visit TPC Scottsdale just about any time. Combine it with a stay at the Fairmont Scottsdale Princess next door and you can have a blast. This is a golf course where wacky just seems to happen. Remember when Tiger Woods had some gallery guys move that boulder aka loose impediment? Bizarre was last year when Jordan Spieth, playing with Woods, blocked his drive on No. 5, a 470-yard, par 4, that borders the Fairmont Scottsdale Princess. “There are some Fairmont casitas there where Spieth’s OB drive was heading,” said Rick Evans, a former caddy for Kenny Perry, “and later after his round and some time at the practice area Jordan returns to his casita to find his ball had broken a window in the casita he was staying.” Fanatical lives here -- like the 564,368 fans that attended the 2015 tournament and the 20,000 spectators+ who can get raucous in the “stadium” that surrounds the 162-yard, par-3 16th hole on a given day. The list of professional golfers who have won in Phoenix reads like the golf Hall of Fame: Byron Nelson, Ben Hogan, Jimmy Demaret, Billy Casper, Gene Littler, Arnold Palmer, Jack Nicklaus, Miller Barber, Johnny Miller, Ben Crenshaw, and more recently Lee Janzen, Vijay Singh, Phil Mickelson, Tom Lehman, Mark Calcavecchia and Kenny Perry. TPC Scottsdale renovations well received A year ago the pros were playing the first tournament following an extensive renovation of the golf course by Tom Weiskopf. All greens were resurfaced and holes 2, 3, 4 and 14 all had greens moved. The second and third greens were relocated to allow morning sun to burn off any morning frost quicker. Bunkers were reshaped, put in play for the longest hitters, decreased in number from 73 to 66 and filled with Augusta white sand. Two major changes came at No. 14 and 18. Fourteen was lengthened and the green moved to a hilltop. It is now one of the toughest holes on tour at 490 yards, par 4, uphill and adds another hole to the crescendo of the tournament -- holes 14-18. Weiskopf also said he likes the move at 14 because it shifts the hole away from the road to the right and opens up a view of the famous Superstition mountains. Another finishing touch was redoing the No. 18 bunker where players faced a 300-yard carry over the lake’s left side. Today’s bunker has “islands” or “church pews (ala Oakmont)” and requires a launch of 340 yards to carry. Previous carry was 310 yards. So how were the changes received by the PGA Tour pros after last year’s tournament? “The comments from the PGA Tour players were well received,” said assistant general manager Doug Hodge of TPC Scottsdale. “We have about 80 PGA Tour and Web.com pros that call Scottsdale home, comments have been positive and they love the west end practice area.” That gives the resort a double-sided practice configuration with the pros able to claim their own private space when resort play is ongoing. TPC Scottsdale notable Waste Management Phoenix Open highlights The 332-yard par-4 17th, for example, can win or lose the tournament. In the final round of the 2011 tournament, Tommy (Two Gloves) Gainey nailed one of the red stakes, propelling his ball into the water, then he chunked the chip. His triple bogey took him from contender to a tie for eighth place.


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Andrew Magee aced the hole in 2001. It was a uncanny event that happened just after he had made a double bogey on 15. He pulled out driver, the ball bounded onto the green past Gary Nicklaus and Steve Pate, struck Tom Byrum’s putter and ricocheted into the hole.

Stay and Play: The Fairmont Scottsdale Princess The Fairmont Scottsdale Princess resort offers an assortment of golf packages that let guests play both the Stadium Course and the Champions Course at TPC Scottsdale, as well as nearby Grayhawk Golf Club.

This hole imagined by Weiskopf and Jay Morrish back when the course opened in 1986 showcases their knack for great short par 4s.

The AAA Five-Diamond Fairmont Scottsdale Princess has awesome Spanish Colonial architecture, open plazas graced by fountains, and locally inspired art and décor, and a blend of comfort and style that captures the Southwest.

“Short par-4s are hard to do correctly,” Weiskopf said. “If you are going to lay up, I want the players to have the pressure of a tough chip and putt. And most of these, I do have the biggest green on the course with lots of contours and movement in the putting surfaces. But there are other ways to do short par 4s. Just think about No. 10 at Riviera Country Club -- tough, short hole, but it has a small green.” The TPC Scottsdale clubhouse was also completely updated along with its excellent restaurant Toro Latin Restaurant and Rum Bar by Richard Sandoval. Sit overlooking the 18th green and try the ceviche, wok dishes, small plates for sharing, grilled entrees and the Valley’s largest selection of 105 different rums, plus sugar cane spirits and Latin wines, live music on weekends and Sunday brunch. After lunch why not schedule a less at the TOURAcademy TPC Scottsdale? It offers an array of programs built for the lowhandicapper and to the beginner. It offers golf schools and individual lessons, utilizing the latest in video and computer software.

Don’t miss Hacienda Plaza with its Well & Being Spa. Resort dining includes La Hacienda, Bourbon Steak, and Ironwood American Kitchen. La Hacienda has a tequila bar with 200+ varieties of tequila from 36 different labels presented by a Tequila God or Goddess on weekends. Flaming coffees with cinnamon are a specialty of the house and are served tableside so guests can enjoy the presentation and aromas as well as the tasty flavors. The Princess is one of few AAA/CAA Five-Diamond award-winning resorts that celebrate Christamas with ice skating, petting zoo, and Lagoon Lights, that display more than 2 million LED lights as you walk or ride the Princess Express train through the resort’s lagoons. The celebration starts around Thanksgiving and lasts through the first of the year.

TPC Scottsdale No. 12 par 3 - 192 yards

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The Fairmont Scottsdale Princess

TPC Scottsdale No. 16 par 3 - 162 yards


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The Boulders R

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by David R. Holland



AREFREE, Ariz. -- The moon is in full bloom above The Boulders Resort. It’s a mystical setting. Giant granite formations and mammoth rock balls, 12 million years in the making, cast shadows across the peaceful and sleepy Sonoran Desert. Stately saguaros, hundreds of years old, mark the ghostly landscape like sentinels. On moonless nights the stars are big and bright. You are deep in the heart of the desert. A coyote howls in the distance. Everything is in tune with nature. The Boulders Resort is a bucket list commune with Arizona nature that would make any city slicker from Wall Street in New York City look away from his iPhone and gaze. It is tawny landscape that makes mankind as tiny as that ProV1x you are trying to route between desert tan and fairway green. Ask anyone who is lucky enough to see a roadrunner, bobcat, coyote, javelina or all varieties of birds duck into a hole in one of the Sonoran Desert’s giant saguaro, in a ruggedly beautiful landscape. The Boulders Resort gets a make over Like any mid-1980s upscale golf resort time had come for a makeover for this special place located on 1,300 acres just 10 minutes north of Scottsdale. The upgrades to the 160 casitas include new finishes and furnishings that maintain an adobe-style architecture, one of the resort’s distinguishing features. These spacious 550 sq. ft. residential-feeling guest rooms were set in a fresh palette of earthy desert tones of teal and orange accents. Room furnishings and luxury bedding was renewed enhancing the focal point from day one – an adobe styled wood-burning fireplace. Native American influences are everywhere in color and texture along with bathroom enhancements of spacious showers with high-end fixtures and pebble walls. Custom freestanding milled vanities and accessories as well as flagstone flooring make casita homey and modern. The private patios are comfy and scenic, renewed with fresh wood and ready to view nature, saguaros and the boulders that surround each casita. The Boulders Resort rabbits “hog” the fairways at dusk munching on the green grass. And if you walk at night under a tree you will disturb roosting birds of all kinds including dove and Gambel quail. Tee off on one of golf’s more outstanding stages Red Lawrence built the first nine holes on this site in 1969 as the Carefree Municipal Golf Course. Phoenix’s Jack Snyder completed the 18 holes a few years later. Could they have forecast this land’s future? Today’s 36 holes have designer Jay Morrish’s stamp on them. He completed the South Course in 1984 and remodeled the North in 1985. He applied another facelift to the North in 1999. Since its opening in 1985, The Boulders has been visited by lovers of the desert and golf in multitudes.


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“The North Course (6,811 yards, par 72) was the original,” said Tom McCahan, Director of Club Operations. “But most people believe the South Course (6,726 yards, par 71) is the most scenic and they know it has holes that go right up to the boulder piles. It’s dramatic scenery, but I think the members enjoy the North because has more fairway to work with. “I really think the back nine of the North from the back tees is the toughest stretch of holes,” he continued. “You have five par4 holes over 425 yards in distance and it can get tough. The greens are subtle so you won’t have any really ridiculous putts.” The two courses are continually alternated, allowing one to be kept private while the other is used by hotel guests. The South Course’s beginning sets the tone for a golf day you

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won’t forget. No. 1 is a 447-yard par-4 that requires a target drive that stops short of two stacks of boulders that narrow the fairway at 110 yards out. The green rests just short of a massive boulder pile, where no doubt, many photos are snapped. You will face a stacked pile of granite balls in sight for the tee shot at No. 2, a 150-yard par-3. Be precise and don’t come up short because a deep bunker guards the front and another is in the rear. The par-5, 5th leads you right up to the base of the signature “Boulder Pile” and you have a harrowing cart drive up to the par-5, 6th, which requires a tee shot from a box cut into the side of the giant boulder outcropping that sits adjacent to the Resort’s main building. Your drive actually flies over the driveway that leads to the reception area.


THE BOULDERS • CAREFREE, ARIZONA The back tee is cut right beside “Rosie’s Rock” on the par3, 187-yard No. 7. It’s one of the resorts most recognizable formations, since it looks like a giant golf ball on a tee. The name comes from Rusty Lyon, who is the visionary behind the resort. He wanted to honor his wife and scratched the name “Rosie” on the rock on his first visit to the site. Golf instruction innovation is also a highlight at The Boulders with award-winning teacher Donald Crawley continually thinking of new ways to make you a better player. He’s on Golf Magazine’s “Top 100 Teachers in America” list among others. Main Lodge, Dining, Spa and Tennis The resort’s recent update brought new warm reception enhancements and don’t miss The Bar’s 25-foot floor to ceiling glass viewing area. Restaurants include the Palo Verde Restaurant in the Main Lodge, The Spotted Donkey Cantina at el Pedregal, and The Grill Restaurant and Bar in the golf clubhouse. The Terraced Tennis Garden includes eight courts, private lessons, and weekly clinics. There are four swimming pools, including an adult pool at the Spa at The Boulders that includes 33,000 sq. ft. with 24 treatment rooms and full menu of soothing treatments.

outdoorsmen will salivate over the hiking, rock climbing, and horseback riding.

One can work out in the modern fitness facility, including weights, cardio equipment, whirlpools, and saunas, but real

The Boulders is now part of the new Curio – A Collection by Hilton, a global brand of upscale luxury hotels.


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ne of the most neglected segments of the golf equipment industry—left-handed players—now has some real enticing options when it comes to irons. Miura, one of the most respected custom-club manufacturers in the world based in Himeji, Japan, has introduced a new left-handed Y Grind option in its top of the line MB 001 and the CB 57 models. The Y Grind, although most visible on the sole and leading edge, actually encompasses many more subtle changes to the clubhead to maintain its integrity --including head weight, density and overall balance. These refinements elevate the Left-Handed Y Grind irons to another level. More efficient turf interaction is made possible through the subtle leading edge and sole modifications. This includes a more contoured leading edge and the appropriate bounce angles on each specific iron while maintaining desired lie angles. Miura Golf’s worldwide headquarters is located in Vancouver, British Columbia, where the company markets the brand world-wide (except for Japan). Bill Holowaty, the Executive Vice President, Product Strategies for Miura Golf in Vancouver noted that the influence of hockey in that country has led to more left handed golfers than in the United States. “With our operations based in Canada, where recent statistics indicate that some 30 percent of new golfers are lefties, we’re always looking to better serve left-handers,” noted Holowaty. “The Y Grind version

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of our LH Blade and Cavity Back models allows golfers to benefit from a refined leading edge and sole design that leads to better turf interaction and therefore produces more solid shots.” Holowaty added that in the U.S. statistics show that between 6 and


SWEETSTUFF by Terry Ross and Dave Holland

10 percent of players are left-handed. These new clubs have been hailed by lefthanders who have experienced them--like most new Miura owners—as a unique and delightfully satisfying when hitting them for the first time. “There is a lot that goes into these clubs— most golfers will see the difference right away,” said Holowaty. “They make great contact and find the ball going where they want. This model gets through the turf better.” He also explained that the 14-step forging process used by Miura also dictates that the raw forging be struck three times instead of the usual one, and is one of the key ingredients that making hitting one of these irons a true experience. “These are not mass-produced irons,” he added. “they are hand-forged in Japan and the grinding is done at a grinding wheel wheel— not a machine. Our tolerances are the tightest in the industry.” The Miura commitment to detail is evident in the Y Grind, specifically at the address position. Subtle changes to the top line and toe profile work in concert with the sole grind delivering a new level of confidence. Those changes include a slightly modified toe profile; a visually pleasing top line that enhances a golfer’s confidence and weight distribution and balance within the clubhead that’s marginally different from standard LH models. This subtle shift in weight from toe to heel allows the Y Grind player to take dead aim at the target and more easily square up the clubhead at impact. Miura’s broad forged iron line has choices for all players, including the MB 001 and Series 1957 Small Blades (muscleback models), the 1957 CB, CB 501, and the mid-sized Passing Point 9003 (cavity backs), as well as Blade and Cavity Back models for the left handed golfer. Forged wedges include the Wedge Series (in silver nickel chrome and black) and the Series 1957 by Miura Custom Grind Wedges. There is also the Miura “Series 1957” Classic design putter—that has the look of the popular Ping Newport—that goes through the same forging process and is another option for left-handers. Miura clubs are custom fitted by authorized Miura dealer/fitters with each individual golfer getting not only properly fitted clubs, but a partner in his or her game. Miura dealers are famous for service after the sale and


continuing relationships with players they fit, from informal discussions about equipment, practice, and technique to hands-on monitoring of loft, lie, weight and all the crucial golf club metrics. One of the leading Miura fitters, Jerry Molinar, owner of Marc’s Golf in Palm Desert, California, points out that he sees only about seven percent left handed players, but believes these new offerings from Miura are a huge advancement for them and a product that levels the playing field. “The New Y Grind has a beveled leading edge that is great with turf interaction for those who tend to have a problem getting irons though at impact,” said Molinar. “Just more time and effort has gone into the making of these clubs, so you really have something that was designed with lefties in mind. It is not just any old left handed iron--so now they have all the bells and whistles-- just like righthanded players.” Molinar has been one of the leading fitters in this golf-rich area of So Cal for more than 16 years and sees these clubs being real popular as the spring golf season hits full stride. For more information, visit the Miura website: www.miuragolf.com


ew Balance, which is making an impact in the golf market after a long and successful history as a premier running shoe, has just introduced the Mini-

mus 1005 golf shoe. The lightweight, spikeless shoe features a waterproof microfiber upper and is built on the popular New Balance Minimus running last that provides a more natural feel for the ground than a traditional golf shoe. The lightweight, athletic styling of the Minimus 1005 features a waterproof microfiber leather upper with ultralight FantomFit™ support, and a REVLite® 4mm drop midsole for lightweight cushioning and premium responsiveness in a shoe that weighs just 8.6 ounces. A wider forefoot on the Miniumus 1005 allows toes to splay apart while a shallow toe depth provides better ground feel. The Ortholite® insole provides golfers cool, dry comfort and a NDurance® rubber outsole gives maximum durability in high-wear areas. The Minimus is backed by a two-year waterproof warranty and comes in sizes: 7-12, 13, 14 and widths D & 2E. Popular colors include Black, Grey/Green, Grey/Orange, Black and Grey/Green, Grey/Orange. New Balance originally launched the Minimus golf shoe as part of its first golf footwear collection in January 2014. It was an immediate success and has built a strong following from golfers that are loyal to New Balance running shoes as well as those who are new to the brand and enjoy the Minimus’ lightweight, low-profile fit and feel. To learn more about New Balance, visit www.newbalance.com

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Profile for Golf Vacations Magazine

Golf Vacations Magazine February 2016  

Golf Vacations Magazine February 2016

Golf Vacations Magazine February 2016  

Golf Vacations Magazine February 2016