Page 1

OUR 18th YEAR!

THIS MONTH: My Turn • SweetStuff • ChipShots






Golf Vacations • January 2019 1 Plus: POPLAR GROVE GOLF CLUB • DUMBARNIE LINKS

2 Golf Vacations • January 2019

Golf Vacations • January 2019 3


Furnace Creek Golf Course at Death Valley, California


Chip Shots


Punta, Mita: A Whale of a Golf Story


The Oasis at Death Valley

by Tim Cotroneo

When you are the greatest name in golf, you tend to hold all the cards. In 1999, the DINE Real Estate development team in Mexico’s exclusive Punta Mita region tugged at Jack Nicklaus’ sleeve and requested, “Please design our new golf course.”

by David R. Holland

From a lofty perch at The Oasis at Death Valley, Bill Walton, Hall of Fame basketball star, side-stepped his “Holland” bike, looked out over Death Valley and said, “This is Mother Nature’s playground.”


Oslay Golf: Surviving IlFrinn


Sweet Stuff

by Stuart Abraham

George Orwell didn’t play golf but the islands he described as “the most un-gettable-to places” are being reborn and rediscovered as ancient golfing land. On the Inner Hebrides they have been golfing as long as they have been legally distilling.

by Terry Ross

4 Golf Vacations • January 2019

Your gateway to 120 golf courses . . . A boutique hotel for your next desert trip

74-470 Abronia Trail, Palm Desert CA

760.346.8061 •

Book your winter special NOW!

Golf Vacations • January 2019 5

CONTRIBUTINGWRITERS Tim Cotroneo is a Mineapolis-based freelance writer specializing in Caribbean travel, business, and golf. Tim is a long-time contributor to Tee Times Press and he’s also the Travel Writer for American Business Magazine.

Executive Editor Jeffrey Diaz

JD Latorre is a freelance travel writer currently calling the Pocono Mountains 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 JD Latorre

Senior Writers 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.

Tim Cotroneo Larry Feldman David R. Holland Dave McKibben

For Editorial:

call (760) 774-2655 e-mail: David R. Holland is an award-winning former sportswriter for The Dallas Morning News, football magazine publisher, and author of The Colorado Golf Bible. “Multiple careers” best describes this world traveler (visited 35 countries), who achieved the rank of Lieutenant Colonel in the Air Force reserve. Holland 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. He also worked for the Dallas Cowboys Weekly, UPI and the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. Follow Dave on Twitter @David_R_Holland.

Regional Advertising Los Angeles Terry Ross • 949-279-7801 Atlanta Harold Chambliss • 770-239-7500

Published by


tony Creek Media

President Jeffrey Diaz

3 Lehigh Avenue, #222 Jim Thorpe, Pennsylvania 18229 (760) 774-2655


Cimarron Communications 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 2019 Stony Creek Media, LLC, all rights reserved and may not be reproduced in any manner, in whole or in part, without written permission from the publisher.

6 Golf Vacations • January 2019

Golf Vacations • January 2019 7

• • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • CHIPSHOTS

Poplar Grove Golf Club Makes Headway with Renovations


irginia might be for lovers, but the Commonwealth is shaping up nicely for golfers as well in 2019. Poplar Grove Golf Club, legendary Sam Snead’s final design collaboration before his passing in 2002, is being completely overhauled and updated by its new D.C.-area based owners. Virginia’s own Ed Carton, who worked with Snead on the original layout, is overseeing the restoration. Have-clubs-will-travel types would be wise to put Poplar Grove on their collective hit list for next season. It is located just 20 minutes from hip and historic Lynchburg, 45 minutes from storied Charlottesville and around three hours from the D.C. area. Despite record precipitation throughout the East Coast, the new-look Poplar Grove is pacing nicely for completion just ahead of the upcoming golf season. “Poplar Grove was one of the best courses in Virginia, if not the country, when it opened in 2005,” says Frank Murphy, CEO of Poplar Grove. “With Carton’s leadership, he will return the course to what he and Snead envisioned years ago.” The $3 million renovation includes rebuilding bunkers, teeing grounds and green complexes, updating drainage, clearing trees, remodeling practice areas, and renovating

8 Golf Vacations • January 2019

cart paths with a new fleet of golf carts. The course will remain open for play during the project, with completion of Phase I projected for early spring 2019. Phase I of the project is making swift progress as bunkers have been cleared and prepared for drainage replacements. Seven new tee boxes will add length to the course, returning it to a formidable test, designed to stand up to golf’s elite players while providing playability for the everyday amateur. Select tree removal will provide golfers with more strategic options and better views. Snead, a member of the World Golf Hall of Fame, was inspired by courses he played during his career – a career that accumulated a record 82 PGA Tour wins, including seven majors. As a result, Poplar Grove will continue to feature elevated tee shots on 15 of its 18 holes. The historic Manor House, the property’s storied centerpiece built in the 1700s, will also be restored and expanded to provide for larger groups and events. A 100-seat indooroutdoor dining space, luxury member, several member-exclusive areas and overnight accommodations are among the planned additions for Phase II of the project. The two also teamed up to design nearby Spring Creek in Charlottesville, one of Golf

Digest’s “100 Greatest Public Courses in America.” Poplar Grove, a Golf Digest “Best New Upscale Public Course” in 2005, is poised to return to its heyday under the close watch of Carton, the man who initially brought Snead’s blueprint to life. Located in Amherst, Virginia, Poplar Grove is 20 and 45 minutes from Lynchburg and Charlottesville, respectively. The surrounding Blue Ridge foothills are alive with breweries, distilleries and wineries, constituting the perfect getaway for couples and buddy groups. For more information, visit http://www.

• • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • CHIPSHOTS

Led by Tidewater Golf Club, Spring Elite Package is One of Myrtle Beach’s Best Offers

CHERRY GROVE, SC – As golfers begin making preparations for their next trip to Myrtle Beach, group leaders are increasingly turning to the Spring Elite package, a deal anchored by Tidewater Golf Club, one of the area’s premier layouts. The rising popularity of the Spring Elite package is based on the strength of its golf course offerings. In addition to Tidewater, the Spring Elite features Arrowhead Country Club, Prestwick Country Club, Arcadian Shores and the Jones Course at Sea Trail. Groups have the opportunity to experience the Spring Elite as a three to five-night trip, based upon their needs, and can stay in accommodations ranging from oceanfront to golf course condos With eight holes playing along either Cherry Grove Inlet or the Intracoastal Waterway, Tidewater is the Grand Strand’s most scenic layout. The stunning visuals are highlighted by the third and 12th holes, a pair of stunning par 3s that play along the inlet, and No. 13, a par 5 that offers a distant view of the Atlantic Ocean. The layout has been ranked among America’s 100 Greatest Public Courses, and Tidewater is a bucket list course in Myrtle Beach and all of South Carolina. While a round at Tidewater may highlight

the trip, it’s complemented by a quartet of quality layouts. Prestwick Country Club is among the area’s most underrated courses. The P.B. Dye track provides a stern challenge that leaves players talking long after they return home. Arrowhead Country Club, a 27-hole facility, is home to multiple holes that play along the Intracoastal Waterway, but the Raymond Floyd course is most known for its superior conditioning. Arrowhead overseeds wall-to-wall during the winter months, ensuring lush, green grass throughout the year. Arcadian Shores is the area’s fastest rising course. Rees Jones’ first design, Arcadian underwent a 2017 renovation that included the installation of new greens, cart paths and the construction of a new clubhouse, among other enhancements. The Jones Course is the premier layout at Sea Trail Golf Resort, a 54-hole facility just across the state line in Brunswick County, N.C. For more information on the Spring Elite package, go to

Kapalua Golf Plantation to Undergo Major Refinement in Time to Host 2020 Tourney Maui, Hawaii – Kapalua Golf’s Plantation Course, home of the PGA TOUR’s Sentry Tournament of Champions and one of the top 100 golf courses in the world, will close on February 11, 2019 to undergo a multi-million

dollar enhancement project aimed at refining and revitalizing the 27-year-old golf course. The project will be completed in November 2019, in time for the award-winning course to host the 2020 Sentry Tournament of Champions in early January. Bill Coore and Ben Crenshaw, the original Plantation Course design team, will assist with the extensive course enhancement project. Troon’s Design/Development/Agronomy team, as well as long-time Maui resident and Golf Channel personality Mark Rolfing, will also provide input on the project. “All of the Plantation Course refinements will be focused on improving the playability of the golf course for our guests, while also providing new challenges for PGA TOUR professionals,” said Alex Nakajima, general manager, Kapalua Golf & Tennis. “For all of the changes, it’s important to note that the overall Plantation Course layout and routing will remain the same.” “This will be a very thoughtful restoration and refining process, but it’s not a redesign. We are very happy with the way the course looks and the way it has gone through the past nearly three decades,” said Bill Coore. “It’s like when you have a special piece of art, or something really special to you, and you get a chance to dust if off and make it new again.” For more information on Kapalua Golf, visit or call 1-877-KAPALUA.

Tidewater Golf Club

Gravity Golf at Boca Lago CC

Golf Vacations • January 2019 9

• • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • CHIPSHOTS

Greg Norman Inducted into Asia Pacific Golf Hall of Fame

On November 3, 2018 in Bangkok Thailand, Greg Norman was inducted into the Asia Pacific Golf Hall of Fame – the highest honor bestowed upon a golfer in the region. The twelfth staging of the annual prestigious industry award program was held at the Asia Pacific Golf Summit and also honored Greg Norman Golf Course Design (GNGCD) as “Designer of the Year” and KN Golf Links Cam Ranh as “Best New Course.” “Asia has always been an important place in my career – from my days playing on TOUR to building golf courses to assisting in the development of growing the game through grassroots golf,” said Norman. “To be inducted in the Hall of Fame and receive these awards on behalf of my design business is certainly a great honor and I am grateful to everyone in Asia who has supported me throughout the years.” Norman spent a substantial amount of his career on TOUR in Asia playing in Japan,


10 Golf Vacations • January 2019

Hong Kong, Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, China and Korea throughout the 70s and 80s. GNGCD also has a significant footprint in Asia having opened 19 courses with another five currently under construction. “Aside from being the greatest golf star to have come from the Asia Pacific region, Norman is revered as a man who is very special in that he possesses unique qualities which have led him to excel both as a champion sportsman and a hugely successful entrepreneur,” said Mike Sebastian, CEO of Asia Pacific Golf Group. “It is for these milestone achievements that he is being recognised and inducted into the Asia Pacific

Golf Hall of Fame.” KN Golf Links Cam Ranh celebrated its Grand Opening on Oct. 27 and has already received high-praise as one of the premier links golf destinations in Vietnam. Cam Ranh is Norman’s third design in Vietnam with both The Bluffs and Danang included on Golf Digest’s 2018-2019 “World’s 100 Greatest” Rankings (No. 35, 94 respectively). For more information on the Asia Pacific Golf Summit:

Matt Adams/Fairways of Life Golf Show Announces New Global Distribution After over a decade on SiriusXM Radio, Matt Adams, the award-winning broadcaster, writer, New York Times best-selling author and Golf Channel commentator, is taking his nationally acclaimed golf radio show, Fairways of Life global. Adams and Fairways of Life announced today that the largest independent digital show in golf talk radio history will be


• • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • CHIPSHOTS Matt Adams

available for free across the U.S. and worldwide beginning this week on November 7 at 8:00 a.m. EST. Adams, who has been the host of the program since its inception in 2007, remains as enthusiastic as ever. “We are so excited to be able to provide in-depth golf radio content to all of the USA and around the world on air, on line and on demand for free,” Adams said. “It makes it so simple now to find the Fairways of Life Show on whatever device consumers use to listen, whether it be live or on demand, through every major digital audio platform.” Fairways of Life with Matt Adams will be live Monday – Friday at 8:00 a.m. EST on and the Fairways of Life App (available in both iOS and Android). Click on the links below to download the In addition, Fairways of Life with Matt Adams can be heard on iHeart Radio (90 million), TuneIn Radio (60 million) and on demand worldwide 24/7 on every major audio digital platform reaching billions of consumers including; iTunes (800 million), Spotify (170 million), Stitcher, Google Play (1 billion), Twitter (330 million) and Facebook (1.86 billion) as well as, Spreaker and Amazon Alexa. Fairways of Life’s unprecedented worldwide distribution will instantly cause the show to become the most widely distributed daily live golf talk show in the world. The Fairways of Life Show, the most listened to golf in the world, is an entertaining and fun platform for inside information, unforgettable interviews with the game’s legends and stars, as well as lively interactive discussions about the game, travel and the latest in golf equipment. Matt Adams’ passion for the game and for life creates a show that’s unlike any other and will keep you informed, entertained and engaged. To learn more about the Fairways of Life show with Matt Adams please visit

Nicklaus Design. Significant improvements implemented by Nicklaus Design, led by senior design associate Chris Cochran, include the removal of Palmetto palms on the right side of No. 1 and left side of No. 9 to offer more options for PGA TOUR players on their tee shots as well as approaches into both greens. The removal will also allow for better crowd flow during the Honda Classic as the annual event has become one of the most popular and well-attended on the PGA TOUR schedule. Additionally, one-third of an acre (14,400 sq. ft.) was recaptured on the putting surfaces, adding an average of 800 square feet per green. Most notably, the putting surfaces will return to the native design Jack Nicklaus and his team implemented 16 years ago. The green complexes were re-built, shaped and grassed with Tif-Eagle Bermuda. This results in seamless transitions from green surrounds to putting surfaces and tighter relationships with respect to greenside bunkers. The changes allow for consistency in a variety of weather conditions and make one of the true “bucket list” courses in the game even more compelling. The mighty Champion Course has long been feared and revered as one of the most challenging in the game.

PGA National Resort & Spa’s Celebrated Reopens Following Major Renovation PGA National Resort & Spa – South Florida’s world-class golf, vacation, meetings and spa destination – has reopened its celebrated Champion Course following a major $1 million renovation by

PGA National

Golf Vacations • January 2019 11

• • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • CHIPSHOTS

Construction And Grow-In Creating A Buzz At Dumbarnie Links

Expectations are soaring for the new Clive Clark-designed Dumbarnie Links in Fife, Scotland. The course was gifted warmerthan-average temperatures and minimal precipitation over the summer, which allowed construction and grassing crews to get slightly ahead of schedule, building even more excitement for the latest golf jewel on the eastern coastline of central Scotland, within ten miles of St. Andrews, the “Home of Golf”. “There was already so much to be excited for with Dumbarnie Links – a spectacular parcel of land with extraordinary sweeping panoramic water views over the Firth of Forth, in the ideal location for a bucket-list golf experience,” said award-winning course architect Clive Clark. “With everything else that has gone right so far in the early stages, there is a palpable energy about how great this genuine links golf course is going to be. It’s very exciting.” “We already had so much optimism for success when we got the green light to build Dumbarnie Links, and with the assistance of some record-breaking weather courtesy of Mother Nature in 2018, there is even more excitement building for this once-in-a-lifetime project.” said Luke Beardmore, OB Sports Senior Vice President of Agronomy and Construction. “The much warmer and dryer than normal temperatures have allowed for a quicker, stronger, and better overall grow-in. Having such a great stand of turf this early in the project should help the course mature and be in fabulous condition before we open in the Spring of 2020.” Located on the north shore of the Firth of Forth, directly across the water from Muirfield, in a secluded corner of the East Neuk of Fife, Dumbarnie Golf Links already has all 18 holes shaped –14 of them featuring ocean views. All 18 greens have already been

Clive Clark-designed Dumbarnie Links seeded with a fescue/bentgrass combination, and 17 fairways have already been seeded – all just five months into the construction process. Tee boxes and walking trails will feature a rye/fescue grass combination. All 18 holes will be finished ahead of schedule. “We know it’s more of a marathon than a sprint, but we also can’t help but crack a smile at what’s going on here,” said Clark. “We have on board an amazing staff of world-class greenkeepers supervising and executing the grow-in, and we’ve had perfect conditions for an outstanding project so far. The Golf Gods have been smiling on Dumbarnie Links, and we couldn’t be happier with the results.” Construction of the golf course began in late May of2018, with the goal of getting it seeded by the end of 2018. The grand opening of Dumbarnie Golf Links is tentatively scheduled for the Spring of 2020.

Dumbarnie Links in Fife, Scotland

12 Golf Vacations • January 2019

• • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • CHIPSHOTS Troon Golf Academy at The Westin Mission Hills Resort

Troon Selects Nbc Sports’ Golf Advisor As Licensee For Troon Golf Vacations ORLANDO, FL – Golf Advisor, NBC Sports’ ultimate digital destination for the traveling golfer, today announced a new partnership with leading golf course management company, Troon, making Golf Advisor the official licensee of Troon Golf Vacations. Golf Advisor will assume responsibilities for marketing and fulfillment for hundreds of properties within the Troon Golf Vacations destination portfolio. Troon Golf Vacations destinations include Hawaii, Scottsdale, Florida, Las Vegas, Palm Springs, Puerto Rico and more. Notable golf courses include Kapalua on Maui, Troon North in Scottsdale, Pronghorn in Oregon, Tiburón in Florida, and Bahia Beach in Puerto Rico, to name a few. “The rapid evolution of the travel offerings introduced in 2018 to the Golf Advisor brand has been exciting to watch,” said Jeff Foster, senior vice president, GolfNow and Emerging Businesses. “This new partnership complements an already great resource for the avid traveling golfer. Since Troon has always been a valued partner within our businesses, expanding our relationship to drive more golf travelers to Troon locations is a very natural next step.” “We are excited to partner with

Golf Advisor and Golf Channel on this collaboration with Troon Golf Vacations that will ultimately deliver golf vacation travelers to our family of courses, resort partners and destinations,” stated Tim Schantz, president of Troon. “Together with our Troon-supported sales and marketing reach, combined with Golf Advisor and Golf Channels marketing, we will create new synergies that will connect traveling golfers with stunning resort locations.” Troon Golf Vacations currently offers customized golf packages that couple resort accommodations and Troon-affiliated courses around the world. Golf Advisor, which features more than 800,000 golf course reviews, award-winning editorial content and a host of travel experiences, will use its resources to significantly enhance the Troon Golf Vacations brand and help heighten awareness of Troon-affiliated destinations across North America through digital promotion, social media and via Golf Channel on-air exposure. Operationally, Golf Advisor plans to integrate new technologies to improve the overall booking experience for golfers and maximize efficiencies for both golf travelers and host destinations. Golfers will be able to continue to book their travel experiences through the Troon Golf Vacations page on TroonGolfVacations. com – which Golf Advisor will host and manage – and now also via Golf Advisor.

T-Shotz – A New Golf And Entertainment Complex Is Coming To The Kansas City Northland T-Shotz, an exciting, new 52,000 squarefoot golf and entertainment complex, is coming to Kansas City’s Northland as part of the Metro North Crossing Redevelopment – a retail entertainment center that will also house a cinema, hotel, multi-family residential, as well as a number of unique retail and dining destinations. T-Shotz is expected to open in the spring of 2020. Troon®, the leader in golf course management, development, and marketing has been selected to manage T-Shotz. T-Shotz will feature 66 climatecontrolled, technology-enhanced hitting bays and suites on three levels where guests can eat, drink and socialize while overlooking the expansive 200-yard greenturfed target range. Designed for all ages and skill levels, the new venue will differ from other golf entertainment complexes in a variety of ways, including: Guests can “play” several famous golf courses, play unique golf games and compete on target golf games from their hitting bay as their golf shots are projected to both a highdefinition monitor and television displaying games, courses or targets. Experienced golfers will enjoy advanced golf ball tracking technology (the same golf professionals use) and get real-time data on every swing, including club-head speed, spin-rate and distance. T-Shotz will include two restaurant/bar venues. Both restaurants will offer local farm-to-market comfort food and shareables, with the top-level venue having an added oyster bar and lounge area. More than 125 high-definition televisions will broadcast sports programming, making T-Shotz the hub for sports and entertainment viewing in the Metro. T-Shotz will offer dedicated special event and private event spaces for small to larger groups for corporate outings, tournaments, fundraisers, kids and teen parties and more. “T-Shotz is a great addition to Metro North Crossing Redevelopment and will be one of the outstanding entertainment venues to come to the Kansas City Northland in recent years,” said David Horn, the project manager for Metro North Crossing Redevelopment. “T-Shotz will provide an entertaining atmosphere to compliment the redevelopment’s retail, other entertainment and upscale contemporary apartments. With enticing food and beverage, and outstanding service, T-Shotz will attract more than just golfers.”

Golf Vacations • January 2019 13

P unta M it A Whale of 14 Golf Vacations • January 2019


Pacifico Golf Course By Tim Cotroneo

a Golf Story

Golf Vacations • January 2019 15



hen you are the greatest name in golf, you tend to hold all the cards. In 1999, the DINE Real Estate development team in Mexico’s exclusive Punta Mita region tugged at Jack Nicklaus’ sleeve and requested, “Please design our new golf course.”

Here’s the part where the DINE developers held a bit of leverage with the Golden Bear. Nicklaus was offered the best of the best property to apply his design magic. That’s saying a lot when you consider Punta Mita is comprised of 1,500 choice acres almost completely surrounded by the Pacific Ocean and Bandaras Bay. So the question was, “Jack, do you think you could do something special here?

courses in all of Mexico, perhaps you’ll enjoy hunkering down at not one, but two Five Star resorts with around the clock service. Not enough? How about we throw in miles of beach, a plethora of restaurants, and a spa?

Once you’re comfortably checked in at the Four Seasons or the St. Regis, the Pacifico course sneaks up on golfers in the quietest way possible. The silence is deafening on the Par 4, 421-yard first hole. The air is so quiet it’s like the 40-foot palm trees are ambassadors to an upscale al fresco library. On a trademark Riviera Nayarit sunny day, the silence, the air, and the lush green Bermuda fairway makes golfers appreciate their odyssey to see what Jack built. First impressions are huge at Pacifico.

Fast forward to today and golfers from around the globe flock to the 7,100-yard Pacifico Golf Course which features no fewer than eight ocean holes. Nicklaus was handed a blank canvas that happened to include magnificent ocean views, awe-inspiring vistas of the Sierra Madre mountains, and two of the most luxurious names in hospitality located next door offering accommodations.

The quiet continues until the Par 3, 181-yard 3rd hole. That’s your first glimpse of Nicklaus the artist. Behind the green you’re welcomed by the sound of ocean waves and the sight of the Pacific in all its turquoise glory. The good news is this sensory embrace is just an enticing lure leading up to Nicklaus’ grand architectural entrée.

Five Stars, Four Seasons, and Two Thirds If you think that the DINE development team are good poker players, you’d be right. What’s one way to assure that golfers are lured to your golf course? How about positioning a Four Seasons Resort and a St. Regis Resort a mere three wood drive from your first tee box. After a satisfying day playing one of the most beautiful

Whale of a Golf Hole Hole out on number three and walk fifty yards to your right. There it is: The Tail of the Whale. For most golfers who’ve made reservations at Pacifico, at least part of the reason is to take on the course’s 19th hole. What do you mean 19th hole? The Tail of the Whale is considered hole 3b, a 190-yard extra hole that translates into a pure adrenaline rush.

16 Golf Vacations • January 2019



Golf Vacations • January 2019 17


Incline Village Championship Course No. 12

Golfers step up to the tee box and stare at an island green that’s all carry over the Pacific Ocean. There is no bail out. You’re either on the green or in the drink. This is golf in its rawest, all-natural form. The legacy of Pacifico’s hole 3b is it’s also a golf photo keepsake you won’t soon forget. Glistening is the word that jumps out on the Par 4, 355-yard 7th hole. The chances are about 95 percent that the sun is flexing if you’re playing in Punta Mita. That means the El Sol is bouncing off the Pacific Ocean waves serving as a backdrop to the 7th hole green. If you speak Spanish, you’d say the putting green spectacle you’re witnessing is “brilliante,” or “glistening” if English is your first language. The 8th hole is one part bougainvillea, one part surfer, and one part Jack you’ve done it again. The red flowers accenting the tee box and putting green add a sexy dash of color to this magnificent Par 3. By the way, the surfers frolicking in the ocean to your left are taking advantage of El Faro, one of western Mexico’s best spots for hanging ten. A Magnificent Ahhh At the turn you may wish to toast the Mexican vibe that is Pacifico. Ask for a “Michelada” to quench your thirst. Watch as the bartender runs a lime wedge around the rim of your glass, then adds a bit of sea salt and even a dash of chili powder. Fill your glass with your favorite beer and add ice. Depending on your bartender’s preference, you may also request tomato juice, lime juice, and Worcester sauce.

18 Golf Vacations • January 2019

Nicklaus’ flair for the dramatic builds on the Par 4, 387-yard 17th hole. The whole left side is an immense expanse of Pacific Ocean. If you wonder how Jack could possibly raise his game after the spectacular 17, adjust your sombrero before tackling the Par 4, 445-yard 18th hole. This time the Pacific shows up on the entire right side of the fairway and then wraps behind the green. The 18th is nothing short of “magnifico.” Before heading to the clubhouse, trying circling back for a moment. The best photographers often say to look behind you for the money shot you may have neglected. Absorb the Pacific, the surfers, and a final look at one of the Golden Bear’s best. Let out the satisfying “ahhh” that translates in any language. Everyone Goes Home a Winner Reflecting on the 1999 discussions between the Punta Mita real estate developer and the golf course designer, it seems that Jack Nicklaus held all the cards. Almost 20 years later, the verdict is in. Pacifico is a golf course in which both sides went home a winner. There is no doubt that Jack created something special in Punta Mita.



Golf Vacations • January 2019 19

The Oasis Dea

Furnace Creek G 20 Golf Vacations • January 2019

at ath Valley Oasis Inn

Golf Course

By David R. Holland Golf Vacations • January 2019 21


EATH VALLEY, CA – From a lofty perch at The Oasis at Death Valley, Bill Walton, Hall of Fame basketball star, sidestepped his “Holland” bike, looked out over Death Valley and said, “This is Mother Nature’s playground.” Little wonder the 6-11 former UCLA center loves coming to the desert, spending weeks at a time, enjoying a place where he can get away from crowds, go on 100-mile bike rides, swim laps in the warm springs fed tiled pool -- all between his commenting gigs on Pac-12 (“Conference of Champions”) games for ESPN. Things were a lot different way back in the olden days. When the gold fields of California lured 49ers to trek westward one party of pioneers envisioned a shortcut. Desperate for water they stumbled into an oasis. They found salvation in the springs at Furnace Creek, but as the stragglers climbed out of the valley over the Panamint Mountains, one of the men turned, looked back, and said “Goodbye, Death Valley.” So a lot of years have passed by since that ill-fated excursion. The Oasis at Death Valley was originally called Furnace Creek and is a true American oasis where 80,000 gallons of ancient waters rise to the surface every day. Eventually the land was purchased by the Pacific Borax Company that mined and hauled borax out of the valley with the famed Borax

22 Golf Vacations • January 2019

20 Mule Teams of the 1880s. The mules and miners were based at Furnace Creek. Transition to the 1930s and beyond when Hollywood celebrities found and enjoyed the Furnace Creek Inn and its solitude. The names included Ronald Reagan, William Powell, Claudette Colbert, Bette Davis, John Barrymore, Jimmy Stewart and many others, stayed at the spectacular luxury oasis. Guests also included honeymooners, including one especially well-known pair – Clark Gable and Carole Lombard. Today, The Oasis at Death Valley has a lot to brag about. The grand re-opening, held in December, was a huge success, with billionaire owner Philip Anschutz of Xanterra Travel Collection present along with Walton. Furnace Creek Golf Course: You will shoot the lowest round of your life Located within the three million acres that is Death Valley National Park, and declared as the lowest golf course on earth at 214 feet below sea level, this layout has a storied past, and has a promising future with 100 million dollars spent on the resort. My group was eyeing a rain forecast but that soon became no rain, but a sandstorm. What the heck, they once hosted “The Heatstoke Open” here and this day was a comfortable sweater day temperature.

I had a great time on the 6,236-yard, par-70 layout because at that altitude the ball doesn’t travel as far. What a conundrum to my usual altitude ball striking at home in Colorado. Also, watch for coyotes that might snatch your golf ball. The recent upgrades included a focus on water conservation and the transition of 15 acres of maintained turf to desert with low-water-use native plantings. Still, palm and tamarisk trees frame the fairways and desert mountains are visible from all areas of the course.

Tag the course with a “Certified Audubon Cooperative Sanctuary” by the Audubon Cooperative Sanctuary System (ACSS) -- the 42nd course in California and the 630th in the world to receive the honor. Furnace Creek Golf Course was one of California’s first desert courses and actually had a short version in 1927, when date palm farmers laid out three holes, then expanded the course to nine by 1931, to provide some fun after work time. Although surrounded by barren and desolate land, it sits on an oasis so there is water to sustain the course.

Golf Vacations • January 2019 23

24 Golf Vacations • January 2019

Early photos even show sheep grazing in the fairways – nature’s first mowers. Heralded course architect William F. Bell (Torrey Pines) added a second nine in 1968 and Perry Dye, son of hall of fame designer Pete Dye, came in for a renovation and redesign in 1997 and installed a full irrigation system. Dye also added subtle mounding and re-contoured greens to the already fun layout. Water comes into play on nine holes now and four sets of tees provide an enjoyable challenge for players of all skill levels.

Despite the trees, ponds, green grass and oasis look only die-hards wanting to challenge themselves play in 115 degree heat of a July or August day. This is a fun golf course, but don’t expect Pinehurst, Pebble Beach or even The Broadmoor, which interestingly is a sister course owned by the same Xanterra Travel Collection. Furnace Creek Golf Course was recognized by Golf Digest in their list of “America’s 50 Toughest Courses.”

Golf Vacations • January 2019 25

Burgers and hot dogs are also tasty at The 19th Hole -- an open-air venue that offers a variety of food options and looks out to the golf course. I once include an area where you could just drive your cart up a ramp to order food and drink. The 2018 Renaissance of The Oasis at Death Valley Originally built in 1927, the historic, four-diamond mission-style Inn at Death Valley is even better today after a major $100 million dollar investment. The property features 66 updated rooms, renovated fine dining restaurant and cocktail lounge, new Tranquility Spa, verandas with panoramic views of Death Valley and the Panamint Mountains. Lavish gardens, and a stunning spring-fed pool (naturally at 85 degrees) borders a new café and cabanas. There are 22 private, one-bedroom casitas, providing a new level of guest accommodations. In addition, the brand-new Mission Gardens offers a space for quiet reflection or the ideal location for a wedding or other special event. The entire property is now adorned with amazing Western art, and the outdoor terraces are shaded and furnished to provide a true inside/outside experience. The Ranch at Death Valley also emerged after extensive renovations, including a transformation into a mission-style town square, complete with a courtyard and welcoming reception area. New retail and food and beverage facilities create a central hub for entertainment and socialization by providing an ice cream counter, western saloon, retail store and Borax Museum artifacts. Night Skies Death Valley is one of only eight designated “gold tier” International Dark Sky Parks in the United States where stargazers can actually see the Milky Way with the naked eye. If you are planning your trip specifically around night sky viewing, check with the resort about

26 Golf Vacations • January 2019

potential astronomical events. Also, remember to check the moon calendar. Stars are best viewed on moonless nights. Dining and amenities Dining options include The Inn Dining Room, Last Kind Words Saloon, Inn Pool Cafe and 1849 Buffet. More amenities • Located next to the National Park Visitor Center • Spring-fed pool that is consistently 87 degrees • Communal fire pits • Tennis, basketball, and volleyball courts • Horseshoe pits • Playground for the kids • Horseback rides and carriage tours • Rent a Jeep to explore the park So how hot does it get? On July 10, 1913, when Death Valley hit 134 degrees, a record was posted – the hottest air temperature ever recorded on Earth. But if you go to Death Valley in many months of the year it can be in the 70s. My visit had temps in the 60s. The Oasis at Death Valley is just 120 miles northwest of Las Vegas, Nevada and 275 miles northeast of Los Angeles, California. It is a place to get away from it all. And you might just have a conversation with a Hall of Fame basketball player. Bet Bill Walton is thrilled we just told the world about his hideaway. Bill Walton photo taken by writer David R. Holland in The Last Chance Saloon, The Ranch at Death Valley, pictured with Temecula Roads, a young singing group

Golf Vacations • January 2019 27


28 Golf Vacations • January 2019



eorge Orwell didn’t play golf but the islands he described as “the most un-gettable-to places” are being reborn and rediscovered as ancient golfing land. On the Inner Hebrides they have been golfing as long as they have been legally distilling.

Soon the Bein Heartache lighthouse could be as familiar as Turnberry’s and Maladorous Bay mentioned in the same awed breath as Spyglass and Pebble Beach. And the “Sheepfold Hole” as well and widely known as “The Road Hole”. The Outer Hebrides has five courses – Isle of Harris, Barra ( the most westerly in the UK), Benbecula ( a nine-hole services course only opened to civilians in the 90s), Stornoway (1890) and Askernish (1891), designed by Horace Henderson and Old Tom Morris. who described he choice of land for golf in the Hebrides as “staggering” nature, being in his opinion, the supreme golf architect. Scotland’s Inner Hebrides are hallowed golfing terrain too. Islay – the Queen of the Hebrides, 2-3 hours from Glasgow and Edinburgh by train or car but only 25 minutes from Glasgow airport by “Loganair” - has a long golf heritage. “The player who beats the Colonel on level terms requires to play very good golf.” So wrote one visitor after playing Islay’s long-gone nine hole par41 Gartmain course near Bowmore, where the island’s first legal distillery was built in 1774. Islay now has seven distilleries. And even makes gin – “The Botanist” and “Nerabus”. Gartmain opened in 1907 but was allowed to grow over. Islay’s more famous “natural course with good turf” - as it was described in 1900 - has just re-opened, having undergone a makeover which should appeal to the romantics, purists and linksland loyalists. As well as many others who might be described as “young” or “longer hitters”. Or both. Islay Golf Club is now the new Machrie Golf Hotel and Links. Investors include Baroness Dye, the former diary secretary of former Prime Minister, Gordon Brown. The property is located a mile from the island’s Glengedale airport and ten minutes from the ferry terminal at Port Ellen. DJ Russell, former Ryder Cup Vice-Captain who played in over 700 professional events and is now chairman of the Seniors’ Tour, has redesigned the historic course. Russell partnered with 1991 US Masters champion, Ian Woosnam to work the redesign, through the” machair” – tufted short grass growing in sand dunes between land and sea. The course and hotel were closed for six years. Says Russell, “It’s still old-fashioned. You can bump and run and putt from a hundred yards out. If you care to, and think you can. But we have minimized the blind shots, which some didn’t like on the old course. But you still get those on the new. When you get out of position. “We’ve also widened the fairways. I’ve yet to see someone having fun looking for their ball. “It’s not a crash bang wallop course. It rewards risk as well as artistry. And straight hitting. It’s there to be enjoyed.”

Golf Vacations • January 2019 29

ISLAYGOLF But Machrie isn’t the oldest Hebridean island course. Or perhaps the truest and most classic test of seaside golf. Colonsay’s golf course, 90 mins away by Cal Mac ferry, goes back to 1775. It’s first hole is one of the great tongue twisters of world golf - “Traigh Traigh an Tobair Fhuair (meaning, “Bay of the Cold Well”). The second is called Port Lobh (“Malodorous Bay”). Two burns cross the course with views out to the Ardskenish peninsular, Beinn nan Caorach (“Hill of the Sheep”), Dubh Hearteach lighthouse and the Dun Ghallain headland where a mediaeval fort once stood. In the late nineteenth century, the hoteliers were known as “the Misses McNeill”. They maintained a “undulating machair that holds such fascination for the golfer”. The course was mapped out by a JS Williamson of Troon in the 1930s but the holes already had names, thanks to a group of locals called the “Colonsay Thieves”. Members died or left the island and the course disappeared. But then reopened in 1978. Every August, it hosts the annual Colonsay Open, when anyone who turns up can pit their skills against the Viking’s Grave (6th), the Fank or Sheephole 7th, “Reekin’ Kelp (9th) and The Rushes (14th). The course measures 4,752 yards and comprises four par5s, eight par-4s and six par-3s. The members enthuse about the crosswinds, the ball-eating burn and “tatty-bye”. It has no bunkers. Just rabbit holes. Sheep are the greenkeepers. And they nibble down the very small greens to a slow STIMP reading. Sometimes you have to bump and run on the greens. The 1964 Isle of Skye Golf Club, which hosts its annual Open every July, is more manicured. The 4776-yard Sconser Club, which has its own full-time greenkeeper, was designed by former walker Cup player, Dr Frank Deighton. He died in February 2018 and his ashes were scattered over the course which has holes with names like Suidhisnis (Seething headland). At the foot of red Cullins, the course looks out over Raasay and several Mealls and Munros. Sometimes you can have the course and the old man of Storr to yourself. The old Machrie was created in 1891 over a hundred years after Colonsay, and seventy-three before Skye, by Willie Campbell from Musselburgh. He was one of the first professional golfers to move to the US and worked as the professional at Brookline Golf Club in Massachusetts. He came sixth in the inaugural USZ Open held at Newport, Rhode Island in 1895. The bunker he came to grief in during the 1887 British Open is known as Campbell’s Grave. Machrie is now run by Campbell Gray Hotels. In 1901, Harry Vardon won a challenge match against H. Taylor and James Braid pocketing $125, then the largest prize in golf. He described the old first (“Mount Zion”) now part of the new 17th as “the hardest hole he had ever seen.”

30 Golf Vacations • January 2019

SURVIVING ILFRINN The now 525-yard, par-5 seventeenth is justifiably called “Ilfrinn” - the place of suffering and, often, great torture! Operators offer golf packages with private flights over from Islay to Kintyre’s fabled Machrihanish Links (1873) and new “Dunes”. Machrie is now 6782 yards off the black backs. Its holes have name like Sxots Maiden (3rd), “Heathery” (11th), and Willie’s Fancy 15th). The Kintra burn runs through the course. The eighth (Bog Strand) runs along the seven-mile-long Atlantic Laggan beach. The big-windowed 43-room luxury hotel has the island’s first cinema and has the feeling of a very modern high-ceilinged high-end hunting lodge. The locals approve. Although they grumble about the potholed approach road which seem to have been retained as a site of archaeological interest and historic significance. There is a six hole “wee course”, the ubiquitous virtual golf teaching facilities. The magnificent Sunday Lunch defeats most. Room 26 is the best room in the house looking over the eighteenth green and down the fairway. There is no room 101. That’s in Orwell not Islay. RAW Design’s portfolio includes Archerfield in Edinburgh, as well as projects in China, Bulgaria, Lagos and St Kitts. Russell and Woosnam also designed Amsterdam’s “The International”. But they are already in competition with sister island Jura’s extraordinary Ardfin Estate course. It was built by hedge fund multi-millionaire “Financial Wizard of Oz” Greg Coffey, and Bob Harrison, who worked with Greg Norman. Everything had to be imported by sea, mainly from Northern Ireland, to the pier at Craighouse, Jura’s principal settlement. George Orwell wrote “1984” on Jura (“The deer island”). Ardfin’s last hole ends up at the boathouse where, in 1994, the KLF rock band burned a million pounds. At the moment the course will be only open to its owner’s friends, making it easily the most exclusive golf course in the world. Machrie at na Torraig, Bruichladdich is open to all. New tees may have been added, greens raised, re-contoured and enlarged, or just moved. Greenside bunkers re-jigged and the sixth fairway moved closer to the Atlantic. But as resident PGA Golf Professional and 2013 Irish Fourball Champion, David Foley related, the course which not only skirts the dunes but crosses them, is still classic golfing habitat and its original designer would have approved. It’s still “a place made for gowf”. “The location and the tranquility is something you can never change. I have to pinch myself every time I come here,” says DJ Russell. “It’s nice to see the 58 degree lob wedges staying in the bag and four irons being sued from eight iron distances. Machrie is a very special place.” The reborn Machrie is not to be feared. Although a little “Laphroiag” single malt in your porridge in the morning helps to give some Hebridean courage. Winter rates start from $185 per room, per night and summer rates from $300 per room, per night, including breakfast. The 2018 visitors green fee is $80 per round and $125 per day. April-October 2019 - $150. www.

Golf Vacations • January 2019 31


with Target Lock Technology displays distance to the closest subject to pick up the flagstick even when it is in front of wooded areas, and Normal Mode helps read distances to hazards. The 6x magnification offers exceptional clarity and has a diopter adjustment for fine focus. Additionally, all TecTecTec laser rangefinders are equipped with a CR2 battery, wrist strap, microfiber cleaning cloth and quick start guide. Every purchase includes customary free shipping, a two-year warranty and a ‘love it or your money back’ 30-day full refund guarantee when ordering online. In addition to its golf and hunting rangefinder products, TecTecTec also manufactures cameras, drones, projectors, security systems and speakers. For more visit:


or anyone looking to spice up their golf accessories, Golfballs. com is offering a variety of stylish customization options that include everything from initials to your photo imprinted on your favorite brand of golf ball.

TecTecTec ULT-X Rangefinder


relative newcomer to the rangefinder category – the French company TecTecTec – has introduced its most advanced model with the ULT-X Laser Rangefinder that features several new technologies and features.

Not only are these custom gift sets, which can include logos and names on balls, tees and ball markers, great for personal or corporate branding, they make great gifts for any occasion.

Besides the ease-of-use and exceptional clarity of the lens, this new rangefinder from a company that began in 2014 and resides as the leading on-line brand of rangefinder on Amazon, gives loads of information in an instant when locking onto a target. It has all the latest bells and whistles you can find in a rangefinder such as the Target Lock Technology (TLT) which gives a vibration when it secures a target. The visible slope toggle function can be activated to calculate elevation-adjusted distances or easily disengaged for USGA-conforming play. The push-pull slope toggle is handy, and the on-screen distance and slope readings also provides angles of ascent or decent to the target. “We seek to provide the absolute highest-quality products at a price that is affordable for all players,” noted Renan Lore, Director of TecTecTec. “Unlike other brands, we use the most advanced components and manufacturing techniques to create first-class, extremely dependable laser rangefinders.” Advanced optics and state-of-the-art components provide exceptional clarity and the most precise distance readings of any rangefinder on the market in a comparison of the leading brands. The ULT-X is accurate plus or minus 0.3 yards up to 300 yards. TLT helps golfers quickly determine yardages and can capture distances to a flag at 400 yards and hazards at 1,000 yards. It also offers three unique modes: Scan Mode takes measurements continuously to help make decisions on the fly, Target Priority Mode

32 Golf Vacations • January 2019

In addition to its popular golf ball options, a variety of packages are available that include six-ball boxed sets that feature customizable accessories such as Bottle Opener, Poker Chip Set, Classic Divot Tool and more. Singular pieces of gear can also be personalized, such as bags, divot tools, towels, hats and more. Golfers and gift-givers can choose from the most popular golf ball models from all leading manufacturers and a plethora of customized options. Customers simply upload a picture or logo through the online store which is then printed directly on the ball before shipping.

SWEETSTUFF by Terry Ross

Other personalization choices include text, monogram, logo, a variety of images and the AlignXL™ alignment aid that helps to improve accuracy on the green.

Some of golf’s top brands are offered for custom imprinting, including Titleist Pro V1, TaylorMade TP5, Callaway Chrome Soft and Bridgestone TOUR. Based in Lafayette, Louisiana, Golfballs. com was founded in 1995 and was the state’s first e-commerce business. Initially selling only used golf balls, it has transitioned over the years into one of golf’s leading internet retailers and strongly focuses on customized products. No longer carrying used golf balls, the company instead now offers a complete selection of new balls, caps, shoes, bags, clubs and more from golf’s top manufacturers. Printing nearly 100,000 custom golf balls every week, allows customers to easily, quickly and affordably personalize golf gifts and gear. For more visit:

Callaway Women’s Shoes


allaway Golf is expanding its lineup of women’s golf shoes for the New Year with new lightweight spikeless

models that offer an accent on technology and enhanced fit.

and is backed by a two-year waterproof protection.

The classic designed Pacifica, with a full-grain leather and microfiber upper, has three key technologies to keep the golfer comfortable and playing great. The Opti-Dri technology transfers moisture away from the foot to keep you dry in all conditions

The Opti-Vent mesh liner manages heat with breathability for cool comfort. The Opt-Soft EVA midsole gives a natural feel and cushion on every step for serious comfort. The spikeless dura-rubber outsole with multi-directional traction lugs helps golfers maintain maximum stability and control during play. This shoe comes in white and black colors, sizes 6 – 11 and a medium width. The Pacifica carries a twoyear limited waterproof warranty. The Halo SL is a stylish choice for women on and off the golf course with incredible breathability. The Opti-Vent mesh upper allows for cool airflow and includes a 3D stability print for added support. The Opti-Vent mesh liner helps manage heat and maximize breathability. A 5mm EVA Opti-Soft midsole works with your foot’s arch for natural, comfortable walking. The dura-rubber outsole with multidirectional traction lugs offers a firm grip on any terrain and versatility on and off the golf course. It comes in white/grey, navy/white, black/grey color combinations and in a medium width, sizes 6 – 11. For more visit

Golf Vacations • January 2019 33

34 Golf Vacations • January 2019

Golf Vacations • January 2019 35

36 Golf Vacations • January 2019

Profile for Golf Vacations Magazine

Golf Vacations Magazine - January 2019  

Golf Vacations Magazine - January 2019

Golf Vacations Magazine - January 2019  

Golf Vacations Magazine - January 2019