Thursday, January 29, 2015

On Location: Hyatt Regency Grand Cypress

It had been more than a decade since I last visited the Hyatt Regency Grand Cypress in Orlando, Florida and I'm glad I returned recently.

Always one of Orlando's premier high-profile properties, the Hyatt Regency Grand Cypress has benefited greatly from a recent property-wide enhancement program that included a new spa, new pool bar, expanded fitness center, additions to its expansive pool complex and refurbishments of its guestrooms and common areas.

"We have spent over $75 million overhauling every inch of the property," says Chris Regan, sales manager/leisure travel for the Hyatt Regency Grand Cypress. "These improvements have left us with a property that has the feel of a brand new resort."

What hasn't changed is the hotel's always appealing other attributes: Its great location near Walt Disney World and shopping (close to one of the nation's largest upscale outlet malls), excellent golf courses and academy and consistently supberb on-site dining. Better still, you're only minutes away from great attractions like Cirque du Soleil, House of Blues and Rainforest Cafe.

For golfers traveling with other family members who don't know a golf ball from a bowling ball, this resort offers the best of both worlds. You've got world-class golf (and a spa to soothe those aches and pains) as well as an unparalleled swimming pool complex and outdoor recreation menu so kids and spouses can enjoy the day while you're sinking birdie putts, or, uh, making triple bogeys.


For Jack Nicklaus design fans, this property is pure nirvana. The Golden Bear fashioned 45 holes of championship golf, which includes a 27-hole Grand Cypress configuration comprised of three nines, the North, South and East and the New Course, a tribute to the Old Course in St. Andrews, Scotland.

North, South and East--These superbly maintained nines offer some of Orlando's best golf. All play to par-36 and feature terraced fairways and platform greens. Nicklaus did a fantastic job of framing the fairways and greens with mounds and foliage and the nines are as beautiful as they're challenging. While not totally target golf, you don't have lots of leeway on many fairways for big off-the-tee mistakes.

New Course--It's actually not new--it opened 27 years ago. Nicklaus named it on a whim and the somewhat confusing name stuck. Lending an air of authenticity to the New Course are replicas of St. Andrews' stone bridges and walls, a snaking burn (creek), a starter's hut overlooking the first tee, seven double greens, deep pot bunkers (some as deep as 12 feet) with ladders and simple white fences. There are few trees in the interior of the course, however, water comes into play on seven holes. Nicklaus offers golfers lots of room for imagination around the greens with many options to bump and run shots.

Greens of Lake Windsong--An engaging, on-site, par-3 course with holes ranging from 37 to 90 yards.

Grand Cypress Academy of Golf--One of the most innovative instructional facilities in the world, instructors use the science of biomechanics, with video and computer swing analysis and techniques, to help improve performance of golfers of all skill levels. Whether you're a Tour pro who needs a few tweaks or a struggling beginner in need of good fundamentals, this place can accommodate you. It has excellent practice facilities that include a 3-hole academy learning course where you can apply what you've learned without the intimidation you might feel on a regulation course. I highly recommend this facility to improve your game.


The recently refurbished rooms have a sophisticated, airy, ambiance with a wide range of amenities. There are 815 rooms, including 48 suites and 317 kings.

Here are some of the amenities in my room:

--A 37-inch flat-screen TV
--Wi-Fi high-speed Internet access
--Ceiling fan and private balcony
--Temperature controlled cool box for beverages
--A comfortable and well-designed work desk
--An adapter panel for multimedia plug n' play
--Individual air conditioning control
--iHome alarm clock radio

Resort amenities include:

--Half-acre outdoor pool with 12 waterfalls, two whirlpools, waterslide tower pavilion and water jet splash zone
--Hyatt StayFit gym with fitness center
--12 tennis courts (5 lighted)
--Jogging paths and bicycling trails
--Marilyn Monroe Spa
--White-sand beach and water sports on 21-acre Lake Windsong
--65,000 square feet of meeting and function space/45 meeting rooms
--24-hour in-room dining
--FedEx Business Center 
--Hertz car rental on-site
--Multilingual staff

10 Little Things I Liked

1. The spectacular views from the balcony of my 14th floor room with panoramas of Walt Disney World theme parks and Lake Buena Vista

2. On The Rocks, a new pool bar, where I enjoyed a frosty Stella Artois on a sunny January day.

3. The excellent Internet service in my room.

4. The spacious and comfortable 18-story high lobby where I relaxed with a cup of coffee to check my emails, tweets and posts.

5. Hemingway's Restaurant, which has wonderfully prepared crab cakes and other seafood delicacies.

6. The 9-hole, on-site, pitch and putt course.

7. The beautiful Marilyn Monroe Spa where I enjoyed a relaxation massage.

8. The 12 waterfalls at the half-acre size swimming pool.

9. Friendly and helpful bellmen and front door staff that anticipate your needs.

10. The fabulous lounge at the Regency Club on the 12th floor where you can sip on glass of wine, cocktail or beer inside or on a outside patio and enjoy Disney' fireworks displays in the evening.



Cascade American Bistro--You can get breakfast, lunch and dinner daily at this restaurant with a two-story atrium and views of Lake Windsong.

Hemingway's--If you love superbly prepared fresh seafood, this is one of the best places to dine in Orlando. My favorite items are the crab cakes, scallops (pictured below) and Alaska style Key Lime pie (best I've ever tasted).

Palm Cafe--This casual dining spot has sandwiches, burgers, salads and snakes with outdoor patio dining.

Hurricane's Lounge--Offering views of the swimming pool and gardens, this popular bar has hand-crafted martinis, tropical blended drinks and an extensive wine list.

Trellises Bar & Lounge--Featuring glass walls, leather banquettes in the open air setting of an 18-story lobby, this is great place enjoy the grandeur of the hotel while drinking a cocktail or glass of wine.

On the Rocks Poolside Lounge--Situated along Lake Windsong with views of the lagoon pool and 1,000-foot beach, the lounge has four 60-inch TVs and shaded seating with misting fans.


Situated near Lake Buena Vista, one mile from Walt Disney World, 5 miles from Sea World Orlando, 18 miles from Orlando International Airport and 2 miles from outlet mall shopping.


For more information and or reservations, click to Hyatt Regency Grand Cypress or call 407-239-1234.

Thursday, January 8, 2015

Top 10 Golf Trip Suggestions for 2015

If you're like the Guru, you can't get enough of legendary, classic golf destinations like St. Andrews, Pinehurst and Pebble Beach.

That said, how about channeling your inner Daniel Boone to become a pioneer seeking new frontiers to tee up.

Here's a list of exciting golf destinations that have emerged as great golf vacation destinations:
Royal County Down

North of Dublin, Ireland--For those who head north of this great city, the rewards are great. Among your must plays should be Royal County Down and Royal Portrush, of course. This region has some of Ireland's best and most natural links courses. Courses that that I highly recommend, include Carne Golf Links, Enniscrone, Ballyliffin, Donegal, Rosapenna and County Sligo. One of the many attributes of this region is you don't have to pile up the miles on the rental car. Most of the courses are situated between 30 and 60 minutes from each other.  Also, don't miss the Bushmills Distillery tour in the charming village of Bushmills.

Cabot Cliffs
Cape Breton, Nova Scotia, Canada--First came Cabot Links (ranked 82nd on Golf Magazine's list of Top 100 Courses in the World), and now debuting in July 2015 is its sister layout, Cabot Cliffs. Mike Keiser, developer of Bandon Dunes in Oregon, recruited Bill Coore and Ben Crenshaw to design Cabot Cliffs, a spectacular golf experience encompassing rolling, coastal dunes, soaring, jagged cliffs and Atlantic Ocean views. In fact, 10 holes are set along the water. Dare I say, some writers are referring to Cabot Cliffs as Canada's answer to Pebble Beach.

St. Endreol Golf Course
South France--One of the Guru's favorite places to visit on planet earth is the French Riviera. Stunning, scenic beaches, superb farm-to-table cuisine enjoyed al fresco at elegant restaurants and bistros, great local wines and a sophisticated, easy going lifestyle are just a few of the many attributes in the South of France. For golfers, there are more than 50 golf courses to play along the 500 mile coastline. Course settings range from links style layouts to ones dominated by pine forests. The preeminent expert at planning and executing golf-oriented getaways to the region is John Wiggins at Chardon Luxury Golf Breaks.

Quivira Golf Club
Los Cabos, Mexico--Known for its phenomenal deep sea fishing where the Sea of Cortez merges with the Pacific Ocean, Los Cabos has evolved in the past two decades as luxury golf destination with a variety of layouts donning designer tags like Jack Nicklaus, Tiger Woods, Tom Weiskopf and Robert Trent Jones II. The newest places to tee up were designed by two of golf's biggest stars: The Quivira Golf Club, a Jack Nicklaus design at an oceanfront community and Tiger Woods' El Cardonal at Diamante.
Argentario Golf Resort & Spa

Tuscany, Italy--The Guru loves this fantastic region of Italy for the same reasons many others do. The combination of world-class wines, incredible cuisine and Medieval hill towns and several great resorts make this a very appealing golf destination. Tuscany, with its rolling hills, rows of poplar trees, vineyards and cities like Florence, Pisa and Siena is one of the most beautiful parts of Europe. Enhancing the attraction for golfers are excellent, luxury resorts with golf such as Argentario Golf Resort & Spa, La Bagnaia Resort and Toscana Resort Castelfalfi. For an expert on the region, click to igolftuscany
Chambers Bay

Seattle, Washington--The spotlight will shine brightly on Seattle in 2015 as Chambers Bay will host this year's U.S. Open. One of America's great municipal golf courses, this Robert Trent Jones II layout is unlike any other muni you've ever played. A walking-only layout, Chambers Bay is a wonderland of fescue grasses, massive sand dunes and wide fairways. Enhancing the overall golf experience are the awesome panoramas of the Puget Sound and snow-capped Olympic Mountains in the distance. Other courses to play in and near Seattle include Salish Cliffs, Gold Mountain and Kayak Point.

Montgomerie Maxx Royal
Belek, Turkey--This dynamic beach town on Turkey's southern coast is part of what is often referred to as the Turkish Riviera. Designers like Nick Faldo, Colin Montgomerie and David Feherty have fashioned courses in the region. The Belek area has 14 golf courses and 50 hotels. Many of its resorts are 5-star quality and operate on an all-inclusive basis. Dense pine forests and Eucalyptus trees add character and challenge to many courses in Belek. Some of the top layouts include Antalya Golf Club, Montgomerie Maxx Royal Golf Course and the 27-hole complex at Cornelia Diamond Resort.
Royal Isabela

Puerto Rico--I'm amazed that so many golfers overlook Puerto Rico when they're searching for a golf getaway in the Caribbean. The lush island, which is 100 miles long and 40 miles wide, is a U.S. territory so it's easy to navigate. Most residents speak some English, you don't need a passport and the U.S. dollar is the accepted form of currency. In addition to the fantastic El Youngue National Rainforest and numerous opportunities for hiking, paddleboarding and snorkeling, Puerto Rico has 30 golf courses to play. Some of the best places to tee up are Royal Isabela, Trump International Golf Club, Bahia Beach and the Wyndham Grand Rio Mar Beach Resort & Spa Ocean and River courses. Better still, it's only a 2 hour and 35 minute flight from Miami and 4 hours from New York City.
Black Butte Ranch

Oregon--While Bandon Dunes Golf Resort, understandably, receives most of the headlines and publicity, this state also has exceptional golf offerings in Bend, Portland and the northern coast. If you love mountain views, head to Bend in the central part of the state. Robert Muir Graves has a couple of outstanding courses in the area--Greens at Redmond and Big Meadow at Black Butte Ranch. Central Oregon is also home to Pronghorn Golf Club and Crosswater Golf Club. The must play in Portland is Pumpkin Ridge.
Twin Warriors

New Mexico--While many golfers seeking a western U.S. golf destination head to Phoenix/Scottsdale, Las Vegas or Palm Springs, New Mexico is a great, value-oriented option. The state has 310 days of sunshine each year and the courses are less crowded and more affordable than other more popular golf destinations. You can't beat the high-desert scenery and mountain peaks framing some courses. There are several great, nationally ranked courses in the Albuquerque area, including Twin Warriors Golf Club, Paa-Ko Ridge Golf Club and Championship Golf Club at the University of New Mexico.

Thursday, January 1, 2015

Happy New Year From The Guru

What a great year!

Thank-you to all my followers and website/social media friends.

Happy New Year to all and I hope everyone has a healthy and prosperous 2015.

See you on the first tee somewhere in the world...

Monday, December 22, 2014

New and Improved Golf Courses for 2015

Trump Golf Links Ferry Point, Bronx, NY (photo: courtesy
Do you want to broaden your horizons and tee up at some different courses in 2015?

Of course you do...

In elf-like fashion, the Guru has been working diligently this holiday season to compile a list of new and recently improved and renovated layouts. It's his gift to every travel-loving golfer out there in cyberspace.

So, thoroughly clean out your bag for the New Year, stock up on your ball inventory and prepare yourself to play some of these gems in 2015 and beyond:

Cabot Cliffs (Nova Scotia, Canada)--This magnificent Bill Coore/Ben Crenshaw layout on Cape Breton Island will be the most talked about course in 2015. Expected to open in July, Cabot Cliffs will be the sister course to Cabot Links, a phenomenal golf complex developed by Mike Keiser, who brought us Bandon Dunes in Oregon. Cabot Cliffs will be a moveable feast of rolling sand dunes and soaring cliffs. The front nine is routed through low lying dunes around wetlands and back nine features cliffs up to 100 feet high. My nomination for the most dramatic hole is the par 3 16th, which requires a tee shot over ocean to a green rimmed by jagged cliffs.

Cape Wickham (King Island, Australia)--Set on an island off the southern Coast of Australia, Cape Wickham, scheduled to open in 2015, is being designed by American golf architect Mike DeVries, who's known for his work in northern Michigan (Greywalls and Kingsley Club). Predicted to be one of Australia's top ten courses, Cape Wickham will have eight holes framed by ocean as well as five others rimming the tee or green.

Dye's Valley Course at TPC Sawgrass (Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida)--Following a 7-month enhancement program in 2014, the course improved its overall playing conditions with a new irrigation system, reconstruction of all green, tee and green-side bunker complexes, replacement of fairway turf and the expansion of the drainage network. Opened in 1987, the course was designed by Pete Dye in collaboration with Bobby Weed and PGA TOUR player Jerry Pate.

El Cardonal (Cabo San Lucas, Mexico)--Opened in December (2014), this is a Tiger Woods design at Diamonte, a residential resort. The course is routed on a stunning piece of land with views of the Pacific Ocean and Sierra de la Laguna Mountains in the distance and arroyous, native dunes, cacti and mature vegetation.

Ford Plantation Golf Club (Richmond Hill, Georgia)--Pete Dye and Tim Liddy essentially bulldozed a course Dye designed and built in the mid-1980's to create Ford Plantation Golf Club. The new layout near Savannah has a parkland-like front nine with several dogleg holes, lakes and Spanish moss dripping from trees and a back nine with no trees and a links-style feel.

Full Cry at Keswick Hall (Charlottsville, Virginia)--Iconic course designer Pete Dye, who brought us gems like the Ocean Course at Kiawah Island and the TPC Sawgrass Stadium Course, recently debuted Full Cry, a new layout at Keswick Hall Golf Club/Resort. Interestingly, the course was routed atop a former Arnold Palmer design. Set on beautiful rolling terrain, the course has creeks, forests and open areas.

Gamble Sands (Brewster, Washington)--Known for his great work at Bandon Dunes in Oregon, architect David McLay Kidd's newest design is Gamble Sands in Brewster, which is about a three hour drive east of Seattle. Built on a giant sand ridge about 1,000 feet high, the course rewards players with spectacular panoramas of the Cascade Mountains and Columbia River. Large, wide fairways and flat greens make the course thoroughly playable for all skill levels. True to its name, though, there's lots of sand to contend with at Gamble Sands. The public-accessible course is slated to open a small lodge by 2016.

Poppy Hills (Pebble Beach, California)--If you love the Monterey Peninsula, you'll be glad to know the Poppy Hills Golf Club, a scenic, affordably priced Robert Trent Jones Jr. design owned by the Northern California Golf Association, recently received an extensive makeover with new greens and other design enhancements.

Quivira Golf Club (Los Cabos, Mexico)--Jack Nicklaus designs have been synonomous with Los Cabos golf. The Golden Bear's latest masterpiece is Quivira Golf Club, a stunner with 350-feet of elevation change in the rolling desert foothills about 10 miles from downtown Cabo San Lucas. Sheer granite cliffs, massive windswept dunes, arroyos and mountains dominate the golf experience. A Jack Nicklaus Signature Golf Course, it has jaw-dropping vistas of the Pacific Ocean.

Rams Hill Golf Club (Borrego Springs, California)--Set in the center of the Anza Borrego State Park, this new Tom Fazio design is sculpted from desert hillside and encircled by mountains. Post card beautiful, the course has numerous elevation changes and all sorts of water features like streams, waterfalls and lakes. Rams Hills is located about a 90-minute drive from San Diego and a 60-minute drive from Palm Desert. The long term plans are to take the club private, so you might want to play this gem sooner rather than later.

TPC Baha Mar (Nassau, Bahamas)--Opening in Spring 2015 at the luxurious, $3.5 billion Baha Mar mega-resort is the TPC Baha Mar, a Jack Nicklaus Signature Course design. Stretching 7,189 yards, the TPC at Baha Mar, the first Caribbean golf course in the TPC Network, will feature two very distinct nines. The front offers several high-profile water features and ocean views and the back nine weaves through a lush inland forest. Tree growth on the layout is spectacular with 15 species of native trees, include protected Mahogany, Silk cotton, Caribbean Pine and Buttonwood, as well as Red and Black Mangroves. There are also more than 70 species of birds and other wildlife on the course. 

TPC Cartagena at Karibana (Cartagena, Colombia)--Opened in October 2014, this Nicklaus design is par of the TPC Network of golf courses. The front nine has a natural forest and six lakes and the back nine runs along as magnificent oceanfront.

TPC Scottsdale (Arizona)--Home to the popular and sometimes raucous PGA TOUR's Waste Management Phoenix Open, this high-profile layout reopened in November following an extensive renovation by original architect Tom Weiskopf.

Trump Golf Links Ferry Point (Bronx, New York)--Scheduled to open in 2015, this Jack Nicklaus Signature Design in collaboration with architect John Sanford, will feature stunning views of the Manhattan skyline from most of the 18 holes. Other amenities include a $10 million clubhouse and practice facility with lights for nighttime use. Open to the public, the Irish links-style layout will be nearly treeless with tall native grasses and dunes and tee boxes that rise as high as 55 feet above the fairway.

Trump International Ireland Hotel & Golf Links (Doonbeg, Ireland)--Recently purchased by Donald Trump, this luxury resort (formerly known as The Lodge at Doonbeg) has embarked on an extensive enhancement program. Situated on lush farmland and framed by the Atlantic Ocean, the Greg Norman designed course opened in 2002. Trump has promised to elevate the courses profile and enhance the overall playing experience.

Monday, December 8, 2014

Top 10 Golf Travel Trends 2015

Golf Casintino in Italy

Golfers love to travel. In fact, more golfers took a domestic trip in 2014 than skiers, tennis players and sailors combined.
To get you ready for 2015, here are 10 trends to assist you in golf travel planning:

1. Emerging Destinations—For those who’ve already played Ireland and Scotland, European destinations like Italy and France are aggressively promoting golf vacations. Trying to entice golfers who are also foodies, Italian and French golf tour operators tout their exceptional cuisine and wine, which visiting golfers can enjoy once the last putt falls for the day. Many new golf courses are popping up in Thailand, China, Korea and Vietnam and they’re also vying strongly for golf vacationers. Australia and New Zealand are popular new frontiers, as well.

2. Bucket-List Courses—As Baby Boomers retire in greater numbers they have more time to pursue courses on their Bucket Lists. At the top of most lists is The Old Course in St. Andrews, Pebble Beach Golf Links, Pinehurst No. 2, Royal Dornoch (Scotland), Royal County Down (Ireland) and Royal Melbourne (Australia).

3. Going Mobile—An increasing number of online travel bookings will be done with mobile devices. According to the World Travel Market Global Trends Report, nearly 35% of bookings will be mobile oriented by 2018. Look for the Apple Watch and other smartwatches to make a big impact when it goes on sale in 2015. A few airlines, travel companies and hotels have already released smartwatch apps that allow users to book flights, download boarding passes, search for the best holiday deals and act as room keys.

4. History with Modern Amenities—Golf vacationers want to experience history, but not in a musty and dusty environment. Discerning luxury golf travelers want all the modern day techno amenity candy like high-speed Internet service, Ipod docking stations and flat panel televisions as well as spas, fitness centers and luxury linens. Historical hotels such The Breakers in Palm Beach, Pinehurst Resort in North Carolina and The Broadmoor in Colorado Springs, Colorado, The American Club in Kohler, Wisconsin and Williamsburg Inn in Virginia have refurbished and upgraded their properties to appeal to the luxury amenity sensitivities of their guests. 

5. Food and Wine Appreciation—Everybody is a “Foodie”. Lots of golfers watch the Food Network as much as they do the Golf Channel.  Off-the-course, golfers are increasingly seeking innovative, chef inspired delicacies, farm-to-table restaurants, healthy and gluten free choices, craft beers and fine wines. Wine goes well with golf, too. Some of the most desirable wine regions with great golf include Cape Town, South Africa, the Bordeaux in southwest France, Napa Valley, California and Hawke’s Bay in New Zealand.

6. Couples Trips—The buddy trip is still popular, but as more couples retire, they'll travel more and increasingly play more golf together. To enhance the golf travel experience, activities like winery tours and cooking classes will be incorporated in itineraries.

7. Alternative Golf Experiences at Resorts—In an effort to attract more Millennials to golf, a growing number of resorts are offering Footgolf. What is it? In Footgolf, the hole on the green is expanded to 21 inches to accommodate a soccer ball, players tally up their score like golf and it only takes about two hours to complete a round. Resorts offering Footgolf include Crystal Springs Resort in Sussex County, New Jersey, French Lick Resort in French Lick, Indiana, TreeTops Resort in Gaylord, Michigan and the Westin Hilton Head Island Resort & Spa’s Port Royal Golf club.

8. Electronic Golf Hangouts—The latest rage for those who like to swing the sticks away from the golf course is Topgolf, a golf entertainment complex. In a plush sports bar style environment, players hit a golf ball containing a personalized microchip into a series of targets ranging from 20 to 240 yards away. Topgolf has locations in Scottsdale, Arizona, Atlanta, Georgia, Chicago, Illinois, Dallas, Austin and Houston in Texas and Alexandria, Virginia.

9. Putting Courses at Resorts—To entertain golfers in-between rounds and give non-golfers an entertaining amenity to participate in the game, resorts are offering 18-hole putting courses laid out like mini golf layouts. Topping the menu of options are the Punchbowl, a 100,000 square-foot putting courses at Bandon Dunes in Oregon designed by Tom Doak; the Thistle Dhu Putting Course at Pinehurst Resort in North Carolina; Dunes Putting Course at Sandestin Golf and Beach Resort in Destin, Fla.; the Sawtooths Putting Course at Sun Valley Resort in Sun Valley, Idaho; the 30,000 square foot Seaside Putting Course at Hilton Waikoloa Village on the Big Island in Hawaii; and the 350-yard long putting course at Salishan Spa & Golf Resort in Gleneden Beach, Oregon.

10. House Exchange--With easy access to several major Internet sites, more golf travelers will consider house swapping. Retired Baby Boomers can exchange a stay at their primary or vacation home for an abode in a golf rich area. Just bring your clubs, golf clothes and a tootbrush and, voila, you've got a great place to reside temporarily while someone else is staying and watching your house during your extended stay away from home.

Monday, December 1, 2014

TPC at Baha Mar: Brilliant Bahamas Golf Coming in Spring 2015

If you haven't heard of Baha Mar, get ready for one of the world's most amazing gaming resorts. Combining the over-the-top opulence of Las Vegas with a French Riviera flair and Disneyesque style master planning, this resort will redefine luxury in the Bahamas.

The expansive, $3.5 billion resort located on the north shore of New Providence Island near Nassau is slated for a grand opening in Spring 2015. Dubbed the Bahamian Riviera, it will encompass five luxury hotels, a 100,000 square foot casino, a 2,000-seat performing arts center and art gallery, two spas, 40 restaurants and bars, an 18-hole Jack Nicklaus Signature Golf Course, designer retail boutiques and 20 acres of landscaped beach and pool experiences.

One of the centerpiece amenities is the TPC at Baha Mar, a Jack Nicklaus Signature Golf Course, a stunning addition to the TPC Network of courses. The Golden Bear put in a lot of on-site personal attention on this layout to create what should quickly become one of the Caribbean's most desirable places to tee up. 

Arguably, the best professional golfer ever with 18 major championship victories, Nicklaus is also a prolific course architect with more than 380 golf courses in 36 countries and 39 states.

"TPC at Baha Mar truly epitomizes the standard of excellence and tournament-hosting capabilities for which TPC courses are recognized worldwide," says Charlie Zink, PGA TOUR Co-Chief Operating Officer. The TPC Network is comprised of 33 premier private, resort and daily fee golf properties designed by some of golf's most celebrated architects.

Stretching 7,189 yards, the TPC at Baha Mar, the first Caribbean golf course in the TPC Network, will feature two very distinct nines. The front offers several high-profile water features and ocean views and the back nine weaves through a lush inland forest. Tree growth on the layout is spectacular with 15 species of native trees, include protected Mahogany, Silk cotton, Caribbean Pine and Buttonwood, as well as Red and Black Mangroves. There are also more than 70 species of birds and other wildlife on the course.  

After a round, the Royal Blue Clubhouse, designed in a traditional Bahamian style, will feature an open courtyard overlooking the golf course and a bar and grill restaurant serving breakfast and lunch

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

10 Ways To Ruin a Round of Golf

From dew busting and splitting fairways to rolling in 20 footers and draining a few frosty brews after a round, I can't get enough of the golf experience.

There are some things, however, that are extremely bothersome and can easily alter my euphoric state when I'm roaming the fairways.

Here are some happenings that make me madder than warm beer at the 19th hole:

1. Smug and unfriendly pro shop attendants--How many times do I have to deal with the boorish and bored pro shop counter attendant who wishes he, not me, was playing. You know the type: The junior golfer phenom with PGA Tour dreams who washed out on the mini-tours and ended up behind the pro shop counter. He doesn't want to be there and it usually shows with his indifferent attitude.

2. Grumpy starters--This is typically the irritating retired guy who reads the rules off like some Mike Ditka or Bobby Knight wannabe. The guy treats you like a bunch of first graders about to embark on a field trip. Don't do this, don't do this, don't do this....Many of these guys act like you've never been on a golf course.

3. Bad beverage cart service--When my game is going down the dumper and the golf gods are against me,  I occasionally need a sports drink or some swing oil (beer). I've had too many rounds where I see the concession cart on the front nine and then they never show up again when I really need some refreshment. I don't know if it's a logistics thing, understaffing, laziness or what, but it happens all too frequently.

4. Inconsiderate course maintenance people--You've got a great round going and then "mower guy" shows up during your backswing and poof....there goes your tee ball into the trees. Show some consideration "mower guy" and park up on that nearby hill while I'm swinging. 

5. Aerated greens--I love how many courses neglect to tell you about their aerated greens. There's nothing quite like playing 18 holes of bumpy and goofy putts. Then, they have the gall to charge you full-price for a less than perfect product.

6. Limited signage--Is there anything worse than driving around aimlessly trying to find the next hole on a long and winding course. Hey course designers and owners, if you're going to put a few city blocks between greens and tees at least give us some easy-to-read signage. I've been on too many courses where the tiny signs are a joke and you end up with an unwanted tour of the course.

7. Getting a tee time directly behind a large group of boozing dubbers--We've all been there...You get an afternoon tee time behind a group that's totally focused on their pre-paid mulligans and "worst dressed golfer" awards. If you don't have the six hours to play behind one of these groups, I highly suggest you head back to your car, throw your clubs in the trunk, and get the heck out of there.

8. Hackers hitting from the championship tees--Is there anything better than watching Harry Hacker go to the back tees on a 490-yard par 4 and dribble his tee shot barely past the forward tees?  When, oh when, will people (who rarely play) tee up from the correct tees for their skill level?

9. Bad service, tip-happy cart attendants--These are the guys that run up to your cart after a round and say: "Can I clean your clubs, sir?" They proceed to do a half-ass job and are more interested in the green coming from your pocket than the dirt on your clubs.

10. Worthless course rangers--This is the guy who rarely does anything to speed up agonizingly slow players. He simply can't seem to comprehend the concept that a foursome of super slow players is ruining the golf experience for several other foursomes.