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GOLF VACATIONS WINTER 2008

FIND YOUR RHYTHM AT THE ST. KITTS MARRIOTT RESORT

CALYPSO GOLF BETWEEN TWO OCEANS

MOUNTAIN VIEW AT DESERT WILLOW

GET A PEACEFUL EASY FEELING

PLUS:

Soul Of A Bentley I Pack For The Isles I Winter Reading


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

Tee Times / Stay & Play Packages Call 1.888.727.4427 or visit us online at harrahsgolf.com For groups of 16 or more call 702.294.2010

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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.

Check availability and pricing, and reserve the entire package online at www.harrahsgolfonline.com

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.


Š 2007 RCSH All Rights Reserved

- RUTH

Phoenix (602) 957-9600

Pasadena (626) 583-8122

Scottsdale (480) 991-5988

Roseville (916) 780-6910

Anaheim (714) 750-5466

Sacramento (916) 286-2702

Beverly Hills (310) 859-8744

San Diego (619) 233-1422

Del Mar (858) 755-1454

San Francisco (415) 673-0557

Irvine (949) 252-8848

Walnut Creek (925) 977-3477

Palm Desert (760) 779-1998

Woodland Hills (818) 227-9505

Group Private Dining Available Reservations & Gift Cards at www.RuthsChris.com


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contents I winter 2008

26 cover

26

stories

GOLF VACATIONS: MEXICO

A Cure for The Traveling Blues by Chris Baldwin

The Sheraton Hacienda del Mar takes service to a blissful level. You might have big plans to keep on the go during your Cabo vacation, but this destination resort will stop you in your tracks!

30

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GOLF VACATIONS: MEXICO

Palmilla Packs A Potent Punch by Chris Baldwin

Jack Nicklaus was an early pioneer of golf down south in the land of sun and fun. His footprint is all over this gem at the edge of the Sea of Cortèz. Expect to work for your fun!

38

Calypso Groove at St. Kitts Marriott Resort by Lisa T. McElroy

The “real” Caribbean is harder to come by these days, but this island paradise proves it simple to ditch your work shoes, grab your clubs, find your rhythm, sip some rum and relax, relax, relax.

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Peaceful, Easy Feeling in the Desert by Chris Baldwin

Firecliff may get all the press, but Desert Willow offers up a real laid-back desert treat with their Mountain View course.

ON THE COVER: Westin’s CampoReal Golf Resort & Spa outside Lisbon, Portugal

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46 G O L F VA C AT I O N S • W I N T E R 2 0 0 8

www.gvlinks.com


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Pebble Beach • Pinehurst • Kapalua • Bandon Dunes • Torrey Pines • St. Andrews • Carnoustie


contents I winter 2008

featurette

52 52 Packing Up For A Links Golf Trek by Brandon Tucker Your British Isles dream trip is booked.

You’ve studied the courses, your game is at its peak. Now what’s in your bag? No, not that bag. Your clothes bag.

departments

14 Chip Shots Updates From The World Of Golf & Travel

48 Winter Reads

14

by Kiel Christianson

Nothing Like a Tall Stack of Golf Books to Keep Warm

50 Sweet Stuff Checking Out a Few of the Finer Things in Life

54 My Turn

by Jennifer Mario

Relieve Your Stress, Go Whack a Golf Ball

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

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G O L F VA C AT I O N S • W I N T E R 2 0 0 8

www.gvlinks.com


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Executive Editor Jeffrey Diaz Contributing Writers Chris Baldwin • Kiel Christianson • Jennifer Mario Lisa T. McElroy • Terry Ross • Brandon Tucker Design & Production Buy Design • J.D. Latorre Features Editor Larry Feldman Special Projects Editor Terry Ross Copy Editor Mary Anne Pinkston For Editorial: call: (760) 774-2655 • e-mail: info@GVLinks.com

Advertising Representatives Palm Springs, CA • 760-318-6214 Dan Amezcua Los Angeles, CA • 323-933-5518 Michael Villalpando - Melrose Media Group San Diego, CA • 619-709-4425 Wayne McCollum Pacific Northwest • 360-305-7922 Alan Eisenstein

Published by

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

and

Destiny Media, LLC President/CEO James A. Diaz 3877 N. 7th Street, Suite 200 Phoenix, Arizona 85014 480-451-4777 • fax 602-277-9388

Golf Vacations Magazine is published bi-monthly and is selectively distributed throughout the entire fifty United States. Entire contents of this publication is copyright 2008 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.

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G O L F VA C AT I O N S • W I N T E R 2 0 0 8

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Desert Willow GV November 5082:DW GV November Ad

8/24/07

1:20 PM

Page 1

from the editor . . .

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G O L F VA C AT I O N S • W I N T E R 2 0 0 8

anta’s sled has sailed. The football season is over. Your pants don’t fit from too much festive fare and the Visa bill has arrived from your month-long holiday shopping spree at the mall. The Winter blahs have arrived and there’s only one sane thing that any self respecting duffer can do about it. Grab the MasterCard, pack your bags, tell your boss you’ve got important clients to see somewhere in the Sun Belt and hit the road on an early golf vacation. California’s always a good place to start as the Palm Springs area gets set for The Bob Hope Chrysler Classic and later in February, The Frank Sinatra Countrywide Celebrity Invitational. They’ll give you a chance to try your hand at Desert Willow’s Mountain View course in Palm Desert. A beauty sharing space with its sister Firecliff course. From there travel south to hit the links at one of the most sought after golf destinations in the world. CABO! That one word will make you forget all about the frostbite that you’re convinced is setting into your extremities. We’re so enamored with this golf mecca that we’ve created a whole Cabo special section this issue. No need for thanks, we’re just doin’ our job. Next set your GPS to a latitude and longitude far, far away. At least when it comes to a mindset that is a million miles away from your dreary commute to the office. St. Kitts sits on the outer edges of the Caribbean, and the magnificent St. Kitts Marriott Resort will ensure that you spend at least a few hours of your vacation plotting your resignation and planning your new career as an assistant golf pro on the property’s sun-kissed fairways. Rum and golf in the Caribbean will do this to a person in a New York minute. Take my word for it! Hope you had a wonderful holiday season. But it’s back to work. Well at least for those who didn’t take our advice and aren’t visiting clients in those climes where the sun doesn’t go on vacation for the winter. Thanks for reading.

Jeffrey Diaz executive editor www.gvlinks.com


CONTRIBUTINGWRITERS Chris Baldwin carries 14 years of journalism experience, seven in the competitive New York market. He’s played more than 120 golf courses for reviews in the last year alone, been issued a personal challenge by Donald Trump on a Top 10 rankings story and landed the interview that brought out Rush Limbaugh’s first controversial comments on Michelle Wie. Chris won six national AP Sports Editors awards in six years at the Asbury Park Press. He's covered four World Series, three NBA Finals, two Stanley Cup Finals, two U.S. Opens and plenty of other golf. Chris comes to us courtesy of worldgolf.com

Lisa Tucker McElroy is a lawyer, writing professor, and mom living in Wallingford, Pennsylvania. Although she is a beginning golfer, she has absolute faith that her first hole-in-one is right around the corner. Lisa writes regularly for national magazines about travel, golf, parenting, and family, and she is also the author of nine books for children.

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.

Jennifer Mario is a regular columnist for Triangle Golf Today, a North Carolina golf magazine, and writes features, course reviews, columns, and a blog for TravelGolf.com. Born and raised in South Korea, she brought a unique understanding of Korean culture and values in her first book, Michelle Wie: The Making of a Champion.

• Golf’s largest travel portal • Golf’s top vacation source

Kiel Christianson has lived, worked and golfed on three continents. His golf and travel writing has appeared in Vue Touristique, Western Mass Golf Magazine, Carolinas Golf and Michigan Links Magazine. He is also a food and wine critic, a published poet and an assistant professor at the University of Illinois. Kiel’s writing appears courtesy of TravelGolf.com through Golf Publishing Syndications.

Brandon Tucker hosts a weekly golf destination podcast, Sweet Spots on WorldGolf.com, as well as a daily blog. While based in Europe, his travels have taken him to golf courses in Scotland, Portugal, Poland and the Czech Republic. A competitive golfer since the age of ten, Brandon served as a reporter and photographer for WTXL, in Tallahassee, Fl. and later become producer of onboard television for Norwegian Cruise Lines. He’s played some great courses around the world but, call it a "home bias", beautiful northern Michigan is still his favorite spot to tee it up.

www.gvlinks.com

• Discount tee times & packages

Golf’s top international portal

G O L F V A C A T I O N S • W I N T E R 2008

13


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 >>

PGA GOLF CLUB UNVEILS “TO DYE FORE” GOLF PACKAGE

alm Beach Gardens, FL. — The PGA Golf Club, in Port St. Lucie, Fla., home to 54-holes of Championship golf, the prestigious PGA Learning Center and PGA Historical Center, unveiled in conjunction with the recent grand re-opening of the 18-hole restoration of the Dye Course, the "To Dye Fore" golf package. On the heels of famed

P

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architect Pete Dye refining his original links-style design, The PGA Golf Club is now offering golfers a unique 3-day, 3-night "Stay and Play" option at one of the premier golf facilities in the country through travel partner Golfpac. The "To Dye Fore" package includes three rounds of golf at The PGA Golf Club, highlighted by rounds on the recently reno-

chip shots vated Dye Course and the two recently renovated Tom Fazio designs – the Carolinastyle Ryder Course and the classic Floridastyle Wanamaker Course at The PGA Golf Club. This is in addition to a complimentary round of golf on the day of arrival for guests who have booked three rounds or more during their visit. "Golfers from around the world are going to fall in love with the beautification and restoration that was completed over the past year on the Dye, Wanamaker and Ryder Courses at The PGA Golf Club," said Bob Baldassari, PGA general manager of The PGA Golf Club. "With the 'To Dye Fore' Package, golf enthusiasts have an attractively priced means of enjoying these three unique courses at The PGA Golf Club, ranked by Golf Digest as one of the '75 Best Golf Resorts.'" Landscaping modifications to the Dye Course are most evident on the first hole, which was enhanced to create an open-bowl effect, offering golfers stunning views of the 100-acre "Big Mamu" Wetlands. Additional refinements include the installation of new Champion Ultra Dwarf putting surfaces, Paspalum teeing grounds, bunker improvements, and a new coquina base and irrigation system along the car paths. The "To Dye Fore" package celebrates the culmination of the renovations of all three Championship courses. Golfers can also enjoy the nearby PGA Historical Center, one of the game's most significant golf museums that serves as The PGA of America's showcase of rare golf memorabilia and artifacts dating back to the 1600s; and the incredible PGA Learning Center, home to one of the world's largest and most advanced practice facilities. Packages begin at $404.70 per night, per golfer, based on four-person occupancy with all golf car fees and taxes included. To reserve this exclusive package, call (888) 471-4712, and ask for the "To Dye Fore" Special (code PSL-PGA-FC) at The PGA Golf Club. To reserve individual rounds of golf, instruction, PGA of America Golf Schools and tee times at The PGA Golf Club and The PGA Learning Center, in Port St. Lucie, Fla., call (800) 800GOLF or visit www.pgavillage.com. www.gvlinks.com


NICARAGUAâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;S SEASIDE MARIANA WILL OFFER NICKLAUS SIGNATURE Jack Nicklaus, first with his legendary career and now with his groundbreaking course design, has been credited with changing the face of golf around the world. Now he has the opportunity to help continue changing opinions about one country. Welcome to Nicaragua. Twenty years ago it would have been nearly impossible to envision the greatest name in golf putting his mark on Nicaragua, but times have changed. Hailed in the global press as "The Hot Spot to Visit" and "The Next Costa Rica," this once-overlooked country is now grabbing the spotlight that often eluded it in the past. Recognized as a country in the process of a top-to-bottom transformation. Nicaragua took a big step forward when Nicklaus agreed to work in the country to design a Signature Golf Course as the centerpiece to Seaside Mariana Spa & Golf Resort. Nicklaus made his first visit to Seaside Mariana on Nov. 20 to begin the hands-on process of adding his special design touch to the 923-acre oceanfront parcel on the Pacific coast of Nicaragua. "There are some fantastic opportunities with oceanfront holes and riverfront holes," Nicklaus said. "Our goal is to balance what we can create with what is natural, and put the two together to form a complete and spectacular package." Recently, developers have discovered the beauty of the country and have begun to create oceanfront, lakefront and mountain developments to accommodate the large demographic of visitors from around the world seeking warmer climates and a lower cost of living. For more information visit www.SeasideMariana.com or www.NicaraguaDevelopments.com.

GOLF GETAWAYS OFFERS SPRING SINGAPORE-BALI GOLF TOUR Golf Getaways announced a golf tour to Singapore, Bali and Bintan Island scheduled for April 18-May 3, 2008. In addition to six rounds of golf during the tour, other activities are planned for the group. In Bali the group will stay at the Ritz Carlton and on Bintan Island at the Banyan Tree Resort while staying at the Regent in Singapore. This deluxe tour is limited to 30 participants. For more information contact Golf Getaways at 800-800-4028 or e-mail at trips@golfgetaways.com www.gvlinks.com

G O L F V A C A T I O N S â&#x20AC;˘ W I N T E R 2008

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The Crossings at Carlsbad

THE CROSSINGS AT CARLSBAD LAUNCHES LOYALTY PROGRAM The Crossings at Carlsbad, San Diego’s newest championship golf course, announced the launch of The 2008 Rio Secco Golf Club Crossings Club loyalty program. Benefits of The Crossings Club include advance booking access, preferred weekday rates on green fees, complimentary golf rounds and exclusive invitations to various Crossings Club activities, among other special membership offerings. Developed and owned by the city of Carlsbad and managed by KemperSports, The Crossings at Carlsbad features an 18-hole, Greg Nashdesigned golf course. The 400-acre, championship-caliber layout winds through a coastal terrain highlighted by views of the Pacific Ocean and surrounding shoreline. A 23,000-square-foot clubhouse houses a

fully stocked golf shop, the newly opened Canyons restaurant with accompanying banquet facilities, a spacious dining room equipped with a full-service kitchen and an outdoor deck with ocean views. The golf course, which debuted in August, also features an extensive and fully-lit practice facility in addition to public trails linked to the city’s extensive Trail System. Carlsbad and San Diego County residents can currently purchase 2008 Crossings Club cards for a special rate through the end of the year. For more information about the program, visit www.TheCrossingsatCarlsbad.com.

RATERS, RANKERS LAUD CLUB AT OLDE STONE IN KENTUCKY In September 2008, the golfing world descends on Kentucky as Valhalla Golf Club in Louisville hosts The Ryder Cup

Matches, and the Jr. Ryder Cup visits The Club at Olde Stone outside Bowling Green. It could be argued the youngsters are getting the better end of this deal. The Club at Olde Stone, laid out here in Alvaton by Toledo, Ohio-based Arthur Hills/Steve Forrest and Associates (AHSF), has taken the golf world by storm since opening for member play in the spring of 2006. Just 18 months old, Olde Stone has landed golf’s premier junior event, been named among the top courses to open nationwide in the last three years, and been ranked among the country’s top 35 real estate courses, old or new. At Olde Stone, AHSF partners Arthur Hills and Drew Rogers were charged with creating the best course in Kentucky. They may have outdone themselves. “To have an event of this magnitude coming to Bowling Green says a lot about Olde Stone and the potential for hosting major events in the future,” said Steve Newman, Head Golf Professional at Olde Stone, who noted the Jr. Ryder Cup is set for Sept. 14-16, 2008. The raters have indeed been to Alvaton in force. This fall, Golfweek ranked The

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2008

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LUXURY PACKAGES FOR THAT IDEAL BEACH GETAWAY The Hilton Sandestin Beach Golf Resort & Spa announced two new luxury packages for couples looking to escape from everyday life to the relaxing emeraldgreen waters of the Gulf Coast. The Club at Olde Stone The Good Things Come in Two package is all about seeing Club at Olde Stone 14th on its list of the double. Guests are encouraged to enjoy two top 50 courses to open since 2004. spa treatments at the onsite Serenity by the In late October, The Wall Street Sea Spa, Salon and Fitness Center and savor Journal ranked it 33rd on its published list of the ultimate dinner for two at Seagar’s America’s Top 100 Real Estate Golf Courses. Prime Steaks and Seafood, including: two “I think owner Jim Scott and his team appetizers, two dinner cocktails per person, are to be congratulated for really seizing the two dinner entrees and two desserts. opportunity at Olde Stone,” Rogers said. The package also includes a choice of “They knew they had a spectacular piece of two bottles of wine from the resort’s preland and, for someone else, maybe it would ferred wine list to be delivered to the room, have been enough to build a first-rate golf two breakfast buffets at Sandcastles course and some nice housing. But this place Restaurant and deluxe suite accommodabreaks the mold. The bentgrass sets it apart tions. At the Hilton Sandestin, the best from every golf course in the South, and the things in life really do come in twos! land-planning methodology here allowed us For couples looking to celebrate their to maximize use of that terrain without havnew marriage, the Deluxe Honeymoon ing to account for excessive housing lots and package is the perfect way to be pampered other trappings of traditional subdivisions, after the wedding. This package includes which is very rare these days.”

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those sweet, romantic touches every couple on their honeymoon searches for, including: fresh flowers, Dom Perignon champagne and dessert delivered to the room, breakfast in bed and daily umbrella/chairs setup along the sugar-white sand

Hilton Sandestin

beach. In addition, the package also includes deluxe suite accommodations and early check-in/latecheck-out so that couples can get the most out of their honeymoon vacation experience. For reservations or more information, visit www.HiltonSandestinBeach.com or call Reservations at 1-800-367-1271.

G O L F V A C A T I O N S • W I N T E R 2008

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Doral’s Blue Monster

DORAL’S BLUE MONSTER FEATURES NEW INCLUSIVE CADDIE SERVICE Doral Golf Resort & Spa, which introduced an optional resort caddie program in 2006, is now making the Blue Course “caddie inclusive” in an effort to further enhance the already world class experience for golfers playing on the famed course. As part of the program, each foursome of golf will receive one forecaddie who is trained on every aspect of the course,

including history, layout, course conditions, distances and even the many legendary stories that have become synonymous with the Blue Monster among both professional and celebrity golfers since 1962. Doral’s overall resort caddie program, which is managed and maintained by Caddiemaster, a leading provider of caddie services, features two options: the full service caddie and the forecaddie. The full service caddie option provides golfers with the ultimate caddie experience and will include carrying bags, offering shot selection advice, raking bunkers, spotting wayward shots, reading greens, tending pins, cleaning balls and getting yardage. For golfers that prefer to ride, the forecaddie service provides all of the above mentioned services with the exception of carrying bags.

nered rave reviews from members, guests and press alike; other accolades include Snake River Sporting Club being named a 2006 LINKS Premier Property and “One of the 15 New Golf Communities to Watch” by Luxury Golf & Travel. In this issue of Golf Digest, Senior Editor Ron Whitten looks back over the last 25 years; for this specific ranking the publication conducted the survey with more than 800 golfers who considered nominees that had opened between May 1, 2006, and April 30, 2007. The panelists rated courses on their Shot Values,

SNAKE RIVER SPORTING CLUB RECEIVES NATIONAL ACCOLADE Jackson, WY – Snake River Sporting Club has been named one of Golf Digest Magazine’s Best New Private Golf Courses in America for 2007 in its January 2008 Issue. After its grand opening this past July, The Snake golf course has gar-

Snake River Sporting Club

Design Variety, Resistance to Scoring, Memorability and Aesthetics. As with all things at Snake River Sporting Club, the sporting life is forever connected to the land, the flora, fauna and the majestic mountains—and the golf course is no exception. Real estate at this private, luxury residential community offers views of forests, fairways and of course, the Snake River. The 554 acres will be home to just 130 home sites, and other amenities include an equestrian facility, helipad, ski-in ski-out Members’ Lodge in Teton Village, fitness center and spa, direct private access to 6.5 miles of the Snake River, onsite fly fishing guides, naturalists, and golf-pros. Visit www.dpsdevelopment.com.

IAGTO AWARD HERALDS BANNER DAYS FOR VIETNAM GOLF SCENE The International Association of Golf Travel Operators (IAGTO) has named Vietnam its 2007 “Undiscovered Golf Destination of the Year,” capping the organization’s annual awards gala held December 6, at the Gran Melia Hotel in Cancun, Mexico. The award was a crowning moment in a pivotal golf year for Vietnam in which development of the Ho Chi Minh Golf Trail, launched July 1, signaled a coming-of-age for the country’s international golf standing. 18

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www.gvlinks.com


A month later, representatives of the VN golf community met in Hanoi to form the Vietnam Golf Association (VGA), the country's first such governing body. The IAGTO was set up in 1997 as a representative body for a number of the world’s leading golf tour operators. By 2007, IAGTO (www.iagto.com) had more than 900 member companies in 72 countries. The “Undiscovered Golf Destination of the Year” award, administered by the IAGTO, is announced each year as part of the International Golf Travel Market, the golf travel industry’s annual trade show. Recent winners of the “Undiscoverd” honor include British Columbia, Canada, home to the famed Whistler resorts; Wales, host of the 2010 Ryder Cup; and New Zealand, where some of the world’s top new courses have been developed, including Kauri Cliffs and Cape Kidnappers. In July 2007, seven top courses joined forces and formed the Ho Chi Minh Golf Trail www.hochiminhgolftrail.com. Thanks to tropical climes, a thousandmile coastline and a cost of living that makes golf, lodging, food and domestic travel extremely affordable, the number of international arrivals to Vietnam increased from just 250,000 in 1990 to 3.4 million in 2005. Vietnam is the only country in Southeast Asia where international arrivals have grown tenfold over the last 10 years. With this sort of economic and touristmarket performance, international hotel chains are flocking to Vietnam (the Inter Continental Hanoi Westlake, for example, will open Jan. 1, 2008), while Butterfield & Robinson, the world’s premier bicycle tour operator, reports that, in 2007, Vietnam passed Tuscany as the company’s most popular destination. Currently, there are 15 golf courses operating in Vietnam, with more than 30 projects in some stage of construction. The country’s rising popularity as a golf destination mirrors similar developments for Vietnam on the world stage. “It’s only natural that golf should follow suit,” said VGA Honorary President Nguyen Manh Cam, noting that where luxury hotels are developed, golf is sure to follow. Indeed, the Nam Hai opened in December 2006; its sister property, the 18-hole Montgomerie Links Vietnam, will open for play in June 2008. www.gvlinks.com

Dalat Palace, Vietnam

G O L F V A C A T I O N S • W I N T E R 2008

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–– FLAWLESS ––

T EQUI LA A Ñ E J O –– RE S E RVA –– F ROM CA BO WA BO ––

Cabo Wabo reminds you to please drink responsibly.

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©2007 Tequilera Cabo Wabo, Inc. Imported by Wilson Daniels Ltd.

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BONUS SPECIAL SECTION

GIRLFRIEND GETAWAY I VILLA GROUP PACKAGES I GOLFING PUERTO LOS CABOS

MEXICO

GOLF VACATIONS WINTER 2008

PALMILLA PACKS A POTENT PUNCH

NICKLAUS GEM PIONEERS THE CABO EXPERIENCE

CHILLING OCEANSIDE IN ONE COOL PLACE

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MARQUIS LOS CABOS OFFERS GIRLFRIEND GETAWAY SERIES Mixing in relaxation with adventurous excitement, Marquis Los Cabos Beach, Golf, Spa & Casita's Resort offers the Surf & Turf Getaway, which combines some of Mexico's favorite resort pastimes. Guests of the Women's Surf & Turf Getaway can partake in spa, poker, golf and surfing. Girlfriends can choose three out of the four activities, and depending on the selection, package offerings include two rounds of golf at Cabo del Sol golf course, three private surfing lessons in the Sea of Cortez with an experienced instructor, one poker night with dinner and open bar, or two treatments at the luxurious Marquis Los Cabos Spa. The party begins with a signature Marquis Los Cabos cocktail and in-room delivery of Mexican wine and guacamole. The Women's Surf & Turf package includes luxurious accommodations in a Junior Suite or Private Pool Casita with oceanfront view, daily breakfast buffet in the resort's Vista Ballenas restaurant and a special gift. The 5-day/4-night Surf & Turf Getaway starts at $2,100 per person, in a Junior Suite, including taxes and service charges. The package is available from June 1 through December 15, 2008. Visit www.marquisloscabos.com

Premier Fishing Charter and Round of Golf in Beautiful

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VILLA GROUP ANNOUNCES 2008 PACKAGES IN CABO SAN LUCAS

Cabo San Lucas only

$595

Info/Reservations call John 877-FISH-RAP (347-4727) or email john@ReelFunAdventures.com 24

per person based on a foursome

• Enjoy four (4) nights lodging in your own deluxe downtown Cabo San Lucas condo (view pics at: http://fishrapradio.com/cabo.htm) • 1 round of golf at Cabo San Lucas Country Club • 1 day of Bluewater fishing with Redrum Charters • 1 free day to explore and enjoy Cabo at your leisure – snorkel, swim, shop, sightsee – No taxis!

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(call for rates for 2-3 people)

With a trio of villa properties on a prime beachfront location in Cabo San Lucas, The Villa Group has created a selection of special packages available throughout 2008. The properties are situated in a private enclave overlooking El Médano Beach with an unobstructed view of El Arco at Land’s End. Villa del Arco Beach Resort & Grand Spa Sun Escape Package provides four nights in a deluxe suite, daily breakfast, round trip shuttle transportation between the airport and hotel, insuite gift amenity, ocean view upgrade, complimentary Desert Spa fitness center access, a 15% discount on Desert Spa treatments, all from $410 per person. The property’s Fun Escape adds in a deluxe ocean view suite, and one pass to “Swim with the Dolphins” from $510. With the same package inclusions as Villa del Arco, the ultra-luxurious residence-style Villa La Estancia Beach Resort & Spa offers its four night Sun Escape from $476 per person while the www.gvlinks.com


TWO GREAT CHAMPIONS, TWO SPECTACULAR COURSES Located on the site of an old Mexican mission, Puerto Los Cabos provides a unique golf setting that is unlike any golf course in the world. The Golf Club at Puerto Los Cabos will consist of 36 holes of exceptional championship golf, designed by two of the biggest names in golf: Jack Nicklaus and Greg Norman. The round of golf will take you on a journey thru several different landscapes: the panoramic mountain vistas, the dramatic ocean dunes, and beautiful desert golf. Jack Nicklaus Signature Course From the moment that Jack Nicklaus first stepped onto the property, he made it his goal ���to allow the beauty of the natural hillside terrain to dictate the design of the golf course, and, at the same time, take advantage of the magnificent views of the Sea of Cortez." The Nicklaus journey begins by immediately escorting the golfers into the elevated Sierras, where the breath-taking mountain views will make it difficult for the golfer to remain focused. The panoramic views are so expansive that all 2,000 acres www.gvlinks.com

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Fun Escape with the same inclusions is priced from $575. The distinctive 156-suite Villa La Estancia is known for its ultra-spacious accommodations, gourmet cuisine and unrivaled hospitality. Villa del Palmar Beach Resort & Spa Sun Escape runs $298 per person and the property’s Fun Escape from $428. All Cabo San Lucas packages are available January 1 through December 23, 2008. For more information call toll free from the U.S. and Canada (877) 845-5247, or visit www.VillaGroupResorts.com or e-mail reservations@villagroup.com.mx.

of the property are visible from these three holes. The most sensational of the views is enjoyed upon arriving to the 3rd tee, where golfers are treated to an awe-inspiring view of the Marina and the entire San Jose Valley. As the journey continues downward from the mountains, Nicklaus guides the golfers into the dramatic ocean dunes, where four of his holes are located. His graceful blend contrasting the native dunes against the sapphire-blue ocean is vividly evident while playing the three ocean holes he has sculpted. Greg Norman Signature Design As the chosen designer for the private course at Puerto Los Cabos, Norman was eager to begin work on his championship layout. The terrain, which is surrounded by mountains and the Sea of Cortez, allowed Norman to take full advantage of tremendous changes in elevation to capture the panoramic views. The 5th hole, a medium length par-4, is framed by two mountain peaks and culminates with an approach into a perched green that appears to be floating in the ocean. The stunning 6th hole immediately became one of Norman’s most impressive par-3’s he has ever designed. With the tees perched more than 150 feet above the green, this 207-yard hole amazingly has over 13 miles of beautiful coastline as its background. The final hole of the triumvirate is the

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LOS CABOS GOLF RESORT: 1Bedroom/2 Bath, Fixed week 1, Platinum Golf Membership, $5,500 1Bedroom/1Bath, FLT Wks 1-50, Platinum Golf Membership, $5,500 1Bedroom/2 Bath, FLT Wks 1-50, Platinum (free golf) Membership, $4,500

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PUEBLO BONITO SUNSET BEACH:

par-5, 633-yard, 7th hole. Adding dramatic flair, golfers will need to block out the crowd from the nearby Fundadores Beach Club, which overlooks the 7th green from a nearby sand dune. Unique Opportunity Puerto Los Cabos announced that the opening 18 holes will be a composite design consisting of 9 holes from the Jack Nicklaus design and 9 holes from the Greg Norman design. This unique opportunity will allow guests to experience the difference in design philosophies and enjoy a “sneak-peek” of the future work to come. Visit www.puertoloscabos.com

1Bedroom/2 Bath Executive Suite unit, FLT Wks 1-50, $7,900 2Bedroom/2 Bath Presidential 1-50 $14,900 100 YEAR LEASE 3Bedroom/3 Bath Penthouse Suite Wks 1-50, $ 22,500

PUEBLO BONITO ROSE: 1Bedroom/2 Bath, FLT Wks 1-50, $5,500 1Bedroom/1Bath, FLT Wks 1-50, $3,500

SHERATONS HACIENDA DEL MAR: 1Bedroom/2 Bath Master Suite, FLT Wks 1-50, $4,500 2 Bedroom/3 Bath New Presidential FLT Wks 1-50, $7,500 3 Bedroom/3 Bath Penthouse Flt Wks 1-50, 14,000

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A CURE FOR THE T

Ocean-Side At Sheraton H


E TRAVELING BLUES Hacienda del Mar Resort

By Chris Baldwin


C

ABO SAN LUCAS, Mexico - Stepping out of the SUV that met you at the airport, you're in the usual jetsmushed, patience-tried travel mode. The only thing on your mind is getting that room key and getting to kick off your smelly shoes. A green alien popping out of the bushes wouldn't be able to detour you. ET! What's up?! Now could you step aside so I can check in? That's how resolutely determined you are. Then you see the ocean. Or rather, you step into a courtyard that seems to drop straight into the ocean - all you'd have to do is go to the edge and walk right off into the blue stuff. And this blue is blue. Forget anything you've seen at the Jersey Shore or the Santa Monica pier. This ocean is so perfectly azure it almost looks fake, like something James Cameron created in a special- effects lab. That can't be real. But it is. You've arrived at the Sheraton Hacienda del Mar Resort & Spa in the Los Cabos golf resort corridor. Time in actual premises: 27 seconds. Level of remaining travel fatigue/frustration: Zero. For the rest of your stay, every time you go to the entranceway to hail a cab, catch a shuttle, walk to dinner - heck, to buy a tube of toothpaste at the gift shop - you'll find yourself sidetracking the few steps into that courtyard to stare. Hacienda del Mar's

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entrance literally stops you in your vacation tracks. "It elevates the brand," says Mourad Essafi, the hotel's sales and marketing director. That's an understatement (perhaps the first by a marketer in the history of marketing). Sure, you'll never mistake this Sheraton for the ones stateside that always seem to be stuck out near the airport. But the Hacienda del Mar goes well beyond that. You see wives calling over their frazzled checking-in husbands to come and take a look. Suddenly the Indy 500 race to the room is off, replaced by stop, stare and smile. There's a reason someone wrote a book about the architecture at this resort. The open-air ocean-ledge entranceway is an optical illusion. of course. Oh, the ocean's really that blue. But walking right up to the ledge shows that there's a level right below with a string of restaurants and pools, a level below that with more pools, and a beach between you and the actual surf. Thankfully, the rest of Sheraton Hacienda del Mar is real, and almost as striking. "I thought it'd be nice," Los Angeles vacationer Cheri Blake said, sunning herself while reading a book provided by the pool concierge. "But I didn't think it'd be this nice, you know?" You know. You're a travel writer. A healthy dubiousness is a big part of the profession (well, for some of us, anyway). Still, it's hard not to think to yourself, "This is one cool place to hang out."

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High-class, low-key It takes a while to put your (very relaxed) finger on what makes Sheraton Hacienda del Mar work so well. It's not the open-air bar with more than 100 varieties of tequila to test your stomach against, though that's interesting. It's not the fact that Hacienda del Mar's sushi sports bar (you read right) showed the Dallas Mavericks-Phoenix Suns playoff series, though, when you learn another big-name Cabo resort's "sports bar" doesn't have TNT, that's nearly priceless. It's not the ease with which you can get from your room to the pool or one of the five main restaurants on-site, or the spa that's set for a major expansion and already has Mexican masseuses with the most amazing golfer's-back-soothing fingers ever. It's not even those pool concierges who will make your dinner reservations so you don't ever have to lift your tanned head. "A lot of golfers like it because they can see the course from their rooms," Hacienda del Mar sales coordinator Martina Fahrmann offers helpfully. Sheraton Hacienda del Mar (average room rate about $350 in winter high season) might be the most golfer convenient resort in all of Cabo. Jack Nicklaus' Cabo del Sol Ocean Course - the best course in a region of great courses - and Tom Weiskopf's newer Desert Course are a five-minute ride away. But it's more than that.

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The setup of smaller guest buildings - none taller than four stories - sprayed around the main ocean walk makes for a neat atmosphere. (Three nights in a resort and not one elevator ride!) The rooms have balconies and the open feel of a Spanish place. Open the shutters over the deep Jacuzzi tub and you can see out all the way to the balcony window. There's an outdoor wedding chapel over the ocean, a small church - weddings are so big here they had to hire a separate wedding concierge - and a big convention center for companies on a retreat. Yet on many nights the resort is as quiet as a librarians' convention. Sheraton Hacienda del Mar doesn't transform into party central when the sun sets (unless you happen to book during a spring-break rush). Those who want party-town nightlife take the 15-minute ride into Cabo San Lucas. As I bought a few snacks around 10:30 p.m. one night, the woman at the shop counter smiled and knowingly asked, "Going to San Lucas?" A shake of the head produced a puzzled look. There's nothing to do at Sheraton Hacienda del Mar after the dinner hour. Except perhaps enjoy your lowered pulse.

Sheraton Hacienda del Mar Resort & Spa Corredor Turístico KM 10 • Cabo San Lucas, Mexico Phone: 888-625-5144 • www.sheratonloscabos.com

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Palmilla Golf Club

Pioneering Los Cabos Course Still Causing Double Gulps by Chris Baldwin

S

AN JOSE DEL CABO, Mexico â&#x20AC;&#x201D; First reaction on stepping up to the tee on the fifth hole at Palmilla Golf Club's Mountain Course is almost universal. It goes something like: YOU'VE GOT TO BE KIDDING ME! Okay, it also usually includes plenty of bleeps on either side of kidding.

Everyone gets the point quickly, though. Birdie is out the window. Or, in this case, almost literally off the edge of the earth. This is one of those holes where you just want to survive and advance. Of course, you'll have to close your mouth and hit a shot first. Somewhere, you're sure Jack Nicklaus is yucking it up.


For Nicklaus really gave you a "simple" 401-yard par-4 in this seaside wonderland corridor of Los Cabos. All you have to do is clear a canyon wide enough across that you could be forgiven for thinking it was modeled after The Grand Canyon. It's also enough of a drop — filled with gnarly bushes and prickly trees — that if your follow-through swing took you over the edge, you'd be looking at a face rearrangement along the lines of Ben Roethlisberger. And then you have to do it all over again. That's right. There are two canyon-forced carries on this one par-4. Say hello to the sadist? The second is right up on the approach to the tucked away dogleg right green. It's much smaller than the tee shot clear, but the vegetation is even thicker, the cacti seemingly higher. There's plenty to snare your ball if you don't get some nice loft on it. This time, you're shooting downhill. Just another relaxing day in paradise?

winds through centuries old cardon cacti and rugged desert mountain terrain, making each hole a memorable experience for every skill level. Ironically, the Ocean nine might have the least stunning view of the ocean. Go figure. Then again, Palmilla can confuse like that. The best views are often at your back. This is one course where you need to turn and look over your shoulder, back toward the tee boxes, to see what you're missing. It seems like a strange way to go about course design, but maybe Nicklaus just wanted to make sure golfers concentrate on what he's putting in front of them. "I remembered to bring a few extra sleeves of balls this time," said California vacationer Debbie Kriel, who last played Palmilla eight years ago. "Jack can be a little mean." Straying from the fairways at Palmilla does put you in some serious desert brush, especially early in the Arroyo nine. You'll be searching. And not finding. There are also plenty of forced desert area clears on the Arroyo-Mountain 18 (the combination you want to play). Hulking old cacti creep into several fairways. Heck, sometimes they're not creeping — they're almost smack dab in the middle of a fairway guarding a dogleg turn. This is one of the great thrills of Palmilla. There's just something about sending shots screaming by or over a big cactus that an oak tree could never equal. Of course, by the time you finish the double canyon clear of Mountain No. 5, you may just feel thrilled out. No. 5 is followed by the first par-3 on the Mountain nine. You'll never be so happy to see a par-3 in your life.

The Verdict

Los Cabos is the 19-mile corridor between party town Cabo San Lucas and authentic Mexican town San Jose del Cabo that's filled with coastline, oceanside golf resorts and high-end golf. Palmilla is one of the golf pioneers, having opened in 1992. The course is divided into the 3,337-yard Arroyo Nine, the 3,602-yard Mountain Nine and the 3,548-yard Ocean Nine. The five sets of staggered tee boxes ensure golfers, from beginners to professionals, an exciting game. Palmilla offers golfers spectacular views of the Sea of Cortèz from nearly every hole as it

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Palmilla might not be the unanimous pick as most spectacular golf course in Cabo, but in Cabo, spectacular, showy courses are a virtual arms race of one-upmanship. Visitors looking to play one round in the Los Cabos corridor often find themselves staring down the Cabo del Sol Ocean Course or Cabo Real. But don’t count out this Cabo pioneer. It's Nicklaus' first signature design in all of Latin America. If your Cabo vacation schedule allows, Palmilla is a more than worthy play. And sometimes a downright striking one. It's worth the near $200 greens fee. (It's Cabo, you're going to pay to play. Why fret and risk wrinkling that suntan?) And the service shows off the Troon standards in play. The Palmilla starter couldn't have been more efficient and the play moved at a comfortably brisk pace. You play Palmilla for the Nicklaus bite, though. For Nos. 6-8 run on the Arroyo nine. For the chance to shoot down from a high tee over a big rocky area into the fairway that requires another clear before the green on No. 1 of the Mountain Course. Palmilla doesn't wow with scenery as much as it causes gulps with the shots it forces you to execute. And it still holds it’s own, thank you very much, against all the newcomers on the block.

Palmilla Golf Club KM 7.5 Carretera Transpeninsular San Jose Del Cabo, Mexico

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A golf experience beyond the extraordinary. Embellished in Mexican tradition and known for its magnificent ocean and mountain views, paired with exceptional guest service and impeccable course conditions make the Cabo San Lucas Country Club a must experience

Full PRACTICE FACILITY WITH PROFESSIONAL INSTRUCTION AVAILABLE. SINGLE / GROUPS WELCOMe.

For information or reservations call: U.S. 1-888-328-8501 • Canada 1-866-431-0213 • Local 143-4654

or visit us online at golfincabo.com


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St. Kitts


an Island . . a Golf Club . . a Paradise between

Two Oceans

We’ve headed to St. Kitts for a long weekend because of the billing: there’s no other course where you can play golf with the Atlantic on one side and the Caribbean on the other. Sound nice? You betcha. But playing is believing, and playing one hole with the Atlantic spread out beside your lush, green fairway like a giant water hazard to your left, then playing another with the Caribbean beckoning your ball to “splash!” on your right, is a golf experience you won’t soon forget.

by LISA T. McELROY


We arrive in St. Kitts late one night, and, due to one of those it-shouldn’t-happen-but-it-did type delays, we’re too tired to speak, much less play, in any meaning of the word. But the wind is blowing in off the ocean when we get out of the van, and the incredible lobby of the St. Kitts Marriott opens up before us in shades of beige, white, and mahogany. We’re offered a cold, fruity rum drink to quench our thirst – I start giggling almost immediately, knowing something this apparently sweet has to be a lot more potent than it tastes – and a menthol-scented cloth to cool our foreheads. Suddenly, I’m fresh, awake, and invigorated, much to the delight of my husband, who was hoping this trip would involve more fun forms of exercise than just golf – some of them indoors.

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As we head upstairs to our room (request one on the ocean side, third floor or higher – the views of the pool and ocean are insane), I’m weaving just a bit, leaning against my husband, pulling him over to the balcony just outside the elevators. Even though it’s night time, the lights over the resort sparkle, the breeze is blowing, and I can tell that we’re going to be treated to quite a view when we wake up. We are. I’m usually up before dawn, and I’m used to watching the sunrise on my own while my husband hugs his pillow and dozes. For this one, though, I have to wake him up – it’s that spectacular. The sun is just barely pink, and the ocean is almost gray this early. It’s even a little bit foggy, but it’s the kind of fog that will burn off just

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“we’ve found the rhythm of the island and settled into a slow, sexy, satisfied lifestyle that suits us just fine” in time for golf. The effect is of a resort blanketed in fairy dust, lighting up with warmth, readying itself for the day ahead. Speaking of the day ahead, I have to get my husband out of bed and down to the breakfast buffet. After the first morning, this won’t be as hard – he’s way into the omelet station and the wide spread of fruit and pastries and amazing fried fritters. But this first day in St. Kitts, he’s arguing. The bed is too comfortable, he says, and he wants to bury himself deeper. He doesn’t want to see Basseterre (he’ll later change his tune on this, too, once he’s out and about in the charming island town), he doesn’t want to tour the batik factory (even though they make and sell monkey shirts), and he doesn’t want to race me on wave runners (even though he’s sure to win, married to a chicken as he is). He wants to burrow in the goosedown comforter and 300 thread count sheets until the sun’s setting on the other side of the island. Some strong coffee helps. Finally, we’re off to spend the day touring the island by ATV and lying by the pool, picking up some more of those fruity rum drinks at the swim up bar. After a few, we’re convinced (by the resort staff? Other tourists? Who knows?) to do some kind of island dancing that we later block from our memory. We sleep. We read. We float. We return to our room for some afternoon snuggling. Without even realizing it, we’ve completely relaxed, found the rhythm of the island, settled into a slow, sexy, satisfied lifestyle that suits us just fine. That evening, we hitch a ride on a catamaran cruise – it’s sunset, the most popular time for tourists to cruise the sea, but our catamaran has few tourists aboard. That’s OK – we go with the flow, dancing to the beat of island music, drinking more island concoctions (I’ve stopped asking what’s in them), and even steering the boat ourselves – or so the hunky captain tells me; he probably has it on autopilot so that tipsy tourists can’t crash it into the rocks. The three-man crew raises the sail, but the sea is so calm that we bob up and down in one place, rocking us gently as we lean

back on the bow and look up at the sky. My husband begs me to stop exclaiming over the stars. We have stars in Pennsylvania, too, he says. We do, I tell him, but they’re not Kittitian stars, and even if they are, they sure don’t look like this at home. Besides, I remind him, be nice to me – or else. Remember those plans you have for later? You don’t want to have to think again. The plans will have to wait – we’re headed to Blu, the Marriott’s oceanfront seafood restaurant. I’m only planning on lobster, but the young roasted coconut chili soup and sea bass are standouts – we order them all. We finish with light-as-a-feather tiramisu, head down to the beach for one last look at the stars, then head to our room to begin my husband’s agenda for the evening. Morning arrives, and today’s the day for golf. We down our fritters and coffee and race each other out to the Royal St. Kitts Golf Club. I’m a beginning golfer, but my husband’s slightly better; what’s special about this course is that there’s plenty to please both of us. Me, for example: I like to see the pin off the tee box. I can’t stand hitting my ball into oblivion, with no idea where’s it’s headed (or not headed, as the case may be). Because the fairways here are long and clear, I can actually see my ball fly, when it does, and I can find it in the rough, when it doesn’t. My husband, on the other hand, has been fighting against a wicked slice for months. On other courses, more often than not, his ball ends up across the adjacent highway – we’ve spent more on golf balls this year than we have on groceries. But this course is kind – the fairways are wide and lush (in part because it’s constructed of irrigated seashore paspalum, an advanced hybrid turf grass that flourishes in salty air), and it makes even our brand of golf look pretty spectacular. The front nine’s amazing, but it’s when we get to the back nine that we really hit our stride – and find some of the most gorgeous golfing views we’ve ever seen. We’re taking in the Caribbean and Atlantic Oceans, but we’re also catching a glimpse of the local

(left) Dramatic backdrop highlights the St. Kitts Marriott Resort. (below) La Cucina Italian Restaurant, poolside dreaming, The Royal Beach Casino

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“Maybe we’ll skip the cigar bar tonight and head up to our room, our view, our goosedown . . .” wildlife: egrets, lizards and green tail monkeys, all of which occupy the surrounding landscape. We’re especially wowed by Hole 17, modeled after the famous 18th hole at Pebble Beach, and the signature hole, Hole 15, a downhill par-3 that showcases the Caribbean’s natural beauty with dramatic views of the sea and neighboring islands. Back at the resort, my husband’s ready for a nap in the sun. Me, though, I need to indulge (as if I haven’t done so enough already this weekend), so I head to the Emerald Mist Spa to kick back, soak, and sweat in the sauna and steam room. I start in the glass-tiled whirlpool tubs, then head into a private room for Cinnamon Black Rock Therapy, a soothing treatment of an aromatic blend of cinnamon Ylang Ylang and sweet orange used with warm black volcanic rocks to massage and soothe my tired body. The tension caused by my non-existent putting technique? I can feel it pouring out of me, muscle by muscle. I start to doze. I dream of starry skies, egrets, fortresses, and hunky catamaran captains. It’s a pretty amazing afternoon. But the day’s not over yet. Before we leave St. Kitts, we have to check out Brimstone Hill, a 17th century fortress high in the hills of St. Kitts. A long but cheap taxi ride takes us to the top of the island. I’m car sick at first, but I forget all about it when I look over the stone wall surrounding the fort and out at the neighboring Dutch, English, and French islands across the Caribbean Sea. In my happily worn-out state, I don’t even want to think about how the builders 300 years ago managed to haul huge, volcanic rocks up this hill to build the fort. All I notice is how the structure seems to grow out of the hill, blending into the sky and the grass and the sea, yet standing out above them. My husband climbs and explores. I sit by the wall and look out at this green, vibrant island. I know I have to leave tomorrow, and I’m seriously reconsidering my decision to settle my family in the mid-Atlantic United States. Why not open a parasailing business and just stay here? The idea is worth considering – I’ll run it by my husband after his cigar and rum in his new favorite hangout, the Marriott’s Keys Cigar and Rum Bar. We finish our evening with dinner at La Cucina, the

fine dining Italian restaurant at the Marriott. I steal my husband’s white chocolate and prawn pasta – I’d made him order it when I couldn’t decide between chocolate and carbonara. We drink red wine, visit the antipasto bar, drink decaf cappuccino. We snuggle into each other on the banquette. Maybe we’ll skip the cigar bar tonight and head up to our room, our view, our goosedown . . . My husband has to physically drag me to the airport the next morning. I’m still going with the parasailing operation concept, but he’s telling me that our two small daughters would miss us too much if we were to make our home among the Caribbean lizards and monkeys. The trip home doesn’t make convincing me any easier. Just as our trip to St. Kitts was fraught with delays – not typical, we’re told – our trip home is quite a challenge, this challenge taking the form of a woman who argues with a flight attendant (imagine!), causing the flight to get turned around so that the perpetrator could get arrested. The down side? We miss our connection in San Juan. The upside? We have to spend the night at the San Juan Marriott, a chic, stylish resort with some of the comfiest beds and prettiest décor we’ve seen in a while. Our suite (all they had left, another oh-so-terrible consequence of our flight delay) offers an unmatched view of the ocean and the city, and the hotel is right in the thick of all the action – close to the airport, but also right on the beach. What started out as a royal inconvenience turns into one of the best days of our vacation. The Marriott is the place to be for poker (the casino is elegant and popular with the locals), pampering (the spa massages make that terrible flight a distant memory, and the beach is practically all ours), and pasteles (banana tamales, a classic Puerto Rican delicacy that taste a lot better than they sounded). While this isn’t the spot for golf – most of the better courses are several miles away, outside of the city – it is the ideal landing spot for a magical day and night in San Juan. The perfect golf weekend? Yes, in part because it wasn’t all about golf. No, this getaway was about the friendly Kittitian people, the ocean views, the pool parties, and those fine fruity stealth bombers. Oh, and the goosedown. Great memories – the kind that lead to plans to return to St. Kitts. This time to beat the heck out of that amazing fifteenth hole.

(right) The Royal St. Kitts Golf Club, Keys Cigar and Rum Bar, Emerald Mist Spa

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www.gvlinks.com


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G O L F V A C A T I O N S â&#x20AC;˘ W I N T E R 2008

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There’s no other course where you can play golf with the A

The St. Kitts Marriott Resort: boasts 573 guest rooms and

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voice mail, an alarm clock, cable/satellite TV, safe, iron/iron-

luxurious suites. The main building, The Frigate Bay House,

ing board, coffee/tea service, shower/tub and hair dryer.

features guest rooms and one bedroom suites with traditional

Golf escape packages start at $243/night, and include two

West Indian accents. One and two bedroom suites are

rounds of golf and breakfast for two each day.

available in three-story garden houses. Well-appointed rooms

www.stkittsmarriott.com (869) 466-1200.

and suites combine comfort with convenience and most

Catamaran tour: Blue Water Safaris

include large private balconies with ocean, pool or garden

www.bluewatersafaris.com, 869-466-4933

views. Each guest room has individual climate control,

Wave runner rental: Dave’s Water Sports 869-556-0029

high-speed internet service, dual-line speaker telephones with

Brimstone Hill: www.brimstonehillfortress.org

G O L F VA C AT I O N S • W I N T E R 2 0 0 8

www.gvlinks.com


e

Atlantic on one side and the Caribbean on the other.

St. Kitts Marriott Resort & The Royal Beach Casino DESCRIPTION The only golf course in the Caribbean boasting holes on the Atlantic Ocean and Caribbean Sea, Royal St. Kitts Golf Club is a beautiful 18-hole, 71-par championship “links”-style course. In 2003, it was remodeled by renowned Canadian architect Thomas McBroom to showcase St. Kitts’ natural terrain. Golfers can now get a glimpse of the local wildlife which includes egrets, lizards and green tail monkeys that occupy the surrounding landscape. The course’s 83 sand bunkers, 12 lakes, wide fairways and large putting greens make it enjoyable and challenging for all levels of players. Irrigated seashore paspalum, an advanced hybrid turf grass, helps the course maintain a lush green year round. The signature hole, Hole 15, is a downhill par-3 that showcases the Caribbean’s natural beauty with dramatic views of the sea and neighboring islands. Just ahead is Hole 17 which was designed after the famous 18th hole at Pebble Beach. The course design and the club’s luxurious amenities have helped make it one of the top-rated championship courses in the Caribbean. In a 2006 Travel + Leisure Golf survey of the World’s Best Golf Resorts, readers gave the Royal St. Kitts Golf Club a score of 96.48 out of 100. DIRECTOR OF GOLF Sean Gradomski

Gold Tees: White Tees:

COURSE YARDAGE 6,900 Black Tees: 6,074 Coral Tees:

GENERAL MANAGER George Landa

6,495 5,258

AMENITIES The Royal St. Kitts Golf Club offers complimentary use of locker room, shower facilities and golf club storage, plus shoe care and rentals. The club also has a practice putting green and bunkers, a short game chipping area, beverage cart service and two on-course restrooms. The driving range features a 20,000 square foot tee deck, a hitting length of 500 yards and five target greens. ROYAL GOLF ACADEMY The Royal Golf Academy specializes in all levels of golf instruction and offers short-game lessons by the PGA Certified Golf Professional Staff, full swing analysis, group clinics and weekly schools. Private, group and playing lessons are available. WEEKLY ACTIVITIES The club sponsors weekly activities such as putting clinics and contests, mixed doubles, junior clinics, long drive challenges and a driving range clinic for ladies. PRO SHOP The Pro Shop at the Royal St. Kitts Golf Club carries a full line of men’s and women’s apparel and equipment from brands including Nike, EP PRO, Greg Norman and Bette Court. The shop is open daily from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. CLUBHOUSE The clubhouse features a full-service golf shop, locker rooms and the Clubhouse Grille restaurant serving continental breakfast and lunch. The San Juan Marriott: The Marriott San Juan Resort & Stellaris Casino has 511 newly renovated guest rooms and 14 luxurious suites on 21 floors. Well appointed rooms and suites combine comfort with convenience. The San Juan Marriott Resort & Stellaris Casino is conveniently situated five miles from Luis Muñoz Marin International Airport

HOW TO BOOK The Royal St. Kitts Golf Club is managed by Marriott Golf. Through the “Rounds and Rooms” feature at www.marriottgolf.com, guests can prebook tee times at the same time they book rooms at the St. Kitts Marriott Resort. Special tournament and group rates are available. Two, three, five and seven day golf packages can be purchased throughout the year.

on prestigious Condado Beach. The resort is ideally located in the heart of San Juan, close to the business district, shopping, dining, nightlife and historical and cultural landmarks. http://www.marriott.com/sjupr; 787.722.7000.

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St. Kitts Marriott Resort & The Royal Beach Casino 858 Frigate Bay Road Frigate Bay, Saint Kitts & Nevis Toll free: (866) STK-GOLF www.stkittsmarriott.com www.royalstkittsgolfclub.com


DESERT WILLOW

Mountain View Brings Mellow

P

ALM DESERT, Calif. - If you call a golf course an "easy course" these days, it's almost always taken as an insult. It's like branding someone half a man or saying someone possesses all the self-control of David Hasselhoff.

Forget the backhanded compliment. It's more like a fullforce slap in the face. Well, Mountain View is definitely the easy course at the Desert Willow Golf Resort. And you know what? That's all right. In fact, it's better than just all right. Sometimes you want a round that gives you a fighting chance. Sometimes you want a course that provides a nice rhythm for casual conversation - an easy talking course if you will. Desert Willow's Mountain View brings that and some things you don't expect. This is technically a municipal course. Only that's the only way it's muni - in technicality. Desert Willow is owned by the city of Palm Desert, in the Palm Springs area. But so much money has been poured into it and so much emphasis placed on its course conditions that it's about as close in spirit to your average muni as an African lion is to Garfield the Cat. "I've played almost all the courses in the (Coachella) Valley, and these two don't have to take a backseat to any of them," Desert Willow regular Dick Green said. Firecliff is the showy course at Desert Willow, the one that the huge picture windows and the outdoor patio of the elaborate clubhouse look out on. Mountain View has half as many bunkers as Firecliff and even less than half its profile.

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Yet it's a Michael Hurdzan and Dana Fry design, too. Like Firecliff, it's also more of a new-age Scottsdale look than an old traditional Palm Springs one with palm trees galore. Some days you want a lot of drama in your golf. Some days you don't. Mountain View isn't going to make you run through a year's supply of golf balls. This bad golfer lost one. Water is featured on seven holes. Just usually not in Herculean forced carries. Take No. 6. This short par-5 (476 yards from the backs) has water running along its right side. You have to clear a little wet stuff from the tees too (though there is a bailout left for the truly squeamish). Yet the only water that poses a real threat on this hole is the tiny stream running near the green. This little sliver of water can mess with your mind on that second shot. One of Hurdzan and Fry's best touches at Mountain View is making sure the little creeks they put in actually run. This rushing water that will carry your golf ball away is used to great effect on several holes - including No. 18, an interesting par-5 finisher, with its green stuck out on a near peninsula in front of a larger one of these Hurdzan creeks. It's all the more impressive when you consider that this used to be a big, dry, flat piece of desert land. Firecliff has more elevation changes, but Mountain View can have you shooting slightly down or up at greens with mountains looming in the background. Then again, you might not love these greens by the turn.

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GOLF RESORT By ChrisBaldwin

Good Times To Palm Desert They have some deceiving slopes, and, on this play, different greens seemed to be running at different speeds. Mountain View's greens weren't like the greens on Desert Willow's practice range. Putting sometimes seemed more like a game of craps. "I just can't get a read on these greens," 4-handicapper Jason Redden moaned after another far-off miss. This was hardly all by Hurdzan design. Still, even on a day when Mountain View's greens were uncharacteristically off, no one in the foursome left upset with the course. You're going to have a good time here, even if you hit them more sideways than straight. Instead of the "easy course," maybe Mountain View should go by the "good-times course." "Firecliff wins all the awards," Desert Willow General Manager Gary Piotrowski said. "But a lot of our residents would rather play Mountain View." Desert Willow's Mountain View: The Verdict In a region full of resort courses, it turns out that the highend muni boasts one of the most playable tracks. Desert Willow Mountain View isn't turn-off-your-golf-mind easy. There are still 98 bunkers scattered around this 6,913-yard course. And, even on their best day, the greens can give you a brain cramp. Yet the fairways are wide and green, the views could make for nice postcards, and even golf geeks are liable to leave pleased. Or just geeks in general. One of the cool things about Desert Willow is how it pays attention to the details. To make

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sure you don't mess up the course, golf carts are programmed to automatically shut off if you drive within 30 feet of the green or anywhere on the fairway of a par-3. Yes, golf Big Brother is watching you. But it's fun. Like Mountain View. Palm Springs Area Hotel Tip Rancho Las Palmas is an underrated resort in Rancho Mirage that gives you that retreat setting while being in the heart of it all. In this case that means right across the street from The River, the outdoor mall with an actual flowing water body that people in the desert swoon over. Even better, it's close to the high-end shops of downtown, including jewelry legend Tiffany. Best of all is a pool scene with shooting water streams for the kids and plenty of nanny babes lounging around in hardly anything. Palm Springs Area Restaurant Tip Desert Willow's restaurant is actually a good near-bargain spot for lunch. The lemonade is memorable (how many times can you say that?), and you can get big sandwiches for around $10.

Desert Willow Golf Resort 38-995 Desert Willow Drive Palm Desert, CA www.desertwillow.com

G O L F V A C A T I O N S â&#x20AC;˘ W I N T E R 2008

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WINTERREADS

S

now starts to fly, and golf balls stop. But the flights of fancy of the hibernating golfer know no seasons. Short of a golf vacation to the Sun Belt, nothing's better to keep your eyes and mind focused on the course through the winter months than a tall stack of golf books. Here's the shortlist of our recommendations for this winter.

Pops and Sunshine by Dave Andrews I usually don't devote much time to self-published books, but given the dire state of golf publishing, I bent my rules a bit for this touching little novel ($20, popsandsunshine.com). It's the story of an aspiring Futures Tour player who is on the verge of giving up her dream of making it to the LPGA. In her last-chance tournament, she's befriended by a retired widower who sees his own deceased daughter in the golfer. Now I'm not saying the book couldn't have used another couple of rounds of editing, both for style and for formatting. Nevertheless, the story is moving, and most of all, it drives home the fact that life on the developmental tours is tough and tenuous, and not in the least glamorous.

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Little Balls, Big Dreams by James Wolfe This unassuming but entertaining little novel ($12, Windstorm Creative) by a Rockford, Illinois-based writer is worth picking up just for the title. (Might even be a nice, not-so-subtle gift for that lay-about brother-in-law of yours.) It tells the story of a weekend hacker who is suddenly transformed into a tour-quality player by virtue of a magical hole-in-one. The freewheeling, upand-down plotline brings to mind that old saying, "Be careful what you wish for."

The Seventh at St. Andrews: The Castle Course by Scott Gummer It's not every day a new sister course is built for The Old Course at St. Andrews. In fact, the last one was built in 1914. In June 2008, however, The Castle Course at St. Andrews will open to worldwide fanfare and almost limitless expectation. Former Golf Magazine editor Scott Gummer has produced what just might be the most comprehensive, meticulous and insightful chronicle of any golf course's construction ($26,

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BY KIEL CHRISTIANSON

Gotham Books). Castle Course architect David McLay Kidd extended Gummer unprecedented access to the process, and intimate insight into his own mind and heart, as well as the very soul of the new course. This isn't a dissection of golf course design. It's a unique window into the organic process of how a course gestates, grows and is born.

The Final Missing Piece of Ben Hogan's Secret Puzzle by V.J. Trolio with Dave Hamilton The "secret" to Ben Hogan's swing has grown legendary, and it has spawned novels and more than one instructional program. Yet another instruction book ($30, VJE, LLC) is on the market this winter by the inventor of The Putting Arc. The particular secret examined in this volume is Hogan's weight distribution and pivot axis: The author claims that Hogan centered his weight over his left foot, and pivoted around that axis. This is in stark contrast to most amateur golfers, who tend to distribute weight evenly and then slide off the ball on

the backswing and then struggle to transfer their weight on the through swing. To my critical but admittedly amateur eye, the move described here in words and pictures (and even physics schematics!) looks very much like the much-ballyhooed Stack and Tilt.

The Game Before the Game by Lynn Marriott and Pia Nilsson (with Ron Sirak) This compact volume ($22.50, Gotham Books) is billed as "The perfect 30-minute practice," and it is choc-full of drills, exercises, stretches, and mental imagery techniques. Some of the quasi-neuropsychological bits seem a bit flaky. Case in point is an exercise to promote the two hemispheres of your brain to communicate with one another. Unless you are lacking a corpus callosum, your brain will do this quite naturally. Other tips sound great if you're a tour pro or belong to an exclusive club. For example, one drill is to head out on the course by yourself and play a round with two balls, using the better (or worse) of each pair and hitting two more shots from there. Nevertheless, there's lots here to pick and choose from, and plenty to ponder on those snowy weekends. And hey, what else have you got to do until the spring thaw?

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G O L F V A C A T I O N S • W I N T E R 2008

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SWEETSTUFF A

shworth golf attire has been known for many years as one of the staples of the traditional golf crowd with its classic designs and fit. Now that its founder— John Ashworth—has rejoined the company and reenergized the line with some of the newest fabrics and designs, fans of the look are going to see a lot of innovation and many new styles in 2008. PGA Tour star Fred Couples, who has been the face of Ashworth since before his turn as the top performer in professional golf in the early 1990s, is still showcasing the manufacturer’s newest lines, and his laid-back approach is perfect for the classic, yet modern look of this clothing line. In its research and development process, Ashworth has developed new “Technical Performance” blended fabrics made of a combination of fine Pima cotton and polyester. These are light weight fabrics that breathe, wick moisture and are comfortable. Ashworth is calling this category of golf shirts ‘third groove performance’ which simply means the ultimate in performance. A fabric category Ashworth is continuing from prior seasons and improving on is its EZ tech Hi-Def 100% luxury cotton. They have added a specialized “innosoft” finish that gives the fabric a lustrous and luxury feel but is easy care and does not wrinkle. Another new fabric category Ashworth has developed is a 100% Organic cotton that will be a small capsule line under the label Ashworth Organics. The colors in Ashworth Organics will be able to cross merchandise with the other pieces in the line. This part of the collection features a hang tag that exclaims “For the Game, For the Planet.” Not just for tree huggers but anyone who is on board with doing their part for the future of the planet. Another new area Ashworth is developing is a capsule line called ASHW 33, which is geared for a slightly younger, hipper mindset. This group is very graphic oriented with interesting stitching details and will have a slimmer fit. The base fabric is primarily from the Ashworth performance group, but there are unique graphic elements, stitching details and subtle treatments that make up this look. The fit on these shirts is a slimmer fit by one size from the Ashworth classic fit. Although this is the avante garde portion of the line, there is a deep respect for the history and ethics of the game and trys to incorporate that vibe into the look. The collection sports a crest with the message “Kings and Commoners”, a reminder that golf is an inclusive and not an exclusive game. www.Ashworthinc.com

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O

ne of the best kept secrets in golf has started to emerge. It has nothing to do with a new swing philosophy or the latest gimmick to hit the market, but rather with the ability of a meticulous craftsman who works in relative obscurity in the small Japanese city of Himeji, which has been know for centuries as the steel region of that country and the birthplace of the Samurai sword. This is the home of Miura Golf Company and its founder— Katsuhiro Miura--which have produced custom iron forgings for almost 50 years and is widely considered among industry insiders and equipment gear heads to be the finest craftsman of forged irons in the world. Admittedly the name Miura is not a household word when it comes to iron manufacturers, but the players and companies that he has custom-crafted irons for with his intricate 14-step forging process reads like the Golf Hall of Fame. Miura has produced custom forgings for companies like TaylorMade, Titleist, Cleveland, Tommy Armour, Ben Hogan and Marumon. The world’s number-one player—Tiger Woods—when he was under contract to play Titleist clubs—used irons that were customforged by Miura in Japan. Although Miura has done some work on clubs for Nike Golf, no one will confirm or deny that any of Wood’s current set were forged by him. Currently, there are only 50 custom club fitters in the U.S. that are affiliated with Miura—and that number is growing—but as Holowaty pointed out—it’s more about getting the right club for the individual player rather than numbers. One of the custom fitters who has had tremendous response from those he has fitted with Miura irons is Marc Machado, the owner of Marc’s Golf in Palm Desert, California. “Miura irons have some great designs that fit all types of players,” said Machado. “Their following has been from and word-of-mouth referrals, but it is a loyal following. It is a very traditional design, but on the cutting edge of quality when it comes to forging and esthetics. There is really nothing like it on the market—it is a unique product.” A typical set of Miura irons will run in the range of $2,000. For more information, visit the Miura website at www.miuragolf.com

TERRY ROSS www.gvlinks.com


2007 BENTLEY FLYING SPUR

O

ne of my good buddies is a Mercedes and BMW guy with a love of their technical achievements, electronic gadgetry and Ach Tung! responsiveness. I respect his opinion but I find it a bit too Teutonic for me. I’ve long been a Jag guy. I like burled wood and leather, silky engines, and sexy lines that generate oohs and ahs from the more romantic gender, while retaining high speed comfort for road trips. We have agreed to disagree on this issue, but we do agree that it has been too long since we have found a car with soul. That is, a brand that has not lost its way by chasing fads and trends; but has stayed relevant and retained its marque. The folks at Bentley may be the new saviour of soul for the automotive industry. And fortunately for me, they offered to let me test my driving chops out for a week on their new Continental Flying Spur. Bred from the heritage of the original 1957 Continental Flying Spur that was hailed as one of the most elegant and yet powerful saloons ever created, the new incarnation continues that Bentley bloodline of sporting Grand Tourers. It delivers awesome performance as well as extraordinary comfort and elegance. Bentley, now ironically owned by VW, has successfully cross-bred German quality, performance and practicality with British craftsmanship and heritage to create a car with guts, looks and soul. Styling and Design Before you even put it in motion, you know that this car is special. With diamond

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The Return of Soul to the Driving Experience

stitched red interior, and a cabin lined in leather and burled wood its interior creates an ambiance somewhere between a classic steak house, a private jet cockpit and an old English country side hunting club. A premium sound system, 24-way adjustable seats, a massage feature in the two front seats that rolls a lumbar support up and down your spine, and a back seat that can double as a small cocktail lounge, I found myself entertaining friends in the driveway. And with 17.7 cubic feet of trunk space there is plenty of capacity to head to the links with multiple sets of golf clubs. Driving and Performance The touch of a button fires up the twin-turbo 6.0 liter W12 engine, which is actually two V6 engines mounted side by side. The authoritative throaty rumble emanating from a specially tuned exhaust system instantly reminds you that you have 552 horses pawing at the starting gate under the hood. Your senses are further bombarded with the rich aroma of the exquisite leather lined cabin. As you slide down the avenue, the transmission imperceptibly provides silky smooth shifts through the gear box. Heads start to turn as you smugly acknowledge the hoots and hollers of clustering teenage boys, the admiring glances of young women and the envious stares of older men. While this car is much less ostentatious than comparable Italian muscle cars, its long hood and narrow waist offers a unique profile that attracts attention.

The on ramp to the highway beckons ahead. It seems impossible to believe that the two-ton beast can jump from 0 to 60 mph is just 4.9 seconds. A stomp on the accelerator and you are pressed back into your seat as the 12 cylinders roar to life effortlessly and almost serenely. The all-wheel drive evenly distributes the power to the 20-inch alloy sport wheels and matching tires. I find myself having to slow down to 80 mph, while still on the on ramp, to merge with the traffic on Phoenix’s SR101 autobahn. An Arizona state trooper pulls up along side me. I will have to forgo the temptation to test Bentley’s claim as the fastest four door sedan in the world with a top speed of 195 mph. With 479 pound-feet of torque at only 1600 rpm, maneuvering through traffic at high speeds is tempting. The Bentley can jump from 50 mph to 70 mph in 2.6 seconds! When it’s time to slow down, the engineering is just as impressive. With massive 15.9 inch front and 13.2 inch rear disc brakes and electronic stability controls, this rocket re-enters earth with the same grace with which it took off. But all good things must come to an end and after a week they came back to reclaim my test Flying Spur. I felt a tear slide down my cheek as it rumbled away. At a price tag of $165,000 I may not get another chance at driving the Flying Spur, but it is comforting to know that the folks at Bentley still believe there is a place for soul in building cars today. JAMES DIAZ G O L F V A C A T I O N S • W I N T E R 2008

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Packing Up For A Links Golf Trek P

acking for a golf trip to play links golf courses like Carnoustie or Prestwick Golf Club can be tricky, as the weather over the pond pretty much does as it pleases. Watching PGA Tour players gut it out through the cold, rainy British Open at Carnoustie earlier this summer surely posed a difficult question for traveling golfers: "How the heck am I going to pack for my Scotland golf trip?" It doesn't really matter what the calendar says, the weather in the British Isles and Ireland plays by its own rules. You may encounter cold and rainy weeks in July, warm and balmy days in an off-season golf month like February. For instance, just a few weeks after a dreary British Open and a seasonably wet July, I found myself in Wales for a week in August and endured exactly one hole of rain over eight rounds of golf. So packing for your links golf trip can be tricky, since you don't want to be too bogged down with junk. Most groups are seldom in the same hotel more than a night or two, and they don't make cars very big in Europe, so ordering a "full-size" rental doesn't translate to the kind of trunk space it does in America. I've packed for about 40-plus days of links golf over three separate trips in the past year. Here's my best advice:

Suitcase Sense for Ireland and The British Isles By Brandon Tucker What can you leave behind? • No need bringing Bermuda shorts. • Clean your bag of any unnecessary items to alleviate some weight (including your range finder - don't be "that guy" using GPS in the land of tradition. • Consider not bringing all 14 clubs (and their accompanying weight), especially if you're signed up for a few 36-hole days. You'll notice a lot of players over here use a half-set and tiny bag. The way links golf plays, low and running, if you can hit different shot trajectories with your irons, you can have a few gaps. • You can probably do without a sports jacket unless your group is going uber-formal for dinner. Scotland has lightened up to the casual North American travel lifestyle over the last decade, and you'll be fine with a collared dress shirt.

• You probably don't need as many golf shirts as you think, since on most days you'll have a windbreaker on. I brought along two short sleeve polos for a week's trip and did just fine. Also, unless you're Swedish or something - leave the flashy oranges and pinks at home Americans can't pull it off here.

• If you're spending more than a week here, plan on one day of laundry, so you can pack clothes and leave some space for some Scottish whisky from the Highlands - or a giant chunk of stone from the Swilcan Bridge. Dry-cleaning is expensive at hotels, but if you're in a good-sized town, Laundromats are easy to find.

• Waterproofs are essential. Pants, long-sleeve top with a hood on it. Bring rain gloves too. Your finest umbrella goes without saying one that can withstand some wind. Bring one wool hat that covers your ears for windy days.

Odds and ends • Someone in your foursome should pack a deck of cards and poker chips for a rainy day.

• You're likely walking all of your rounds. If you plan on carrying, be sure your straps are in good shape and leveled out (For Americans, it's probably been awhile since you didn't ride a cart, so be sure they're still in working order).

• Leave space available in your suitcase for a bottle of authentic Scottish whisky, or some Bushmills from Northern Ireland.

• Bring as many balls as you can fit. Golf balls are horribly expensive in the U.K. and Europe - more than double what you'll find at any golf superstore in the states. Considering the heather and gorse on links courses, plan on losing three or four balls per round if you're a mid-handicapper and even more at penal links like Royal County Down and blind shot-laden Prestwick Golf Club.

• At least one person in your foursome (with the best eye) should bring a compact digital camera with a case and big memory card.

• Don't skimp on socks. This is the garment that will take the most punishment. Substitute a few pairs of underwear in place of socks if you're short on space (unless the missus is coming along of course ...) • Bring two pairs of golf shoes if they are both comfortable and waterproof. It can help your foot's pressure points if you switch every round or two. 52

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• Staying in St. Andrews on a Sunday? Bring a Frisbee and throw it around on the closed Old Course. Really.

• Laptop junkies should bring a U.K. power adapter or find one in the airport on arrival. Ireland uses U.K. adapters, not two-plug European ones. • I have been to a few clubs where they charged about 10p for pencils, so keep a few in your bag if you'd like to avoid this nickel-and-diming. • Self driving? Go to Mapquest.co.uk and print out maps and driving directions. Navigating in the UK is a different animal. If you think it will take one hour to get to the next course, allow for two. And lastly, don't forget to bring your knock-down! www.gvlinks.com


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MYTURN

Save Your Husband, Hit A Titleist

M

y guy friends have a saying they love to repeat. You've probably heard it before, it goes like this: Women are crazy. For years I disputed them. Other than occasional anecdotal evidence, on what could this assertion possibly be based? Well, it turns out they were right all along. Women are crazy. Or maybe crazy isn't the right word. The better description, maybe, is crazy angry. According to a British survey, women are hopping mad â&#x20AC;&#x201D; or madder than men, at least. The survey of more than 20,000 people, funded by the British government's Economic & Social Research Council, found that women are more likely to feel "angry and persistently frustrated" than men. Consider which gender has been responsible for most of the wars in this planet's history, and you'll realize: Wow, that's pretty angry. Another study conducted at England's Middlesex University suggested that, movie titles to the contrary, old women tend to be grumpier than old men. While men tend to mellow with age, women "stay angrier than ever, falling out with their friends, getting irritated by strangers in the street and feeling frustrated by the vagaries of modern technology." Well that explains my grandma. I notice the studies don't delve into the reasons why women are so PO'd. The fact that women have to deal with, say, men on a daily basis doesn't merit notice. For example, how many men have had to deal with a spouse who left them alone Thanksgiving weekend with a newborn baby and a rambunctious 3-year-old so they could go watch a basketball tournament in Hawaii? Not many, I bet. I just made that example up, by the way. No one would actually go to Hawaii for a week to watch a basketball tournament, leaving behind his wife with a newborn baby and a toddler at Thanksgiving. That would be beyond the pale. No, wait, no I didn't. It really happened. But that was five years ago - I don't still taste the bile rising in my throat as I fume with white-hot rage or anything. I'm so over it I can actually laugh about it now. Ha! Ha! So anyway, my theory, simply stated, is that women have more to be angry about. But regardless of the reasons, the bottom line is, we're ticked off and we need to learn to deal with it. So the question becomes, how? How to deal with all

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by

JenniferMario

this pent-up resentment, other than simply knocking those clueless husbands of ours upside their respective heads? Golf As Stress Relief Well, say the experts, what ticked-off chicks need to do is find some healthy activities to relieve stress. Being both trusting and inquisitive, I decided to take the experts at their word and conducted a bit of research: What qualifies as a healthy activity known for its stress-relieving properties? Guess what - a 2000 study in the American Journal of Medicine pinpointed just such an activity: golf. The study, conducted in 2000, concluded that golf is "a good form of health-enhancing physical activity" and was shown to help with weight loss and lowering of cholesterol. Of course, the study, following the pattern of most scientific inquiry, was performed exclusively on males. God, that ticks me off! But making the bold assumption that golf's health benefits apply equally to women as well as men, this is good news for the angrier sex. See, golf works two ways: First, the activity itself is good exercise. All that walking adds to your overall cardiovascular health and burns calories while the swing works your body in terms of flexibility and strength. Golf, and your fitness level improves. Even by the most conservative estimates, playing golf burns around 250 calories per hour. Let's see - multiply that by the average length of a round, four hours, and your 18-hole round just burned 1,000 calories. That should put a smile on your face. But, wait, it gets better: While many golfers stay fit through golf, many also stay fit for golf. Improving your golf game becomes the motivation for exercising even more - pros and amateurs alike know that hitting the fitness center results in better golf scores. In my life before golf, I used to run so that I could be a better runner. Now I run so I can be a better golfer. And every workout, both on or off the course, the fitness gurus will tell you, releases endorphins, those naturally occurring mood enhancers that soothe jingle-jangled nerves and lead to an improved state of mind. A welcome outcome for the ill-humored - female or otherwise. So there you have it, ladies. Save your husband, hit a Titleist. Meanwhile, fellas, stop calling us crazy.

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Golf Vacations Magazine Winter 2008