OUR 11th YEAR!
THIS MONTH: SweetStuff • Destinations • ChipShots
GOLF VACATIONS FEBRUARY 2013
Plus: HUMANA CHALLENGE: A DIFFERENT LOOK1 www.golfvacationsmag.com
Golf Vacations • February 2013
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The Abaco Club at Winding Bay, Bahamas
14 • My Turn: Humana Challenge
by Terry Ross
The recent Humana Challenge—which is fast becoming one of the more talked about PGA Tour events of the winter West Coast Swing—has not only brought new life and enthusiasm to this venerable event in the Southern California desert city of La Quinta, but has also changed the perception of what a professional sports event should be about—getting healthy and staying healthy.
16 • Caribbean Greens
by Andrew Marshall
During the last decade, golf courses have been growing in the Caribbean faster than the island’s lush tropical vegetation. From Barbados to the Bahamas, top-drawer layouts bear the stamps of noted architects such as Robert Trent Jones, Pete Dye and Tom Fazio.
22 • Resort Report: Myrtle Beach
by Andy Reistetter
You know how it goes… one friend calls up wondering what you are doing for your birthday. Then another one calls and baits you a bit with “we haven’t played golf together lately, don’t you want an opportunity to win your money back.” Next thing you know you have booked ocean front accommodations, three days of golf on three mysterious courses and are heading to the range to tune up the game. After all it is my birthday… I know I am going to be lucky!
26 • SweetStuff 6 Golf Vacations • February 2013
by Terry Ross
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CONTRIBUTINGWRITERS 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.
Executive Editor Jeffrey Diaz
Andy Reistetter is a freelance golf writer as well as a Spotter, Research and Broadcast Assistant for The Golf Channel, NBC and CBS Sports. He spends time on all four major American golf tours and resides near the PGA TOUR headquarters and TPC Sawgrass in Ponte Vedra Beach, FL. Andy is a lifetime golfer and enjoys volunteering at the World Golf Hall of Fame and THE PLAYERS, while pursuing his passion for the game of golf. He can be reached at AndyReistetter@gmail.com
Associate Editor Terry Ross
Features Editor Larry Feldman
Senior Writers Andy Marshall Born in England, Andy has been a professional freelance travel writer for the past 20 years. During that time, he has traveled to over 50 countries, including Sri Lanka, Solomon Islands, Barbados, Panama and Indonesia to cover a diverse range of travel-related features for various magazines around the world. He regularly works with his professional photographer brother, Paul, on different projects, particularly golf, food and drink features. Visit his work at www.bogey.se
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.
JD Latorre Andy Reistetter Fred Robledo
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
President Jeffrey Diaz
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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 2013 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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PRINCEVILLE’S MAKAI GOLF CLUB NAMED TO GOLF DIGEST’S 2013/2014 “AMERICA’S 100 GREATEST PUBLIC GOLF COURSES”
PRINCEVILLE, KAUAI, HAWAII – Princeville’s spectacular Makai Golf Club on Kauai’s north shore has been named to Golf Digest’s newly released list of “America’s 100 Greatest Public Golf Courses.” The course also ranked in the top 10 of the publication’s list of Hawaii’s best courses. The 2013/2014 rankings are published in Golf Digest’s February issue. “We are thrilled to have the Makai included on this prestigious list,” says Alex Nakajima, General Manager of the Makai Golf Club. “It has been very gratifying, since the course’s renovation, to see the golf world take notice and gain a new appreciation for our course.” The Makai Golf Club, a Robert Trent Jones Jr. design, first opened in 1971 on the oceanfront bluffs of the Princeville Resort area on the island of Kauai. The course recently underwent a comprehensive 14-month renovation, reopening in early 2010 to rave reviews for its immaculate condition and playability. In 2012, the Makai Course was named one of the top five public courses in Hawaii by GOLF magazine. The 27-hole Makai Golf Club at Princeville features two uniquely individual courses: the magnificent 18-hole Makai Course, incorporating
serene lakes and stunning ocean coastline; and the leisurely 9-hole Woods Course, winding through native woodlands against a backdrop of lush mountain views. Visit www.MakaiGolf.com for more information.
POIPU BAY GOLF COURSE ANNOUNCES PACKAGES AND SPECIAL VALUES FOR 2013 POIPU, KAUAI, HAWAII – Kauai’s Poipu Bay Golf Course, which gained fame as the host course for the PGA Grand Slam of Golf from 1994 through 2006, has announced a variety of special values and packages for 2013. The spectacular course is situated on 210 oceanfront acres adjacent to the Grand Hyatt Kauai Resort & Spa on Kauai’s south shore. A Robert Trent Jones, Jr. design, Poipu Bay was recently named to Golf Digest’s 2013/14 list of “America’s 100 Greatest Public Golf Courses.” For golfers who want to play Poipu Bay more than once, the course’s 2013 “Grand Slam Package” offers three rounds of golf for a discounted price, with the requirement that all three rounds must be completed within 10 days after date of purchase. The package includes green fees, shared golf cart with GPS, use of the driving range, and three rounds at Poipu Bay for $425 plus tax. The Grand Slam Package price represents a substantial savings off the 2013
standard green fee at Poipu Bay, which is $240 ($170 for Grand Hyatt guests). In addition, Poipu Bay offers two multiround packages for players who pre-purchase five or ten rounds of golf. The five-round Prepaid Golf Package price is $660 plus tax; the ten-round package price is $1,200 plus tax. (Additional savings are offered to guests of the Grand Hyatt Kauai Resort & Spa.) Each golfer’s Prepaid Golf card will be kept on file at the Poipu Bay Golf Shop for easy access and check-in for their rounds. For 2013, Poipu Bay offers an Afternoon rate of $150 for play starting after 12 noon ($140 Grand Hyatt guests) and a Twilight Special of $95 for play starting after 2:00 p.m. (play must end by 6 p.m.). For those who want to play 36 holes in one day, the course offers a Second Round/ Same Day rate of $55. A nine-hole rate of $105 is offered between the hours of 7 to 9 a.m. Junior golfers are welcome at Poipu Bay. Young golfers age 17 and under can play the course for 50% off the adult rate at any time of day. All of the above rates and special packages are subject to Hawaii state taxes and are subject to change without notice. For more information or to book tee times, call the Poipu Bay Golf Shop at toll free 1-800-858-6300 or direct (808) 742-8711. Visit Poipu Bay’s website at www.poipubaygolf.com.
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Colonial Williamsburg Golf Course
10 Golf Vacations â€˘ February 2013
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“GOLDEN GOLF PACKAGE CELEBRATES 50TH YEARS OF COLONIAL WILLIAMSBURG’S GC
WILLIAMSBURG, VA. – One of America’s great golf courses – the Gold Course at Colonial Williamsburg’s Golden Horseshoe Golf Club – turns 50 this year. To commemorate the occasion and give golfers the chance to experience this vibrant example of traditional golf course architecture, Colonial Williamsburg is offering a special anniversary package. The “Golden Golf Package” includes: • Two nights’ stay at the Williamsburg Lodge • One round of golf per golfer per night’s stay • Complimentary replay rounds (to be booked upon completion of first round) • Complimentary Callaway golf club rental • Complimentary Golden Horseshoe yardage book • Complimentary personalized Golden Horseshoe golf bag tag • Commemorative 50th anniversary logo golf pouch and golf balls The package begins at $189 per person per night at the Williamsburg Lodge and is valid March 22 through Dec. 31, 2013. Package rates for the Williamsburg Woodlands Hotel and Suites, Colonial Houses – Historic Lodging, Williamsburg Inn and Providence Hall Guesthouses are also available by calling 1-800 HISTORY (447-8679) or online at www.colonialwilliamsburg.com. The Gold Course, which originally opened in 1963, was designed by the dean of American golf course architecture, Robert Trent Jones Sr. Upon its completion, Jones called the Gold Course his “finest design.” It’s a prominent example of traditional golf course architecture,
featuring pinched, often sloped landing areas as well as long approaches onto small greens. It’s also one of the most beautiful courses in the United States, routed through mature woodlands and lovingly maintained. When the course debuted, Jones described it as “a natural arboretum.” The course was awarded certified Audubon Sanctuary status in 2001. In 1998, architect Rees Jones, one of Jones’ sons, renovated the Gold, making it more playable for higher handicap golfers. Today, the course stretches to 6,817 yards with a par of 71 and USGA slope rating of 144. The Gold Course continues to earn accolades for its updated yet still demanding design: It is included on Golf Magazine’s “Top 100 You Can Play” list of public-access courses, and is one of the Top Six Robert Trent Jones Sr. courses named by Golf Digest, joining the likes of Ireland’s Ballybunion, Spain’s Valderrama, and California’s Spyglass Hill. The Gold Course appears on Golf Digest’s list (February 2013) of America’s 100 Greatest Public Golf Courses. Golden Golf Package play is available on all three Golden Horseshoe courses – the Robert Trent Jones-designed Gold Course, the Rees Jones-designed Green Course and the Spotswood nine-hole executive course.
CASA DE CAMPO TO HOST 9TH ANNUAL SPRING SHOOTOUT - 54 HOLE STROKE-PLAY La Romana, Dominican Republic - The 9th Annual Casa de Campo Spring Shootout will be held from April 21-25, 2013, at the finest resort in the Caribbean. The 54-hole stroke-play event—open to all amateurs, male and female, with a handicap—will be played over the top
golf courses in the islands: Pete Dye’s worldfamous Teeth of the Dog, Dye Links, and Dye Fore layouts. After a practice day on Sunday, April 21, the tournament will be conducted the following three days among 10 flights of men and 6 flights of women golfers. Winners from each flight will compete in a shootout over Teeth of the Dog on Wednesday, April 24, until four players—two men and two women—remain. They will battle over the Dog’s 9th hole until individual champions are crowned. The Spring Shootout also includes a firstnight cocktail party and dinner, awards banquet, and a number of prize drawings. Rates for golfers competing in the shootout begin at $1,705 per person for a four-night stay and include: • Golf Lodge or Elite accommodations • Breakfast, lunch, and dinner daily • Drinks at all Casa de Campo hotel bars and restaurants • Unlimited drinks at the Oasis Bars and beverage carts during tournament rounds • Unlimited green fees, carts, range balls, and club storage • Tournament entry fee • Gift pack • Round-trip transfers from La Romana, Punta Cana, or Santo Domingo airports • Tax and service charge • Extra nights can be booked beginning at $232 per person and include all meals, drinks, green fees, and more. For more information, call the golf reservations office at (809) 523-8215 or visit www.casadecampo.com.do.
Teeth of the Dog
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HANK HANEY INTERNATIONAL JUNIOR GOLF ACADEMY ANNOUNCES SPRING 2013 CLASS
HILTON HEAD ISLAND, S.C. - Hank Haney International Junior Golf Academy (Hank Haney IJGA) – the only academy in the world to combine training, academics and competition for serious players – announces a spring class representing 22 countries and 22 states. The semester at Hank Haney IJGA began Jan. 7 and features a record international enrollment of 63 percent. Countries represented are Australia, Canada, China, Columbia, Ecuador, Estonia, Germany, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, Kazakhstan, Mexico, Panama, Serbia, South Korea, Switzerland, Thailand, Trinidad and Tobago, United Kingdom, United States, Uruguay and Venezuela. “Hank Haney IJGA offers an exclusive opportunity to train daily with dedicated junior golfers from across the globe while preparing for premier competition and future endeavors outside of the game.” says Peter Orrell, President and CEO of Junior Sports Corporation, owner/operator of the Hank Haney IJGA. “Our elite coaches create a personalized performance program for each student to reach his or her academic and athletic goals.” Hank Haney IJGA has produced several players who are now members of the PGA
and LPGA Tours. Up to 94 percent of past graduating classes have received college golf scholarships, many to top NCAA Division I schools. Former coach to Tiger Woods, Hank Haney serves as director of instruction. His students have won every major championship in professional, collegiate, amateur and junior golf. The full-time golf program at Hank Haney IJGA consists of spending half a day on golf instruction. For the second half, students in grades five through 12 attend school at the Heritage Academy. The Heritage Academy offers a progressive and diverse academic curriculum for adolescents pursuing extra-curricular passions. Classes average eight students -with a maximum of 15 -- thereby promoting individual attention. Optional English as a Second Language, College Preparatory and Honors courses are also available. From September until May, students compete on the International Junior Golf Tour. More than 60 two- and three-day weekend tournaments are held annually at prestigious venues such as TPC Sawgrass, Sea Pines Resort and Kiawah Island Resort. For more information about Hank Haney IJGA: www.IJGA.com/info, info@IJGA.com, 888.936.5327.
RTJ GOLF COURSE AT PALMETTO DUNES OCEANFRONT RESORT RECOGNIZED FOR ENVIRONMENTAL EXCELLENCE
HILTON HEAD ISLAND, SC – The Robert Trent Jones Golf Course at Palmetto Dunes Oceanfront Resort has achieved designation as a “Certified Audubon Cooperative Sanctuary” through the Audubon Cooperative Sanctuary Program for Golf Courses, an Audubon International program. Grant Backus, Superintendent, has led the effort to obtain sanctuary status on this course and is being recognized for Environmental Stewardship by Audubon International. The Jones Course at Palmetto Dunes is the 24th golf course in South Carolina, the 5th on Hilton Head Island, and the 995th in the world to receive the honor. “The Robert Trent Jones Course at Palmetto Dunes has shown a strong commitment to its environmental program. They are to be commended for their efforts to provide a sanctuary for wildlife on the golf course property,” said Joellen Lampman, Audubon Cooperative Sanctuary Programs Director. “To reach certification, a course must demonstrate that they are maintaining a high degree of environmental quality in a
Danang Golf Course
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number of areas,” explained Lampman. These categories include: Environmental Planning, Wildlife & Habitat Management, Outreach and Education, Chemical Use Reduction and Safety, Water Conservation, and Water Quality Management. “We are proud to have achieved Audubon Certification for the Robert Trent Jones Course. There are many reasons we wanted to complete the program. We have a unique coastal environment here at Palmetto Dunes and we want to showcase our diversity of wildlife, provide habitat, and show our commitment to preserving the environment,” said Grant Backus, Superintendent. The Audubon Cooperative Sanctuary Program for Golf Courses, endorsed by the United States Golf Association, provides information and guidance to help golf courses preserve and enhance wildlife habitat, and protect natural resources. Golf courses from the United States, Africa, Australia, Canada, Central America, Europe, New Zealand, and Southeast Asia have also achieved certification in the program. In addition to golf courses, Audubon International also provides programs for businesses, schools, communities, and new developments. For more information, contact Audubon International, E-mail email@example.com or visit www.auduboninternational.org.
DANANG GOLF CLUB LAUNCHES STAY AND PLAY PACKAGES Danang, Vietnam, January 7 -- The golf course named as the best in Vietnam at last month’s Asia Pacific Golf Summit has launched a stay-and-play initiative to attract golfers to the exclusive resort near Danang. Danang Golf Club and its adjacent sister property Ocean Villas are offering visiting golfers an all-inclusive package to play the acclaimed course and stay in a luxury two or three-bedroom pool villa for the equivalent of less than $US200/night per person. The initiative offers a modern doublestory two-bedroom pool villa for VND 8,135,000/night (USD 390) and a threebedroom pool villa for VND 10,475,000/ night (USD 503) with golf and extras. Up to four people can stay in the twobedroom villas and up to six in the threebedroom villas for the all-inclusive price, with breakfasts included. The packages include weekday golf for two people in a two-bedroom villa and for three people in a three-bedroom villa, caddie and green fees, buggy transfers to and from the golf course, breakfasts,
welcome drink on arrival and food/beverage and spa discounts. Weekend golf rates are an extra VND 630,000 (USD 30) per person. The modern Ocean Villas complex – which includes a Beach Club with large pool, restaurant, spa and kid’s club – is connected to Danang Golf Club by an under-road cart path. It takes just a few minutes to reach the course by cart from the villas. Ocean Villas is also offering special internet-only accommodation rates for its pool and beachfront villas, ranging from VND 4,730,000/night (USD 227) for a onebedroom pool villa to VND 33,485,000 (USD 1608) for a super-luxury sevenbedroom beachfront villa. Ocean Villas and Danang Golf Club were both developed by Vina Capital, Vietnam’s leading asset management company. Ocean Villas general manager, Erik Billgren, says the location and style of the villas offers a “home away from home” experience, with all amenities for golf, dining and relaxation on site. “It is unusual to find high quality accommodation like Ocean Villas as part of a world-class golf course, but we have it all – including easy access to World Heritagelisted Hoi An ancient town, the city of Danang, Marble Mountain and the area’s many other attractions.” Danang, Vietnam’s third-largest city, is one of Asia’s fastest-growing tourism destinations. A new airport opened in late 2011, with direct flights from Singapore, Kuala Lumpur, Seoul and all cities throughout Vietnam. Hong Kong-based Dragonair last week announced that it will commence three-times weekly flights to Danang from March 28. Danang is also acknowledged as Vietnam’s premier golf destination, headed by the Norman-designed Dunes course at Danang Golf Club, one of the few true links golf courses in Asia, which opened in 2010. Its award as best course in Vietnam at the Asia Pacific Golf Summit in Brunei in December is further evidence of the esteem in which the course is held among players and experts alike. General manager, Australian PGA member Ben Styles, says it offers a “oneoff” golf experience in Vietnam. “There’s nothing else like it here or anywhere else in Asia. It is totally unique, and now that we’re in our third year, the fairways and greens have settled down beautifully. Everyone who walks off the 18th green says it is a pleasure to play.” www.theoceanvillas.com.vn and www. dananggolfclub.com
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A Different Way to Look at Golf What would happen if you held a professional golf tournament and a health symposium broke out? The recent Humana Challenge—which is fast becoming one of the more talked about PGA Tour events of the winter West Coast Swing—has not only brought new life and enthusiasm to this venerable event in the Southern California desert city of La Quinta, but has also changed the perception of what a professional sports event should be about—getting healthy and staying healthy. With health-care giant Humana as the title sponsor, along with the help of former President Bill Clinton and his William J. Clinton Foundation as presenters, this January week devoted to health and wellness—and some golf—is becoming an oasis from the weekly parade of corporate sponsors and finding a winner on Sunday. On more than one occasion Humana of-
ficials noted that this tournament is as much about health as the world-class golf that is played on the three pristine golf courses in La Quinta. Since the sport of golf is probably played by the widest range of participants on earth— from children to seniors—it lends itself like no other activity to the pursuit of recreation and healthy pastimes. Humana and the Clinton Foundation have taken these attributes and have sought to bring awareness through the PGA Tour, its star performers and celebrities about the simple message of good nutrition and regular physical activity. Golf is about health and being outdoors and walking, and the overriding theme that this is a health event more than a golf event was never truer. Officials noted that three quarters of this nation’s health care costs could be prevented with lifestyle changes—but getting there is the challenge.
It is a simple message but one that needs repeating in order to take hold. Humana committed to sponsoring what was known as the Bob Hope Classic and has been enthusiastic about engaging with the community in healthy endeavors that go beyond the bounds of the golf tournament. And more is planned. During the first year of this new look for the tournament in 2012, Humana gave out internet-connected pedometers that tracked fans on more than 84 MILLION steps during the four-day tournament, and for 2013 this program was enhanced with the tracking of players’ steps during the tournament via Shotlink tracking that is used at all TOUR events. A total of 7,045,393 steps were taken during the competition by the 156-proffesional golfers, who burned an estimated 1,007,653 calories. Although these statistics may not mean as much to most people as the birdies and eagles scored during the tournament, the message of a
Former President Bill Clinton, Billy Casper and Gary Player
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Scenic PGA West
healthy lifestyle that these steps and calories represent go way beyond who won and who lost. Judging by the long lines leading up and around the Humana mobile wellness center, where patrons could sign up for a pedometer and do some fitness evaluation work, golf fans in attendance were enthusiastic about participating in the many health-related educational opportunities that were presented, including obtaining a personalized set of recommendations for lifestyle improvements, diet and exercise. This trailer is going to be making an appearance at a number of PGA Tour events this year and is creating a challenge to see which event’s fans walk the most steps as part of its Walkit Challenge. “The vision for the Humana Challenge is all about well-being....with a side of golf,” noted Bruce Broussard, President and CEO of Humana. “Through the Human Walkit Challenge we are encouraging all attendees, both at the Humana Challenge and across the country, to take a more active role in their health.” Humana also enlisted the help of several professional golfers to act as role models to
further this message, including 77-year-old Gary Player, who is still going strong in his eighth decade with more miles traveled than any athlete in history and 165 professional victories world-wide. Player certainly practices what he preaches as much as anyone with his religious exercise routine and nutritional habits that could see him active for several more decades. Much of the lead-up to the event during tournament week involved Humana’s various expanding community outreach programs that it has committed to in the host Coachella Valley region, including two additional multi-generational playgrounds to add to the one built in 2012.
These unique play grounds combine common equipment with senior fitness stations and walking paths for a comprehensive, multi generational activity experience. The Second Annual Humana Well Being Walk and the Humana Healthy Fun Fair where pre-tournament events that set the stage and the theme, along with the Humana Day at the Certified Farmers Market to bring residents of La Quinta together in the name of health. These were aimed at educating the community on how making small changes in their daily lives can have a significant impact on their health. The second annual Health Matters Conference convened by the Clinton Foundation at the La Quinta Resort was a full day devoted to bringing corporate leaders, athletes and health and wellness experts together to find solutions for healthy living and wellbeing--further exploring the possibilities for lifestyle changes. The message for the Humana Challenge is basic, but an important one that is finally getting the forum that it deserves.
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16 Golf Vacations • February 2013 FOUR SEASONS NEVIS
By Andrew Marshall
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uring the last decade, golf courses have been growing in the Caribbean faster than the island’s lush tropical vegetation. From Barbados to the Bahamas, top-drawer layouts bear the stamps of noted architects such as Robert Trent Jones, Pete Dye and Tom Fazio.
golf course architects Robert von Hagge and Rick Baril, in reference to Annie Palmer, the notorious ‘White Witch,’ who was mistress of Rose Hall Plantation in the early 19th Century on which the course is built. She was purported to be beautiful and beguiling and to have done away with three unsuspecting husbands.
All the key ingredients are here; sugary sand beaches, turquoise waters, cheek-caressing trade winds and golf sunny-side up. No two islands are alike and the mix of cultures and races give the Caribbean a unique style in cuisine, music, architecture and language.
Says co-designer Rick Baril: “We have tried to create a course that will give you a different experience each time you play. We have done that at The White Witch by creating multiple tees throughout. Whereas the low handicapper might have to carry a yawning ravine to reach the green, there are also tees allowing the shorter hitter to get there as well. The topography is unique, making each hole memorable and distinctive in its own right.”
You can almost choose a golfing destination by your cultural preferences, and with around 50 top-quality layouts, the Caribbean presents a delightful dilemma. Many courses are linked to luxury resorts where you’re guaranteed the ultimate beach vacation lifestyle with romantic sunsets, pampered service and gourmet dining. Here’s five of the best: JAMAICA - Ritz Carlton Picture this: You are at one of the Caribbean’s most stunning golf courses, carved out of 600 acres of lush greenery and rolling countryside, with panoramic views of the Caribbean Sea from 16 of the 18 holes. Golf clubs, balls, scorecard, tees, beverages and snacks are neatly arranged in your cart as your survey the surrounding landscape. This is the eye opening 500-metre, par-5 first hole at The White Witch golf course at Jamaica’s Ritz-Carlton Golf & Spa Resort. The par-71, 6,113-metre course was so named by its creators,
From pewter golf bag tags inscribed with each player’s name, to the elegant dining veranda of the clubhouse, to the luxurious changing rooms and well trained white-suited caddies called golf “concierges”, everything about the White Witch is decidedly top-drawer. The golf concierges are a unique service offered exclusively at The White Witch, that provides traditional caddie services in addition to other services such as restaurant reservations, ordering flowers for loved ones or making spa appointments. “Their knowledge of the golf course includes everything needed to negotiate the gusty winds, drastic elevation changes, and deceptive greens,” says head golf professional Mike Cole. “All of our guests needs are attended to, leaving them to just swing the club.”
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DOMINICAN REPUBLIC - Casa De Campo A tempting-trio of Peter Dye designed courses await golfers staying at Casa de Campo- one of the Caribbean’s most luxurious resorts. Dye said that he actually only created eleven holes on the Teeth of the Dog, God created the seven skirting the Caribbean Sea. Usually appearing in the world’s top 100 courses Pete Dye’s masterpiece skirts a jagged, rocky coastline, so close you can feel the salt spray. The first of the coastal holes, the 143-metre 5th, is a par-3 to remember and one scary looking hole. The only option is to hit the green because short, left or long is definite shark food. The signature holes on the back nine are nos. 15 and 16, a medium length par 4 and long par 3. In direct contrast to the front nine, these holes are lined along the entire right side by the Caribbean and are elevated above a coral cliff. Inland lies the designer’s clever, lake-studded Links Course, and his third track, Dye Fore is a 6,943-metre monster that marches along a plateau perched 150-metres above the mesmerizing Chavron River. With a collection of forced carries over yawning chasms, plus the speed and severity of many of the putting surfaces, Dye Fore is a real test even from the front markers. Casa de Campo is so extensive that guests are provided with a map and golf cart to help them get around. Besides the golf, there’s tennis, clay pigeon shooting, a marina, horseback riding, charter fishing,
nine restaurants and the remarkable Altos de Chavron. Built entirely by hand in the 1970s, it’s an exact recreation of a 15th-century Mediterranean village, complete with cobbled streets. A collection of fine restaurants with enviable settings, add to the plethora of options. BAHAMAS - The Abaco Club When you first glimpse the The Abaco Club’s golf course, nestled in a Garden of Eden setting called Winding Bay on Great Abaco Island (the biggest of a chain of Bahamian islands known as the Abacos), it provides an unforgettable sight with lush emerald green fairways skirting pristine beaches and the deep blue backdrop of ocean. Billed as the world’s first “tropical links” golf course, without the sun-drenched weather and swaying palms you could easily be excused for thinking you’re on a seaside course in Ireland or Scotland. This spectacular layout is the centerpiece of a $250 million (U.S) resort built by British tycoon Peter de Savary (and now a Ritz-Carlton managed club), who hired two of the world’s best golf course architects, Donald Steel and Tom Mackenzie to bring a slice of Scotland to the tropics. They have incorporated classic links ingredients swales, humps and hollows, small pot bunkers and undulating greens into the design. Add in the unpredictable nature of coastal winds and you have a demanding test. The gin-clear waters of Winding Bay are in view on the first 14 holes, while the final four traverse a coral cliff above the Atlantic.
CASA DE CAMPO
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On the 18th tee block, you are greeted by the sound of waves crashing against the rocky cliffs and a rolling carpet of lush landscape that stretches from tee to green. For the golf connoisseur it does not get much better than this. After your round, recount every moment over a frosty beverage or two on the veranda of the club’s main restaurant, which overlooks the bay and golf course, relax in the world-class spa nearby or retreat to one of the 75 tastefully furnished Bahamian cottages. BARBADOS - Sandy Lane The exclusive Sandy Lane resort is home to two championship golf courses (and a 9-holer), and the place where Tiger Woods famously reserved all 112 rooms when he tied the knot in a lavish ceremony at a reported cost of almost $3 million U.S. Like everything at Sandy Lane, the golf courses have been landscaped to a high standard. The Country Club is a parkland course, featuring several manmade lakes and some challenging approach shots to greens well protected by water and sand. Holes 6 and 7 are particularly sweet, and it has nothing to do with the fact that plumes of smoke can be seen rising from a nearby distillery busily converting cane juice into rum, the islanders’ tipple of choice.
Sandy Lane’s other course ‘the Green Monkey’ has so far remained hidden from the golfing public. It’s like the Mona Lisa of golf - enigmatic, untouchable and only available for Sandy Lane guests to play. Some people will pay any price to play, and stories abound of people tossing their room keys to their caddie after a round. “The vision of the owners,” says course architect Tom Fazio, “was to create a place as dramatic as any there is in the world.” Created and sculpted from what was once a working limestone quarry, Fazio slowly builds drama through the first eight parkland-style holes, and then startles golfers with a rapid descent into an abandoned quarry, where 27-metre high coral walls dwarf the fairways. From the remarkable 578-metre 9th where you drive from a high tee to a fairway 150 feet below, bordered by the quarry wall, to the flags that feature a green monkey with an extended curled tail that flutters in the breeze - everything at the Green Monkey is about grandeur and detail. The signature hole, the 206-metre par 3 16th, has become one of the world’s most photographed golf holes. Players hit down into the old quarry to a green edged by a massive bunker featuring a grass island carved in the shape of a Bajan green monkey, a species introduced to the island from West Africa more than 350 years ago and the inspiration for the course name.
THE GREEN MONKEY
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NEVIS - Four Seasons This speck of an island southeast of Puerto Rico, was thrust into the forefront of world travel in 1991 when Four Seasons Nevis opened as the Caribbean’s first AAA Five Diamond Resort. Over the years it has compiled a list of awards and accolades as lengthy as the dining room wine list. Adding to the appeal of the property is the 18-hole championship golf course designed by Robert Trent Jones Jnr. The 6,080-metre layout is a roller-coaster ride along the flanks of a cloud-capped volcano, with dramatic views at every turn. The course winds gently up the slope of Nevis Peak to the signature hole, the par-5 15th that is set some 150-metres above sea level with magnificent views of nearby St Kitts and neighboring islands. The hole measures a whopping 603-metres from the back tees and requires a 218-plus carry over a dramatic gorge to reach the shallow fairway. The 18th, a straightforward par-4 played towards the ocean may well be the best hole on the course. If you time it just right (teeing off around 2.00pm), you can finish holing out on the green with a beautiful sunset cresting the crystal blue water of the Caribbean Sea. This is tropical island golf at it’s very best.
WHERE TO STAY & PLAY JAMAICA Ritz Carlton (White Witch) www.ritzcarlton.com www.whitewitchgolf.com DOMINICAN REPUBLIC Casa De Campo (Teeth Of The Dog, Dye Fore & The Links) www.casadecampo.com.do BAHAMAS The Abaco Club & Tropical Links (A Ritz-Carlton Managed Club) www.ritzcarlton.com BARBADOS Sandy Lane (The Green Monkey & Country Club) www.sandylane.com NEVIS Four Seasons Resort (Robert Trent Jones Jr. Championship Course) www.fourseasons.com/nevis/
THE ABACO CLUB AT WINDING BAY www.golfvacationsmag.com
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RESORTREPORT Man O’ War is the only golf course in the world with back-to-back island greens
Golf Is Mystical in Myrt Myr 22 Golf Vacations • February 2013
MYRTLE BEACH, SOUTH CAROLINA
by ANDY REISTETTER
Golf Writer Andy Reistetter continues his exclusive “Play-Write” series in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina with a mystical trifecta of golf courses- The Witch, The Wizard and The Man O’ War. Returning to the “Golf Capital of the World” to celebrate a birthday with friends, some new and some old, was a memorable experience. How did the selection of these courses, played days before Halloween make the golf even more exhilarating? Join Reistetter as he reminisces on a not so frightful experience and discover mystical golf for yourself in Myrtle Beach.
ou know how it goes… one friend calls up wondering what you are doing for your birthday. Then another one calls and baits you a bit with “we haven’t played golf together lately, don’t you want an opportunity to win your money back.” Next thing you know you have booked ocean front accommodations, three days of golf on three mysterious courses and are heading to the range to tune up the game. After all it is my birthday… I know I am going to be lucky! What do a witch, a man-o-war and a wizard have in common? Let’s see a witch can fly and cast spells over others. A wizard is someone that seeks to control and uses magical powers. Centuries ago a man-o-war was a powerful warship in the British Royal Navy when it was a big deal that sails replaced oars. It is also a jellyfish with no propulsion but with venomous tentacles that can deliver a wicked sting. Let’s start with The Witch, a target golf sort of course that winds through 500 acres of the most beautiful swamp you will ever see. Playing this golf course and witnessing the wildlife and scenic insights into the surrounding marshes will definitely cast a spell over you. While I did not witness any witches flying around even though it was their enchanting time of the year, my flat blade accounted for a few grounded birdies. My favorite hole on The Witch was No. 9 because it is pure target golf. Only 344 yards from the white tee markers I hit a hybrid to safety on the island fairway. Though I missed the green with my 9-iron and failed to get up-and-down for par I felt successful in that I did not let her intimidate me to failure. On the practice facility, I enjoyed trying to hit the witch holding the flagstick for a marker at 175 yards as much as any approach shot on the course. Though we might think The Witch and The Wizard go together, it is the Wizard and The Man O’War that are side-by-side in the Land of Myrtle Beach. Separated by likely the largest lake in the area, water is also what defines the difference between these two golf courses.
tle Beach! www.golfvacationsmag.com
The Wizard is a links style golf course with bodies of water coming into play on only four holes though in dramatic fashion on No. 1 and the final three finishing holes. With hillocks galore and significant elevation changes, if you get out of position a wee bit it is likely to result in a blind shot. Loyal to its historic origins the clubhouse appears to be the ruins of an old Scottish castle. My favorite hole is the par-4 9th hole with large hillocks and gorse guarding the slight dogleg right and a memorable approach shot towards the castle in the distance. True to its aquatic heritage, Man O’ War has water in play on thirteen holes, most noticeably encompassing the greens on the par-4 14th and the par-5 15th, the world’s only golf course with back-to-back island greens. Though a man’s course, the ladies can play from 5,033 yards with
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only two forced carries on tee shots at the par3 6th and 15th holes. Of course, like the men there are four par-4 approach shots on the second nine over water at the 10th, 11th, 14th and 18th. My favorite hole was surprisingly the 558-yard (from the whites) par-5 8th hole with its gentle meandering fairway and stately pine trees down the right hand side. No, Andy did not make birdie there. In reality what these three golf courses have in common is their architect Dan Maples and the man who hired him, Claude Pardue. Maples is a legendary architect and builder with family ancestry dating back to the construction of Pinehurst in 1895. Prolific in the Carolinas he likes to design golf courses that players remember. Mission accomplished for sure!
Claude Pardue who first came to golf course ownership in Pinehurst will tell you his passion is business and he likes to build successful business operations. The creation of the Witch, Wizard and Man O’ War is the result of a thorough market analysis. The mystical success is really no mystery- he found the right land, the right architect and built three golf courses that are not only playable but fun to play. Each package round comes with lunch and two beers if you had a difficult first nine. While there is no doubt that Pardue is a golf marketer extraordinaire. Who else would commission their nephew to write and record a catchy theme song entitled “I Love The Witch?” Claude Pardue is a humble man at heart and directs his 100 employee, three golf course operation towards charity through
the Pardue Children in Need Fund. With a mission of “providing joy to kids who have little joy in their lives,” the headliner fundraising event is the Christmas golf tournament. As in the Land of Oz, there is always a happy ending playing mystical golf in Myrtle Beach. For me it was a birthday night out at the Alhambra Theatre being entertained by dancers, musicians and singers in One, The New Show. Laughing hysterically at comedian Grant Turner as Ricky Mokel, the hilarious stage hand, was a fun way to celebrate with friends. Oh and by the way, I did win “some” of my money back and “then some,” which basically paid for my room at the Sea Mist Oceanfront Resort. If golf can be mystical in Myrtle Beach, then life can be magical too!
Wizard 9th green with castle clubhouse behind
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Dusk at The Witch is beautiful, though a bit eerie...
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built-up lower section--often preferred by PGA Tour players ---completely removes the need for additional grip tape wrapping The Secret Grip can be purchased at www. boccierigolf.com and will soon be offered at leading retailers nationwide.
hen Jack Nicklaus endorses a gameimprovement product for serious golfers, you figure there has to be something to it. Boccieri Golf, maker of award-wining equipment such as the Heavy Putter, has landed the Golden Bear to help launch the Secret Grip, a patented technological breakthrough that allows players to easily back-weight their clubs, similar to the way Nicklaus did during his career while winning 73 PGA Tour titles, including a record 18 professional major championships. The Secret Grip represents the first time in nearly two decades that Nicklaus has given his endorsement to equipment not under the Nicklaus Golf banner. He will appear in promotional materials for the product and use it on his own clubs. Beginning in March, the Secret Grip will be available at retailers nationwide. “Throughout my career, all my golf clubs were back-weighted,” Nicklaus said. “The main benefit was that it helped slow down my hands and reduce dispersion. There are a lot of people who could benefit from the philosophy that I used and that is why we have been working with Boccieri Golf. If we can make the game easier and thus more enjoyable for people, that’s not only a good thing for them, it’s good for the game of golf.” The Secret Grip is designed to be installed quickly and affordably on every manufacturer’s clubs. Its heavier weight raises the club’s balance point, promoting consistent crisp contact for greater control and distance. This is achieved via a tungsten weight in the butt-end,
combined with a compound that’s 40-percent heavier than what’s used in standard grips. “Extensive research and testing has proven that counterweighting helps everyone from the high-handicapper to all-time greats like Jack,” says Stephen Boccieri, President and CEO of Boccieri Golf. “With the Secret Grip, players benefit from our unique weighting system without changing the brand or style they prefer. It is really like getting a new set of clubs.” Recent consumer launch-monitor testing of more than 500 players showed 95 percent reported a strong preference for the Secret Grip versus traditional grips. Further advantages of the Secret Grip include a total length one-inch longer than standard extending down towards the club face end, allowing players to grip-down for improved play around the green or on uneven lies; and a
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TX Golf, which has been known for producing classically inspired putters with a modern style since 1970, has introduced a putter designed for golfers with a significantly arching stroke – the Pitch Black 4 Putter. The design feature that differentiates the Pitch Black 4 Putter from the other putters in the company’s lineup is its putter head, which resembles a blade but is the size of a small mallet. Most blades are harder to control due to their size, but the Pitch Black 4 is both forgiving and easy to align. Each putter in the Pitch Black Series by STX is exclusively designed for a particular putting stroke; the Pitch Black 4 is ideal for those golfers who have substantial arching throughout their stroke. Additional weight on the toe combined with a flared neck hosel provides more toe hang to optimize the rotation. To elevate the center of gravity--which promotes a forward roll--the Pitch Black 4 Putter features the signature STX Roll Pocket. This hallowed out portion of the head also produces a larger sweetspot for better forgiveness and less twisting at impact. According to STX Golf Marketing Manager Jason Dengler, “The Pitch Black 4 Putter will appeal to golfers who prefer a traditional type head but need and appreciate its high performance features.” Every Pitch Black Putter features a brightly colored electric yellow, soft insert that optically jumps off the black head. This Soft Insert Technology is called “F.E.E.L”-–Friction Enhancing Elastomer Layer. This patented STX technology dramatically increases the coefficient of friction to put a greater amount of forward roll on the ball which starts putts on line. The Soft Face Insert keeps the ball in contact with the putter longer to also provide superior directional control, decreased ball skid and reduced ball deformation. “In addition to an innovative head and revolutionary soft face insert, the Pitch Black 4 Putter offers a strikingly dark finish on the shaft and head which gives the entire putter a seamless appearance. We have coupled that with a brightly contrasting sight line and the result is supreme visual confidence. In fact, our field studies and testing showed that golfers are
SWEETSTUFF by TerryRoss
more accurate because of this outstanding visual set up,” added Dengler. The new Pitch Black Series will be available in stores for the 2013 spring season. For more information on the Pitch Black Series, visit the company website at www.stxgolf.com
artin Golf is expanding its already popular lines of classic men’s golf clothing with some exciting new colors for its spring 2013 offerings available at select high-end pro shops across the country. The second of four offerings of the collection will continue the color palette stories of the Riviera and Costa del Sol, and introduces two new patterns for the men’s Popover shirt, now available in a Gingham Check and Bengal Stripe, both offered in the Riviera color palette. “The Men’s Popover is a standout shirt, and the new patterns such as the Gingham Check with the richness of the color palette, produces a look that is stylish, yet comfortable and casual,” said Rick Martin, company founder. “It’s a look that all men gravitate to, but can also be dressed up when worn under a nice blazer or sweater.” Martin, an executive in the apparel and golf industry with more than 30 years of experience founded Martin Golf two years ago and is on an unending pursuit of the perfect shirt while committed to all-natural fibers and traditional colors. His company motto: “Timeless as the Game” is a testament to the quality and detail given to these fine pieces of apparel. Also new for 2013 from Martin is the men’s short sleeve 2-button Pima Cotton Interlock shirt that features a self-fabric collar which has a more youthful look compared to the traditional 3-button placket. Martin’s select Pima Cotton yarn when knit with the interlock creates a luxurious soft hand. The 50s single interlock fabric is also available in a short sleeve solid T-
shirt, and features a higher neckline compared to your average undershirt, for a gentlemanly and dressy approach. Both styles are offered in the Costa del Sol color palette. The 2013 collection has also expanded the use of self-fabric collars--collars made out of the same fabric used in the garment body--to include more style and color options. This popular shirt will be offered in a variety of patterns throughout all four deliveries, and is now available in a long-sleeve. Another new feature for the self-fabric collar shirt is the use of a jacquard pattern, which
gives an illusion of being a solid shirt from a distance, but a closer look shows that there is much more design and texture than what appears to the eyes at first glance. “The self-fabric collar steps outside of the tradition of wearing a knit-collar golf shirt, and the addition of the jacquard pattern, such as in the Micro Check and Grid Check shirts, creates a great off-the-course look,” added Martin. These collections--like all Martin Golf apparel--are sold exclusively at green grass golf clubs. For more information on Martin Golf Apparel: www.martingolfapparel.com
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