Legends Golf Club – Minneapolis/St. Paul’s Premier Public Playground

April 19, 2012 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Golf Courses, Minnesota 

If you are going to be in the Minneapolis/St. Paul area (or already live there) and are looking to play golf, you owe it to yourself to visit Legends Golf Club. Just a short drive south of either downtown, it is one of the top public courses in a metro area known for its quality golf and avid golfers.

My home town is Minneapolis and I have played nearly every public course, and many of the top private courses, our Twin Cities have to offer. Except for the elite courses (Hazeltine, Interlachen and TPC), where PGA, LPGA and Senior Tour events have been held, Legends Golf Club is one of my all time favorites.

What you can expect to find here are country club course conditions, excellent service, a wonderful clubhouse, good food, friendly people and incredible golf.

What Makes This Course Special

  • The course has a masterful mix of holes. No two look or feel the same. You will find a 100 yard Par 3 and 600 yard Par 5 and everything in between. There are straight holes, doglegs, open spaces, tree lined fairways and enough water, traps and elevation changes to challenge the best of players. Holes play to every direction on the compass making wind an ever changing factor.
  • Strategy is paramount. I have enjoyed over fifty rounds here and let me tell you there are many ways to play this course. Approach shots can be flown onto the greens or played low and running. The shortest route is often not the best route. A poor shot almost always leaves a more difficult shot. Tee shots safely down the middle often dictate more daunting approach shots than those that challenge the preferred side of a fairway.
  • Course condition. For those who appreciate a well groomed course Legends Golf Club is for you. The fairways and tees are excellent but it is the undulating, smooth rolling, putting surfaces that take the cake.
  • Best of all, each hole seems isolated unto itself. You rarely see other players, or even other holes, from where you are. Since few holes run parallel (unlike so many courses), the chances of someone straying from a neighboring hole into your fairway is remote. This sense of solitude and quiet maybe the single biggest factor influencing the relaxed, natural and quality experience of playing here.

A Few Examples

The Par 5 fourth is a dogleg left playing to 510 yards. From the elevated tee, one sees a very wide fairway with a complex of traps guarding the corner some 230 yards out. It looks tempting to cut the corner, but finding the traps or even successfully flying them, leaves an exacting second shot. You are left with a tough angle to a narrowing fairway pinched on the left by trees and a hidden brook and on the right by a series of bunkers. The better tee ball is to the middle of the fairway. Did I mention the hole ends at a narrow two tier green that is three club lengths deep? Be sure to check the GPS. Par here….excellent!

Another good risk/reward hole is the fifteenth. It is a beautiful Par 4 of just 384 yards. It is fairly straight, plays slightly downhill, and has a wide fairway but a pond guards the front and right side of the green. A tee ball right down the middle leaves an all or nothing shot over water. A better tee shot challenges the far left side of the fairway. While this takes the water out of play on your approach, it brings a naturalized area just left of the fairway very much into play.

The eighteenth hole is one of the best, and toughest, finishing holes around. At 420 yards, the view from the elevated tee is pure intimidation. A narrow crescent moon fairway, wraps from right to left around a large pond before heading uphill to its finish below the clubhouse. Long hitters who successfully challenge the entire width of the pond are rewarded with a short iron approach to a devilish green. Bailing out right of the pond off the tee may be wise (or even necessary) but will leave a long iron or more to the green. Never mind the people watching from the large patio off the back of the clubhouse. This is no guts no glory. Birdie or triple bogey. Great finishing hole!

The Extras

Legends Golf Club has a very large driving range with multiple greens, including bunkers, set out at varying distances to give a real course feel to your warm up routine. In addition, there is a separate sand trap and pitching green to hone your short game along with a sizable practice putting green.

The clubhouse is large (24,000 sq. ft.) and inviting. It features stone accents, warm woods, great natural lighting, a commanding view of the property and a cozy atmosphere. Inside you will find a well stocked pro shop, an excellent restaurant, men’s and women’s locker rooms along with banquet and meeting spaces. Not to mention the great food available at the turn from the spacious outdoor grill. You can pre-order your burgers, hot dogs, sandwiches and drinks from the carts GPS system.

You can visit their website, www.legendsgc.com, and see why this is one of the top rated golf venues in all of Minnesota. Whether you are one of the many visitors to the land of 10,000 lakes or a lifelong resident you owe it to yourself to enjoy a day of play at Legends Golf Club.

Stone Canyon – Gated golf wonderland in Tucson’s Oro Valley

February 28, 2012 by · 3 Comments
Filed under: Arizona, Travel Destinations 

It is not often in my columns that I write about private golf courses and gated communities. On rare occasions, such as Stone Canyon in Tucson, it is necessary to make an exception.

Typically my travels take me to the better resorts and public or semi-private links that are open to all golf and travel connoisseurs. Many of you have read my stories on Pebble Beach, Spyglass Hill, Puerto Vallarta and the like. Well here is your chance to get inside the gates at one of Arizona’s premier golf communities. It features a stunning and award winning Jay Morrish designed desert masterpiece.

My host for this trip was Todd Huizinga (PGA Professional) who is Director of Club Operations and one hell of a nice guy. Todd leads perhaps the best trained staff I have encountered anywhere during my golf travels. From the moment we arrived at the fortress like iron gates to the time we left the property, we were welcomed like family.

The Experience

Pulling into Stone Canyon involved driving up a scenic entry road leading to a stone gate-house from which emerged a friendly gent in dress shirt and tie. After giving him my name and tee time we were welcomed with “Nice to meet you Mr. Ginsberg and Mrs. Ginsberg, enjoy your day at Stone Canyon”. And off we went.

Next up was Dennis. He met us at the entrance to the parking lot and amazingly, greeted us by name, showed us to a parking spot and once parked, welcomed us and took my clubs. I went inside the clubhouse to meet Todd who offered me a brief history of the club as well as an overview of the course, the facilities and the community as a whole. More about that later.

As I headed out to the range there was Dennis. He showed us to our cart and led us to one of the most beautiful practice sites you can imagine. With Titleist golf balls and giant iron cauldrons for cleaning your clubs, this seemed more like a driving range for Roman nobles than mere mortals.

Dennis stayed with us on the range giving us tips on the course, saying hello to members by name, cleaning my clubs as I finished hitting each one, offering putting tips on the practice green (the greens here are bentgrass, very fast and break away from the mountains) and eventually leading me out to the first tee. While this may not be an everyday occurrence, it certainly was a level of service I will never forget. Dennis, you are the best!

The Golf

The course is very simply a masterpiece of design. It is set on a piece of land like no other desert layout I have seen and I have played quite a few. In Morrish’s own words he says of Stone Canyon “It’s the most remarkable desert site I’ve ever seen. It has everything but an ocean – changes of elevation, beautiful rock formations, desert flora. It’s an awesome piece of land.”

The course starts innocently enough with a 390 yard Par 4 dogleg left that is fairly flat with minimal trouble off the tee and a generous green. It ends with a heroic 420 yard (503 from the tips) Par 4 that starts with a tee box perched in the heavens with an endless view of the Tucson area valley and a distant green at the end of a narrow ribbon of fairway too pretty to be believed.

In between are a mix of long and short, straightforward and deceptive, dry and water guarded holes of every imaginable shape and design. Yet there are some startling and consistent features to this layout. First and foremost, the views. Many of the holes are played from elevated tees that offer superb vistas not only of the hole at hand but of the entire surrounds as well. Second, nearly all of the interior holes are lined with hills seemingly made up from nothing but gigantic boulders. It looks as if some kid piled rock on top of rock on top of rock until a mountain was made. Spectacular, weird, eerie and the reason no doubt for the name…Stone Canyon.

The Par 3 6th is only 131 yards but plays across a desert ravine to a smallish green with a steep false front with trouble left, right and behind. Did I mention the 80’ tall waterfall cascading over a field of boulders just short and left? Just a minor distraction.

The Par 5 10th is a demanding risk/reward hole like few others. A good tee shot brings you near the edge of a lake across which lies the green; a mere 200+ yard carry over water. A small peninsula extends from the green into the lake and offers about the only safe landing spot should you go for it in two. For the timid and/or shorter hitter, a crescent moon shaped layup area skirts the entire left side of the lake. While this is dry ground it is also very narrow and quite difficult to hit in its own right. Par here…amazing!

I could on to describe every hole but this is somewhere that must be seen to be appreciated.

The Community

As I mentioned, Stone Canyon is a premier gated community in Tucson, Arizona and is only open to play for property owners and their guests. Being from Minnesota, it was nice to find so many of my home state snowbirds living part or full time in Stone Canyon. Owners do not need to join the golf club and those who choose not to still have full access to the community’s Health and Fitness Facility. Here they can take advantage of state of the art fitness equipment, swimming pools, tennis courts, yoga, Pilates as well as specially trained health and wellness instructors.

For those seeking a retirement location or second home I highly recommend you check in to all that is Stone Canyon. They have an excellent website describing the golf, community and real estate options. If you are fortunate enough to visit, be sure to say hello to Todd, Dennis and the rest of the staff and tell them that Mr. and Mrs. Ginsberg say hello.

Barton Creek Resort and Spa – Austin, Texas Hill Country Gem

Barton Creek Resort and Spa is one of Texas’ top rated golf resorts and for very good reason. This beautiful property, just minutes northwest of downtown Austin, lies in the rolling wooded Hill Country of Texas and boasts access to four great golf courses. Two Tom Fazio designed championship layouts anchor the golf experience and are backed up with a Ben Crenshaw track and an Arnold Palmer designed course as well.

Just outside the front door of the resort lie the Tom Fazio Foothills course and the Ben Crenshaw Cliffside layout. Just a 5 minute free shuttle ride away is the second Fazio gem named the Canyons. A bit further out is the Arnold Palmer Lakeside course along beautiful Lake Travis. Combined, these four layouts provide an ever changing and challenging test for golfers of all abilities.

This trip I played the Foothills, Canyons and Cliffside courses which share the rolling landscape of the Barton Creek area. This wooded and hilly terrain is reminiscent of the interior holes of Spyglass Hill near Pebble Beach as well as the mature northern forests of Minnesota’s Grand View Lodge or the amazing Lake Tahoe layouts of Coyote Moon and Schaffer’s Mill.

Tom Fazio Foothills and Canyon gems

The Fazio Foothills and Canyon courses feature remarkable elevation changes, fairly tight fairways, lightning fast greens and an array of hazards whose beauty belie their danger. Dry creek beds, running water, arroyos, canyons, limestone cliffs and caves, waterfalls and ever changing terrain are just some of the natural challenges Fazio has incorporated into his layouts.

While the two Fazio tracks share similar feel and terrain the courses play quite differently. Head Golf Professional Justin Kutz probably explained it best when he said “The fairways of the Canyons course tend to fall off on the sides while those on the Foothills course tend to filter the ball back onto the fairway.” I found this to be exactly right. Wayward shots on the Canyons course often rolled off the short grass and down into canyons, creeks, trees or worse. The Foothills layout was more forgiving in this regard but I found the fairways felt a bit narrower.

Both tracks featured numerous greens fronted by water requiring all or none carries to the safety of the putting surfaces. These watery hazards took the form of small running creeks, deep natural gorges cut from limestone and even distracting waterfalls tumbling alongside the greens. Two of my favorite holes were the 8th and 9th on the Foothills.

The Par 5 eighth hole starts at an elevated tee high above a fairly wide fairway protected on the left by a large pond and on the right by the ever present woods. From here the hole narrows considerably with a creek running down the entire left side and trees pinching the right side all the way to the green. If you have safely made it this far in two, your approach shot to the green must avoid the deep chasm left of the green where the creek falls into a deep abyss. This is a great golf hole. The Par 3 ninth is probably the signature Par 3 of all the courses. Again, an elevated tee gives you a great view of the hole and its many challenges. A smallish green angles away from you and is guarded on the front and left by a waterfall that tumbles into the same chasm that guards the eighth green. Amazing!

Crenshaw Cliffside course

The Crenshaw designed Cliffside course could not be more different than the Fazio layouts. Here the fairways are very wide with generous landing areas and fewer hazards. It is more of a links style. Yet, whatever advantage is gained off the tee is taken away by some of the largest and most undulating putting surfaces you will ever play. Finding the wrong part of these greens makes two putting heroic, three putting common and four putts not out of the question.

The Resort

Besides the four golf courses, Barton Creek Resort and Spa features every amenity you would expect from a world class resort. A full fitness center with an indoor pool, running track and exercise rooms are a great way to start your day. The full service spa offers treatments of every kind. In addition, there are numerous dining options, an excellent tennis center, nature trail, miniature golf and first class rooms and service. Be sure to give Justin Kutz and his golf staff a warm hello and tell them I look forward to seeing them again soon.

Old Corkscrew Golf Club – Southwest Florida’s Nicklaus Tour de Force

Old Corkscrew Golf Club is the latest Jack Nicklaus Signature golf course to spring from the grounds of southwest Florida. This championship layout is perhaps the finest public course in the area if you are looking to challenge every aspect of your game.

Old Corkscrew is located inland from the resorts and beaches of nearby Naples, Fort Myers and Bonita Springs. It is just a half hour drive from the Fort Myers international airport but feels as if you have entered a world unseen by most southwest Florida golfers (or anyone for that matter). The drive in to Old Corkscrew takes you deep into the forests and uninhabited interior wilderness and far away from the hustle, bustle and developments known to most area visitors. There are no homes on the course and the feel here is more like that of being in the middle of the Everglades.

What You Will Find

This Audobon International certified property winds through an amazing array of waterways, cypress, pine and oak trees and abuts a seemingly endless expanse of citrus groves. The Audobon designation is meant to “assist golf courses and golf course developments in providing wildlife habitat, protecting water quality, and improving overall environmental performance” and it does this in spades. Don’t be surprised to see egrets and herons fishing while being watched by alligators (or were they crocodiles) sunning themselves on the banks of the course’s waters. Talk about a hazard!

I got to play my round with former NHL goalie Don Edwards who now serves as Old Corkscrew’s Director of Sales and Marketing. Don is an exceptional player and the perfect guide as we navigated the ever changing array of holes. The course has a few open holes like those at nearby Tiburon  and Raptor Bay but the majority wind themselves through a wooded wonderland of white sand bunkers, doglegs of every direction and an outstanding collection of par 3’s. The variety of hole designs is this course's strength and is also what differentiates it from the typical Florida golf course.

Awards and Recognition

Opened in 2007, Old Corkscrew has already garnered many coveted awards and recognitions including:

  • Best Course That You Can Play That You Have Never Heard Of - Golf Magazine, 2011
  • One of America’s Best New Courses in 2007 - Golf Digest
  • Southwest Florida’s # 1 Best Course You Can Play - Golf Magazine 2010
  • 2008 Florida Golf Course of the Year - National Golf Course Owners Association of America

It is also has been the host site for:

  • 2011 (and 2012) Qualifying Site - ACE Group Championship – PGA Champions Tour
  • USGA – 2010 Sectional Amateur Qualifier
  • USGA – 2009 Sectional Open Qualifier
  • FSGA – 2008 Florida State Amateur Championship
  • FSGA – 2007 Florida State Senior Open

I highly urge you to take the time to visit and play Old Corkscrew. The course conditions are amazing, the practice facilities excellent and the greens are as challenging as any I have played. If you are lucky enough to reside in the area, Old Corkscrew also offers an array of membership and loyalty programs for individuals and corporations. This is a top notch and challenging venue and a welcome escape from the typical area golf courses, gated communities and resorts.

Hey, You’re A Man – It’s Time To Golf Like A Woman

September 25, 2011 by · 2 Comments
Filed under: Entertaining News, Golf Tips 

Phil Mickelson you’re not. Maybe Paula Creamer. You’re no Dustin Johnson but perhaps closer to Ai Miyazato. If you, like me, are the average, to slightly above, male weekend warrior golfer then I highly suggest that the best role models for us are the women pros.

Do you realize the top five men in driving distance all AVERGAE well over 300 yards? Were you aware that their swing speeds more closely resemble that of a Lamborghini than the family sedan you are driving? And talk about physique, did you happen to pay attention to Tiger Woods in his prime? He looked far more like your average NFL linebacker than any golfer past or present. I fear the day of the smaller Corey Pavin, Gary Player, Mike Weir body types is coming to a screaming halt.

The Facts Jack

What I am trying to stress here is that your game better resembles that of the average LPGA woman than it ever will even the lowest ranked of the PGA men. Our swings speeds are more similar, driving distances more comparable, and for sure our general physical stats are even more closely related to the women than the modern male golfer.

If you ever get the chance, go watch the lady pros in action. Their game is more control than brute power. Their forte is placement not sheer bombardment. And theirs is more of a thinking game than one of brawn and machismo. All traits that will enhance your enjoyment when playing casual rounds with your buddies while improving your scoring.

When was the last time you hit a 5 iron 220 yards like Mickelson did in the 2011 PGA Championship? Are you a buff 6’-3” and 220 pounds of sinew like the PGA players of today? Do you play courses that average more than 7400 yards with ratings and slopes so high you can’t even do the math? I thought not!

Reality Check

Then I suggest you get a grip on golf reality and carefully mimic what you see the women of the LPGA doing. You have a great opportunity right now as the best women players from the USA and Europe are battling it out in the Solheim Cup at Kileen Castle in Ireland. Check it out and pay close attention. Role models like Morgan Pressel, Christie Kerr, Suzann Pettersen and Annika Sorenstam are not just for the lady golfers among us. They are for the men as well.

Tiburon – Greg Norman’s 36 Hole Naples, Florida Masterpiece

Southwest Florida is one of the country’s premier golf and resort destinations and Tiburon is one of the finest in the area.

Tiburon is a WCI Community development that features a Ritz Carlton Resort as well as luxurious family homes on some of the finest manicured grounds you will ever see. While the 295 room Ritz and the phenomenal 27,000 square foot Mediterranean inspired clubhouse are impressive to say the least, the anchor here is the two championship Norman golf courses.


Tiburon is home to the annual Franklin Templeton Shark Shootout. Every December an elite group of only 24 PGA Tour players compete for over $2 million in prize money. Both the Gold and Black courses are challenging to say the least. The tournament hosting Gold Course measures over 7,200 yards with a rating and slope of 74.7 and 137. The Black course is certainly no slouch and just over 7,000 yards and with a 74.2 rating and a mind blowing slope of 147.

Both courses are somewhat typical of golf in southern Florida. Elevation changes are at a bare minimum while water, sand and waste areas are ever present hazards. The geography is similar to many of its neighboring layouts like Jack Nicklaus’ new championship layout at Old Corkscrew or the Raptor Bay Golf Club located at the Hyatt Coconut Point resort. What is not similar is the incredible beauty of the community. From the flower lined lanes, soaring palms and all the way to the impressive circular drive at the clubhouse you know no expense has been spared. I felt like a visiting pro being led to an amazing sanctuary of golf and relaxation.

What Norman brought to Tiburon’s courses was a natural routing through and around an assortment of marshes, forestd, lakes and an ever changing assortment of wildlife. Other unique features are to be found throughout the 36 hole layout. Bunkers may have sod walls and waste areas are made from crushed coquina shells. The rough is generally not very rough as it has been replaced greenside with tightly mown areas like we see at Augusta National. This makes for very tricky short game play with plenty of options for running the ball on the ground if needed.

Other Activities

Ritz Carlton Resort guests have the use of the nearby Ritz Naples beach property as well. For those who have never been to the Naples area, it has some of the nicest sand beaches, best restaurants and enough outdoor activities to satisfy everyone. Golfers and non-golfers alike have endless choices for fun. From fishing, snorkeling and paddling the ocean to spa days, beach running and shell hunting; this area is an outdoor enthusiast’s mecca.

From Sanibel and Fort Myers to the north to nearby Bonita Springs and then Marco Island to the south, the Naples area of southwest Florida will keep you coming back not only for Tiburon’s golf but for the areas amazing array of vacation possibilities. It truly is a place worth visiting.

The Rules of Golf – And You thought You Needed An Attorney To Rent A Car

September 17, 2011 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Entertaining News, Golf Tips 

There is no other sport I can think of that has such a dreaded, misunderstood and little followed set of moral and technical codes as does golf.

Admit it, many of you are avid golfers yet during a round something happens, as it relates to the rules, and you all stare at each other in an embarrassed state of Rule Ignorance. Don’t feel bad. Hell, the pros have to have a rules guru walking with their group or readily available on the golf course. These conduits to the past interpret the Royal and Ancient dialect known as The Rules of Golf.

I have searched the governing documents high and low for the rule that certainly must spell out the “Right to advance the ball by foot while no one is looking” process so prevalent nowadays. I have been equally stymied locating the precise bylaw governing the ever popular “Let me see if this ball nestled down in 5” inches of fescue is mine and while I’m at it I might as well give it a fluffy lie” procedure?

And remember, you can ground your club in one of Jack Nicklaus’ famous desert washes (that to any common observer look like sand traps) but you can’t do that anywhere in the sand dune “traps” of Whistling Straits (that to any sane observer are clearly not traps) or it may cost you a major tour victory ala Dustin Johnson at the 2010 PGA Championship.

If you are color blind then you have a whole other set of issues to confront. Red borders, yellow borders and white stakes, sometimes on the same whole, designate different penalties and remedies depending on the day of the week and the sex of your first born. You don’t have a first born? Hmmmm? I need to look it up.

Started with a Titleist but finished with a Nike? Violation. Too many clubs in your bag? Big no no. Can’t add your score correctly? Eviction. Touched your ball on the fringe? I can’t even imagine the penalty. And, I still don’t know if it’s worse to have hit it in the Pacific bordering the 18th at Pebble Beach or bouncing one in the pond fronting the green at my local muni. I think it’s the same but let me get back to you.

What if the Broadmoor bear that inhabits the Mountain Course claims my ball? Is that stroke and distance? A lost ball? Perhaps I play a provisional? And what of the Cabo San Lucas golf course iguanas who think your ball is their egg? Play it where it lies? And is that two club lengths when I drop apply to a plugged lie in a sand trap or is that when it’s embedded in the shore of the creek or on someone’s deck? Yea, better get back to you on those.

To top it all off, our rules differ from the pros. We get our butts saved by so called “Local Rules”. These rules allow us amateurs to cheat (and keep up the pace). Can’t hit the island green at the TPC Sawgrass? No problem just go drop on the other side and add a stroke. No need to channel Kevin Costner in Tin Cup and hit your last two sleeves of PRO V1’s into the gator infested moat.

I suggest on course advisors with every green fee, rules advice through the carts GPS or at least “an APP for that” as everyone is on their phone anyway. By the way…is there a rule against cell phone annoyance? I’ll have to get back to you.

The Phoenician – Scottsdale Super Resort Stands The Test Of Time

Located on 250 prime acres at the base of Camelback Mountain is a desert oasis known as The Phoenician. This is one of Phoenix and Scottsdale’s original grand resorts. And by grand I mean soaring public spaces both inside and out with incredible fountains, flowers and landscaping throughout the entire property. The Phoenician is now home to 27 holes of golf, a tennis center, spa and a seemingly endless array of pools, dining options and activities.

The Golf

The golf course has its own clubhouse and it is just a short walk from the main lobby. This large and beautiful building houses a well stocked pro shop, the golf locker rooms and the Relish Burger Bistro (on the second floor with commanding views of the course).

The Phoenician offers three separate nines each with a slightly different personality. The Desert nine is known for its elevation changes and the great views that it offers. The Par 3’s here are fun if you consider dramatic drop offs from tee to green entertaining. The Oasis nine is a more traditional tree lined layout. It has a more refined look than the rugged Desert nine and less terrain change. The Canyon nine is almost a mix of the two other nines. It rolls through the hills at the base of Camelback Mountain and is beautifully landscaped as well.

The Resort

Everything here is grand. A long curved drive brings you past fountains, flowers, the golf course and portions of the resort before it ends at the circular entryway. Everything here is ornate from the waterfalls, to the enormous glass enclosed lobby and on to the multi-tiered array of pools, cabanas and utter relaxation.

Maybe afternoon formal tea time is your style? They have it here. Perhaps a rubdown at the spa? Done! Hiking? Cactus Garden? Boutique shops? Yes, yes and absolutely. And this is just a hint of all the activities in and around the resort.

Other than golf, my favorite things to do were:

  • relax by one of the many pools and whirlpools late in the afternoon when the crowds were gone
  • walk the paths around the beautiful grounds in the cool morning air with a fresh cup of coffee
  • enjoy fireside drinks, coffee and dessert under starry skies from the upper terrace right before  bedtime

While The Phoenician is not a mega-resort in the mold of the newer JW Marriot Desert Ridge or Westin Kierland it is a sophisticated and elegant resort in the tradition of the Arizona Biltmore and Hyatt Gainey Ranch.  For the discriminating traveler or those wanting a once in a lifetime escape, The Phoenician is an excellent choice. It’s location just blocks from the heart of Scottsdale and its great on-site amenities makes this a must stop oasis in the desert.

Vacation Time – One is a Golfer One Isn’t – Now What

You are in luck. Of the many questions I get, this is one of the easiest to answer. First, let me just say this; many of the great golf resorts and courses also happen to be in some of the most scenic locations in the world. Second, opportunities abound for the non-golfer including world class spas, hiking, biking, rafting, fishing and so much more.

Spas and Golf

Great golf resorts go hand in hand with great spas and offer both golfers and non-golfers vacations of a lifetime. Whether it’s The Spa at Pebble Beach or at the The Greenbrier in West Virginia, there is no shortage of phenomenal golf paired with equally popular pampering and relaxation. Certainly it would be hard to beat a stay at the American Club in Kohler, Wisconsin. This Midwest resort is not only home to the acclaimed Whisling Straits golf courses it also boasts the Kohler Waters Spa. Yet, for every well known resort such as the Broadmoor, Pinehurst or The Phoenician there are many more and lesser known hideaways.

From the woods of northern Minnesota’s Grand View Lodge to the shores of Cabo San Lucas, a day of golf followed by an afternoon of rest, relaxation and a massage is hard to beat. What could be better than hitting the links while your spouse hits the whirlpool, aroma steam room and yoga class?

Outdoor Activities

Golf resorts worldwide abut some of the finest natural surroundings on the planet. The Lake Tahoe area is home to some of the finest hiking, camping and skiing in the country. Puerto Vallarta, Cabo San Lucas and the islands of the Caribbean and Bahamas abound with world class fishing – both deep sea and shallow water flats fishing. Would you rather be in the water than on the water? Many of these sites were renowned for their snorkeling, scuba and amazing beaches long before they even offered golf.

Feeling a bit more daring? Maybe a day of white water rafting, jeep touring, hot air ballooning or riding a zip line is in your future. These are just a very few of the near endless variety of activities available if you were to be golfing in Aspen, Tucson, Sedona or Vail.

Family Fun

Golf resorts are now synonymous with activities for the entire family. From the youngest children to the senior golfer, today’s resorts offer an adventure for every member of the family and for every level of activity. While Mom is on the golf course and Dad is at the spa, the kids are at supervised pool play or off biking on a guided tour of the surrounding hillsides, desert or ocean shores. Check out the options next time you are planning a trip. You will be glad you did and so will your family.

An Arm and a Leg and a Lot of Scratch

Can someone please tell me why in the world it costs $4 to play a top-line golf ball? How much more goes into it, other than advertising, compared to balls at $1 apiece. I know, I know, there is a somewhat linear relation between cost and quality. But then shouldn’t my $3 ball also go a lot further than your $1 cheapo rock of a ball? You mean I paid three to four times as much for balls that still: don’t avoid sand, live for the forest, go only 10 yards further and don’t know how to swim or find their way home? Are you kidding me?

And what about those SUV sized $500 drivers? For you discriminating amateurs out there I recommend you be an early adopter. While there is no doubt that the extra 5 or 6 yards would be:

  1. Your least cost effective
  2. Fastest depreciating
  3. Most treasured investment
  4. All of the above

…..I still say wait a year, get one at the consignment shop and remember…..keep your day job. How do you think you are going to pay for all this stuff?


It’s not just the balls and metal woods (is that an oxymoron?) whose cost has risen faster than my standard of living. What about clothing? If I wanted to look like Adam Scott, Ian Poulter or Rickie Fowler (oh the visual) it would cost me a week’s pay or more. I can’t afford to be that handsome. Hey Michelle Wie, Paula Creamer, and Natalie Gulbis…we have to pay for our stuff. Can you get a clothing contract for me and my foursome please? We’re looking a bit tattered lately.

Green Fees

While we’re ranting, what about those green fees? Top notch desert layouts fetch nearly $300 in prime season. Pebble Beach nearly double that. And imagine the nerve; none of these include a caddy, drinks, Cuban Cigar, rooting section, limo or even a masseur. I have no trouble with a $500 round of golf but shouldn’t one expect a few of these basic perks? How about providing the ever popular “On course ridicule of your group by revered announcer extraordinaire Johnny Miller”?

All kidding aside, let’s keep some sanity in regards to all the costs of playing the game. Our economic times have taken care of sky high green fees and mortgage sized initiation dues. Yet, equipment costs are higher than ever. Anyway, there are great deals on green fees and vacations all over. This is a great time to support your local golf course and get in an extra round or two with the savings.

Final Thought

When investing in new irons can cost $500, $1,000 or more, shouldn’t we be able to take, or rent, a set for a few rounds before we purchase? So few places have this service. Hitting some shots in a cage in a strip mall or a dome in the dead of a Minnesota winter is not the best way to purchase a non-refundable investment.  Entrepeneurs?

« Previous PageNext Page »

Get Adobe Flash player