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OUR 12th YEAR!

THIS MONTH: SweetStuff • My Turn • ChipShots







Golf Vacations • January 2014


2 Golf Vacations • January 2014

Golf Vacations • January 2014



Los Suenos Marriott Ocean & Golf Resort

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My Turn

by Terry Ross For golf purists, there is no better experience than playing at a club where the sport and its lifestyle is enjoyed the way it began— unencumbered, simple and with a purpose in mind.

Costa Rica: Golf in Nature’s Splendor by James McAfee Costa Rica offers visitors a fascinating vacation destination where they can experience nature in its most pristine state, enjoy adventure activities in a natural enåvironment not available back home or just relax on one of the many beaches. However, golfers haven’t been overlooked as several outstanding golf resorts have set up operations here in the past 15 years, providing quality golf courses that rival those back home along with superior places to hang their hats at night.


Turnberry Isle Miami by David R. Holland When the developers of Turnberry Isle Miami say they have created a tropical oasis it doesn’t take long to discover the vision turned to reality. Today’s golf experience includes two perfectly-manicured courses, the Soffer Course, stretching out to 7,047 yards at par 71 and the resort-friendly Miller Course, a par-70 layout measuring 6,417 yards.

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Resort Report: South Lake Tahoe

by JD Latorre The only golf course that plays along the beautiful shores of Lake Tahoe, Edgewood Tahoe Golf Course – also famously the site of the annual American Century Celebrity Golf Championship – is a favorite with celebs and pros alike.


4 Golf Vacations • January 2014

by Terry Ross

Golf Vacations • January 2014


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 James McAfee is the Dallas area based writer for The A Position and Texas Golfer. He is Director of Communications for The Golf Connection and President of On the Tee Communications, which handles PR assignments and runs more than 20 tournaments a year. He has been a member of the Golf Writers of America for more than 39 years. He was an editor with Golf Digest from 1971-78 and worked for 18 years as a sports writer and editor of newspapers in Texas and Oklahoma. He served as Executive Director of the Northern Texas PGA for 17 years and Executive Director/Secretary of the Dallas District Golf Association for eight years.

Jeffrey Diaz

Associate Editor Terry Ross

Features Editor Larry Feldman

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

JD Latorre is a freelance travel writer currently calling South Florida his home base. He has a knack for finding himself in some of the world’s most exotic locations, including Bangkok, Montego Bay, Bogata, Havana, Cabo San Lucas, 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.

JD Latorre Andy Reistetter Fred Robledo

For Editorial:

call (760) 774-2655 e-mail:

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

Published by


portsMedia publications

President Jeffrey Diaz

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


Destiny Media, LLC President/CEO James A. Diaz

Golf Vacations Magazine is published in digital format monthly and distributed online to over 1,000,000 golfer’s email inboxes each issue. Entire contents of this publication is copyright 2014 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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Golf Vacations • January 2014



Golf The Way It Should Be


or golf purists, there is no better experience than playing at a club where the sport and its lifestyle is enjoyed the way it began—unencumbered, simple and with a purpose in mind. Rare in today’s non-stop techno-world, these places still exist as a haven for the traditional golfer looking for the uncommon—but they do exist. One such club that has gained a following among those looking for the essence of the game is the Palms Golf Club in La Quinta—one of the prime destinations for golf in the California desert region east of Los Angeles. Although this area is known for its golf as well as a travel destination with numerous resorts and a site for many professional events over the years, the Palms is an iconic private club with an old-school membership that includes many well-known professional names. It is also somewhat known for what you won’t find there—and this is in a good way—no cells phones or tee times. The Palms, under the direction of founder and developer JD Ebersberger, opened as a players club in 1999 and holds true to its roots today with quick, but unhurried rounds of golf usually in the three and a half-hours or less on one of the best courses in the desert—private or public. The no-cell rule helps with the pace of play but not having everyone in the grill always glued to their devices is a nice touch and lends to the home-like atmosphere that is fostered by the tight membership. Even though there are about 400 members in the club, tee times are not needed or used, so it’s show up and be ready to play.

8 Golf Vacations • January 2014

Probably the most exceptional aspect of the club is how the membership, which admittedly has a very good crop of golfers with 50 professionals and an average handicap of 7.2 for the amateurs, has adapted to playing ready golf as a group so that the club is now known for sub-four hour rounds. As Ebersbeger noted, “it is a mindset” when everyone plays quickly and with a purpose to achieve the pace of play that you just can’t find at most courses in this day and age. Situated among more than 2,000 palm

The Palms Golf Club • La Quinta, CA tree at the base of the Santa Rosa Mountains, the Par 70 Palms stretches to 7,081 yards from the Black Tees, which can give its professional members like Fred Couples (the course designer along with Brian Curley), Arnold Palmer, Deane Beman, John Jacobs, Scott McCarren, Hollis Stacy and Frank Beard all they can handle. With eight combinations of teeing areas offering a variety of distances and teeing angles, members usually find where they are comfortable on a course that has an open feel but is tougher than it looks at first glance. The A-4 bent grass greens have an exceptionally true roll and give you the opportunity to hole lots of putts. The course is very walkable which is nice in the cooler winter months. The front nine is shorter and plays to a par 34, while the back-nine can stretch to almost 3900 yards and plays anywhere from a par 36 to 38. The club house, which features its own Hall of Fame for the accomplishments of its very noteworthy members, is comfortable and functional, but not overdone and boasts of some of the finest dining in the desert. But more than the course layout and the club house, the Palms is about the camaraderie of the membership and the feeling of home—or as Ebersberger says, “’s for those that want to grow old together playing the game they love.” At the Palms, they like to say that its members are dedicated to and cherish golf’s core values—this is golf the way it should be.

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CHARLESTON, SC – The Charleston area is encouraging duffers and diners to enjoy some of life’s finest pleasures at affordable prices during Golf Week and Restaurant Week, taking place Wednesday, January 8 through Sunday, January 19, 2014. During this time, residents and visitors have the opportunity to enjoy incredible values at some of the area’s finest courses, including Stay, Play and Dine packages, as well as world-renowned cuisine at participating restaurants offering prix fixe lunch and dinner menus. Featured “appetizer” offerings include a round of golf for two players at $90, three players for $120 and four players for $150. Participating courses include: • Coosaw Creek Country Club – includes complimentary range balls; 843-767-9000 • Dunes West Golf Club; 843-856-9000 • Charleston National Country Club – offer available weekdays (Monday through Thursday); 843-884-7799 • Links at Stono Ferry – includes range balls and a sleeve of balls; 843-763-1817 • Wild Dunes Harbor Course – includes 15 percent off Harbor and Links pro shop for the week; 843-886-2164 • Legend Oaks Plantation – includes yardage book, drink coupon and sleeve of balls; 843-821-4077 • Golf Club at Wescott – includes choice of logo towel or Tervis Tumbler Cup; 843871-2135 For the “entrée,” Golf Week is featuring a round of golf for two players at $110, three players for $150 and four players for $180. Participating courses include: • RiverTowne Country Club; 843-849-2400 • Charleston National Country Club – offer available Friday through Sunday only; 843-884-7799 For “dessert,” Shadowmoss Plantation is offering a round of golf for two players at $60, three players for $85 and four players for $90. To book, please call 843-556-8251. Call courses directly for tee times. -Stay, Play and Dine PackagesTying in with Restaurant Week, Stay, Play and Dine packages are also available, Sunday, January 12 through Thursday, January 16. A sampling includes: • Accommodations for one night at the King Charles Inn, round of golf at Kiawah Oak Point and prix fixe dinner at Hall’s Chophouse. The package begins at $184 per person. • Accommodations for one night at the Francis Marion Hotel, choice of a round of golf at Dunes West or Coosaw Creek and prix fixe dinner at choice of Virginia’s on King

or Old Towne Grill & Seafood. The package begins at $134 per person . Spouses and guests can also take advantage of Golf Week’s non-golfing package rates. For more information on Charleston Golf Week or to book packages, visit www. or call (800) 774-4444.

PGA GOLF CLUB ANNOUNCES NEW “STAY-ANDPLAY” SPECIAL PACKAGE FOR WINTER ESCAPES PORT ST. LUCIE, FL – PGA Golf Club at PGA Village – the premier publicaccess resort with 54 championship holes by legendary architects Tom Fazio and Pete Dye; the 35-acre PGA Center for Golf Learning and Performance; and the iconic PGA Museum of Golf – is introducing a new Winter Escape Stay-and-Play special offer for golf enthusiasts. Three-night, four-day escapes start at $600 per person. Valued at more than $1,200, this special package features: • Three rounds of golf at PGA Golf Club • Three nights of full-scale accommodations at Perfect Drive Villas • One 60-minute Trackman club analysis at the PGA Center for Golf Learning and Performance • A $25 food and beverage coupon for each golfer • All visitors to PGA Golf Club enjoy yearround complimentary admission to the PGA Museum of Golf Available dates are Jan. 1–April 30, 2014. Rates per golfer are based on four people sharing a two-bedroom villa. Prices are subject to availability and do not include taxes. Some of the best weather in the country occurs in South Florida during the winter, with average high temperatures in the 70s during January and February. Located an hour north of West Palm Beach, Fla., PGA Golf Club features an array of exceptionally conditioned and challenging layouts. The Wanamaker Course by Fazio provides a stunning backdrop against breathtaking palm trees and palmettos. His distinct Carolina touch is also evident on the Ryder Course with rolling hills, majestic pines and challenging water hazards. Weaving through 100 acres of wetlands, the Dye Course is a links-style layout with pine straw rough, vast coquina waste bunkers and grass-based bunkers. For reservations, call 888-247-8959 and reference “PSL-PUREW” or visit www. For more information on PGA Golf Club and The PGA of America, visit www.

Golf Vacations • January 2014


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PEBBLE BEACH, CA – The final countdown has begun for golf’s newest destination inside Pebble Beach’s Del Monte Forest – the unveiling of the reinvented Poppy Hills Golf Course, which is set for its first day of public play on April 4. And golfers can be confident they will not be “roughed up” by the new golf course – because there is no rough. Poppy Hills will incorporate just one cut of grass throughout the golf course – a fairway height that runs from the tee boxes to the green. The short turf is used as a defense, as well as for unique opportunities to score. The new design by Robert Trent Jones Golf Course Architects (RTJ II) embraces play both on the ground and through the air, rewarding the imaginative and strategic shot-maker. “We are fast approaching the start of a new era for Poppy Hills,” said Brad Shupe, general manager of the golf course. “What originally began as a master plan to merely modernize irrigation and drainage has led to an extensive and incredible renovation. It’s going to be a firm, fast, fun experience in the forest.” Far more open and spacious by design, the new Poppy Hills maintains its forest character, created by the dramatic surroundings of towering Monterey Pines found in Pebble Beach. The renovation includes softened doglegs that blend smoothly into the natural elevation changes of the landscape. The fairways have been thoroughly sand

capped to promote firm and fast conditions year-round, while all 18 greens were redesigned, rebuilt, and reseeded with bentgrasses. Natural sandy waste areas have been introduced along the forest floor. Not only do they add strategic value to a championship test, the waste areas play an integral role in reducing the amount of irrigated turf from 80 to 60 acres – making Poppy Hills environmentally friendly, as well as golfer friendly. Poppy Hills will play as a par 71, based on the 12th hole converting from a tight dogleg par 5 to a straightaway par 4 with a spectacular view of the Monterey Bay and Santa Cruz Mountains. The 11th hole remains a par 3, but with a completely new design, as it now plays as a short shot to a green tucked into the forest. The renovation also includes a remodeled golf shop, restaurant and practice facilities. For additional information access the renovation web site at

SEA CLOUD CRUISES: RIVER YACHT ON A GOLF COURSE HAMBURG, GERMANY – Sea Cloud Cruises, the Hamburg based operator for small, exceptional cruises, offers the golf enthusiasts among its guests a golfing trip with River Cloud II along the Danube in the coming year. During this special cruise, that starts in Budapest and goes via Bratislava, Vienna and Durnstein to Passau, golfers will spend one day each on three selected courses: the Pannonia Golf and Country Club in Budapest, located in the sprawling hills outside Budapest, the Golf and Sports Club Fontana in Vienna, which is one of the most elegant leisure facilities in Austria,

as well as the Golf Club Schloss Schönborn in Durnstein / Austria, located within a magnificent castle’s park. The golf package can be booked for an extra $525 per person and includes green fees for all three venues, transfers to and from the courses, the company of a golf pro throughout the journey, as well as golf carts and packed lunches. Cruise details: River Cloud II, Budapest / Hungary to Vilshofen (Passau) / Germany, April 24 to May 1, 2014, 7 nights cruise, price from / to Budapest / Hungary: from $2,875 per person based on double occupancy in a twin outside cabin. An early bird rate applies up until January 31, 2014 with a saving of $300 off the regular price. Passengers planning to extend their golf vacation for a few days, can do so from May 1 to 3, 2014 at the Columbia Hotel Bad Griesbach Golf Resort. The surcharge is $345 per person (double room). Since 1979, Sea Cloud Cruises has been a top name in the world of cruising. The 82-yearold four-masted Sea Cloud with its high standards of quality sets the precedent for the other ships belonging to the cruise line. Sea Cloud and Sea Cloud II have once again been elected to the Top Five Boutique Ships ranking by the Berlitz Cruise Guide. Information and bookings at your travel agency and at Sea Cloud Cruises, Inc., U.S. Office, 282 Grand Avenue, Ste. 3, Englewood, NJ 07631, Toll Free: 1-888732-2568 or under

Poppy Hills Golf Course

10 Golf Vacations • January 2014

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TPK Golf of Waconia, MN has added a new professional version of its popular training aid, the Putting Stick®. Following up on suggestions by teaching professional Mitchell Crum, who had success using the original model in helping Bo Van Pelt made dramatic improvements in his putting in 2012, Vlad Gribovsky tweaked the original model and filed a new design patent. Instead of having a mirror attached at the far end of the training aid to aid with proper eye alignment, the mirror is built into the other end where there is indention for the golf ball. “Crum felt this worked better, especially for professionals, and he’s listed as a co-inventor,” Gribovsky said. “The pro version is definitely more portable.” Gribovsky also pointed out that the far end of the stick is now beveled to allow a more consistent roll as the ball leaves the training aid and that the leveler can now also designate up and down along with side to side. “If golfers spend 10 to 15 minutes a day of proper practice with square-to-square or inside-to-square-to-inside strokes on the Putting Stick®, it will change their lives on the greens,” said Crum, Director of Instructors of the United States Golf Schools (www.ussog) in Murrels Inlet, S.C. and President of the Professional Golf Teachers and Coaches of America ( “By utilizing the Putting Stick®, we can gain precise feedback about a student’s putting stroke,” he continued. “Lack of feedback is the chief reason golfers do not improve putting even with practice, especially incorrect practice. Most importantly, it teaches the student to learn without the thought of mechanics and shows the accuracy of a square blade at impact since the ball will roll off the stick if not struck correctly.” Chris Baisch of Hazeltine National Golf Club in Chaska, MN has found that using the Putting Stick® has also helped his students. “The Putting Stick® gets them to realize their faults and gives them instant feedback on whether or not they are doing it correctly,” Baisch indicated. “It helps them to get the putter square at impact and to make an accelerated stroke,” he added, pointing out how the ball will roll off the stick to the left if the face is closed and off to the right if it is open, especially if the stroke is too short. Baisch really likes the new pro model where the mirror is inserted into the training aid. “This makes it more convenient to carry around with you in your bag,” he added. “The mirror helps ensure their eyes are over the ball.” Baisch noted that one of his members purchased the training aid four days prior to a big tournament since he was struggling with his putting. “He quickly realized it had a lot to do with his setup,” Baisch explained. Using the Putting Stick® 10 minutes a night prior

to the event and overnight during the 36-hole tournament, the player won the prestigious event. “He felt much more comfortable with his setup, which freed him up to think more about making a good roll on the ball,” Baisch said. “With the Putting Stick®, it forces you to make a good roll. If you don’t, it won’t stay on the stick!” Mike Barge, Director of Instruction at the Hazeltine National Golf Club, also recommends it to his students.“The Putting Stick® will give you immediate feedback on your stroke, which is crucial for learning,” said Barge, ranked as the No. 1 teacher in Minnesota by Golf Digest. “The more success you have rolling the ball along the Putting Stick® will lead to more confidence on all putts, especially the short ones.”

SPECIAL ROMANCE PACKAGE AT PEBBLE BEACH RESORTS FEATURES CHAMPAGNE & COMPLIMENTARY BREAKFAST Still searching for that perfect holiday gift? Need to reconnect with that special someone this winter season? The Spanish Bay Romance Escape from Pebble Beach Resorts is perfect for any California couple. This special package features one night at The Inn at Spanish Bay, one of the most acclaimed hotels on the Pacific coast, as well as a complimentary champagne amenity upon check in and complimentary breakfast for two at Roy’s at Pebble Beach or room service by your cozy fire. This speciallypriced seasonal package starts at $525 and is valid through March 31, 2014. Guests can extend their stay for even more savings by booking a two-night stay with champagne amenity and complimentary breakfast for two each morning, all for $950. Guests are also welcome to enjoy the brand new patio fire pits at STICKS at The Inn at Spanish Bay. These four state-of-the-art fire pits overlook the first tee of The Links at Spanish Bay and feature stunning ocean views and dunescapes. Relax next to the warmth of the open flames, and order your favorite cocktail, wine or beer alongside delicious small bites. Listen to the resident bagpiper every evening

as he closes the day next to the rugged and beautiful Pacific coastline. Find out why this is one of the most romantic places in the world. To book your stay, call 800-654-9300 and use the promo code, “Romance”.

TROON AND PELZ GOLF ANNOUNCE NEW PARTNERSHIP SCOTTSDALE, AZ – Troon,® the leader in upscale golf course management, development and marketing and Pelz Golf, the foremost brand in short game and putting improvement, are excited to announce an innovative partnership. Known for pioneering new breakthroughs in the game and bringing an analytical approach to golf instruction, Dave Pelz is partnering with Troon to conduct new groundbreaking research and to grow the experience of the Dave Pelz Scoring Game School by expanding into several of Troon’s hallmark private club, daily-fee and resort locations. The partnership brings together two of golf’s most influential brands that have been elevating the golf experience around the world and making the game more enjoyable for players for more than 20 years. Bringing the proven methods of Pelz instruction together with the world-class skills, resources and experience of Troon creates a formula for success aimed at raising the golf instruction experience to new heights and utilizing research findings that move the game forward. Among the many commonalities between the Troon and Pelz Golf brands, lies the overall mission to grow the game by making golf more enjoyable for individual players. Troon’s motivation to elevate golf facilities through implementing the best services, amenities and playing conditions is the perfect pairing to Pelz Golf’s mission to help golfers enjoy the game more by improving their skills and lowering their scores. For more information on Pelz Golf, visit For more information on Troon Golf, visit

Golf Vacations • January 2014


Golf Takes Its Place

Amid Nature’s Splendor

Los Suenos Marriott Ocean and Golf Resort

12 Golf Vacations • January 2014



by James McAfee

Costa Rica

Golf Vacations • January 2014



osta Rica offers visitors a fascinating vacation destination where they can experience nature in its most pristine state, enjoy adventure activities in a natural enåvironment not available back home or just relax on one of the many beaches. However, golfers haven’t been overlooked as several outstanding golf resorts have set up operations here in the past 15 years, providing quality golf courses that rival those back home along with superior places to hang their hats at night. The International Association of Golf Tour Operators recognized this, awarding Costa Rica its Golf Destination of the Year Award 2014 for Latin America and the Caribbean at its annual trade show in Spain in the fall of 2013. The country offers two international airport, one near the capitol city of San Jose in the Central Valley, and the other on the Northwest Pacific Coast in the Guanacaste region. Ideally, you arrange your itinerary to land in one and depart from the other in order to experience the amazing variety of activities that Costa Rica has to offer. Starting with flight to the Daniel Oduber Quiros International Airport in Liberia. Gives golfers the opportunities to play three of the best golf courses in the country within an hour’s drive. Without a doubt, the Arnold Palmer design at the Four Seasons Costa Rica at Peninsula Papagayo is the No. 1 course in Costa Rica. It sits atop one of the highest plateaus at Peninsula Papagayo, overlooking Bahia Culebra, and provides spectacular views of the Pacific Ocean on 14 of the 18 holes. Natural elevation changes create unforgettable holes, including a nice mix of long par 4s with short tricky ones. Perhaps the most dramatic hole has to be par 4 No. 6 with a 200-foot drop to

a valley-shaped fairway, definitely the signature hole. The course plays 6,788 yards from the championship tees, but is accessible to golfers of all levels with four other tees, including the forward tees at only 4,880 yards. The course used to be open to hotel guests only, but new director of golf Randoll Viquez, now says it is open to others. The fees are a little pricey at $230, but as someone who has played many of the top 100 in the world, I guarantee it will be worth it. It’s not a course you can walk, but there are some interesting rides through the rainforest to the next tee that will be worth it. About 40 minutes south is the Reserva Conchal Golf Club at the all-inclusive Westin Golf Resort & Spa. The Robert Trent Jones Jr. design is one of my all-time favorites since I played it more than 500 times in the three years spent there as the director of golf. A few years back, the course was reduced to a par 71 when some property next to the ocean was used for a beach club and spa, resulting in the loss of the par 4 16th and the old tee box on the par 3 17th. A new par 3 was added, now the 15th, and a new routing for the last six holes resulted. You now play to the 17th green from new elevated tees on another side of the water. “It’s even better now,” added Landy Blank of Costa Rica Golf Adventures. I agree it’s more challenging as my first shot didn’t make it over the water on a return visit recently. I did hit the green on my second try from the whites and caught the bunker on a third try from the Blues. The 18th is one of the best risk/reward finishing holes I’ve ever played. Water comes into play down the entire left side. After a good drive from the whites, I took the risk with a 3-wood from 200 yards to get to the back of the green and just missed an eagle putt from 12 feet. There’s “mucho agua” to avoid in other places on the course,

Los Suenos Marriott Ocean and Golf Resort

14 Golf Vacations • January 2014

Reserva Conchal Beach Resort, Golf & Spa

too, and a lot more elevation changes than you might expect, including a 100-foot drop from the 12th tee to a narrow fairway with woods and out of bounds on the left and a lateral hazard on the right. Director of golf Carlos Rojas points to the par-5 No.4 with views of the ocean as the signature hole. Fees range around $150 for 18 holes and lower for 9 holes or with twilight rates. Just over 20 minutes away is Hacienda Pinilla, a Mike Young design built on an old cattle ranch amid a dry tropical forest. You have plenty of room off the tees with wide fairways, but the real test is getting your approach shots on the bunker-guarded greens, including some pot bunkers like the ones you might see in Scotland, and a few greens with false fronts. Director of golf Jason Bauer notes that the wind adds to the challenge, especially from January to March. A magnificent view of the ocean awaits from the tee on the par 3 15th hole. Fees for 18 holes are around $150. Your options for accommodations range from places on property like La Posada or the J.W. Marriott to the more active scene in the nearby town of Tamarindo Beach. The Westin is only a short drive away. Most visitors still enter Costa Rica through the capital city of San Jose, actually the Juan Santamaria Airport in the nearby city of Alajuela, located at an elevation of 4,000 feet, with cooler conditions than those along the coast. There are two quality championship courses available, the Cariari Country Club and Valle del Sol, with green fees in the $100 range. The private Cariari Country Club carried the banner as the best course in Costa Rica for many years after being built in 1975. George Fazio did the design and nephew Tom Fazio built it on an old coffee plantation. Short by today’s standards at 6,590 yards, it’s no pushover, especially when wet, with tall trees bordering most fairways, putting the premium on straight drives. Otherwise, chipping back to the fairway is sometimes your only option. Approach shots must be accurate also as the greens are guarded by well-placed bunkers, waiting to catch errant shots. Even from the whites, it can be challenging. One thing I always enjoy is that you can walk and have a caddy, who could be very helpful on the tricky greens. The mandatory caddies also go along with those riding carts. Some of the hotels can get guests on the course, but the best bet is to check with Blank, who also runs the golf shop here with his wife, Susan.

If time permits, don’t overlook Valle del Sol where architect Tracy May renovated an original nine holes and built another nine holes between 1997 and 2001. It can be stretched to 7,017 yards from the tips, but you have more room off the tees, allowing the big hitters to rip it and not worry about being in trouble. It’s player-friendly from the other tees where most visiting golfers play. You will have interesting water features and some great mountain views. “If you are suffering from winter rust, it’s a great place to work out the kinks,” added Blank. Taking a scenic 90-minute drive, you arrive on the central Pacific Coast and the Los Suenos Marriott Ocean and Golf Resort near the beach in Jaco. The centerpiece of this ocean-front resort is the La Iguana Golf Course, designed by Ted Robinson. The course rests between the ocean and a tropical rainforest. Director of Golf Jose Quesada says this gives golfers a chance to view lots of native wildlife, getting close to Mother Nature. While it can be challenging from the back tees at 6,698 yards, it’s player friendly from the other tees. Adding to the experience, each group is accompanied by a forecaddie, who also serves as a guide to identify what you are seeing and to help find your errant golf shots. One of the nice new additions is a GPS system on the golf carts that lets you know your yardages and gives tips on how to play each hole. If visiting Tabor on the Nicoya Peninsula, the Los Delfines Golf & Country Club is a good 9-hole test that you might want to play. To get the most out of a vacation to Costa Rica that includes golf, the Blanks are your best sources, operating from their home office near the Cariari C.C. Throwing caution to the wind after a visit 18 years ago, the Blanks sold their restaurant in Charleston, SC and moved down there. Costa Rica Golf Adventures can put together customized packages that offer you the best deals on lodging and golf along with other side trips for rafting, fishing or visits to the Arenal Volcano. The Blanks also operate the golf shop at the Costa Rica C.C. and stay current on what’s happening on the golf scene through all their many local contacts. One word of warning about going to Costa Rica, deserving of its title as “The Happiest Country in the World.” It’s nice to experience “Pura Vida” or the pure life. The locals, or Ticos, are some of the friendliest people you will ever meet and most of them working in the resorts speak English. “Once you visit Costa Rica, you’ll go back again and again,” added Blank.

Golf Vacations • January 2014


Reserva Conchal Beach Resort, Golf & Spa

IAGTO awards Costa Rica Golf Destination of the Year 2014


osta Rica has made a name as a natural paradise in recent years and has become a world leader in sustainable tourism. The small country in Central America achieved another important milestone, receiving the 2014 Golf Destination of the Year Award for Latin America & Caribbean from the prestigious International Association of Golf Tour Operators (IAGTO). IAGTO is the organization of global commerce for the industry of the golf tourism. Founded in 1997, members of IAGTO includes 2,122 credited golf tour operators, resorts, hotels, national tourism organizations, media and businesses in 95 countries. Operating in 62 countries, these golf tour operators control more than 85% of the golf packages sold annually around the world. With a total of six championship courses in addition to some very fine 9-hole layouts, Costa Rica is considered to be a small, but indeed an exclusive insider tip for golfers. Due to all the exciting non-golf activities available in Costa Rica, this is just the right amount of good golf to create a memorable golf experience. The environments surrounding the courses put you in touch with Mother Nature at her finest. True to the country’s strategy of always acting in a most sustainable, social and eco-friendly way, all these courses are recognized by Audubon International ( for their environmental friendly efforts. Some of the game’s top architects have their names on the courses, including the La Iguana Golf Course at the Los Suenos Marriott Beach & Golf Club, designed by Ted Robinson; the Reserva Conchal

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Golf Club at the Westin Golf Resort & Spa, designed by Robert Trent Jones II; the Four Seasons, designed by Arnold Palmer; and the Cariari Country Club, designed by George Fazio and built by his nephew Tom Fazio. But Costa Rica not only scores with its golf courses but also with its excellent hospitality and gastronomy. The exclusive hotel selection ranges from the cherished and smaller luxurious resorts like The Springs Resort to prestigious and international luxury hotel groups such as Marriott Hotels, The Starwood member Westin Golf Resort & Spa Conchal and The Four Seasons Peninsula Papagayo Resort “Costa Rica has grown tremendously as a destination since I started golf tour here in 1996,” said Landy Blank, owner of Costa Rica Golf Adventures. “The combination of new golf courses, year-round climate and the natural beauty of Costa Rica makes it perfect for golfers seeking a new adventure.” Costa Ricans are the happiest people on the planet according to the “Happy Planet Index,” measuring the experienced well-being of its population, life expectancy and the ecological footprint of 151 countries in the world. That makes them very likeable and pleasant hosts, an important reason more to come over and experience an unforgettable golf holiday in Costa Rica. For more information: Landy Blank, owner Costa Rica Golf Adventures, landy2255@, Tel: 1-215-554-2129, 1-888-672-2057 / +506-2293-9785

Golf Vacations • January 2014



Mia By David R. Holland

18 Golf Vacations • January 2014

erry Isle


Golf Vacations • January 2014



VENTURA, FL – When the developers of Turnberry Isle Miami say they have created a tropical oasis it doesn’t take long to discover the vision turned to reality. Today’s golf experience includes two perfectly-manicured courses, the Soffer Course, stretching out to 7,047 yards at par 71 and the resort-friendly Miller Course, a par-70 layout measuring 6,417 yards. Both are re-designs by Raymond Floyd, who took the original Robert Trent Jones, Sr. layouts built more than 40 years ago on flat land with wide-open fairways and giant greens. To achieve a “tropical Augusta” look, Floyd and his team shaped rolling berms planted with colorful native shrubs to frame each hole, forming natural privacy barriers. When you see and drive right next to the man-made 64-foot waterfall—the largest in the state—on the Soffer Course’s island-style 18th green, you know something distinctive is a centerpiece of the property. While the hotel was designed around a 100-year-old banyan tree to accommodate and protect the banyan tree’s continued growth and expansion the theme continues with tropical landscaping. There are coquina shell waste areas, some used as cart paths, contoured fairways, doglegs, undulating greens, sculpted bunkers and water hazards to challenge the best golfers. It wasn’t easy to develop such a “campus-like” resort.

Turberry Isle: A Rich History It all started in 1967 when real estate developer Donald Soffer dreamed of turning 750-acres of North Miami Beach submerged swampland, sand, and mangrove trees into an upscale, planned residential area and sketched out his vision on a cocktail napkin. Move forward more than 40 years and Turberry Isle includes more than a resort and golf courses. It includes a world-class shopping center, lakes and scenic exercise trails built within an exclusive neighborhood, and office buildings. As part of the redesign, Turnberry Isle’s golf lakes were enlarged and trimmed with wooden bulkheads. Because dirt could not be excavated due to the site’s high water table, nearly 700,000 cubic meters of subsoil was brought in to create more pronounced elevations than are commonly seen in South Florida. The resort’s practice facility was also expanded and improved. It developed a rich history. Julius Boros, a PGA Tour favorite, was its first director of golf. The 1979 Senior PGA Championship was staged here, won by Don January, along with the LPGA’s Elizabeth Arden Classic from 1979 to 1986. And several skills game events with PGA Tour greats have been held here.

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Turnberry Isle: Playing the Courses “When people think of playing golf in South Florida many think of Doral,” said Hiro Suzuki, head golf professional for 14 years. “Many travel golfers don’t know about us, but almost on a daily basis a golfer will tell me Turnberry Isle is better conditioned than Doral.” Suzuki notes the change to paspalum grass (tolerant to salt water) as key to making Turnberry Isle’s superb conditioning. The carpet-like grass is cut tight making it possible to putt from well off the greens and the roll and conditioning is pure. “Approaches close to the greens are tight,” Suzuki agreed, “and that makes it a challenge picking to bump and run or pitch from just off the green. I personally think the pitch is the way to go.” No. 11 on the Miller Course is one of Suzuki’s favorites. “It is beautiful with the views, water all along the left and the green fronted by bulkheads and an approach over water to most pin placements,” he said. The signature 18th with the waterfall is a 571-yard par five that requires a tee shot to clear water and steer clear of the lake right. Then the approach is all water to a peninsula green. The Miller Course has five holes that circle Lake Julius, named for Boros, with an island of flamingos. “With the length low-handicappers can achieve with today’s equipment, correct positioning of the tee shot is important coming into certain pin locations,” Floyd explained. “What I learned over the years playing in the Masters at Augusta National is never to tee off without checking the placement of the pin. If the flag was cut to the right, I knew I had to play my tee shot to the left side of the fairway, and vice-versa. A golfer needs sound tactics in order to score on the Soffer Course.” Turnberry Isle is a silver medal winner by GOLF Magazine and received Golfweek’s Best Courses You can Play ranking. The Soffer Course won four and a half stars from Golf Digest and four stars for the Miller Course.

Turnberry Isle: The Resort The Mediterranean-style retreat has all the amenities you need for just staying put for a few days with world-class shopping just across the street in the Aventura Mall. Turnberry Isle includes Chef Michael Mina’s award-winning Bourbon Steak restaurant, a three-story Spa & Fitness Center, a Cañas Tennis complex, 40,000-square feet of meetings facilities, and kids camps all within reach of the 408 guest rooms and suites. It is also a Forbes Four Star resort. Don’t miss the Laguna Pool featuring a lazy river and a 180-foot long, 35-foot high waterslide provides members and their children with ultimate fun. Relax in a private cabana poolside or head to the private Beach Club in a prime spot right on the Atlantic Ocean for seaside adventures. Turnberry has numerous plans for memberships in golf and the amenities provided.

Golf Vacations • January 2014



Landing Resort & Sp

teams up with Edgewood Tahoe Golf Co

22 Golf Vacations • January 2014


by JD Latorre




outh Lake Tahoe, California – The only golf course that plays along the beautiful shores of Lake Tahoe, Edgewood Tahoe Golf Course – also famously the site of the annual American Century Celebrity Golf Championship – is a favorite with celebs and pros alike. Now, the new The Landing Resort & Spa, Lake Tahoe’s only five-star luxury lakeside property, is offering a spring/summer 2014 Edgewood golf getaway for two that combines the opportunity to play the course’s challenging lakefront and mountain terrain with a sumptuous fireplace room, a nighttime paddlewheel cruise, and more. “Our job is to keep the logistics seamless so guests can stay focused on the golf,” says The Landing’s General Manager Jim Promo, who adds, “and focus is required at Edgewood, where play can be directly over the lake as at Hole 10, or through and around the giant pines as on Hole 16, considered one of the better par fives in the U.S.” Special golfer amenities include transport via Mercedes Sprinter with club transfers to Edgewood, only minutes from The Landing, as well as complimentary valet golf club storage at the resort. The two-night The Landing Resort & Spa 2014 Edgewood Golf Package for two starts from $839 for spring, $1,259 for summer, and includes a welcome cocktail for two, as well as greens fees and a cart for two at Edgewood Tahoe Golf Course. The package also includes a scenic cruise to Lake Tahoe’s Emerald Bay on a Mississippi River-style paddlewheel boat for a chance to relax and enjoy breathtaking Sierra Nevada mountain views from out on the deep blue waters of North America’s largest alpine lake. The two nights’ accommodations are provided in one of The Landing’s Deluxe King Fireplace rooms, including a walk-out deck and a bath with jetted tub, walk-in rain shower, and heated marble floor. A full breakfast each morning and turn-down with sweet treat each night also are included, and transportation to activities is provided via a deluxe Mercedes Sprinter van. The package is subject to availability and blackout dates apply. For details visit Rated as one of the country’s top courses by Golf Digest, Edgewood Tahoe Golf Course boasts beautiful fairways directly on the shores of sparkling Lake Tahoe, virtually next door to The Landing Resort & Spa. The George Fazio-designed course, which can play over 7,500 yards, features a threehole finishing stretch along the lake, plus many other inland holes that play tightly through tall pines. The course has been home to a variety of major golf events including the U.S. Public Links Championship and the first televised U.S. Senior Open, and annually hosts the American Century Celebrity

Golf Championship, which will celebrate its 25th anniversary July 15 – 20, 2014. The championship features more than 80 sports and entertainment stars each year, including Charles Barkley, Kevin Nealon, John Elway, and Ray Romano. Opening in December 2013, The Landing Resort & Spa on Lake Tahoe’s southern shores includes an 88-room boutique luxury hotel, restaurant, spa and conference center. All rooms feature five-star amenities including marble bathrooms, heated toilet seats, heated bathroom floors, high thread count linens, 55-inch wall mounted televisions, plush terry robes, Keurig coffee service, luxurious contemporary European furnishings, fireplaces and private decks, and most have a view of Lake Tahoe. Select suites also offer aromatherapy, heat therapy, music therapy, light therapy, steam showers and thermo masseur tubs in the guest bath. Owners of The Landing Jim and Nancy Demetriades realized the need for a new luxury resort that fully embraces Lake Tahoe’s spectacular beauty. “We’ve created The Landing out of our own desire for a five-star property located on the lake,” says Jim Demetriades. “We want to provide guests with luxurious accommodations that seamlessly integrate with the natural beauty of our unique lakeside setting.” The resort also offers fine dining at the new Jimmy’s Restaurant, serving wood-fired Greek seafood and locally sourced California cuisine in a setting that includes several private dining alcoves with fireplaces, as well as outdoor fire pits on a lakeside patio. Additional resort amenities include a large wine cellar featuring a special selection of 250 labels from around the world and backlit, onyxwalled bar, a state-of-the-art gym, outdoor pool and hot tub, a 3,600-square-foot rooftop deck and a lakeview meeting room and board room. The full-service spa and hair salon offers customized spa treatments using organic and natural botanicals, including sports-specific treatments perfect for finishing up a day on the links. The spa also includes a sauna, steam room, special couple’s treatment room, and relaxing Spa Sanctuary serving a selection of detoxifying teas. Located adjacent to Lakeside Beach, The Landing Resort & Spa provides private beach access and is walking distance to the golf, outdoor concerts, nightlife, dining and shopping of South Lake Tahoe. Just three blocks from Heavenly Village and Gondola, Village Center and world-class gaming casinos, The Landing provides complimentary transportation in a Mercedes Sprinter locally and to the Heavenly Gondola. For additional information and reservations contact 855.700.5263 or visit www.

Golf Vacations • January 2014


SWEETSTUFF T he move for many players to spikeless or hybrid golf shoes is moving faster than ever, and FootJoy, which has been one of the leaders in melding its successful shoe models into a spikeless or casual design, has just introduced one of its more successful footwear franchises into the world of shoes that can be worn on and off the course. DryJoys Casual™, a natural extension of the storied DryJoys® footwear line, arrived in stores in December and features super-soft, premium full grain waterproof leather and lightweight TPU traction elements that provide great on-course traction and the versatility of off-course wear.

A new proprietary polymer outsole material called Fine-Tuned Foam™ (FTF) was developed for the DryJoys Casual outsole unit. FTF is 10% lighter than conventional EVA Foams providing enhanced cushioning and shock absorption for added comfort. The innovative design of this shoe features two distinct layers of varying densities of FTF, each with specific characteristics. The top layer of FTF is softer to provide the golfer with all day comfort. The lower/ outer portion of FTF is firmer and ensures the player perimeter stability around the foot for maximum support. Finally, TPU skeletal traction strips are embedded within the FTF outsole material to provide players with enhanced traction and lateral stability during the golf swing. These FTF layers are fused together to deliver maximum comfort and create the most performance-driven spikeless midsole/outsole component offered from FootJoy. “Years of research have gone into the development of the FTF material,” said Mike Foley, Director of Product Management, FJ Footwear. “The result is a category of shoes that are luxuriously soft and comfortable but perform like nimble, high-end athletic footwear. It was this combination of comfort and performance that attracted Hunter Mahan who was the first player to wear DryJoys Casual shoes on Tour, unveiling an early prototype at the Open Championship.” DryJoys Casual shoes feature Extreme Comfort Leather™ (ECL), developed in conjunction with Pittards® of England. This super-soft premium leather contains a proprietary membrane-free waterproofing system and is 30 percent softer than previous generations of FJ performance leather. DryJoys Casual are currently available in two color options—White and Black--with Dark Brown available February 1. Four additional col-

24 Golf Vacations • January 2014

ors will be added to the DryJoys Casual lineup in early spring, according to the company. For more information:


aylorMade’s SLDR driver—the current flagship of its adjustableweight clubs and currently the most-used driver on the PGA Tour, is being offered in a new model after the company took some input from its professional staff and recently released a version of the club aimed at better players that is smaller than the 460 CC version—which is the largest allowable under United States Golf Association rules. The new SLDR 430 gets its name from its smaller 430 CC size that slightly reduces the hitting area but helps more accomplished players shape their shots with greater ease. The 430cc club features a modern-classic shape and rich charcoalgray crown, which features a smaller tour-inspired head to promote improved workability. “We put low forward CG in a smaller head to make a driver that tour pros love,” said Brian Bazzel, TaylorMade’s Senior Director of Product Creation for Metalwoods. “SLDR 430 makes it easier to shape shots without sacrificing distance.” The 430 model features the same distance-producing technology found in its big brother: low and forward center of gravity placement that promotes a hotter launch, lower spin and faster ball speed. In addition to the low-forward CG benefits, SLDR 430 also incorporates the same innovative sliding weight mechanism TaylorMade introduced with the SLDR 460. A blue 20-gram weight slides on a track located on the front of the sole. Movable weight shifts the clubhead’s CG horizontally toward either the heel, to promote a draw, or toward the toe, to promote a fade. SLDR delivers six millimeters of movement – that’s 50 percent more than R1 – promoting a shot-dispersion range of up to 30 yards. The SLDR weight slides on a 21-point track system and never comes loose from the clubhead. To position the weight in any one of them simply loosen the screw, slide the weight to the point selected, and then tighten the screw. Golfers can adjust for a “draw” or “fade” by sliding the weight across the slider track into the appropriate position in as little as 10 seconds. SLDR also incorporates TaylorMade’s loft-sleeve Technology, which allows the golfer to easily adjust the loft. Golfers can choose from 12 positions within a range of plus-or-minus 1.5 degrees of loft change. The more loft added, the more the face closes and viceversa. The new SLDR 430 is


available in three lofts – 9.5°, 10.5° and 12° and is equipped with a Fujikura Speeder 67 graphite shaft and TaylorMade high-traction grip. The Tour Preferred version, SLDR 430 TP, combines the same clubhead with the tour-caliber Fujikura Speeder Tour Spec 7.3 graphite shaft. A variety of custom shafts are also available. More information is available at:


dams Golf, a company that revolutionized fairway woods and hybrid clubs, looks to be on its way toward doing the same thing for irons for those players who want an easier club to hit and need a little help with their game. Adams Golf has looked to the woods category in designing its New Idea Hybrid Irons that sport a revolutionary wraparound slot that generates higher ball speeds and more forgiveness, especially on off-center hits. Extensive research revealed that golfers with 15-plus handicaps make the majority of contact nearly ½” toward the toe, not on the club’s sweet spot. These new super game improvement irons are specifically designed to enhance the face speed in the area where those players need it most. “With a concentration on developing technology that golfers really need, we created these industry-first wraparound slots on the toe to compensate for a very common mis-hit,” said Justin Honea, Senior Director of Research and Development with Adams. “New Idea irons are definitely our easiest to hit, with measurable improvements in ball speeds and forgiveness.” The new slot design creates a spring-like effect across the entire face, expanding the sweet spot. Compared to the industry-leading Idea a12 OS Hybrid Irons, the New Idea Hybrid Irons provide 44 percent more ball speed on off-center hits and 24 percent more ball speed on flush shots, because of increased flex from the unsupported faces.

The standard set of the New Idea starts with Adams’ industry-leading hybrids (34-5) that feature the company’s Cut-Thru™ sole slots located behind the face, visible on the crown and sole of the clubs. The refined slot design generates increased ball speeds, higher launch and additional distance, most notably on off-center shots, compared to the company’s Idea a12 OS Hybrids. The hybrids also feature Adams’ patented upside-down shape that puts more surface area lower on the face of the club where golfers generally make contact with the ball. This creates a lower center of gravity that helps the ball launch higher, while reducing spin, for better distance results. A significant difference between New Idea Hybrid Irons and past models is the new wraparound slot technology. With transitional hybrid irons (6-7) in the set, these clubs bridge the gap between the hybrids and short irons. The 270° slots start from the heel area and cover the sole around the clubhead to the topline – allowing the unsupported face to flex for higher ball speeds. Completing the set are three scoring irons (8-PW) that help players focus on the target and dial in approach shots close to the pin. These provide the benefits of traditional cavity back irons, with the additional advantage of wraparound slots. More information is available at:

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Golf Vacations • January 2014


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Golf Vacations Magazine January 2014  
Golf Vacations Magazine January 2014  

Golf Vacations Magazine January 2014