Wednesday, August 26, 2009

What Would Tiger Woods Do?

Let’s say you’ve won 14 majors and 70 PGA Tour tournaments and you’ve got so much money piled up that the U.S. government might be seeking a loan from you soon.

Let’s say you’re Tiger Woods. Where would you go on vacation?

Woods likes to keep his private life private, so we’re left to guess the answer to the question.

Through some devoted sleuthing, I’ve narrowed down the destinations where Tiger Woods might go to kick back and relax.

Tiger’s vacation itinerary might include one of these places:

California-On his web-site he says his perfect day is to “surf, ski, play golf and go spear-fishing in the same day."  There aren’t many places on the planet you can do all those things, but California, where Woods grew up, can accommodate him.

Caribbean-In an interview I did with Woods for a Stratos Magazine feature he stated, “We enjoy spending time on our boat and just getting away. It’s very peaceful and I can dive or swim when I want to.”  The calm waters of the Caribbean provide perfect conditions for Woods’ 155-foot yacht predictably named “Privacy”.

Los Cabos, Mexico—Woods, who reportedly owns 17 fishing rods and reels, is a fishing enthusiast.  One of the best places to catch big game fish is off the coast of Los Cabos where the Pacific Ocean and Sea of Cortez meet.

Asheville, North Carolina-Tiger Woods Design, Woods’ golf course design firm, recently announced its first domestic project at the Cliffs at High Carolina in the Blue Ridge Mountains.

Dubai-Woods reportedly is building a 16,500-square-foot home at a golf course he’s designing in Dubai.

Orlando, Florida-If he decides to stay at home and not venture far from Windermere, he’s only a few miles from some of the world’s greatest theme parks.

So, if you were Tiger, where would you go?

If I were Tiger, I’d take a swing by the bank, then decide.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Be a Patriot

Patriot Golf Day has become one of my favorite days in golf--right there behind Sunday at the Masters and the first day of the season that Tiger Woods tees it up.

The third annual Patriot Golf Day, a joint initiative of the PGA of America and the USGA, allows golfers the opportunity to donate an additional $1 each green fee that is processed September 4-7.  Many golf courses and resorts are participating.  The proceed provide post-secondary educational scholarships through the Folds of Honor Foundation to families of those who have become disabled or lost their lives in the line of duty.  In my hometown, Orlando, Hawk's Landing Golf Club at the Orlando World Center Marriott is participating in the event.

In 2008, more than $2.1 million was raised at more than 3,800 golf facilities nationwide.

The event has an added special meaning because I'm from Tulsa, Oklahoma.  Patriot Golf Day was inspired by Major Dan Rooney, a PGA Professional and USGA member from Broken Arrow, Oklahoma (a Tulsa suburb), who served three tours of duty in Iraq as an F-16 pilot.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Caddies Rule

Most Americans have never played with a caddie.

No wonder.

In this age of sprawling, unwalkable courses, golf cart traffic jams, electronic yardage finders and elaborate course guide brochures, a dwindling number of American golfers wouldn't know a caddie unless he came up and whacked him on the head with a nine-iron.

Fact is, a solid, professional caddie who knows his trade can make a difference of at least two shots in a round to a scratch golfer and more to higher handicap golfers.  More importantly, the experience returns golfers to the traditional approach to a round of golf. 

While you might think the caddie has gone all extinction on us like your favorite dinosaur, you would be mistaken.  Several high-profile resorts offer caddie programs.  Among my favorites are:
           Grande Lakes Resort, Orlando, Florida

Features the Ritz-Carlton Caddie Concierge concept with trained, service-first, forecaddies that make a round enjoyable for all skill-levels.  During winter months, every caddie wears a white jumpsuit reminiscent of those worn at Augusta National Golf Club. The Greg Norman-designed course is also a terrific resort layout with generously wide landing areas for corporate golf types who don't play more than once or twice a

Bandon Dunes, Bandon Dunes, Oregon

     All three courses are walking only and the caddies, available upon request, are knowledgeable and well trained.  For many Americans, the courses, which are set on rugged and wild cliffs high above a stretch of the Pacific Ocean are the closest they'll ever get to enjoying a Ireland or Scotland type golf experience with the assitance of a caddie.

Whistling Straits, Kohler, Wisconsin

Caddies are required on this walking-only, rugged course along the shores of Lake Michigan that looks as if it has been magically air-dropped in from Ireland. You normally don't think of Wisconsin as a bastion of great golf, but Whistling Straits is one of America's great resort courses.

Blue Monster at Doral Resort, Miami, Florida

Site of a hugely popular World Golf Championship event, the Blue Monster, with its famous finishing hole, offers forecaddies for cart riders and as well as walking caddies. Though a caddie won't guarantee a birdie on the exceptionally difficult and famous finishing hole, he will provide insight to one of the PGA Tour's great

Pinehurst Resort

There is nothing better than playing the famous No. 2 course, site of numerous major golf events, with a knowledgeable caddie who can help read the menacing Donald Ross greens.