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Thailand’s Ancient Meets Modern I Inn Of The Mountain Gods

“Best Overall Golf Experience” – VegasGolfer “Golf’s hidden treasure” – Sports Illustrated

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Cut out the middleman. Reserve directly with the golf course and hotel operators. Choose to stay at Bally’s, Caesars Palace, Flamingo, Harrah’s, Paris & Rio in Las Vegas and play at Cascata, Rio Secco, or one of over 12 other fabulous golf courses.

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contents I winter 2009




Inn Of The Mountain Gods


Paradise Awaits At Ginn Reunion Resort


A Mountain Range Of Possibilities


Bahia Beach Resort & Golf Club


by David R. Holland

Texans have been coming to the cool mountains of New Mexico for as long as a Model T could negotiate primitive roads.

by Tom LaMarre

Bobby Ginn has created a golfer's paradise just southwest of Orlando where golfers can play on immaculate courses designed by Jack Nicklaus, Arnold Palmer and Tom Watson.


by Larry Feldman

Most people know of Park City, Utah for one thing. Skiing. You know, the Greatest Snow on Earth. Welcome to the other seasons!

by David R. Holland

“Bahía Beach is a haven of golf that will challenge but also delight your soul and spirit,” says Robert Trent Jones Jr.


32 12 Chip Shots Updates From The World Of Golf & Travel

16 Sweet Stuff

by Terry Ross

Roundup Of Gear You Just Know You Gotta Have

34 Personal Postcard

by Bill Cannedy

Thailand: Ancient Meets Modern

v i s i t w w w. g v l i n k s . c o m


34 G O L F VA C AT I O N S • W I N T E R 2 0 0 9

destination You know what will make your wedding day perfect. We know where you’ll find it. DESERT WILLOW GOLF RESORT

866-621-9461 Located at Desert Willow Drive off Country Club between Cook Street & Portola Avenue in Palm Desert.

G O L F V A C A T I O N S • W I N T E R 2009



from the editor . . .

Larry Feldman is a nationally published freelance golf journalist of more than 17 years. Based in Park City, Utah, his writing has appeared in such high-profile publications as Southern California Golf News, Palm Springs Life, Golf Tips, Sports Profiles and Men’s Look.


unny skies are the norm for Palm Springs, California, where Golf Vacations Magazine is based. That said, most of us have probably seen more dark, foreboding skies on our horizons lately as financial markets, real estate values and employment prospects have gone haywire these past months. With all that in mind, we decided that it’s time we ignored all the doomsayers and industry prognosticators and set off on a bold, new course for Golf Vacations Magazine and announce that WE’RE EXPANDING! This issue marks the completion of a two-year evolution to an All-Digital media platform and introduces a new beginning for the publication as an integrated online media source for golf and travel journalism. We’ll be emailing over 1,000,000 Golfers an announcement link to each new issue’s debut on Readers can read the current issue online, for free, of course, and also reach back to over two years of back issues of Golf Vacations for more great stories on golfing the world. And speaking of, we’ve just unleashed our entirely new interactive website. You’ll now be able to read more feature stories, timely travel updates, view exotic golf travel videos, book your own golf trips, post vacation photos, even sell your old clubs. For those who just can’t stop talking about their golf travels, we’ll also be introducing reader blogs and forums so you can argue to your heart’s delight over what’s the best 18 you’ve ever traveled to! We’ve also designed a whole host of new and efficient promotional products to enable our advertising partners to talk directly with Golf Vacations readers. As we enter our seventh year of publishing Golf Vacations Magazine, I look forward to many more years of bringing you great travel stories of golfing the world.

David R. Holland is a former sportswriter for The Dallas Morning News, a football magazine publisher and author of The Colorado Golf Bible. Multiple careers best describes this world traveler, who achieved the rank of Lieutenant Colonel in the Air Force reserve, serving during the Vietnam and Desert Storm eras. His final Pentagon assignment took him to Monterey, California, where he started thinking about his next move – travel golf writing. Bill Cannedy is co-owner of Cannedy Quest, a Palm Springs area company specializing in worldwide golf travel packages. With 25 years in the hospitality and travel industry, Bill has traveled extensively from South America to the South Pacific and the Far East to Morocco. A freelance photographer and former Pro-Am Champion of the Kraft Nabisco Championship, Bill serves as the Tournament Director of the always popular Desert Expedition Golf Classic. Tom LaMarre has been a sportswriter for some 40 years, including long stints with the Oakland Tribune and the Los Angeles Times. He was the Tribune’s beat writer with the Oakland Raider for seven seasons in the 1970’s and has written two books, “Winning Offensive Football” with quarterback Kenny Stabler and “Stadium Stories: The Oakland Raiders.” Tom makes his home in Orlando 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.

Thanks for reading!

Jeffrey Diaz executive editor

G O L F V A C A T I O N S • W I N T E R 2009




WE’RE EXPANDING AGAIN! Golf Vacations Magazine Has Exciting News! We’ve gone 100% digital and our Winter 2009 Issue is being delivered to over 1,000,000 (Yes, One-Million) golf travel enthusiast’s inboxes.

What does going digital mean and why did we do it? The digital version of the magazine looks exactly like a printed issue, but offers countless benefits not available in a print version. Going digital allows Golf Vacations Magazine to continue to bring our readers the latest tales of exotic golf destinations both near and far, utilizing the latest interactive technology, all delivered to their personal computer screen!

Golf Vacation Magazine’s digital magazine includes: • • • • • • • • • •

Keyword Search Capabilities – search current or past issues Click from the cover or table of contents directly to articles of interest Easier-to-access content and resources Forward the entire digital version to those you know Translate articles to other languages for those friends overseas to enjoy Click on links within articles to instantly access additional resources Live advertiser links allow you to take immediate action Print pages you choose Read back issues from Spring 2007-Present Environmentally friendly









Thailand’s Ancient Meets Modern I Inn Of The Mountain Gods

ASK US ABOUT OUR PREFERRED ADVERTISER SPONSORSHIP PACKAGE • Full Page Ad In Next Month’s Issue • Prominent Banner Ad on our Announcement Email to 1,000,000 Golfer’s InBoxes • Supporting Banner Ad on All For Only $2500! That’s Only $2.50 per 1000 Impressions!

DON’T MISS OUT! CALL TERRY ROSS AT 949-279-7801 or email Terr today!

Executive Editor Jeffrey Diaz Associate Editor Terry Ross Contributing Writers Bill Cannedy • Larry Feldman David R. Holland • Tom LaMarre • Terry Ross Design & Production Buy Design • J.D. Latorre Features Editor Larry Feldman Copy Editor Mary Anne Pinkston For Editorial: call: (760) 774-2655 • e-mail:

Advertising Representatives Los Angeles, CA • 323-933-5518 Michael Villalpando - Melrose Media Group Tucson, AZ • 520-429-8625 Jay Trapnell San Diego, CA • 619-709-4425 Wayne McCollum Atlanta, GA • 770-971-1616 John Reock

Published by

President Jeffrey Diaz 100 S. Sunrise Way., Suite 257 Palm Springs, California 92262 1-800-940-7816 • fax 214-889-3667


Destiny Media, LLC President/CEO James A. Diaz 11645 E. Del Timbre Drive Scottsdale, Arizona 85259 Golf Vacations Magazine is published bi-monthly and is selectively distributed throughout the entire fifty United States. Entire contents of this publication is copyright 2009 SportsMedia Publications, all rights reserved and may not be reproduced in any manner, in whole or in part, without written permission from the publisher. For home or office delivery, please send your name, address, phone number and $18 to Golf Vacations Magazine at the address above.

G O L F V A C A T I O N S • W I N T E R 2009


U p d a t e s f r o m t h e Wo r l d o f G o l f & Tr a v e l >> TPC LAS VEGAS OFFERS NEW NAME AND A COUNTRY CLUB EXPERIENCE One of the newest courses in the Las Vegas area that is not really new—the TPC Las Vegas—remains as the only public PGA Tour facility in the city and has either hosted or co-hosted PGA Tour or Champions Tour events for more than a decade. Formerly known as the TPC Canyons-the TPC Las Vegas-- as the new moniker implies, is The PGA Tour owned and operated facility in this gambling Mecca. The course features one of the area’s outstanding layouts, not to mention top quality practice facilities, service and amenities for players looking for that high end, country club experience. With a mixture of straightaway, fairly tame holes mixed with extreme elevations and over- the-canyon shots that require pinpoint accuracy, the TPC Las Vegas is a track that most levels of players will find enjoyable. Although playing from the back tees at


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7,080 and a slope of 136 should be reserved for the better players, there are plenty of options to shorten the experience from the Blue Tees at 6,769 or the White Tees at 6,047. There is also a blended set of tees that will suite a lot of players that measures 6,336 yards. The Red Tees at 5,039 yards is also an option. The Bermuda fairways and Pennlinks Bent Grass greens make for excellent playing conditions and at an altitude of 2,900 feet at the footsteps of the Red Rock National Park afford some great views towards the city of Las Vegas below. This was the course where Tiger Woods won his first PGA Tour event in 1996, and the Bobby Weed/Raymond Floyd designed par 71 layout has won a number of accolades from national publications. The TPC Las Vegas also has a caddie program and the renowned PGA Tour Instructional Academy that is open to individuals and groups. For more information:

chip shots STAY-AND-PLAY PACKAGES ABOUND AT GOLFER’S HOTEL The Homewood Suites by Hilton in La Quinta is becoming known as the Golfer’s Hotel in the Coachella Valley and in partnership with Palm Springs Golf Vacations is able to offer very attractive “Stay and Play” packages at more than 45 courses throughout the region, including some private clubs. Located at the gateway to the many courses in the eastern Coachella Valley on Washington Blvd. and Highway 111--just across the street from the world-famous Indian Wells Tennis Garden, the Homewood Suites offers a terrific blend of service and amenities that golfers look for. “During the last 20 years Palm Springs Golf Vacations has been arranging trips for golfers in the Palm Springs region and the Homewood Suites is now becoming one of the most popular hotels for golfers to stay because of the location, service, the complementary breakfast and happy hour--plus the fact that all of the rooms are suites with full kitchens,” noted Tim Hurja, president of Palm Springs Golf Vacations. “We can customize packages for individu-

chip shots SilverRock Golf Resort, Indian Wells Resort Celebrity Course, the PGA West Norman Course and the Classic Club. The hotline for Homewood Suites golf packages is 888-601-5057, or for more information:


als or groups and have many options for them during their stay in the desert.� Included among the stable of courses that can be played are the Indian Wells Resort, home of the LG Skins Game during Thanksgiving weekend, and SilverRock Resort in La Quinta, one of the courses in the Bob Hope Chrysler Classic. The world-famous PGA courses in La Quinta are also available. One of the most exciting packages offered is the Ultimate Golf Week that includes a seven night stay at the Homewood Suites and six rounds of golf at the PGA West Stadium Course, Indian Wells Golf Resort Players Course,

Down in South Carolina, the Grand Strand's golfing buffet will be stocked with a few new items in 2009, thanks to two course re-openings and a brand new golf course coming later this year. So if your regular Myrtle Beach golf course rotation is in need of some fresh blood, consider checking out one of these fresh new faces on this year's golf trip: The year's most anticipated unveiling is Pine Lakes Country Club, the area's first golf club, established in 1927. Under the knife for two years now, it will reopen on March 14 with two brand new holes, new Seadwarf Paspallum turf and restorations to it's originally intended green sizes among many other enhancements. The historic clubhouse is also being

entirely renovated and will make for one of the Strand's most memorable 19th holes and will be the home of the new Myrtle Beach Golf Hall of Fame. Though a little long in the tooth before it closed down, this classic club is now set to reside among the area's premium golf courses. Ready for play right now is the reopened Eastport Golf Club, now named The Valley Club at Eastport. The golf course closed in Jan. 2007 in favor of real estate, but new ownership chose to instead revamp the course, which had a soft opening in December. Though the course design hasn't changed much since it's 1988 opening and is a modest 6,200 yards, it's set on some great, rolling property in the heart of Little River. Rates are currently $35 but have not yet been set for the rest of the year. A brand new golf course is also slated to open this fall at the Ocean Ridge Plantation, Jaguar's Lair, built on the site of the former 36-hole Angels Trace Golf Links. It will be the fifth of the "Big Cats" and is designed by Tim Cate, who also built the resort's acclaimed Tiger's Eye and 2007's Leopard's Chase.

G O L F V A C A T I O N S • W I N T E R 2009


chip shots

U p d a t e s f r o m t h e Wo r l d o f G o l f & Tr a v e l >> NEW LEADBETTER ACADEMY OPENS AT STRAWBERRY FARMS In the golf-rich Southern California coastal region that has made a name for itself over the past few years with the addition of a number of impressive new courses, the David Leadbetter Golf Academy at Strawberry Farms Golf Club in Irvine has added a world-class touch to the area with the addition of its first West Coast instructional facility. Leadbetter--who has built his reputation as one of the top golf instructors in the world based on his work with players like Ernie Els, Nick Faldo, Lee Westwood, Seve Ballesteros, Greg Norman, Nick Price, Charles Howell III, Trevor Immelman, Ian Poulter and Michelle Wie—now has established 30 academies in 13 countries throughout the world since opening his first location in 1983. The Academy at Strawberry Farms offers not only private and group lessons, but minischools, two and three-day retreats and playing lessons in addition to junior programs and corporate events under the guidance of Matthew Hilton, the director of instruction at the Irvine location. The Academy boasts a spacious 20,000

square foot lesson tee and an expansive short-game practice facility for working on putting, chipping and bunker play. The school has three video rooms and an extensive pro shop with training aids, videos, books and apparel. For anyone serious about taking lessons or improving their game, the approach at the Leadbetter Academy is defiantly one geared towards achieving results and giving students some great tools to take back to their own course or practice facility. Video—shot both before and after the initial swing analysis-- is studied by both the pupil and the instructor using the VI Coaching software indoor on large monitors. Swing changes are explained

and demonstrated using both video and hands-on demonstration. Additional instruction on the range helps solidify the key points of the instruction and students leave with a DVD of the video shot and the audio commentary detailing the new swing and instruction points. All of the programs at the David Leadbetter Golf Academy are taught by certified instructors who have undergone a comprehensive training program designed and overseen by David Leadbetter at their world headquarters at ChampionsGate, Florida and spend 12 months completing the rigorous regime. The Strawberry Farms Golf Club is situated in a soothing wetlands and canyon area of Southern Orange County and is an extremely enjoyable course with lush natural vegetation and rolling greens that provide an excellent test yet is playable for the average golfer. It has been a favorite of residents in this area of Southern California for awhile, and now with the Leadbetter Academy as an added amenity, is drawing players from across the region who want some top-level instruction to go along with some great golf.

Corporate Golf School & Individual Golf Lessons Available • Schools range from 1 to 3 days

#1 – Golf Vacations Magazine – Winter 2008

• Room accommodations at one of six Harrah’s properties • Ground transportation to and from school included • Limited Availability – call today for details

Please call (702) 777-2444 or visit us online at

Must be 21 or older to gamble. Know When To Stop Before You Start.® Gambling Problem? Call 1-800-522-4700. ©2007, Harrah’s License Company, LLC.

14V2_31408.1_7.5x4.875_4C_Ad.indd G O L F V A C A T I O N S • W I N1T E R


10/18/07 1:33:10 PM

G O L F V A C A T I O N S • W I N T E R 2009



uterwear for 2009 is definitely taking a high-tech turn as jackets, raingear and wind shirts are coming in lighter styles, are more comfortable, offer greater protection from the elements, and more fashionable than ever now with the cooler weather. Sunice, a Canadian company that has been famous north of the border since the 1970s for its skiwear clothing and for more than a decade for golf outerwear, is now part of the Ashworth group and as such is making a lot of noise with some of its new products that are getting more attention now in the United States. The Sunice Shell Collection represents the essence of the Sunice brand. Sunice’s unique and innovative fabrics together with refined manufacturing techniques through the years has led to the development of some of the most innovative and respected men’s and women’s golf outerwear collections. The Hurricane Collection features GORE-TEX® fabric in all of its styles that offers total rainproof and windproof protection along with maximum breathability. It’s lightweight and yet rugged features make this one of the most comfortable performance fabrics on the market. The Sunice Byron Gore-Tex PacLiteConvertible Jacket is especially versatile for many kinds of travel and weather conditions. It features a GORE-TEX®, two-layer PacLite Laminated Shell, is ultra lightweight with a hard welt exterior storm guard for complete protection. The Hurricane Tralee is a short-sleeve GORE-TEX® rain-wind shirt that has the same features as the Byron and is great for those cooler days. Sunice has also expanded its women’s line of outerwear for 2009 with Hurricane Gore-Tex Waterproofs. The Paula GORETEX® PACLITE® Jacket-- featuring a two-Layer PACLITE® laminated shell, this ultra-lightweight design has a set-in sleeve for increased comfort and a softtouch chin guard. The Paula GORE-TEX® two-layer PACLITE pant is unlined for ultimate breathability and has a GORE-TEX® two-Layer PACLITE® laminated shell, ultra-lightweight design, front-zip opening with button-and-drawstring closure for extra secure fit, two back scorecard pockets, adjustable Velcro lower pant hem and a 32-inch inseam.


didas Golf has hit the market with some innovative new offerings for both outerwear and shirt/short products that can be worn underneath for both warmth and to enhance support. The ClimaProof Storm 3-Way Convertible Jacket is a unique rain jacket that can be converted


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from a full rain garment designed for the serious golfer in rain, wind and cold into a short-sleeve rain shirt and finally into a vest in a matter of seconds. Perhaps its biggest attribute however is its advanced structural design to eliminate excess material from restricting the swing. A thin-yetwarm removable 360° compression wrap inner layer delivers increased support and precludes the need for a liner, eliminating bulk. Players can make a full swing with complete freedom while wearing this jacket, and can also chip and putt without the distraction of excess material impeding the motion of the arms and hands. Additional high-tech features that adidas has developed for this jacket to appeal to golfers include: convertible sleeves with stretch-elbow articulation for easy movement; shaped and adjustable cuffs for snug, comfortable fit; inner collar that flips up for added protection from the elements; waterproof zipper that makes a storm flap unnecessary and concealed venting for excellent breathability. The removable 360° compression wrap delivers support and warmth, while advanced fabrication precludes the need for a liner, eliminating bulk. A perfect partner for the ClimaProof Jacket is the TechFit PowerWeb shirt and shorts. This is an advanced compression product that targets the areas of the body that work specifically in conjunction with the muscles critical for playing golf. This product also features ClimaCool® technology, providing ventilation and moisture wicking in an extremely lightweight garment designed to be worn under a polo shirt. These form fitting pieces come in either long or short sleeve tops; or compression shorts for wearing under pants.


t isn’t often that a single product can fulfill so many roles for the golfer, traveler or photographer and do it well, but that is the case with the Casio Exilim EX-F1 camera that has created such a buzz across a number of user groups. It does just about everything—it is a technically advanced, full resolution digital camera capable of shooting 60 frames persecond in the ultra-high-speed burst mode or five shots per second for 12 seconds and is the perfect instrument for sports, nature or any action still photography. With the 12X optical zoom lens, it’s like having an entire set of lenses with focal lengths ranging from 36 to 432mm with an equivalent 35mm camera. Shutter speeds can be set from one to 1/4000 of a second.

SWEETSTUFF With all of the manuel settings one would want in a high-end camera, the still photograph functions also allow users to prerecord still images using the ultra-fast high speed burst function even before they depress the shutter by continuously recording up to 60 images per-second. In the slow motion view function the action in the in the 2.8-inch monitor before your eyes is displayed in slow motion just as if they had slowed down the passage of time. With the rapid flash setting it is possible to take up to 20 continuous shots at a speed of up to seven frames per-second. Although at first slightly intimidating, you can set the EX-F1 on automatic and have pretty much point-and shoot simplicity without having to get too technical. The quality of images is excellent with the 6.6 mega pixel capability. But this isn’t even half of the story. This extraordinary camera is also a full-function video camcorder that can record motion too fast for the human eye-- as well as high definition video. The high speed function can record up to an astonishing 1200 frames per second which puts it on par with the kind of speeds used on televised sporting events. Even at the lower speeds of 600 and 300 frames per-second, this video camera can capture remarkably clear slow motion action. It is this capability that has made this camera a favorite of golf instructors and players alike who want to analyze their swing. It was featured on the Golf Channel and on the Titleist Performance Institute web site as one of the hot new instruction products on the market. Even the V1 Digital Coaching Academy has been able to incorporate the EX-F1 video captures into its swing analysis program whereby students can download their swings to instructors over the internet for virtual lessons. For anyone wishing to take high definition videos, this camera fits the bill with users able to record in 1920 X 1080 pixels at a rate of 60 fields per second and can be hooked up to an HD compatible television with a HDMI cable. Another outstanding feature of this dual camera is the video editing function that allows easy trimming of clips and still photos right on the camera monitor prior to downloading. It has an automatic YouTube upload function enabling users to bypass editing and saving files on the computer. With so many functions and versatility, the Casio Exilim Pro EX-F1 makes a great traveling or vacation companion since it can be used as both a high-end still camera and top-of-the-line video camera in one light, easy-carry package. It can also answer the call for anyone who wants to get serious about their game and record golf swings for coaching or teaching purposes. A real triple threat when it comes to photography.


or the majority of golfers, the short game is that elusive element of the sport that takes the most time to perfect and in most instances provides the largest divide between the recreational player and the touring professional. Outside of the all important putter, no club—or category of clubs in the bag-- is as important for scoring as the wedges. Titleist, which has dominated wedge use on the PGA Tour for the past four years with its broad line of clubs from master wedge designer Bob Vokey, recently made available more scoring tools for the average player as it introduced its expanded line of Spin Milled Wedges, which create more spin and control, especially for recreational players. As the number-oneplayed wedge on the PGA Tour since 2004, with more than 40 percent of all the sand, lob and approach wedges in play each week, Titleist Vokey wedges are now being offered in the most comprehensive Spin Milled line ever ranging with nine different lofts from 48 to 64 degrees, multiple bounce options, tour-inspired soul grinds and three non-glare finishes—tour chrome, black nickel and oil can. “Being able to hit precise shots from into and around the greens requires a full range of wedge choices that provide the player with the proper yardage gaps, turf performance and the ability to hit it close from the sand,” noted Steve Pelisek, general manager Titleist golf clubs. With almost 30 combinations of Vokey wedges between the Spin Milled and the traditional 200 series, Titleist is now offering perhaps the largest line of scoring clubs. These new Vokey creations offer a somewhat lighter and smoother feel and lots of control around the greens with more stopping power on flop shots. They are amazingly versatile in a variety of turf and sand conditions. All Vokey Design Spin Milled wedges are engineered from soft 8620 carbon steel and the faces are precision milled to be perfectly flat. The grooves are machine-cut to feature a steeper draft angle and provide 30 percent more groove volume which increases the amount of moisture, grass and debris that can be removed from the clubface at the moment of impact. Spin Milled grooves feature a tighter edge radius that increases grip on the ball, particularly under wet conditions or in heavy grass. A series of micro-edges are milled into the face of each wedge producing 300 percent higher face friction than on a polished club, thus creating more ball spin and control around the greens. or TERRY ROSS G O L F V A C A T I O N S • W I N T E R 2009



fter the second hole of the impressive Inn of the Mountain Gods Golf Club you might be asking for a chainsaw.

At a 7,200-foot elevation and in a heavily forested part of southern New Mexico, amidst a backdrop of the Sacramento Mountains, this resort golf setting is cool and comfortable, but beware of the ponderosa pines rooted strategically in the middle of some fairways. “You know, when I’m right behind one of those trees I aim for it,” said George Robertson of Dallas. “No way I can hit it if I’m aiming for it. But the real attraction coming here is getting out of the summer humidity and 100-degree days of Dallas.” Texans have been coming to the cool mountains of New Mexico for as long as a Model T could negotiate primitive roads. Today everywhere you look around this resort you will see the white license plates of Texans, escaping the sweltering summer temperatures of the Lone Star state. But this scenic golf course, casino and ritzy new Inn of the Mountain Gods, isn’t just for Texans. The golf season typically begins in early April and extends through mid-October, depending on the weather, but visitors continue to visit during ski season, because the same Mescalero Apaches own Ski Apache, where the ski slopes cascade down Sierra Blanca. 18

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Talk about visionaries -- Wendell Chino, leader of the Mescalero Apaches for 43 years, looked out over some of their beautiful land in the 1970s and decided golf should be next on the tribe’s agenda. Many don’t realize that this was the first Native American-owned golf course built in the USA. In 1975, Mr. Chino's dream was realized as the unassuming, allwood Inn of the Mountain Gods opened. Vacationers couldn’t wait to try golf on an Indian Nation. Today, there are more than 50 tribal-owned courses in some 15 states, with more under construction. From Giants Ridge in Minnesota to Turning Stone in New York, tribal courses have changed Native American land and diversified the economy of these nations. And currently six New Mexico pueblos own golf courses – Cochiti, Pojoaque, Santa Ana, Santa Clara, Isleta and Mescalero Apache. And when Chino died in 1998 at the age of 74, his obituary listed one of his favorite quotes, a statement of his vision: “Zunis make jewelry, Navajos make rugs, Apaches make money”. Proud hosts of the 2008 New Mexico Open Golf Tournament, the Inn of the Mountain Gods Championship Golf Course, stretches out to 7,206 yards at par 72, has 200 feet in elevation changes, and includes the sweet smell of pines and firs, views of towering Sierra

by David R. Holland

Blanca, and man-made water features. Tricky bent grass greens can be swift downhill so always know where the mountain slopes are.

and Piano Bar. Wendell’s offers live music Fridays and Saturdays by jazz guitarist Mike Sunjka.

With boundless water, this course is always in superb condition. No. 10 is a target-island hole of 337 yards with water surrounding the fairway landing area. Remember at this altitude you tee shots travel 10 percent farther, but that’s not needed on the tight 371-yard 16th – from the tee it looks like you are sizing up a tunnel shot.

After golf and gaming there are countless opportunities for outdoors recreation. The region, encompassing the towns of Ruidoso and Cloudcroft, has mountain biking, hiking, fishing and hunting and fall is a favorite to see the aspens turn to gold. During a brief window in spring visitors can glide downhill at Ski Apache in the morning - high atop 12,003-foot Sierra Blanca, and play golf in the afternoon.

The cross cut fairways bound up and downhill, each leading to breathtaking views in all directions. Designed by Ted Robinson, the course was named one of the most underrated golf courses in the Southwest by Travel & Leisure Golf back in 2005. It has also been nationally-ranked by Golfweek and Golf Digest selected it for its Top 40 Gaming/Golf Destination ranking. The new hotel features 273 luxury rooms and suites, 40,000square feet of meeting space, a 38,000-square foot, first-class casino, an indoor pool, and a fully equipped workout facility. And that’s just for starters. After a day on the golf course or the slopes, you can enjoy live entertainment and choose from a variety of places to dine. Wendell’s Steak and Seafood Restaurant is my favorite, but the Gathering of Nations Buffet has your favorite tastes from around the world. Or you watch a game in the Big Game Sports Bar or watch a New Mexico sunset in the Lounge

Ask about the “Time to Tee it Up” golf packages. The Inn of the Mountain Gods Resort and Casino presents a myriad of entertainment – concerts and entertainment were staged this year by Trace Adkins, Clint Black, Sugarland, Los Lonely Boys, Billy Currington, The Beach Boys, B.B. King, Bill Cosby and others. Inn of the Mountain Gods – for those golfers who spend their summer in oppressive heat, this place is God’s natural air conditioner.

Inn of the Mountain Gods Resort and Casino 287 Carrizo Canyon Road Mescalero, NM 88340 Phone: (888) 324-0348 G O L F V A C A T I O N S • W I N T E R 2009



e u n i o n

By TomLaMarre

A Golfer’s Paradise Awaits You G i n n R e u n i o n R e s o r t


, Fla. – Come to Central Florida and play golf with one of the best foursomes in the history of the game at Ginn Reunion Resort. Real estate entrepreneur Bobby Ginn has created a golfer's paradise just southwest of Orlando where golfers can play on immaculate courses designed by Jack Nicklaus, Arnold Palmer and Tom Watson. And/or take lessons at the Annika Academy, lifelong dream of Annika Sorenstam, one of the greatest players in LPGA Tour history. Sorenstam hasn't only lent her name, as she and her sister Charlotta, who also plays on the women's circuit, are on the teaching staff. "As it relates to (golf) on the East Coast in the United States, you are not going to get any better than you have right here," Nicklaus said. However, Reunion is not only a golf resort. It is a 2,300-acre property dotted by private residences, vacation homes, spacious villas and the Reunion Grande, which offers a hotel-type experience with 82 luxurious suites. Since it is located only six miles from the front gates of Walt Disney World, the resort caters to families.

Other facilities on the property include the Tennis Centre at Center Court Ridge, the Seven Eagles Pool Pavilion at the Cove, a private water park, a full-service fitness center, biking and hiking trails, a convention center and a boutique spa. While the adults are on the golf course, non-golfing youngsters are kept busy with the Kids Crew and Hideaway Cove for teens. "There are so many options at the resort, which makes it so appealing to families," said Nikki Lundgren, director of marketing for Ginn Reunion Resort. "In addition to all the activities and six restaurants, there are kitchen facilities with all of our accommodations. "One of the big selling points with families is that we are so close to Disney, so you can go over there and enjoy everything it has to offer. But when you are finished and want to get out of that environment, come back and relax in the family areas. "But with many of our families, golf is the focal point." And what better place to come for golf with three unique courses to sample. The Legacy Course, a typical resort layout designed by seventime major championship winner Palmer that opened 2004, measures 6,916 yards from the back tees with a USGA rating of 73.4 and a 137 slope from the back tees.

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The Independence Course, which features a Scottish links feel and was designed by five-time British Open champion Watson, also opened in 2004 and plays 7,154 yards from the tips with a rating of 74.7 and a slope of 140. Nicklaus, the greatest golfer of all-time at least until Tiger Woods' career plays out, designed the Tradition Course, which opened in 2006. The parkland course stretches out to 7,244 yards from the back, with a 76.7 rating and 147 slope. All three courses play to a par of 72. "That's definitely one of the things that most people love about our facility," said Matt Allen, a PGA pro who is Inside Golf Manager at Reunion. "All three are outstanding courses and combined they make for a truly great venue. You get something different from each one. "And you can play the front nine of the Palmer and Watson courses, which comprise the 18 holes for the Ginn Open (on the LPGA Tour). That's something almost every golfer loves, to play the course and then watch the pros play it on TV." The Legacy Course, designed by Palmer, and Watson's Independence Course are located side-by side and sprawl out around the centerpiece of the resort, the Reunion Grande. Also on the site is a large double-ended practice area, with the Annika Academy on the far side. The Palmer Course definitely is the most resort-friendly of the three layouts. "That's the course we like our high-handicap guests to play


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first," Allen said. "It's got a little bit of everything, some bunkering and some water but nothing tricky, no blind shots. The greens are not huge and there is a little undulation to them. "It's not as long as the other two courses, but there's plenty of challenge if you play it from the back tees." The second hole is a gorgeous downhill par three that measures only 162 yards from the back of an elevated tee to a green that is surrounded by a stand of tall trees. But don't lose your focus while admiring the view because the 50-foot drop in elevation requires careful consideration to select the right club for a shot to a green that slopes toward the bunker on the right. "You don't see that many holes in Florida with that much change in elevation," Allen said. "You don't want to go long because your ball can wind up in the trees and bushes behind the green. "There is a narrow opening for tee shots that land short, so they can bounce onto the green. It's guarded by a large bunker to the right, so it's not a hole where you can go flag-hunting or you end up with a bunker shot or a tough chip. Hit the middle of the green and get your par because the hole is not as easy as it might look." No. 7 on the Legacy Course is the signature hole of Ginn Reunion Resort. Measuring only 303 yards, this par-four beauty is a true riskreward hole right out of the Palmer Playbook. The drive from an elevated tee carries across a large water hazard to the fairway and a green protected by three large bunkers.


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"I look forward to playing this hole every time," Allen said. "It has every aspect of risk-reward. Long hitters can challenge the green with driver, but you have to be accurate because of the bunkers or you can hit an iron or three wood off the tee to hit the fairway. With a good drive, you have a short iron in your hand for the second shot. "It's easy to see why it's the signature hole with the bridge winding across the water and the Reunion Grande in the background. If you bring your camera, make sure to stop and take a picture on this hole." The 13th hole rates No. 1 on the Legacy scorecard, a long par four that measures 443 yards from the back tees an d the drive is the longest forced carry on the course and must carry a large marshland area. But it's not as difficult as it looks. "The water shouldn't come into play, but for the average golfer just the fact that it's there can cause problems," Allen said. "You have to focus on the drive and you want to stay a little right because the fairway opens up on the right and there is more hazard on the left. "It's a tough hole, but if you hit the fairway you have a chance." Next door is the Independence Course and who better to sculpt a links-style course than Watson, who has won seven times in Scotland. Watson didn't have the Pacific Ocean as a backdrop as he did when he laid out the Links at Spanish Bay in Pebble Beach, but

160 bunkers on the course can leave more sand in your hair than a day at the beach. But you won't find a drop of water. "He puts that kind of spin on a lot of his designs and did that here as well," Allen said. "There are an average of almost nine bunkers per hole and they definitely come into play. Some are traditional bunkers, but others pretty good lips on them. "It's kind of strange for a Florida course to have no water, but you have the bunkers and the biggest greens and green complexes out here, plus some runoff areas. But, in links style, you can see everything in front of you and there is usually at least a hint of wind." Watson starts the course with a dramatic par five, which measures 562 yards from the back tee. Big hitters can reach the green in two if they get past the bunkers on both sides of the fairway, but there is plenty of trouble waiting to turn an eagle or birdie opportunity into bogey very quickly. Make sure your drive is straight because there is out of bounds across the road on the right and high fescue grass on the left. "It's a par five right out of the gate, which can be an opportunity for better players if they are warmed up," Allen said. "It's an elevated tee and the hole plays into a little valley area midway down the hole. "Unless you hit a great drive, play it as a three-shot hole, laying up to about 100 yards. There is a bunker on the left that you want no part of, and a large two-tiered green, which runs from the back to lower left. A terrific opening hole."

G O L F V A C A T I O N S • W I N T E R 2009



e u n i o n The fifth hole is rated No. 1 in the Independence scorecard, a 461-yard par-four which gives the golfer a choice of right or left off the tee because a large bunker protects the middle of the fairway. Play the right side to get a better angle of approach to a large green that runs away from right to left and is guarded by traps on either side of the hole, which plays through a scenic wooded area. "This hole bends around to the left, so a draw is the better shot," Allen said. "House come into play on the right and there is out of bounds over there, and the left side is tree-lined. It's real nice through the trees there on Nos. 4-5-6. "The second shot is downhill to the green, another one that is higher in the front than the back. It's very quiet through there and you sometimes see wild turkey and deer." No. 18 is a strong finishing hole, a 431-yard par four, but the golfer does not get to the tee until taking a long cart ride across an elevated bridge that travels through a gorgeous native wetlands area traversed by a stream--the only water near the course. The tee box is located next to the Annika Academy on the left and don't miss your tee shot right or it will be lost in the woods. "It's almost a split-level fairway, higher on the left," Allen said. "If you take the right, it's an easier drive, but a more difficult approach shot. Go left off the tee and you have bunkers to carry left and right, but it gives you a better angle into the green. "If your second20shot is short and right, it's in the bunker, and to the left is a little collection area. The green slopes from back to front, with a little spine in the middle left. This hole is no gimme, but if you make a par or birdie you can leave with a smile on your face." Nicklaus' Tradition Course is not your friendly resort course, but still offers a golf experience to remember if played from the correct tee. The newest of the three Reunion courses, it is located a few minutes' drive from the Reunion Grande in a flatter area of the property. There is no permanent clubhouse yet, but there is a fullsized practice area on the site. "Nicklaus tends to make his greens somewhat smaller and I think that's what makes the Tradition more difficult," Allen said. "You have to have a pretty good short game to get up-and-down. "The fairways are a bit more generous and there is a bit of water and sand, sort of a combination of the Palmer and Watson courses. There are some trickier shots but it's not unfair. You have to play the course three or four times to figure it out. When people finish, they can't wait to play it again." Best stretch of the Tradition comes near the start, where the 440-yard, par-four second--No. 1 on the card--is followed by a 585-


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e u n i o n yard par five and a 414-yard par four, which play along the shores of a large lake. This part of the course plays through a remote area that give the golfer a feeling of solitude. "Nos. 2-3-4 are great holes," Allen said. "No. 2 is a little riskand-reward. Longer hitters can hit over the bunkers on the right side and it's a much longer second shot if you have to go around them. It can be very tricky with out of bounds on the right and woods on the left. The green is guarded by a bunker on the left, with the green wrapping around the bunker and sloping right to left. "No. 3 is all you want from a golf hole. To start, the slightly elevated tee box tee is supported by railroad ties and the drive goes through a little chute to a generous fairway with traps on either side. Water comes into play on the second and third shots and anything wayward is in the pond. The green is really small for a par five and the bunkering adds to the difficulty. "The tee shot on the fourth hole takes some thought because there is water right and a pot bunker in the middle of the fairway. There is another lake left and short of the green and the ground slopes toward it. If you are above the hole, the putt can be quick down to the hole." No. 18 is another Grande finale, 431 yards of par four across the water and then uphill to a green surrounded by bunkers. There is a waste bunker that runs all the way up to the putting surface. "Unless you are a long hitter, you might want to play it was a three-shot hole even though it's a par four," Allen said. "Hit the tee shot over the water and into the fairway and then lay up to a good distance because of the deep bunker that guards the green. The secret to the hole is to play the right side. "There is some slope on all the greens but this one is not tiered, thought there is a valley area through the middle makes it tough." One advantage of the Tradition Course is that you can head right down the street after a heated round to the Reunion water park. Or head back to the Reunion Grande to dine at Forte, an upscale chophouse on the lobby floor, or Eleven, a rooftop lounge that serves tapas and an eclectic fusion of new world and Asian cuisine. Other options are a quick meal outside at the Clubhouse or poolside at the Seven Eagles Grill across the street, or simply enjoy a snack while watching the big-screen television at the Grande Lobby Bar. All while contemplating your next legendary round.

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The Annika Academy


hen Annika Sorenstam opened the doors of the Annika Academy last year at Ginn Reunion Resort near Orlando, Fla., she promised that students would see more than her name on the door. The greatest women's golfer of this generation and perhaps of alltime has been true to her word, using the 5,400-square-foot facility as her training base in addition to being part of the instruction staff when she is not playing on the LPGA Tour. "You see her practicing on the range and on the practice greens right behind the Reunion Grande," said Matt Allen, Inside Golf Manager at Ginn Reunion Resort. "Guests of the resort crowd the veranda to watch her. "You can book a lesson or even a round of golf with her (for a price, of course). And the best thing is that she is so approachable and genuinely friendly with everyone." The 37-year-old Sorenstam, winner of more than 80 tournaments around the world including 10 major championships, surprised the golf world earlier this year when she said would leave competitive golf after this season--although she was careful to avoid the word "retirement." One of the priorities in her new life will be the Annika Academy. "I'm very proud of the one that we have in Orlando and I'm just trying to get that going and make it successful," Sorenstam told the media while announcing her decision. The Annika Academy offers golf instruction in what Sorenstam calls a boutique-like setting at the far end of the driving range at the Reunion Grande. In addition to outdoor hitting areas and a large putting green that is part of a short-game practice area, the state-of-the-art facility features two hitting booths for swing training, video analysis and Callaway club-fitting. There also is a modern fitness center with the best equipment and a full locker room that provides a full health club experience, plus a conference room. Annika imported the only swing coach she has ever had, Henri Reis, from Sweden to be part of the staff, which also includes Kai Fusser, Sorenstam's personal trainer. Also on the instruction staff are Charlotta Sorenstam, Annika's sister, who captured the 2000 Standard Register Ping on the LPGA Tour, and Christian Thornley, who played on the UNLV golf team with Adam Scott and Charley Hoffman. The Annika Academy caters to small groups and individuals, especially youngsters "I want to continue to help inspire kids and I want to be there to help women's sports," Sorenstam said of her future. When she finished a round at the Ginn Open earlier this year, Sorenstam was besieged by autograph-seeking fans, but was steered away by an LPGA Tour official who said there would be no autographs until Annika signed her scorecard. Just then, Sorenstam spotted two young girls wearing Annika Academy hats. She stopped and said, "I'll sign these two," which she did while engaging in a brief conversation with her young admirers. With one simple gesture, Annika made them feel as special as she is.

Ginn Reunion Resort 1000 Reunion Way Reunion, FL 34747 Resort Info: 407-662-1000

The Annika Academy 7450 Sparkling Court Reunion, FL 34747 1-888-ANNIKA2

-- Tom LaMarre 26

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Many of my friends were diagnosed with cancer. My own breast cancer diagnosis heightened my awareness further and compelled me to work toward a cure. Our country club along with Rally for the Cure is influencing other golf clubs in the area about this cause and that is very rewarding. -Vangie Butler Rally participant

Ending breast cancer forever starts with you. Schedule a closest-to-the-pin contest today and make a difference! Join Rally for the Cure® and the thousands of women and men who spread the life-saving message of early detection and breast cancer awareness through our sporting and social events.

Call 800.327.6811, email or go to


Rally for the Cure is a registered trademark of Susan G. Komen for the Cure

Park City • Utah

Family Fun Rules at Park City Mountain Resort

A Mountain Range Of Possibilities By LARRY FELDMAN


It’s the only place I know where you can drop down and get to Heaven. Most people know of Park City, Utah for one thing. Skiing. You know, the Greatest Snow on Earth. Well, it’s all that and more if bulleting down black diamond runs is your thing. Holding the 2002 Winter Olympics here was a no-brainer. So, when the Promontory, The Club invited me to come play the new Pete Dye signature course a few years back (they have recently added a spectacular Jack Nicklaus layout), I didn’t rush to RSVP. As a lifelong skier, summer in Park City just didn’t register. I did finally accept, though, and the rest is nearly incomprehensible. Not only did my wife and I fall in love with the sheer beauty and charm of Park City, we booked a return trip, met with a realtor, bought a lot and built our dream home where we still live today. It was the greatest decision of our lives. While the reality of now skiing Deer Valley, Park


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City and The Canyons each year is a dream-cometrue, I can honestly say it was the summertime in Park City that actually convinced us to make the move. The air is clean, the sky is blue and all you want to do is go outside and play. That includes golf, which rivals any city I’ve ever lived in or visited. Not only are the majority of the golf courses in the Park City area blessed with breathtaking views, the playable months come with a perfectly pleasant alpine climate, immaculate playing conditions and an average price of $40 per round. No more $200 rounds for me, thank you. Go to or for a list of all the courses. In the heart of town, the aptly named Park City Golf Club is a charming municipal course that can easily hold its own with some of the newer, high-end tracts. In 1976, William Neff expanded the original nine-hole layout built in 1963 into a signature 18-hole course. And, at 6,700 feet above sea level, it’s strictly

Park City • Utah

Lake Course at Wasatch Mtn • photo by Stephen Gale

“tee it high and let it fly” all day long. Soldier Hollow is brand-spanking new, but you’d never know it. This 36-hole facility is located in the Wasatch Mountains near the picturesque town of Midway and is as mature as they come. Overlooking the beautiful Heber Valley, Soldier Hollow offers stunning vistas of the nearly 12,000-foot peaks of Mount Timpanogas. The 7,598-yard Gold Course plays from some of the highest elevations of the complex and, as you can expect, the eye candy from the upper holes is breathtaking. At 7,355 yards, the Silver Course is situated lower on the property, but plays just as tough. Wasatch Mountain Golf Club is just down the road from Soldier Hollow and also offers two 18-hole courses. The Mountain and Lake are among the most popular in the state and are award winners. The Lake is the easier of the two, with several reachable, risk/reward par fives that can lead to some career-best rounds. But, accuracy is a must or the tree-lined fairways will eat you up. The Mountain course calls for every shot in the bag and the rugged terrain will position you with uphill, downhill and

Utah Olympic Park Entrance in Summer

sidehill lies. If you can arrange for a Fall tee time, the changing colors of the leaves will make you quickly forget about any errant shot you might hit. The fifth and final of the Wasatch Mountain layouts is Homestead Resort Golf Course. The front nine takes you up a mountain slope for dramatic views of the Heber Valley. The back nine meanders through the picturesque Snake Creek Valley. The views and two distinct types of terrain make for a memorable round. Senior PGA Touring Professional Bruce Summerhays designed the Homestead Resort course, which was recently named “Best of State” on the Zagat list of American courses. Park City is not just skiing and golf. It ranks among the best for mountain biking, hiking, horseback riding and adventure camps for the kids. If those activities float your boat, Deer Valley, Park City Mountain Resort and The Canyons all provide perfect playgrounds. Plus, make sure to take a balloon ride from Park City Balloon Adventures ( and scream down a bobsled run at the Olympic Park

G O L F V A C A T I O N S • W I N T E R 2009


Park City • Utah

Silver Course with Tate Barn SoldierHollow • photo by Stephen Gale

(, which also holds aerial and ski jumping events/classes as well as Zipline and Alpine Slide rides for the entire family. When Deer Valley Resort ( opened in 1981, it set a new standard for the ski industry worldwide. Embracing the amenities discerning guests would expect at a fine hotel, Deer Valley incorporated excellent service, fine dining, and friendly professionalism as basic elements. The result? An inviting and accommodating resort renowned for attention to detail. During the winter, immaculately groomed slopes, services such as ski valets, architecturally stunning lodges, and award-winning cuisine garnered Deer Valley the #1 Ski Resort in North America ranking from the readers of SKI magazine in 2007 and 2008. The perfect summer day also begins at Deer Valley at Snow Park Lodge, located at the base of the mountain. The Silver Lake Express chairlift is now a part of their summer biking, hiking, and scenic ride options over 50 miles of panoramic trails, along with the midmountain Sterling chairlift out of Silver Lake Lodge. Park City Mountain Resort ( is another great summer spot. The Zip Rider is a 2,300foot rush across a great gorge at 60 mph and 110 feet off the ground. If you’re not into solo sports, grab a partner and race down the Alpine Slide, a luge-type


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cement track that brings out the kid in everyone. The new roller coaster is also a blast. Park City is rife with resorts, condos, hotels and motels. Finding accommodations should not be a problem, but finding the right place is a different story. Two places come to mind. The Silver Queen Hotel ( is simply irresistible and, best of all, located right in the middle of Main Street. If finding the perfect location is your thing, book a room at the Silver Queen. But do so well in advance…there are only 12 guest rooms. Of its dozen one- and two-bedroom suites, no two are alike. Each room is decorated in either uptown, downtown, eclectic, luxurious or contemporary motifs. It’s the rage hotel among the young, urban Hollywood elite during the Sundance Film Festival (late January). That must be the reason for the ultracool leopard carpet in all the hallways! Each room comes with complete with steam showers, jetted hot tubs, fully equipped kitchens, fireplace, washer/dryer, ski lockers, concierge, daily maid service, a roof-top garden and Jacuzzi and a minimarket. The front desk also personally calls each guest at the end of the day to see if there’s anything they can provide. Nice touch. A two-minute walk from the Silver Queen’s puts you at the town lift for skiing and mountain biking,

Park City • Utah

only five steps out the front door gets you a ride on the Town Bus that will take you to anywhere in Park City, and a walk up and down Main Street gets you everything else: entertainment, dining, shops, boutiques, art galleries and nightlife. It’s really one of the few places you can stay where you don’t need a car. If you prefer sheer elegance over the eclectic boutique hotel, then you can’t do better anywhere in the state of Utah than Stein Eriksen Lodge. Located on the pristine slopes of Deer Valley, Stein Eriksen Lodge ( is the state’s only yearround AAA Five-Diamond award resort. Created in 1982 by Olympic skier and legend Stein Eriksen, the Lodge was envisioned to be one of the world’s finest full-service luxury hotels. They achieved their goal through European elegance and mountain architecture. The Lodge is renowned as a distinctive Norwegian sanctuary for leisure and business travelers. With 170 luxuriously appointed rooms, 6,000 square feet of conference space, award-winning food and wine, rejuvenating spa services as well as fabulous boutiques and legendary customer service, guests at Stein Eriksen Lodge will leave knowing they just received the ultimate mountain experience. Dining is a marvelous experience in Park City,

too. My suggestion is to walk up and down Main Street and pick one of many outstanding eateries. You’ll satisfy your taste without starting up your engine, plus there’s nothing better than finishing off a good meal, then strolling the streets with cigar inhand and spending a few bucks in the local shops. Finally, The Canyons ( might be the next great thing to hit Park City, if not the world. The mountain is the fourth largest ski resort in North America and they’ve just approved a championship 18-hole course that will sit at the base of the hill. If you’re familiar with the likes of Vail and Whistler, The Canyons will soon rival these first-class resorts in everything from skiing, dining and Five-Star accommodations. If this were a horse race, you might well want to put your money on The Canyons. They might be the dark horse now, but they could well be the favorite amongst tourists in the years to come. In short, Park City is hands-down one of the hippest yet quaint towns I’ve come across in quite some time. Whether you are schussing down some of Park City’s world-famous powder or teeing off from the tips with the Wasatch Mountains staring you down, Park City is a must visit for everyone at least once. Or, if you’re like us…forever.

Homestead Resort Golf Course • photo by Homestead

Futura Olympic Champ at Park City Mountain Resort

Skiing Park City Mountain Resort

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Bahia Beach Reso S

Stick your tee in the ground, place the ball, back away and look down the fairway – that gust that almost took your breath away was a squall of brainpower indecision -- much like an afternoon thunderstorm on the fairways of the brand-new Bahía Beach Resort & Golf Club in steamy Puerto Rico. “Dad always said create some indecision in the middle of a back swing,” said Robert Trent Jones, Jr., golf-architect extraordinaire, while sizing up his approach on the 468-yard, par four sixth. Water hugs a majority of the left boundary of this daunting hole with a charitable bailout zone right. At Bahía Beach, Bobby, as his peers call him, did precisely that – he produced indecisiveness that can slow you down on many tees. Managed by Troon Golf, you will face lagoons left throughout this 7,014-yard, par-72 excursion through lush corridors of vegetation. And since this was pure jungle 4,500 trees were saved and replanted, before shaping equipment forged out the fairways. This new master planned resort community, once a coconut plantation, is just 25 minutes from San Juan in Rio Grande, bounded by the sparkling blue sea, the Espiritu Santo and Herrera Rivers, amid 483 acres of pristine 100-foot coconut palms, thick growths of almond, flamboyan trees and seagrape. Views also appear of the mountainous El Yunque National Rainforest and the occasional scampering iguana. Forty years after “dad” Robert Trent Jones, Sr. established the famous Dorado Beach Resort & Club for Laurance Rockefeller, the son returned to Puerto Rico for his first design on the Caribbean island. “I guess it was in my genes,” he said, “when I was here before as a youngster with my dad I was an apprentice, carrying his luggage, and learning the business in the dirt, on the ground.” Now, with his portfolio bulging past 250 designs throughout the world, Jones has numerous famous Caribbean designs. Bahía Beach just adds to the superlatives. Jones’ vision included contours that mimic the waves of the ocean – defining the rolls and dips of the fairways, greens, bunkers and mounds. When there’s an absence of cavernous bunkers, Jones uses greenside walls as a defense, creating tough lobs or bump-and-run options. Huge greens, some with hollows or long, tubular shapes, enforces more difficulty.


o rt & Golf Club

By David R. Holland

“Bahía Beach is a haven of golf that will challenge but also delight your soul and spirit,” said Jones. “The site is spectacular, with two miles of beach, a native maritime forest and views of El Yunque rainforest from nearly every hole.” “We selected Robert Trent Jones, Jr. to create the Bahía Beach Golf Course because he’s the pre-eminent designer of tropical courses in the world today,” said Federico Sánchez-Ortíz, president of Interlink Group, the development managers of Bahía Beach. “The courses he’s designed in other seaside settings such as Princeville Resort in Hawaii, Royal Westmoreland in Barbados and the Four Seasons Nevis represent the exact blend of beauty and playability we seek here.” Bahía Beach’s clubhouse will feature tropical plantation architecture, accented by exposed stone and woodwork. Inside one will find an upscale casual restaurant, as well as a private activity room, bar and golf shop. Members will have access to men’s and ladies’ lounges and locker rooms offering a variety of amenities and services. Outside, the club will offer a full-size beachfront swimming pool and patio areas overlooking the ocean for dining and entertaining. St. Regis Hotels & Resorts will operate the planned St. Regis Resort, scheduled to open in 2009. Development of residential offerings such as the luxurious St. Regis Residences Las Estancias, golf villas, and oceanfront town homes, are also underway. Hotel guests will have accommodations featuring panoramic views from private open terraces of the ocean to the north or the mountainous El Yunque tropical rainforest to the south. It will also offer its signature St. Regis Butler and St. Regis Concierge, a world-class Remède Spa and Fitness Center, fine and casual dining restaurants, retail shops and oceanfront swimming pools. The Las Estancias residences will offer 26 estate homes introducing a tropical plantation architectural style on spacious lots overlooking the golf course and ocean. Six different models offer floor plans with large verandas, three-car garages and separate maid quarters. Homes are sized from 6,000- to 10,000- square feet and built on lots of half acre to 1.3 acres with the backdrop of El Yunque. Owners will enjoy full access to St. Regis Resort amenities including the signature St. Regis Butler and St. Regis Concierge. When opened, the 10,000 square-foot Remède Spa will offer restorative body wraps, facials and massages combined with signa-

ture touches such as chilled champagne, Jacques Torres truffles and cashmere throws in a stylish tropical spa environment. Or perhaps an energizing steam treatment followed by a brisk dip in a cold plunge pool. By far, the best thing about Puerto Rico is its’ ties to the United States. As a Commonwealth of the USA, there’s no need for passports. And most everyone speaks English. Don’t miss Old San Juan for its history, shops and restaurants. This section of the city consists of 400 restored buildings from the 16th- and 17th-century Spanish colonial period. Spanish explorer Juan Ponce de León founded the original settlement and is buried in the Cathedral of San Juan Bautista. Book a stay in the Art Deco Normandie Hotel, built in 1942 to resemble the S.S. Normandie ocean liner. This 173-room boutique hotel, newly polished and renovated, has ocean views, private beach access, wireless internet, spa, restaurant and continental breakfast. For Puerto Rican cuisine try The Parrot Club, located in the trendy district around South Fortaleza Street. Nuevo Latino and Caribbean dishes are served here such as deep-fried chicharrones over a bed of a fresh Caesar salad. Ajili Mojili specializes in Omofongos, green plantains stuffed with chicken, shrimp, veal or pork. Many seafood choices are also on the menu. Tourists also head for The Bacardi Rum Factory or cool off in the El Yunque Rain Forest, where the temperatures dip into the sixties and the views of the island are amazing. Golf in Puerto Rico has blossomed, no doubt, from the sand greens of the first golf course, to the 23 now spread throughout this garden isle of green parrots. And Bahía Beach might just be the prettiest spot on Puerto Rico’s northeastern coast where the Atlantic Ocean blends with the turquoise waters of the Caribbean Sea.

Bahia Beach Resort & Golf Club Normandie Hotel

Puerto Rico




his was our 5th trip to Amazing Thailand. There is so much to see and do in Thailand that each trip is different and new discoveries are made on each and every visit. We flew EVA Air Premium Laurel from LAX on one of their new Boeing B777s. Premium Laurel, EVA’s top class, offers passengers a flying environment that combines the latest technology with the highest standard of luxury. I especially enjoyed the AVOD Entertainment System which includes movies, TV programs, music and video games operated by your own individual remote control. I always bring my laptop so the 110 volt power outlets at my seat were very convenient. There is an in-flight beverage island stocked with refreshments, from designer water and fine wines to snack and gourmet treats. We just settled back in our own spacious private retreat and enjoyed gourmet meals served on bone china, enjoyed a caffe latte and then went to sleep under the luxurious comforter. Premium Laurel passengers have access to the EVA lounge at the Taipei


G O L F VA C AT I O N S • W I N T E R 2 0 0 9

stopover. We enjoyed complimentary steamed vegetarian rolls and cocktails from the ample buffet then took a shower and changed clothes before departing to Bangkok. One of the best things about flying EVA is the reasonable price for Premium Laurel service. Business Class on other Asian airlines costs almost $4000.00 more. I suggest you book early to ensure getting a seat. After a brief stopover in Bangkok we were on our flight to Phuket. Just 55 minutes from the Phuket International Airport is Khao Lak, an area of outstanding beauty with cascading waterfalls, idyllic lagoons and ancient forests. We stayed for 4 nights at The Sarojin, an award winning boutique hotel. The World Travel Awards, the “Oscars” of the travel industry, voted The Sarojin Asia’s leading boutique hotel for the last 3 years. The Sarojin has also been voted the world’s most romantic hotel at Luxury Hotel Awards 2007. When we arrived at The Sarojin we were greeted by over 100 of the staff lining the private drive. It was quite a welcome. The Sarojin has the ambience of a private estate and a contemporary Asian style.

Its 56 residences are set within 10 acres of lush and perfectly manicured grounds leading directly onto the hotel’s private beach on the Andaman Sea. There is a staff of 245 to insure that your every wish and desires are fulfilled. Bordering the hotel are 5 spectacular national parks and the world famous dive sanctuaries of the Similan and Surin Islands and Phang Nga National Marine Park renowned for its dramatic limestone islands and captivating sea cave canoe journeys. We took advantage of the hotel’s “Imagineer,” the ultimate personal concierge. Jowell created taylor made adventures for us including a private charter on the hotel’s luxury boat, the Lady Sarojin, an elephant trek in the jungle and a visit to the local market to purchase fresh items for a Thai cooking class and lunch by a waterfall. We also had a private bar-b-q on The Sarojin’s secluded white sand beach. Of course there is always the option of the luxury of just relaxing. Just a short drive from The Sarojin are 3 golf courses including the world class Blue Canyon Country Club. I once asked Tiger Woods’ mother, Kultida, which golf


photos by Steve Judge and Bill Cannedy

course in the entire world was Tiger’s favorite. She said it was Blue Canyon. Blue Canyon boasts 2 – 18 hole courses. It has been the host to the Johnny Walker Classic and Honda Invitational. The Lake Course offers quite a challenge with water hazards on 17 of the 18 holes. The clubhouse offers Thai, Japanese and international cuisine. The opulently designed changing facilities include Jacuzzis, steam room, sauna and massage facilities and are without equal in the Asia Pacific. After 4 fantastic days at The Sarojin we were off to Bangkok. Bangkok is one of the world’s most exciting cities. Modern skyscrapers sit next to ancient temples. The city boasts world class shopping, dining and hotels. World class golf courses are just a short drive away. Whether you’re a borderline pro or of more modest talents, Bangkok has a fairway for you. There are approximately 50 golf courses dotted around the capital. Many were crafted by world class golf design talent and regularly play host to prestigious world-stage golf tournaments. Traveling by car during rush hour is almost impossible. Fortunately Bangkok

has a superb public transportation system. The Skytrain and subway are modern and spotless. We always take a longtail boat down the Chao Phraya River (The River of Kings) and through the canals to see the old Bangkok. A tuk tuk ride is a lot of fun. If you like to shop then you will love Bangkok. Bangkok has the world’s largest flea market where you can buy just about anything at bargain prices. The flea market is open on the weekend. Get there early because it gets very crowded. Some of the finest high end shopping malls in the world are located in Bangkok. People come around from around the world to shop in Bangkok. Dining is another great pleasure. There are over 50,000 places to eat in Bangkok. There is everything from fast food, street food to the finest cosmopolitan restaurants. One of my favorite things to do is visit the local beauty salon/barber shop. I got a haircut, shave, facial, manicure, pedicure and foot massage for less than $40.00 including tip. A two hour traditional Thai massage costs less than $10.00. We attended the Thai Travel Mart trav-

el show for a couple of days. It is really amazing how much Thailand has to offer. The Kingdom of Thailand draws more visitors than any other country in southeast Asia with its irresistible combination of breathtaking natural beauty, inspiring temples, renowned hospitality, robust cuisine and ruins of fabulous ancient kingdoms. Few countries are so well endowed. From the mountains of Mae Hong Son and the verdant limestone islands of the Andaman Sea, to the pulse-pounding dance clubs of Bangkok and the tranquil villages moored along the Mekong River, Thailand offers something for every type of traveler. I can hardly wait to return.

To get your free Thailand Golf Directory, call 1-800-THAILAND or email

G O L F V A C A T I O N S • W I N T E R 2009




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Golf Vacations Magazine Winter 2009  

Golf Vacations Magazine Winter 2009

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