LETTER FROM THE PUBLISHER
Drinking wine is a noble experiment. We choose to say, “Oh, I didn’t like that one so much. I’ll try the Chardonnay now”. And all the while perhaps the flavor did not agree with us; however the effects of a lifted spirit, lighter heart and a joyful smile take hold of us. I love wine! So enjoy this issue of Golfin’ Around. Inside we travel to France! With the 2018 “Ryder Cup” on it’s way to France; the country is preparing to showcase its wonderful countryside and fabulous golf courses and resorts. Also, we are off to Anguilla to dip our toes in the tropical blue Caribbean waters and experience a spectacular Greg Norman course as well.
Hey Golf Nutz, Cigars, Wine, Travel and The Goodlife; isn’t that what it’s all about? For over ten years the Golfin’ Around television show and magazine has traveled across the globe. From South Africa, Thailand and France we have brought you stories about the awesome golf, hotels, culture and adventures you can find on your golf get-a-way too. I have been so blessed along the journey to discover so many wonderful people, golf courses and culinary delights. I hope through my TV show and magazine you can discover and enjoy a little of each as well. If not vicariously, then go forth yourself on your very on golf safari.
A lesson in smoking cigars is to be found. And discover the best cigar on the planet, the Vegas de Santiago! “There’s nothing serious in mortality. All is but toys; renown and grace is dead, the wine of life is drawn, and the mere lees Is left this vault to brag of. --William Shakespeare (1564-1616) Macbeth, II. iii. (100) Be Happy, Randy “Tank” Tantlinger
“Eating and sleeping are the only activities that should be allowed to interrupt a man’s enjoyment of his cigar.” -- Mark Twain Cigars? Man, I love a good cigar. To me a fine cigar is like a baby’s security blanket. I know that no matter what I’ll have the comfort of a great smoke with me. Maybe I’m beside a crackling campfire with some old Army buddies swapping stories; my stogie will be there too. Perhaps, it’s my travel companion on a long road trip. With the Jimmy Buffett blaring from the stereo and my fine 95Rated Costa Rican Vegas de Santiago burning slow ash; I’m happy as can be. “Days of wine and roses laugh and run away, Like a child at play.” -- Johnny Mercer (1909-1976) Days of Wine and Roses Wine. Was such a simpler, yet so complex drink ever blended? Within each bottle is mirth, merriment, sadness and sorrow. Upon each sip a thousand flavors dance over your tongue. To make more robust the taste of the cheese or chocolate is the wine’s task.
To contact “Golfin’ Around”: www.golfingaround.com PO Box 13114 Pgh, Pa 15243 412-734-8980
You have to see it... to believe it! Boulder Creek, located in Streetboro, Ohio, is a must play! It’s ranked the 2nd best public course in Ohio by Golfweek Magazine for a reason. Is it because it’s affordable? Of course! Do the well manicured green and fairways make it special? Absolutely! Does the breathtaking natural beauty combined with boulders and water seem like a painting? Yes! Perhaps it’s the incredible layout and design? Now you got it! Boulder Creek is built on 200 acres of spectacular land that was the end result of the ice age. With over 100 feet of elevation changes and the unique contour of the property make it one of the most beautiful golf courses in, Ohio. Each hole was painstakingly built to the natural topography utilizing the natural features of the property to their fullest advantage. Boulder Creek is an all bent grass, championship caliber golf course. The greens feature G2 Bent Grass, developed at Penn State University from green samples taken from Augusta National in the 1980’s. The island green on #17 is worthy of a place on the cover of Golf Digest! The numerous waterfalls, elevated tee boxes and rolling fairways all combine to create a tapestry of golf splendor and majesty! This is one great golf course. Their “frequent player card” combined with affordable rates; makes it the best golf deal in the Tri-State!
Log onto www.bouldercreekohio.com or call 330-626-2828 to reserve your tee times! Text GolfNow to 313131 For Tee Time Specials!
The snow was blowing and the post mortum of Steelers season was chilling my bones to their very core when the phone rang. It was time to saddle up, grab the clubs and camera and head south to film another episode of my “Golfin' Around TV Show.” The tropical island of Anguilla was waiting for me!
commodations are luxurious and make you wish that this was home and that you never, ever had to leave. The warm embrace of the tropical “funshine” thaws your chilled bones. The soft white sand invited you to take a long walk and listen to the blue waters lap against her. This is paradise.
The crystal blue waters of the Caribbean lap gently against the sugar soft white beach's of Anguilla. This delightful jewel of the Caribbean is known as home of Five Star opulence, style and grace. No cheesy time-share hustles going on here. No constant annoyances of “Hey Mister, you want to buy...,” that can so often times ruin your vacation. No, not here.
As I began to talk with the guests I learned that most of them come back year after year after year for their annual vacations. One lady comes three times a year because this is her home away from home. 65% of the guests of the Cuisinart Resort are repeat customers. The reason is so simple: it feels like home.
Here on Anguilla you will only find the finer things in life. Peace of mind is offered up with a cold rum drink in hand as you sit in your beach chair and forget your worries. The Cuisinart Golf Resort & Spa is the perfect refuge from a crazy world. She is unlike any other resort. She is stately, charming and classy all wrapped in a seaside paradise. Nestled along Rendezvous Bay, the resort offers 93 luxurious, accommodations on pristine beachfront property, as well as six private 3-‐and 5-‐ bedroom villas. The unique architecture of the whitewashed villas is inspired by the Greek island of Mykonos and creates a visually stunning contrast against the sparkling turquoise waters of the Caribbean. With the recently expanded world-‐class VenusSpa, breathtaking views, and the world’s first resort-‐ based hydroponic farm, she provides an unrivaled Caribbean experience. The resort has had its share of notoriety. ABC's hit TV show “The Bachelor” filmed a season here and featured the island and resort. Travel and Leisure Magazine gave her the “Best Service Accolades” award. Conde NastTraveler put her on the “Gold List” in 2011. The staff goes about their duties with a smile on their faces waiting and wanting to help you. The ac-
Each room is massive in size. A living room leads into a massive bedroom complete with a sitting area. The bathroom is as big as a one car garage. Dive into your bathtub and sink to the bottom of the ocean. Or lavish in the over sized shower and let cold water dance on your skin to soothe your suntan. Dinning is a true art form at the Cuisinart Resort. If you love seafood, then you will be in heaven. Harvested right from the ocean come lobster, shrimp and a cornucopia of sea delights. Greg Norman, the Shark, has designed some lovely golf courses, but here he may have outdone himself. A fifty million dollar investment was made to create, design and sculpt this 18 hole dandy. Bermuda grass provides the tapestry. Elevated tee boxes provide an overview of rolling fairways. However this isn't your usual “resort course.” Instead Norman has lent his hand to test your skills. Bunkers and water guard and protect and provide Dennis Romanesque defense of the greens. Fairways at times provide an ample landing area; almost enough to land a small island hopper airplane. At other times you need to thread the needle, stick your ego and driver back in the bag and club down to a five wood to hit the fairways.
“In planning the course, significant environmental efforts were undertaken to preserve and to enhance the island’s natural habitats. Most significant was the renewal of Merrywing Salt Pond, an island landmark. Featured predominantly in the course, the pond’s water has been reinvigorated, giving rebirth to its natural organisms. New flushing channels permit seawater to flow out of the pond during high tide. Players are greeted at the starting hole of this 7,063-yard championship course by spectacular views of St. Maarten and the Caribbean Sea, and the overwhelming visual appeal continues”, reads the website.
Some of its signature holes include: 1st hole: A spectacular vista of St. Maarten and the Caribbean Sea awaits players at the tee box of the 390-yard starting hole. The fairway descends over 40 feet to a narrow, two-tiered green sitting precariously on the edge of a saltwater lagoon. Robb Report called this first hole “The Caribbean’s answer to the 18th at Pebble Beach.” 2nd and 10th holes: Holes two and ten share a 16,000 square foot green that rests along the Anguilla Channel. 16th hole: Large seagrape trees on the left and the Merrywing pond on the right frame the perilous drive on the 440-yard 16th hole that plays into the tradewinds and ends with an elevated green surrounded by water and protected by deep bunkers. 18th hole: The drive for the finishing hole runs along the edge of a mangrove thicket in a vast stretch of salt marsh that winds through eight other course holes. The narrowing fairway ascends forty feet through rugged terrain to a narrow green carved out of native shrub.
For additional information on CuisinArt Resort & Spa call (800) 943.3210 or visit www.cuisinartresort.com
I loved this resort so much; she has been awarded the “Golfin’ Around 2011- Golf Resort of the Year Award!” And that’s no small achievement considering we filmed in Curacao, Mexico, British Columbia, and South Africa in 2011!
Golﬁn’ Around Outing!
l a u
n n A
Do you love golf? Do you love beer? Do you love... girls in bikinis? Guys, come and play golf and mix and mingle with bikini clad girls in the Summer "Funshine"! Even if you have never played golf and always wanted to, this is the perfect event for you! RAIN OR SHINE! We have our own private pavilion to party in!
Entry Fee: $95.00 per player includes: golf, beer, dinner afterward and meet the girls!
L Y ap 2
Contact Randy @ Ou "Y rM 412-734-8980 ou ot ca r s to: to enter! us co e y re ou ca all rds ch do ea n’ ta tc ny ou wa nt y!" for no th in;
lf C ou
Cigars 101: How to Smoke a Cigar! OK sweetheart, if you want to look like some backwoods hick; then keeping smoking your $12.00 cigar like a rookie! However, if you’d like to learn a little something; then pour yourself a smooth Hendricks gin and tonic and listen up. The Ole’ Tanker gonna educate you about the basics.
1.) What’s in a cigar? The tobacco plant has several leafs per plant. Some leafs get thrown away. The others comprise the cigar. There are three layers of leafs. The Filler: The middle of the cigar. There are two leafs used as the filler. The “Secco” leaf is the thinnest and mildest and holds the body, Second is the “Ligero” leaf it is stretchy, thick leaf and holds together well. Most of the nutrients in a cigar are in these leafs. Here is where your robust flavors, aromas and spices are found. It’s the heart and soul of a fine cigar. The Binder: This leaf is thick and stretchy. It wraps around the our fillers. After the binder is wrapped; the cigar is placed in a hand press. Wrapper: The roller wraps the delicate wrapper leaves around the Filler and Binder leaves. 2.) What are sizes , shapes and gauges? By all accounts there are well over 21 sizes of cigars ranging from small to extra large. Best known are: (Smallest) is Nub ,Corona, Robusto , Bellicosa, Churchhill to Diadema (Extra Large) 3.) What are ring gauges gauges? The cigar gauge is the diameter of the cigar. It is broken into 64th’s of an inch. The bigger the gauge the rounder it is and the longer the cigar will burn. I nice Diadema 60 Gauge will burn about two hours. A small 4 inch 42 gauge Corona maybe 30 minutes. 4.) How do I cut a cigar? A.) Cut: The “Cap” is the rounded edge on a cigar. Do not cup the whole cap off; the cigar will unwrap! Make a small cut at the tip of the cap; leaving most of the cap in place. B.) Punch: The punch puts a hole through the cap and allows and nice smooth draw. 5.) How do I light or “toast” a cigar? This is important. If you light it wrong it will burn uneven. Get yourself a nice lighter. Do not put the cigar in your mouth. Roll the cigar in your hand as you let the flame dance around the edges of the cigar. Do this for a minute. Then blow on the cigar. Again roll the cigar and let the flame dance on the edges and the body of the cigar for another 30 seconds to a minute. Blow again on the cigar until you see glowing red amber all the way around the diameter. Now take a few gentle puffs to allow the heat and smoke begin to work through the cigar and unleash the flavors of the filler leafs. Now enjoy! 6.) How do I hold a cigar while smoking? If you watch most old school cigar manufacturers from Miami or central America you will see that they hold their cigar vertically whehey aren’t smoking. This allows the cigar to continue to burn from the tip up and to continue the smooth, even, slow burn.
7.) How long should I let the ash get? The ash is a sign of quality. A well rolled cigar will have a long, long ash. Maybe even as long as an inch or two. With that said, it’s your choice on how long that ash can get. I have a bad habit of smoking until its falls off and Genesis and Phil Collins are exploding through my speakers and ash goes flying all over the leather seats of the Mitsubishi 3000-GT and they get into my tumbler of ice cold Hendricks gin with lemon and lime. I drink it anyway; it adds flavor! 8.) What do I do with the ring wrapper label? If you are over the age of 8 and you are still trying to “impress people” then leave the label on and go see a shrink loser! Otherwise, take the ring label OFF! 9.) How do I age and store my cigars? 70% humidity is the exact ingredient to age your cigars to perfection. Like a fine wine cigars only get better with time. Aged five years a cigar should be at it’s peak of flavor. Anything beyond ten years and it’s flavors are weak and mild. Store them in a nice cedar humidor that you can monitor at 70% humidity. Keep them out of direct light and they will always be a friend you can turn to in times of sorrow, joy, laughter and even tears! OK, there’s my two cents on how to look like a pro and not a “shamoe” while smoking a cigar. “Costa Rica-Pura Vida-The Good Life” Costa Rican cigars are “Pura Vida”. “Never smoked’em’”, you say? In this case ignorance is not bliss! Your ignorance is inexcusable and keeping you from enjoying the best that man and earth has to offer! You may inquire, “Tank, if they are so damn good; why haven’t I heard of em’?” Good question Bozo! The vast majority of Costa Rican manufacturers are “boutique” shops. Meaning they don’t pump out hundreds of thousands of cigars a year; then spend millions on ad campaigns. No, they are just simple mom and pop operations that “hand craft” each and every cigar with love, caring and understanding. They only make a limited number of premium cigars per year. Do your taste buds a huge “flavor-favor” and fill your humidor with these delicious treats. There are two reasons C.R. cigars are so incredible: 1.) The Soil. CR has over 100 different “micro-climates” ranging from dry and dusty to tropical rain forests. Combine these various regions with volcanic nutrient rich soil, cocoa beans, water, and environment and you get the best soil to grow tobacco. 2.) The Seeds and the Growers! “Pre-Castro”; ever hear the term? Simply put, “novice” cigar smokers assume that “Cuban Cigars” are the best on the planet. 60 years ago before the communist scumbag team of “F. Castro” & “Che Gorilla” murdered and enslaved the good people of Cuba; Cuban cigars were the best in the world. IE: “Pre-Castro”. Today Cuban soil is depleted and the linage of the original seeds has been lost due to lack of proper care. All that is left is the legacy. If you want to impress your pals; give them a C.R. cigar and then tell them why the are the best!
VEGAS de SANTIAGO:
For eighty years in the mountains of Puriscal, C. R. “Vegas de Santiago” has been crafting mystical hand rolled cigars. With reverence and respect each leaf is grown and cultivated. Here the union of the seed and volcanic rich nutrients of the earth make love. Their passion birth’s the world’s tastiest tobacco leaves! You will spend years discovering the pleasures of each of the blends. “Capa Connecticut” is a suave and even burning smoke. “Capa H2000-Claro” is a light Habano style, very aromatic and tasty. “Capa H 2000-Oscuro” is very smooth, with warm undertones of earthy spices and chocolate! And for the ultimate in decadence enjoy “Equadorian H2000” and see if it doesn’t measure up to a Partagas! And these are only the beginning! Here are some of their excelent brands! VdS Originales, filler and wrapper from Costa Rican and Nicaraguan tobaccos. VdS Puros, edicion especial, a cigar 100 % from tobaccos grown in the fertile, volcanic mountains of Costa Rica Chaman, a special blend of tobaccos from Costa Rica, Nicaragua and a Connecticut wrapper from Ecuador. Here’s my favorite cigar on the planet!!! Get some and let the ash burn four inches long! There isn’t a Cuban cigar on earth as good as the Secretos Don luis! Secretos del Maestro Don Luis, Here we have outdone ourselves in mixing special tobaccos from the Caribbean, Indonesia and Ecuador or Nicaragua depending on which wrapper you prefer, Connecticut from Ecuador or Habano from Nicaragua.
www.vegassantiago.com or www.crcigars.com for details or email my buddy “Rudy” at email@example.com and Tell him I told you to order some!
Oh, La, La! I love France!
“By the light of the moon. He’s a Frenchman for the night. By the light of the moon it will be alright. Blame it on the Champs Elysee’s. Blame it on a tune. Blame it on the stroke of Monet. You can’t escape the moon. He see the stars above as the floor to heaven’s light. While the angels taunt, “C’est une nuit blanche. He’s a Frenchman for the night. La Vie En Rose arpeggios”. Jimmy Buffet-a Frenchman for the Night-Circa 1994 For as long as I can remember I have wanted to go to France. The Eiffel Tower, Monte Carlo, and the French Alps. How would the golf be? Well, I thought to myself as long as the food, wine and sightseeing are all they are billed to be; I could live with “OK” golf. By the end of my epic journey through this beautiful country I would discover “awesome” golf, wonderful people and a love for France. My golf journey was to begin the South of France on the sun soaked beaches of The French Rivera at “The Royal Mougins Golf Resort”. Located in the Community of Mougins, just 10 minutes outside Cannes, it occupies the secluded “Vallon de l’Oeuf ”, a quiet Provencal landscape, dominated by olive trees on ancient stonewall terraces. Born in Texas Robert Von Hagge has left his golf course designs all over the world. Here at Royal Mougins he may have designed a masterpiece for the ages. The European well heeled call the South of France their play ground. A world-class resort and golf course are a must for these jet setters. And that’s just what Von Hagge designed. I was completely blown away by the unique design of the course. It plays as if it’s an inland “links” course. The fairways follow the contour of the land. Moundings protect greens. Ponds come into play on several holes forcing you to keep your ball dead on target line. Hole # 2 is called “Angel’s Dive”. This signature hole is a divine and heaven sent inspiration of a Par 3. Playing 183 from her elevated tee’s; the vista of the green some below in the valley is spectacular. Lush vegetation, trees and flora stand out as if a Monet water painting against the awaiting green. The pond in front of the green demands perfection in your tee shot. Their website reads, “Course management and target golf are prerequisites in order to score well on this tight and reasonably hilly course, dotted with lakes and rivers, often surrounded by characteristic sand bunkers. A round leaves nobody indifferent and you may be certain that every bad shot is immediately penalized. Think before choosing a club both on and off the tees! As Bobby Jones once said: “A course offering problems, a man may attempt to play according to his ability… never hopeless for the lesser player nor failing to concern and interest the expert”. “This special place, only a few minutes from the picturesque Provencal village of Mougins, is located just 15 minutes from the sandy beaches of Cannes, 20 minutes from the Nice International Airport, and 40 minutes from the Principality of Monaco. During your stay, the French Riviera will reveal its charm and its lifestyle
so that you can fully profit from the thousand facets of the local and regional traditions, the latest on luxury products, services and events, with a special insight in the newest trends & hypes. Everything here is breathtaking: the endless landscapes, the panoramic sea & mountain views, the rich and varied architecture, mystical and world famous beaches, and a gastronomy which inspires most of renowned Chefs around the world. You are both close to the sea, and its energetic and festive evenings, but also to the tranquility of the country side, where you will find a lot of restaurants, art galleries, and a wide variety of workshops…. The Royal Mougins is an ideal location to spend your well deserved days away from home & office, and to fully relax both mind & body”. The clubhouse and hotel are simply opulent, classy, stylish and lavish. The boutique hotel offers twenty nine rooms that are each a little slice of heaven. Dinning at Royal Mougin was a wonderful experience. George our waiter was perhaps the high lite of our stay. As he does not speak English and I don’t speak French; we communicated through good white wine and fine cuisine. My host Mr. Joost Reiter and the whole staff were absolutely wonderful and great hosts. I truly hope to return someday soon.
Royal Mougin is a five star resort. After a few nights rest it was time to head down the road and discover the “Cote D’Azur” or The French Rivera. Over 500 miles of coastline runs along side the blue waters of the Mediterranean Ocean. Through the village of Mougins and past Nice we rolled in our Pugot 560. This was a luxury touring sedan. Leather interior, sunroof and a Bose stereo would make this epic journey through France and into Switzerland smooth sailing. We pulled into the seaside village of Cannes and quickly settled in by the ocean for the day. Perhaps on one of the most famous beaches in the world, she is known for her film festival. As the warm French sun beat down upon us, we dinned on shrimp and lobster and fine wine. It was as if the gentle lapping waters of the “Med” washed away all of our worries, problems and cares. After a few hours spent lavishing our self ’s by the sea; it was down the coastline. The French get a bad rap for being rude to Americans. I found that to be totally, utterly wrong. The French are polite, well mannered and sophisticated. They are polite drivers allowing you to change lanes without hassle and tailgating is nowhere to be found. I drove through the country from Paris, Cannes to the French Alps and all along the way found everyone to be gentile. “Bond, James Bond”, wow as a kid I loved when Sean Connery said that in “Diamonds are Forever”. When he was in Monte Carlo wearing a tuxedo and gambling in the world famous casino it filled my imagination with wonder. I was awestruck as we strolled the streets of Monte Carlo. It’s own municipality and country within France; this fantasyland for the world’s super rich is truly a sight to behold. My mind ran wild with dreams of Brad Pitt, Princess Di, King’s and Queen’s, Steve McQueen attending the Grand Prix. From France and into Italy we drove along the Italian Coastline. Our final destination is the stuff dreams are made of. “ChamonixMont Blanc” is as close to heaven on earth as you will ever find. The lovely mountain village sleeps in the valley beneath the Mont
Blanc mountain peak. The late Summer sunshine filled the village with spectacular light shows bouncing of the glaciers, snowcaps and ridgeline. The mountaintops glistened beneath the warm of the sun. Before I was to discover the golf course there was so much more to do. Exploring the intimate alpine village was delightful. The center of town is home to buildings and homes that have stood for centuries. I soon learned that most of the locales had always lived there; as did their parents and grand parents before them. Statues of the first men to climb to the top of the famed Mont Blanc peak sit on the streets. They remind tourists of the brave exploits of the first men and women mountaineers. “The Museum of Mountaineering” was a wonderful treasure to behold. Pictures and movies and exhibits told the personal stories of adventurers, wanderlust filled, travelers who had come to this town to climb the peaks and go where no man had gone before. I could live in Chamonix. Her idyllic, peaceful way of life walks hand in hand with nature. Blue skies, mountain peaks, glaciers, snow caps combine with ancient churches and memories from days gone buy. Rising almost 16,000 feet towards the sky; the mountain Mont Blanc has beckoned, mystified and mesmerized man for centuries. As we climbed high into the sky in a cable car a wide smile and calm came over my face and soul. Soon the town of Chamonix was well below us and the valley was so beautiful from such a lofty height. You could see the mountain lakes, the tiny homes and there was the golf course that was waiting for me. The peak of Mont Blanc is the highest in all of Western Europe and the Alps. “The Roof of the World” leaves you breathless and awestruck at the natural beauty you will behold. The mountain range spreads out before you. Over there you can see Italy and Switzerland. “When two young English aristocrats, William Windham et Richard Pocock, discover the Priory of Chamouni 1741, they have no idea that the recital of their visit to this small mountain village and its glaciers, will have an impact on the whole of Europe. Wealthy tourists, in particular the English, come to admire the mysterious Mer de Glace. The huntsmen and crystal-finders, with their knowledge of the mountains, act as their guides. The first inn opens in 1770 and marks the early development of the hotel trade and the first mountaineering exploits. The conquest of Mont-Blanc in 1786, contributes to the demystification of the summits and seals the destiny of this mountain community. The influence of pre-romantic and romantic writers also helps to alleviate the fear of the unknown
and consecrates the mountains as being an expression of nature totally preserved. The first luxury hotel was built in 1816 and the hotel industry continued to thrive through the 1800’s, crowned by 3 splendid palaces built in the early 1900’s. Certain dates are synonymous with the development of summer tourism: the creation of the Compagnie des Guides in 1821 and the inauguration of the Montenvers Mer de Glace cog railway in 1908. The first Winter Olympic games were hosted by Chamonix in 1924 and consecrated the valley as a winter Mecca, with an important number of lifts being built in the ensuing years. First were the Glacier cable cars (no longer existing) and Planpraz, followed by the Brevent, the Aiguille du Midi and the Flégère.”
“ You could spend your life in Chamonix and have lived a lifetime in heaven.” After exploring the town it was finally time to get out to the golf course. Robert Trent Jones must have been thrilled when he arrived into the valley and was given the task to layout this 18 holes. Nestled between the massiff of “Aiguille Rouges” and the “Mont Blanc” the course winds its way on the valley floor below. You get lost in the majesty of the mountain peaks high above your tee shot. No matter where you turn the view is to die for. It’s the stuff of dreams.
“Golf Club de Chamonix” won’t beat you up. She’s a track that is a good stretch of the legs and allows you to work on your game under the crystal blue skies of the French Alps. Leaving Chamonix was difficult. We had enjoyed the wine, the chocolate and the simple yet satisfying lifestyle of the French Alps. I may have left; but a piece of my soul remains high on top of Mont Blanc. And a piece of Mont Blanc remains with me. Switzerland was the next stop. An easy and awe inspiring drive through the Alps, past Geneva brought me to the Five Star “La Gruyere Golf Resort”. Swiss charm, grace and quality all combine to create absolute perfection here. There may not be a better boutique golf resort in the world! Like a fine Swiss chocolate that blends all it’s ingredients into a scrumptious delight; golf, accommodations, service and culinary masterpieces make for the world’s most lavish experience. The charming village of La Gruyere was our Swiss destination. Let me state this from the very start; “The Golf Resort at La Grueye” is the best “Parkland Golf Resort” I have experienced.
stated. This golf course is an absolute masterpiece. It is unlike I have ever played. The charming hotel and restaurant and clubhouse all give the feeling of being entertained for the weekend at your rich Uncles private country getaway. The rooms have the European flare with soft comfortable beds. A lavish bathroom invites you to bath, relax and melt your troubles away. Each room provides a full length window floor to ceiling to provide a spectacular view of the lake. And of course fine dinning is a must. Perched high on top the hill, overlooking the lake and allowing you to bask in the glory of nature and the French Alps; is the dinning room. A full compliment of wait staff diligently tends to your every need, want and desire. From a vast wine selection to the cheese cart, your palate will be on fire with flavor. The chef takes great pride in offering seasonal selections. Pheasant and boar in the Fall. Fresh fish from the lake in Spring. A cornucopia of desserts as well. With great sadness I kissed everyone goodbye and was off again. But first some sight seeing. The Castle Gruyeres was built in the 13th Century and was home to a long line of Counts and nobles. It beckons you from miles away as you drive towards it. Perched high upon a mountain it overlooks the vastness of the Swiss landscape with honor and majesty.
This lovely, romantic escape, is nestled against Lake Gruyere and provides divine vistas of snow capped Swiss Mountains and pre French Alps. The lake and mountains create a masterpiece of epic scenic delights. Let’s start with the golf course. This Par 68 short track is a masterpiece of design and spacial illusions. The course undulates up hill and down hill. The fairways and greens are constantly rolling with the natural terrain. There are few even lies. If this track were in the United States or Ireland, it would be ranked as one of the “Top 100 in the World”. Considering I have played 65% of the Top 100; I think I’m qualified to make that call. Each masterfully designed hole is a treasure box waiting to be unopened, discovered and enjoyed. Many of the holes provide lovely views of the Lake. Hole # 1 begins your epic journey through the Swiss countryside. An elevated tee box provides a grandiose view of the water. The turf below your feet seems to mound and form bumps causing your ball to take odd bounces. The green slopes away and down hill into the water if you are not careful. Hole #3 is a downhill Par 3 that features the ancient ruins of a castle. The uniqueness of each hole and green complex cannot be under-
I felt like a kid as I began the walk through its ancient streets. Complete with church, shops and taverns the village souring the castle leads you right to the front gates. One imagines knights and maidens and dragons as you take in the beauty of your surroundings. Visions of Julie Andrews in the Sound of Music dance in your mind’s eye. Somewhere high in the hills Heidi tends to her flock. Life’s journey never surrenders her secrets and that’s why peeking a round the next corner to discover the unknown is what thrills, excites and motivates a traveler. While touring the castle grounds I was amazed to discover the most peculiar, out of place, bizarre, imaginative metal sculptures. What were these? A bit out of place no doubt. Here within the walls of an ancient castle was the H.R. Geiger Museum. His name not familiar to you? OK, ever saw the movie “Alien” with a young and voluptuous Segorney Weaver? Geiger was the Swiss born artist who created the creature. From his fertile mind a labyrinth of bizarre and unique paintings, sculptures, designs and carvings have emerged. Well, I guess every castle has to have its gargoyles keeping evil at bay. The journey thus far had taken me fro the French Rivera into the Alps and into my ancestral land of Switzerland. To clarify my bloodline is Swiss and Irish. Most of the time I don’t know if I should fight or make peace. Now the time had come to head towards the City of Light; Paris.
Located just outside of Paris is the stately, opulent, grand, magnificent “Dolce Chantilly Golf Resort”. The historic Chantilly region is famous for it’s love affair with horses. The hotel and property incorporates the horse theme into the artwork, landscape, and theme of the property. When you dream of France; Dolce Chantilly is the heavenly embodiment of those dreams. “An environment that nourishes all of your senses; it provides the perfect balance of service and style”. Marble, leather, class, dignity and a lavish escape into the arms of perfection await you here. The rooms are your fortress from the outside world. The decor of the lobby, restaurants and your fortress all reach out to caress and soothe you. I will let the pictures speak for the Dolce Chantilly. And please go say hello to my friend Pierre Jacob the golf pro. He loves to laugh, to sing and to show you his golf course. And by the way, he can hit the long ball a mile. The amazement of Europe is it’s maturity, it’s age, it’s lasting monument to man. As you travel throughout France and Switzerland your head is constantly and looking to see new and wondrous sites. Ancient castles high atop hills, paintings, sculptures, monuments; all of these amaze and stir your inner child. The Chantilly Castle was this for me. Located just a few miles away from the Dolce Chantilly Resort; this historic castle has bore witness to the ages and history. Built in the 1500’s, she was burned during the French Revolution. Rebuilt over time and now today is a national treasure and museum. Just to stand beside her and take in her glory was spellbinding. Even for the seasoned traveler, nothing prepares you for Paris. It is a magical city. Between the 16th and 19th Centuries she was the largest city in the world. She is home to culture, class, fashion, style, cuisine, fine wine and of course love lives here. The accordion players fill the crowded subways with music. Fashionable dressed citizens scurry about to work and to see friends. Her streets have witnessed conquering armies. Her sky above has watched a revolution. Home to modern art and philosophy, it is “La Ville-Lumière”; “The City of Light”. You cannot prepare yourself for the Effiel Tower. All your life you have scene it in pictures and movies. Like Narcissis staring at his own reflection; you find yourself not wanting to look away from it. The Merry-Go-Round spins the childen and old men and women in circles beneath the mammoth made of steel. She is lovely. In 4200 BC Celtic tribes made their home here beside the River Seine. The Romans came in 52BC. Then the Germanic invaders had her for a while. In 1466, 40,000 of her people died of the Black Plague. Joan of Arc led her people during the 100 years war against the English invaders. She would lead he armies into victorious battle time and time again. She foresaw her death in a dream at the hands of the English. She claimed her power from the divine blessings of God. The English decried her a witch and burned her at the stake. In 1789, July 14th, the storming of the Bastille to secure arms and guns by the peasants; began the French Revolution. The Russians took control of Paris in 1814 after they defeated the arrogant, pompous and great military leader Napoleon.
The saddest day in the wondrous cities history was June 14th, 1940; the day the human scourge of Nazism marched into Paris and to control of the city. She is a living, breathing, monument to history. The Louvre houses the Mona Lisa and the world’s great art works. You can see the Eiffel Tower from here. Tourists bustle in and out and are captivated just to be here. I took a long sit down and marveled at the architectural achievement and grandeur of the “Our lady of Paris”; world wide she is known as Notre Dame. A Bourbon Street Jazz band played by the river Seine and it’s melodic tunes enchanted me like a Siren luring a ship to rocks. “Bix” was an American who had been living, playing his music and will eventually find his eternal reward here in France. It was his trumpet and vocals that attracted me to the Jazz music. We finished our journey with a funtastic night of site, sound, music, dancing and champagne at the Moulin Rouge! Class and style exemplify the “Red Mill” cabaret. Fanciful clad women still dance the “Can Can”, the dance of the “Courtesans”. My epic journey through France and Switzerland will always live in my heart. I hope to return soon and explore more of their countryside. I can’t say this enough that the people of France and Switzerland are friendly, warm and willing to help a traveler find his next destination or discover something off the beaten path. I have been blessed by God above to travel the world. Some places you visit and you chalk them off as “saw that-did that”. Not France. Do you remember the name of your first love? Do you remember your first crush on a classmate? Of course you do. That is how I feel about France. I’m in love and can’t wait to see her again. I hope someday you can fall in love with her too. She’s a grand old dame!
I have made many trips to the region, but last year I was compelled to return. The national attention that the Gulf Coast received from the terrible oil spill has cast the light of unwanted attention to the region. The devastation to the I Gulf Shores, Alabama! economy and the Gulf was tremendous; but the beaches were open, clean, oil free and as lovely as always! “Good God I feel at home down there.
At the Bama Breeze you can shoot some pool, act a fool, drink some beer or laugh and cheer down there. Had too much fun down there. Stumbled out with the sun down there. You’re one of our own down here; Good God I feel at home down there.”
Bama Breeze - Jimmy Buffett Circa 2008
The Southern charm, the warm Gulf breezes, the funshine, the crab and shrimp and great golf beckon you; what’s not to love? The beaches of Gulf Shores, Alabama are soft, sugar white blankets that the blue waters of the Gulf of Mexico lap against in a gentle rhythm. The pace of life here is relaxed and simple. There’s no rush to get here or there or do that and this; instead the day is to be enjoyed and sampled. As if frozen in a simpler time Gulf Shores harkens back to a day when kids ate ice cream and danced on the beach barefooted. This community of peace and tranquility awakes every morning with the Sun dawning over the Gulf of Mexico and splinters of “funshine” glittering upon the water. Here is a place that visitors feel safe and sound to leave their beach chairs, sandals, towels and coolers overnight on the beach where they had been frolicking all day long only to find them untouched, undisturbed and exactly as they were when they left them at sunset the night before.
This is Gulf Shores, Alabama.
Gulf Shores, Alabama has something to offer everyone! Beyond the beaches, seafood and good people; the area has some of the best golf in the country! With nine courses to choose from you will be in golf heaven! “Our variety of signature golf courses is second to none. Creatively designed and strategically placed by some of the greatest names in golf course design, including Arnold Palmer, Bruce Devlin, Jerry Pate, Earl Stone and Robert Von Hagge. The Gulf Shores / Orange Beach area offers everything from scenic coastlines to wetland preserves, to rolling hills, to linksstyle golf and three great public golf courses cut right out of an Alabama forest preserve. Our Orange Beach / Gulf Shores golf courses are challenging and picturesque, but conveniently close to all of our participating accommodtions who offer very affordable “Stay-N-Play” Golf Packages, offering the best golf value on the Gulf.” is how the www.golfgulfshores.com website describes the area.
Gulf Shores, Alabama!
Log onto www.golf.gulfshores.com or call 1-888-815-1902
green side bunkers. Water, wind, and dynamic layout are your enemies; your ally is your focus and your victory is to be found with a good score.
The Kiva Dunes golf course is a Golf Digest Top 75 Course and was also recognized as one of the Best New Courses in the Country in 1995. This seaside links design is a full day’s work and will have you playing every club in your bag. The sand dunes really make the course the splendor that it is. As you play the course it’s almost as if you are playing well manicured fairways and greens that are cut into the lush vegetation of the woods. Lakes, streams, massive bunkers all come into play at Kiva Dunes!
LOST KEY Arnold Palmer is sitting in Latrobe chuckling to himself because he knows what’s waiting for you at Lost Key GC. Bring your A Game baby! It’s probably best to play Lost Key as your last round of golf that way you are loose and in your swing plane. This is a demanding test of skill! She is tight and narrow. Her greens are fast and slope into
Timber Creek Golf Club offers golfing enthusiasts a truly unique and memorable experience. Expertly crafted by Earl Stone into a 27-hole track. Spacious, flowing fairways and immaculately manicured playing surfaces have been artistically sculpted from a forest of flowering Magnolias, Dogwoods, and Loblolly Pines. The wetlands of D’Olive Creek meander throughout the property, accentuating the natural beauty of this course.
CRAFT FARMS Craft Farms is home to two great courses; “Cotton Creek” and “Cypress Bend”. You feel at home when you come to Craft Farms. The Southern Hospitality, the sweet smell of magnolias and the gentle breeze from the Gulf all welcome you. Simply stated these two tracks are spectacular! If a pleasant, challenging round of golf is your desire; look no further. If to enjoy the beauty of nature, to relax and enjoy your vacation is on your mind; you have found Craft Farms!
PENINSULA Of all the great coastal golf courses, Earl Stone’s creation at Peninsula may be the most unique. This 27-hole layout set on beautiful Mobile Bay is nothing short of spectacular as it boasts over 7,000 yards from the championship tees and has been consistently rated 4 stars by Golf Digest. Situated on 820 secluded acres touched on two sides by the Bon Secour Wildlife Preserve, the natural beauty of Peninsula is a little slice of heaven right here along Alabama’s Gulf Coast. This masterful design winds through live oaks, cypress and natural vegetation, more than 30 lakes and some of the area’s largest white-sand bunkers and waste areas.
ROCK CREEK The surprise at Rock Creek is the stunning topography, with some of Baldwin County’s highest elevations overlooking freshwater wetlands and the Rock Creek basin. The tall pines and hardwoods that line nearly every fairway only enhance the visual effect. Located off the eastern shore of Mobile Bay, this 18 hole, Earl Stone design, recently honored by a 4 1/2 star Golf D i g e s t rating, is en joable, forgiving, and captivating. Stone’s 7,000 yd design challenges both the amateur and the professional. It’s a true test of golf where strategy and accuracy are the name of the game. The Gulf Shores of Alabama is one of my favorites. The combination of Southern hospitality, pace and quality of life and the seaside lifestyle make life worth living. The golf is tremendous as well. But it’s truly the people of Gulf Shores, Alabama that keep me coming back time and time again. They are wonderful people who remember a time when “Thank You”, “Yes Ma’am”, “It was our pleasure Sir” were a way of life and the norm. The tragedy of the BP oil spill has scarred the whole region, devastated families and businesses. However, the beaches are clean and open and the golf courses await you like a long lost friend. Most importantly, the good people of the Gulf Coast need your help. They need you to come and visit and find out what makes their home so special. And I just bet that if you go one time; you will find that just perhaps there’s always been a place in your heart for Gulf Shores, Alabama.