Friday, May 11, 2018
Wednesday, May 2, 2018
You would think someone named "The Guru" would be a fairly good stick, right?
Well, I'm not. I'm just another struggling mid-handicapper that's hit a pool screen or two and chipped more thin and fat shots than I can count.
My long game is pretty consistent, but from 15 or 40 yards away from the green I'm the master at turning a sure par into a double bogey.
Enough is enough... I decided to finally do something about my lousy short game.
I got the Square Strike Wedge.
By now, you've probably seen the commercial on The Golf Channel with two-time U.S. Open Champion/TV commentator Andy North touting the Square Strike. For whatever reason, North comes off as sincere and not just some celeb offering a testimonial for a paycheck. The more I watched the video the more I believed it might be the answer to some of my problems.
I've used everything from a putter to 4-iron to sand wedge to chip. Nothing worked consistently.
So, I guess you won't be surprised when I tell you I was chipping balls with my Square Strike minutes after ripping open the box.
I threw a few golf balls down on my carpet in my den and started chipping away.
Let's just say, I was kicking ass in my den. At this point, I wasn't sure how it would work on the course, but I sure liked the immediate results. Except for one ball I bounced off an end table, I had no mishits with about 10 shots.
By utilizing a simple, exaggerated putting stroke, I was amazingly popping the ball up instead of hitting dribblers and chunks.
Two days later I took it to the golf course, a great little 9-hole layout, the Winter Park Golf Club just north of Orlando. Located on the edge of the village, it's one of the nation's best walking courses and the Guru loves to walk to play golf.
I had some impressive results. I probably saved three or four strokes on my round by being able to execute shots that typically give me trouble such as chipping over a bunker and hitting a 20-yard chip when I was short of a green to about 8 feet to the pin. Normally, with that type of shot I can't get it within 15 feet of pin and that's if I don't chunk it three feet or skull it over the green.
Oh yeah, while I was waiting on the group in front of me I hit a couple of 30 to 40 yard practice bump and run shots with good results.
I'm not going to go all scientific on you. In simple language, this is why I think the Square Strike worked for me:
* It's heavy (.73 pounds) so it forces you to make a pendulum swing, which helps with control and accuracy. My gosh, even the most struggling duffer can execute a putting stroke, right?
* It has a shorter shaft so you must hunch over a little more than with a regular wedge. The result is you have much better control.
* The club face looks and feels like it's more forgiving. I instantly had more confidence with it. Instead of imaging a chunk with one of my other wedges, I actually had positive swing thoughts with the Square Strike.
Just The Facts:
Loft: 45 degrees
Length: 35.5 inches
Lie angle: 68 degrees
Head weight: 330 grams (.73 pounds)
If you can swing a putter, you can use the Square Strike. While it takes some getting used to swinging the heavier club head, once you do you'll be pleased with the results. I definitely think you can save 3 to 6 strokes a round and maybe even more. The Square Strike has taken a permanent place in my golf bag.
Friday, April 20, 2018
Mabry is the managing director of Premier Golf and Gutstadt is the founder of Women's Golf & Travel Concierge, a division of Premier Golf.
They created the Women's Golf Day Getaway as a way for women to network, celebrate Women's Golf Day and enjoy golf in a luxury resort setting.
We designed this package with lots of golf experiences and also fun activities that encourage bonding and camaraderie, Gutstadt says.
The Pinehurst Women's Golf Day Getaway Package, includes:
Three nights accommodations at the Carolina Hotel or Holly Inn
Breakfast buffet each morning
Welcome and farewell dinner and drinks
Two rounds of golf on Pinehurst Resort golf courses 1, 3 or 5
90-minute golf clinic at Pinehurst Golf Academy (June 4th)
Drive, Chip and Putt contest (June 5th)
All taxes and hotel service charges
Participants will have easy walking access to Pinehurst Village with its boutiques, pubs and restaurants
Thursday, April 12, 2018
It's part of the Guru's job description to play lots of golf courses. I've been lucky to play everything from high-end Top 100 courses to no frills munis and nine-hole layouts. Believe me, I've seen the good, the bad and the ugly.
Some golf courses just don't get it. Here are 10 of the most ridiculous golf course antics I see during my travels:
1. Drill Sergeant Starters
He barely says hello because he's so intent on delivering an 8-minute manifesto on the do's and don'ts on the golf course. In his mind, he's the all-knowing drill sergeant of the fairways and you're the wussy, idiot numbskull teenager just off the bus on the way to basic training. If you really want to get under this guy's skin then forget your receipt. All hell will break loose. You'll be humiliated in front of your group and forced to head back to the pro shop to prove that your not some trespassing loser.
2. Do Nothing Rangers
Hey, I realize many of these rangers are retired guys just trying to get some free golf and get away from the wife for a few hours, but too many of them don't enforce any sort of pace-of-play policy. My gosh, I always seem to get behind the slow poke foursome with guys checking yardage books, lining up putts like its a U.S. Open qualifier and taking 15 practice swings. Then, I see a ranger and I think , "Oh boy, he's gonna really nail these clowns." Nope, not really. Nothing but crickets as "Do Nothing Ranger Guy" whizzes by totally oblivious to the slow play everywhere on the course.
3. $5 Water and $7 Beer
I love it when I'm playing golf on a 98 degree July day in Florida and sweating my coconuts off and along comes the concession cart with their $5 water and $7 beer. I cough up the fiver because I don't want to be dehydrated and I pay the $7 because my game is trending downward rapidly and I'm desperate for some swing oil. Yet, when I'm drinking either beverage the only thing I can think of, is: "Wow, what the heck is the profit margin on these drinks?" When I calculate the answer, I really get pissed off at the golf course.
4. Aerated and Poor Quality Greens
Some golf courses protect announcement of their aeration dates with CIA style secrecy. Then they happily charge you full price to putt on ridiculous, bumpy greens that make a round of golf excruciating. Even worse are the bumpy, poorly maintained greens that haven't been aerated. Honestly, I'll take a fairway full of weeds and unkept bunkers if I can putt on well-maintained greens that aren't slow and shaggy.
5. Crazy Mower Guy and Overzealous Maintenance Guy
I understand lots of the course maintenance guys might not play golf, but sometimes their behavior is a bit annoying. For instance, when mower guy (usually wearing a bandana over his nose to fight off the pollen) comes roaring over a hill, pedal to the metal, just as you're in your backswing. Or how about the guys raking fairway bunkers that move in slow motion while you wait on the tee.
6. Terrible Signage and Yardage Markers
Some courses don't want to spend money on signage so you wander around in your cart aimlessly trying to find the next hole. It's annoying and slows down the pace of play. Also, not everyone carries a rangefinder so please at least give us a stake or bush denoting 100 and 150 yards and perhaps the yardages on sprinkler heads. Is that too much to ask? Once again, with limited yardage markers, it slows down play. Sometimes I wonder if they want us out there for five hours so they can sell us overpriced beer and water.
7. Crappy Practice Range
Kudos to golf courses with great practice ranges, but I've been to some (and not just munis, either) where the range is a joke. The beat up range balls look like they've been there since the 1970s, the mats are worn out and slick or the grass on the teeing areas looks like a beat up polo field. I find it a total waste of time to hit balls at a substandard range.
8. Cynical Pro Shop People
These are the guys that are sick and tired of folding shirts and resent the fact they're a scratch golfer and they have to kiss ass to dubbers and hackers who can't crack 100. You meet lots of friendly pro shop people, but be aware of the cynical, bitter guy who washed up on the mini-tours and ended up behind the counter. Sadly, he's come to the realization that shooting par on any pro tour will result in nothing but missed cuts and a quick pipeline to the golf retail industry.
9. Lousy Club Cleaner Guy
Let's face it, we all this annoying drill...These guys want a tip and nothing else matters. They don't give a rat's ass about your clubs and actually cleaning them. Generally, it's a cursory wipe with a grimy, wet towel and this mediocre service is supposed to be worth a few dollars. Their ultimate goal is get green in their pocket, not off your clubs. Yet, we always pay. I've never stiffed a lousy club cleaner guy, but I'm not satisfied with the service very often.
10. No 9-hole Rate
Hey, times have changed. More people (especially millennials and busy business types) don't have the time or inclination to devote four or five hours to a round of golf. We need more courses offering 9 hole rates and perhaps even 6-hole or 12-hole rates. The ideal for people that like to walk and play like the Guru would be offering special 9-hole, walking rates after 3 p.m.
Tuesday, March 20, 2018
|Royal Lytham & St Annes|
Most of the golf masses always conjure up images of Scotland when the talk is about golf in the British Isles. While it doesn't have an Old Course, Royal Dornoch or Muirfield, England's Golf Coast in the northwest corner of the country has a phenomenal star-studded line-up.
I recently visited the area for the first time and, I must admit, I should hit myself in the head with a 9-iron for waiting so long. England's Golf Coast courses have served as venues for Open Championships, The Ryder Cup and Walker Cup. The region has hosted the Open Championship--are you ready for this?-- thirty-two times.
Enhancing your visit away from the fairways is a chance to immerse in Beatles memorabilia in Liverpool and perhaps even take in a Premier League soccer match (the season runs from August to May) in Liverpool or Manchester like the Guru did during his early spring visit.
|Royal Birkdale Clubhouse|
England's Golf Coast is home to 15 golf courses. Some are very recognizable names, others are not. I assure you, though, you'll be playing a quality course no matter where you tee up in this region.
Here are some brief impressions of the four courses The Guru played:
Royal Lytham & St Annes--I know this is high praise, but this course instantly made my most-favorite-courses-I've-played list. The front-nine is absolutely phenomenal with a great mix of wonderfully designed holes. My favorite hole is the short par 4 8th (I played from the 389 yard green tees). If you push your tee shot to the right, chances are you'll land on the railroad tracks. You play from an elevated tee to an elevated green guarded on the left by the deepest bunker on the course. From the famous, classically designed clubhouse to the train occasionally whisking by, this is a fantastic golf experience.
Royal Liverpool--Oozing with history at every turn, Royal Liverpool was founded in 1869. Often referred to as "Hoylake", it's the second oldest seaside links course in England. Luckily, The Guru has played the oldest--Royal North Devon. What strikes you immediately is how flat the terrain at Royal Liverpool is with little definition. The further you move away from the clubhouse, the more undulations you'll incur. My favorite holes are 9 through 12 alongside the shore. I spent an enjoyable hour wandering through the memorabilia loaded clubhouse. What a treat!. I saw the 2-iron Tiger used almost exclusively off the tee in his 2006 Open Championship victory. The list of Open Championship winners is amazing. It includes Walter Hagen (1924), Bobby Jones (1930), Tiger Woods (2006) and Rory McIlroy (2014). Hoylake has hosted the Open Championship twelve times.
Royal Birkdale--To be sure, you've got to hit fairways at Birkdale to score well. Unless, of course, you're Jordan Spieth, who famously jacked his drive way right onto the practice range on the 13th hole at the 2017 Open Championship. While I was excited to play all of the holes at Birkdale, it was fun to play the 13th to appreciate just how spectacular Spieth's recovery was in the final round of the Open. Overall, Birkdale is a true and fair test of all skill levels. The fairways are routed through flat-bottomed valleys between massive dunes. The day I played, the wind was rather tame. When the wind cranks up, Birkdale gets real tough, real quick. Royal Birkdale has hosted the Open Championship ten times. On a stroll through the Art Deco clubhouse, the photos dotting the walls feature the past Birkdale Open champions. Wow, what a list...Arnold Palmer (1961), Lee Trevino (1971), Johnny Miller (1976), Tom Watson (1983), Mark O'Meara (1998) and Padraig Harrington (2008).
Formby Golf Club--Formby often gets overlooked because of the three Royal courses, but, make no mistake, it's a superb layout. It has a distinctively different look and feel than the Royals. Formby is bordered on three sides by beautiful pine trees. The course is an engaging blend of links golf and inland golf with lots of variety in each hole. No two holes on the course are even remotely alike. I love the stretch of holes between six and ten, which are stunningly photogenic and challenging to play. Formby has a friendly membership and welcoming ambiance on the the course and in the clubhouse. I'm so glad I got to play this under-publicized gem.
Others to play include West Lancashire, Southport & Ainsdale, Hillside, Delamere Forest, Wallasey, Formby Hall and Formby Ladies Course.
|Formby Hall Golf Resort & Spa|
* Formby Hall Golf Resort & Spa (Southport)--Located six miles from the center of Southport, this exceptional amenity-rich, 4-star resort has an 18-hole parkland style golf course, nine hole par-3 course, PGA Golf Academy, a luxury spa, a restaurant and bar with golf course views and ample parking. The par-72 Old Course, an established venue on the European Challenge Tour, has fast greens and is routed through beautiful countryside with lots of trees.
* The Vincent (Southport)--A popular hotel with golfers, The Vincent is located only about two miles from Royal Birkdale. It's situated on Southport's main shopping Street (Lord Street). It has a sleek, urban vibe throughout the property with amenities like free Wi-Fi, plush European-style bedding and LCD TV in guest rooms. It also has a 6th floor gym and a chic restaurant with an eclectic menu. Amazingly, I had sushi AND fish and chips one evening at the restaurant the overlooks Lord Street.
* Ramada Plaza Hotel Southport--Set on the waterfront in Southport, this 133-room property has American-style guest rooms loaded with amenities and especially appealing attributes like convenient, covered parking and a superb breakfast buffet perfect for golfers headed out for a full day on the links. The front desk staff is extremely helpful and can guide you to top restaurants and sites in the area.
Hard Days Night Hotel (Liverpool)--If you love The Beatles, this 110-room hotel on North John Street in central Liverpool is for you. Located adjacent to The Carvern Club, where the Beatles rose to fame, the hotel's common areas and guest rooms have specially commissioned Beatles-inspired artwork dotting the walls.
Malmaison Liverpool--A boutique hotel in the city center with views of the Mersey. The stylishly designed rooms have plush European-style bedding, great bathrooms with power showers, flat screen TV and same-day laundry service.
Bowden Lodge (Southport)--A family-run guest house situated near Lord Street, which is loaded with shops and restaurants. Set in a Victorian family home, the Bowden is charming, clean and centrally located.
*Guru stayed there during my visit.
|Where The Beatles Rose To Fame|
10 Little Things I Liked
1. If you're a Beatles fan, this region is a must visit. The Fab Four grew up in Liverpool and you can visit places like The Cavern Club where they got their start. There's also a Magical Mystery bus tour and The Beatles Story, the world's largest permanent exhibition of Beatles memorabilia.
2. Great fish and chips can be found anywhere from small shops with takeaway to upscale restaurants that prepare the dish to perfection.
3. The train route that goes directly by the golf courses of Formby, Southport & Ainsdale, Royal Lytham & St Annes and Hillside. It's fun--sometimes you have to wait till the train passes so you don't lose concentration on your shot.
4. The friendly and helpful golf professionals I met at all four courses I played.
5. The surprisingly great Italian restaurants I found: Trattoria 51 in Southport and Il Forno in Liverpool.
6. Golf knowledgable players that follow proper etiquette and play at a more rapid pace than in the U.S.
7. Rising star Tommy Fleetwood who grew up in the area is celebrated at Formby Hall with the Tommy Fleetwood Lounge, which has walls dotted with pictures of him during various points in his career.
8. The Halfway House at Royal Lytham where I enjoyed a wee nip of Bells Scottish whiskey to warm up.
9. The Winslow Hotel at Goodison Park People's Pub where I hoisted a few pints prior to an Everton match against Brighton. The Blues won 2-0.
10. The full English breakfasts I enjoyed with eggs, bacon, sausages (bangers), grilled tomatoes, beans, hash browns and black pudding.
England's Golf Coast in northwest England stretches from Lytham in its northern reaches to Liverpool and Wirral in the southern sector. You can fly into either Liverpool John Lennon Airport, about 9 miles from Liverpool city center, or Manchester Airport, which is about 35 miles from Liverpool. By train, London to Liverpool is about 2 hours and 15 minutes. The Guru flew into Manchester and rented a car, which was very convenient. The M6 (England's version of the U.S. interstate system) is the main arterial through the area offering easy access to all major destinations.
If you want to go, especially for groups of 8 or more, I suggest you get in touch with a couple of very proficient and knowledgeable travel professional friends of mine: Geoff Harris of England's Golf Coast (enquiries@englandsgolfcoast) or Ann Mabry of Atlanta-based Premier Golf (888-439-1831). You can also direct message me on twitter @GuruGolfTravel for any tips. For general information on the area, click www.englandsgolfcoast or call 0174 807800
Friday, March 2, 2018
To say I was blown away by the enhancements would be a vast understatement. Trump National Doral Miami definitely lives up to all the hype. From impeccable landscaping at every glance to common areas in the main building brimming with gold appointments, stunning chandeliers and plush Italian marble, the Trump's have literally created a "new" resort.
Heck, I hardly even recognize the old place. That's a great thing, believe me.
If you're looking for the quintessential luxury Florida golf experience, Trump National delivers in sense of place, wonderfully maintained golf courses, great food and in numerous other ways.
Make no mistake, the golf courses were not an afterthought in the enhancement program. Top notch designer Gil Hanse was brought in to revamp the Blue Monster and provide consultation on the other courses. Hanse is masterful at creating lots of challenge for the best golfers in the world and fun, playable holes for mid-handicapper resort players.
No matter how bad you play on a Hanse course, you don't walk away blaming the designer. If you're honest, like the Guru, you blame your lack of concentration, poor set-up and inconsistent swing.
Trump National Doral has four championship 18-hole golf courses. There's something for every skill level. If you don't have a skill level or you want to take your game to another level, the on-site Rick Smith Golf Performance Center is amazing with its high-tech gadgetry.
Blue Monster--One of my favorite courses to play in Florida, the Blue Monster was enhanced by Gil Hanse in 2014. It's still long, it's still tough, but Hanse requires more than length to score well. He re-evaluated and re-sculpted every hole assuring golfers of great shot angles and lots of high risk, high reward possibilities. One thing Hanse didn't change is the routing of the celebrated 18th hole with water skirting the entire left side. It's arguably, the best individual hole in Florida.
Golden Palm--Gil Hanse and his team put their design magic on this links-style layout that has open vistas, contoured greens, superb green complexes and innovative bunkering. It's named after the predominate tree that dots the course. One of the most intriguing design aspects is the bunkering. Hanse puts some heavy rough behind the back side of many bunkers, which presents a great challenge.
Red Tiger--This is a shotmaker's layout where you need a good strategy on each hole not brute strength off the tee. Fourteen of the holes have some sort of water feature and there are two island greens (No. 6 and No. 14). It's target golf, yes, but not overly penal. If you're having a good ball striking day, you'll do fine.
Silver Fox--If you like water, not necessarily landing in it, you'll enjoy this layout that has the liquid stuff on 16 of the 18 holes. It has a good mix of holes with elevated tee boxes and greens and you'll need to keep your sand wedge accessible because there are some very strategically placed bunkers.
Rick Smith Golf Performance Center
Opened in January 2018, this state-of-the-art instruction facility is headed by Rick Smith, who has tutored the likes of Phil Mickelson and Jack Nicklaus during his long and storied career. I interviewed Rick at the PGA Merchandise Show in Orlando recently and he's tremendously excited about his facility at Trump National Doral. The affable Smith is a great communicator and he instructs his staff to make the learning process fun and productive. The facility incorporates four indoor hitting bays and a fifth for evaluation and club fitting as well as a practice tee and short game area. The vibe at Rick Smith Golf Performance Center is easy going, helpful and non-intimidating. Whether you're a beginner or professional wanting to take the next step, this is an exceptional facility.
The accommodations encompass 643 total guest rooms, 14 deluxe suites, 27 premier suites, 2 presidential suites and 48 spa suites. The rooms are situated in villa-like lodges. I stayed in the Arnold Palmer lodge and others are named after golf icons like Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson, Gary Player and Sam Snead.
My Deluxe Room (343 square feet) had a balcony overlooking the 18th green of the Blue Monster. Stylish and elegant, the room has soft, neutral colors, gold appointments, mahogany veneers and walls dotted with vintage photographs of Arnold Palmer.
10 Little Things I Liked
1. The gigantic American Flag positioned behind the 18th green of the Blue Monster golf course.
2. The efficient valet and bellman services at check-in and check-out.
3. My guest room located in the Arnold Palmer Villas building with its amazing collection of vintage photographs of Arnie and his friends.
4. My room's spacious balcony overlooking the Blue Monster. Loved sipping a smooth Cab while watching the golfers finishing on one of the toughest holes anywhere.
5. The plush European bedding and six, yes six, big fluffy pillows.
6. The gold fixtures in my bathroom with granite countertops and marble flooring.
7. The phenomenal Rainfall Shower Head with strong water pressure.
8. The Natura Bisse Diamond Collection bath amenities.
9. The calamari with citrus/habanero sauce and ice cold Corona Light I had at the pool bar on my first day.
10. The Grilled Bacon appetizer at the resort's BLT Prime restaurant. An amazing dish of double cut bacon, parsley, garlic and sherry vinaigrette.
BLT Prime--An upscale steakhouse with a phenomenal view of the Blue Monster golf course. I dined here one night and had an exceptional meal. While the Guru generally opts for the biggest steak on the menu, I'm watching the waistline so I opted for the grilled jumbo shrimp in basil oil. It was exceptional. For desert, absolutely, positively, don't miss the peanut butter chocolate mousse with banana ice cream. Amazing!
Champions Bar & Grill--Upscale sports bar with plush leather seats and polished wood appointments. It's a great place for a post round libation. It has an all-day menu and outdoor patio seating. Lots of variety on the menu. You can get anything from a 16 oz. half bone-in ribeye to fish tacos and kale salad.
Palm Grill--Great poolside restaurant with al fresco dining and a menu dotted with specialties like fish tacos, Cuban sandwich, local Cerviche and shrimp Acapulco style.
Marketplace--A convenient, small grab-and-go place with coffee, pastries, sandwiches, wines and other beverages. Need coffee before you hit the links? This should be your preferred stop.
THINGS TO DO NEARBY
CityPlace Doral--Located about five blocks from the resort (about a $5 Uber ride), this one year-old shopping and entertainment complex is perfect for those who want to slip off the resort campus for a night. It has live music on its plaza every Friday and Saturday night and restaurants such as Brimstone Woodfire Grill, Cooper's Hawk Winery/Restaurant and Cabo Flats Cantina & Tequila Bar. There's also a Cinebistro and Kings Bowling Alley.
Miami International Mall--Four miles from the resort, this mall has 140 stores and 22 eateries.
Hialeah Racing & Casino--Situated about 5 miles from Trump National Doral is the historic Hialeah Race Track, which features horse racing, live entertainment and a casino with slots and poker tables.
Set in the town of Doral near the Miami International Airport, 15 miles west of downtown Miami, the resort is located at 4400 NW 87th Avenue, Miami, Florida 33178.
GET THE SCOOP
For more information click www.trumpnationaldoral.com or call toll-free (800) 71-DORAL (36725)
Thursday, February 15, 2018
While just about everybody on the planet seems to have visited Orlando for one reason or another-- whether for a family theme park vacation, convention or sports event-- the lucky ones are those who venture 30 minutes or so northwest to Lake County.
With its rolling hills, pristine lakes and charming towns like Mount Dora, Tavares and Eustis, it's a great place for a reprieve from the bustling and hectic theme park corridor. Don't worry, you can get to Orlando and its theme parks, restaurants and other attractions from here rather quickly via the Florida Turnpike.
For golfers and other travelers who want a nice slice of the Lake County good life, Mission Inn Resort & Club, a family-owned, classic Old Florida Resort located in the town of Howey-in-the-Hills is a superb choice.
Recently, I talked with longtime friend Drew Toth, Mission Inn's director of sales and marketing, about the property's $3.5 million enhancement program completed last month.
"We're really excited about the new look and feel in our guest rooms and other parts of the resort," says Toth. "We've got the perfect blend of a relaxed, classic Florida resort and the latest amenities."
With its distinctive Spanish Colonial style architecture, Mission Inn looks more northern California than central Florida. One of only a few family-owned resorts in the U.S., Mission Inn has been owned by the Beucher family for more than fifty years. The Beuchers throw their heart and soul into the resort and it shows from the friendly, attentive service to the impeccably maintained golf courses to the superb cuisine served in its restaurants.
Mission Inn has two golf courses, three restaurants, two lounges, a poolside bar and a wealth of amenities (see below).
I've played golf and stayed at Mission Inn several times through the years and I can attest to the decided "new look and feel" of the resort's 176 guest rooms and popular common areas.
Toth and I had our conversation at Nicker's Restaurant at the golf clubhouse, which has been updated with new carpet with earth tone colors. Other areas that received the carpet makeover were the golf pro shop, Club Room and Champions Room. New carpet, buffet areas and counter tops highlight the enhancements at La Hacienda, the resort's main dining room, and The Grand Ballroom was refurbished.
For the Guru, what really sets apart a historic, classic hotel is the time and attention to detail in refurbishing the guest rooms. I absolutely, positively love what they done with the rooms. The refurbished and enhanced guest rooms at Mission Inn are impressive on many levels.
More than $20,000 was spent on each room highlighted by appointments like an earth tones color scheme of soft beige, brown and white and custom furniture with polished hardwood nightstands, dressers and desks. Ah, but no great hotel is complete without exceptional bedding and the new rooms have Stearns and Foster mattress sets. Other added amenities include new lighting, bath area make-up mirrors and mahagony doors with an innovative key card lock.
Among the amenities in a Mission Inn guest room are:
--Marble and granite bathrooms
--King or two double beds
--Screened balcony with views of golf, tennis or lakes
--Flat screen T.V.
--In-room music/movies service
--Gilchrist & Soames bath products
To be sure, Mission Inn's two golf courses take full advantage of Lake County's engaging, rolling and un-Florida like terrain.
El Campeon--Originally opened in 1917 and later redesigned by Scotsman Charles E. Clarke in 1926, this legendary layout is one of Florida's finest. Hey, if you don't believe the Guru, Golf Advisor rates it #9 in it's "Top 25 U.S. Courses" and they named it the #1 "Golf Course in Florida" in 2015. El Campeon, with the highest elevation changes in Florida, is the antithesis of the typical flat-as-a-pancake Florida course. Characterized by roller-coaster-like fairways framed with oak and cypress trees and two peninsula greens, one island green, and one island tee, the course has natural hillside contours with tee-to-green elevations up to 85 feet. It's just flat out fun (and challenging) to play El Campeon.
Las Colinas--Designed by Champions Tour player and NBC broadcaster Gary Koch and Lakeland, Florida architect Ron Garl, Las Colinas is a wonderfully scenic way to spend four hours or so. It has spacious, open fairways on most holes, large undulating greens, exceptional bunkering and some sort of water as a hazard or feature on just about every hole.
You've got to be the most dedicated coach potato in the world if you can't find find something to do at Mission Inn, which has a dizzying array of activities. Just listing them all is a herculean task:
--8 tennis courts
--Spa Marbella (6,200 square feet)
--Outdoor pool and hydro-spa
--On-site 55-slip marina for fishing, sailing and boating on Lake Harris
--On-site trap and skeet shooting
--Adventure and scenic bicycling
--Historical and educational eco-adventure trails
--Adventure challenge courses
--Gary Anderson's Schematic Golf Academy
--Bird Golf Academy
--Volleyball on sand courts
OTHER THINGS I LIKE
--The 30,000 square-foot driving range and 10,000 square-foot putting green
--The scenic courtyards on the property and covered walkways that connect the property's guest rooms, restaurants and meeting rooms.
--The Sunday brunches at La Hacienda and the Saturday Night prime rib and seafood buffet at Nicker's
--The margaritas at La Margarita Lounge and frosty beers at Nicker's
--All sorts of event space (indoor and outdoor) for parties, weddings and meetings. (30,000 square feet)
--The tennis center under the direction of Cesar Villarroel
--Easy access to Mount Dora, Tavares, Renninger's Antique Center and the Yalaha German Bakery
For more information, click www.MissionInnResort.com or call 800-874-9053