Sunday, December 30, 2012

Golf News You Need to Know January 2013

Streamsong Resort in Polk County, Florida
New Courses to Watch in 2013 and Beyond

A Look Back at 2012 and Predictions for 2013

The World's Looniest Golf Course in China...

Seven Courses That Made a Difference in 2012 

Cabot Links in Nova Scotia, Canada

New Photos of Rory's Palatial Florida Mansion

Greg Norman AKA The Great White Shark
Greg Norman Says Adios to Medalist Golf Club

The 2013 World Golf Hall of Fame Class  

Should Colin Montgomerie be in the World Golf Hall of Fame? You decide...

Review of Streamsong Resort in Polk County, Florida

5 Emerging Golf Destinations in 2013
Casa de Campo in Dominican Republic

Faldo Course in Vietnam Now Open

Wine and Golf Make a Good Pairing

Major golf development in London slated to open in 2016 

Top 10 Golf Travel Trends for 2013
Golf at Gleneagles

Front entrance to Gleneagles Resort

Who the heck is Gil Hanse? 

The Antidote to Tricked Up Courses

10 Disturbing Trends in Golf

Graeme McDowell's Nona Blue Tavern Opening This Month in Orlando

Why Tom Watson Got The Ryder Cup 2014 Captaincy... 

Golf's Greatest 19th Holes... 

More Great 19th Holes...

2005 Byron Nelson Classic Champion is a Sales Rep for an Amazing Car Company...

2013 Champions Tour Schedule 

Monday, December 17, 2012

Top 10 Golf Travel Trends for 2013

Gleneagles Resort Front Entrance
1. Gleneagles Resort, Site of the 2014 Ryder Cup--This legendary Scottish resort will attract its share of golf tourists in the next couple of years. The Ryder Cup's popularity has soared and golfers want to test their skills at the venue. This isn't links golf, though. Gleneagles is home to quintessential parkland golf so at least you won't lose any balls in the ocean.

2. New World U.S. Golf Destinations--Golfers seeking exceptional designs and golf in its purest form are flocking to innovative destinations that aren't located near major urban centers. Among the more popular are Bandon Dunes on the Oregon coast, The Prairie Club in Valentine, Nebraska and the newly opened Streamsong Resort, which is situated in rural Polk County, Florida between Orlando and Tampa.

3. Golf Travel Specialists--Tired of sitting in front of a computer screen trying to piece together a golf trip? It's tedious and frustrating and many golfers are realizing the experts can do it quicker, more efficiently and probably save you a few bucks and lots of headaches in the process. Remember, these guys drink a few pints and single malts with the honchos at the best resorts and courses and are well connected to negotiate great deals and develop itineraries you can only dream about as you point and click your way on the Internet.

4. Dominican Republic-- Selected as the Golf Destination of the Year 2013 for Latin America/Caribbean by the International Association of Golf Travel Operators (IAGTO), the D.R. is on a roll. Expansive, luxury resort complexes like Casa de Campo, Puntacana and Cap Cana feature courses by the biggest names in design, Pete Dye, Tom Fazio and Jack Nicklaus. Besides the adroitly designed layouts, stunning picturesque golf course views and fantastic weather, an added bonus is you can enjoy a fine Dominican cigar during or after a round.

5. Nova Scotia, Canada--It's the biggest thing to originate from Canada since Wayne Gretsky, Michael J. Fox and LaBatts Blue beer. Cabot Links is Canada's answer to Pebble Beach. This phenomenal links layout on the western side of Cape Breton Island in the town of Inverness in Nova Scotia is a wonderland of stunning ocean views, deep pot bunkers and swales. Opened in June, Cabot Links was developed by Mike Keiser, who created Bandon Dunes in Oregon. A second course, Cabot Cliffs, designed by Ben Crenshaw and Bill Coore, is scheduled to open in mid-2014.

6. South America--The announcement of the 2016 Olympic Games to be staged in Rio de Janiero with golf to be included as a sport has put the focus on Brazil as well as other countries appealing to golfers like Argentina, Chile and Uruguay. Golf course architect Gil Hanse was chosen over design teams headed by Jack Nicklaus, Gary Player and others to fashion the Olympic golf course. As the course begins to take shape, the excitement will increase and more golfers will consider South America a viable golf vacation destination.

7. Off-the-Beaten Path U.S. Value Destinations--If you've already played Myrtle Beach and the Robert Trent Jones Golf Trail in Alabama, you're probably looking for some new budget-happy golf frontiers. The value menu, please.  Among the destinations promising affordable golf and well-designed courses are Crossville, Tennessee, Brainerd, Minnesota, Branson, Missouri, Gulf Shores, Alabama, Mesquite, Nevada, St. George, Utah, Brooksville, Florida, Flathead Valley in Montana, Santee, South Carolina and Santa Fe, New Mexico.

8. Ireland--The number one player in the world, Rory McIlroy, hails from Northern Ireland and golfers are increasingly considering Ireland as a golf vacation destination. Ya gotta think, everytime McIlroy hoists a trophy (and that's a lot these days) Northern Ireland gets a public relations boost. Top courses in that part of the country include Royal County Down and Royal Portrush. Other Irish gems favored by visitors include Ballybunion, Lahinch, Portmarnock, Waterville and Doonbeg.

9. Trump International Golf Links in Aberdeen, Scotland--I've read reviews and heard reports about this course that are all over the map. The environmentalists keep railing against it for a variety of reasons and some critics claim the fairways are too tight and the frequent high winds will make it extremely penal for the average bogey players. Moreover, the course has more than 100 different tee boxes, which makes for some long walks and long rounds. That said, the setting is stunning and Donald Trump has spent millions on making it a course golfers will travel long distances to play. Check out this video of Trump International Golf Links and I guarantee, whether you're a Trump fan or not, you'll want to play this course.

10. Experiential Golf Travel on Social Media--More golf travel companies are using Facebook, Twitter and Instagram to post information and images of trips around the world. If you don't have the time or money to travel to say, Scotland, New Zealand or South Africa, you can experience vicariously the exploits of others enjoying an adventurous golf excursion in different parts of the world.

Friday, December 7, 2012

Golf News You Need to Know December 2012

THE GOLF TRAVEL GURU scours the Web to find golf news you can't afford to miss:

The King at PNC Father/Son Tourney
Top 10 Golf Travel Trends 2013

Donald Trump is bullish on golf...

 Tom Watson and Tiger: No Bromance Here

Top 5 PGA Tour Moments of 2012

"It's not easy being Tiger"--Hank Haney talks...

The Ten Best Walks in Golf

Is Cabot Links the new Scotland?

Streamsong Florida Golf Resort--Best Day Play Golf Packages

2013 British Open Golf Packages (5 nights and tickets) to Muirfield

Great Golf of Scotland's Golf Coast 

Top 10: 2012 Shots of the Year

Rory McIlroy buys $10.9 million in Florida

Tom Watson will be U.S. Ryder Cup Captain in 2014

Golf and Gaming in Florida 

Graeme McDowell's Upcoming Nona Blue Tavern 

World's 17 Best Golf Destinations

Thaw Out, Play Golf: Where to Go 

Best Buddies-Trip Destinations

Caddies Fight at Australian Open...

Book Online: St. Andrews Links Trust 

Michael Jordan and Cargo Pants on the Golf Course

5 Most Annoying Golf Resort Practices

Changes to St. Andrews Old Course  

R & A Chief Executive Peter Dawson is positive about Old Course changes...

Process to Old Course changes feels rotten, Bradley Klein writes...

Are you ready for the new John Daly cocktail? Check this out.... 

 Tom Watson Says Golf Has No Place in the Olympics

Top 25 Newsmakers of 2012  

McIlroy Wins PGA Tour Player of the Year 

Could this 9-year old from Northern Ireland be the next Rory?

10 Disturbing Trends in Golf 

5 Simple Ways to Better Corporate Golf Performance

Jack Nicklaus' Plan to Snag the Kids 

Whatever your reason for visiting Florida, there's an Orlando golf resort for you... 

Bye Bye Mickey, Donald and Goofy: Disney No Longer Part of PGA Tour... 

Phil Mickelson tapped to renovate Torrey Pines North

Dinosaurs on the golf course? Check this out... 

Thursday, December 6, 2012

On Location: Wyndham Grand Orlando Resort Bonnet Creek in Orlando, Florida

One of Orlando's best seafood restaurants, a Rees Jones designed championship golf course and a lobby bar that serves a to-die-for Mojito are just a few of the many enticements at the amenity-loaded Wyndham Grand Orlando Resort Bonnet Creek.

What To Expect

Stretching 14 stories high, the hotel has Mediterranean inspired architecture and 400 guest rooms.

You enter a spacious lobby accented with fashionable furnishings and carpets. On my visit, the front desk person was helpful and friendly, which put me in a great frame of mind to enjoy my three day visit.

My room had numerous appealing amenities such as a 40-inch flat screen, alarm clock with iPod dock, European style bedding and TrueBlue bath products.

High-profile entertainment and recreation at the resort includes a lagoon-style, zero entry, outdoor pool with cabanas and spas, fitness center, full-service spa, billiards room, arcade room and several dining options (three signature restaurants, two lounges and a coffee bar). 

Location, Location, Location

The hotel is situated in the Bonnet Creek Resorts area, a 70-acre development that also includes the Waldorf Astoria Orlando and Hilton Orlando Bonnet Creek resorts. What makes this area special is that it's the closet thing to staying on Disney property without actually staying at a Disney owned hotel.

Here's why: Bonnet Creek Resorts is bordered on three sides by Disney-owned land and surrounded by the Bonnet Creek nature preserve. While you enjoy easy, minutes away access to all of Disney's theme parks, restaurants and entertainment offerings, you're not deluged with the Disney marketing machine while staying in the Bonnet Creek Resorts area. According to rumors and legend, the foreign owners of the land refused to sell the parcel for many years before relenting about five years ago.

The Wyndham Grand Orlando Resort Bonnet Creek is located about a 20 minute drive from Orlando International and downtown Orlando. 
Here’s my Top 10 random thoughts and observations of things I liked on my visit:
1. The fire pit at the swimming pool.
2. The unique, easy-to-pull out reading lights on the headboard above the bed.
3. Lots of plugs everywhere in the room for computers, battery chargers and other gadgets.
4. The colorful, fashionable carpeting throughout the hotel in the guestrooms and common areas.
5. The interesting, engaging and tasteful furniture in the lobby, bar and common areas.
6. The Back Bay Pool Bar & Grill has a different and exciting menu that includes a Krispy Kreme Doughnut Burger, Fried Pickles with Chipotle Dressing and a Floridian Salad with Orange Honey Blossom Dressing.
7. The phenomenal Jerk Chicken Sandwich I had at the Back Bay was seasoned perfectly with Pepper Jack cheese, toasted Coco Bread and Mojo Mayo.
8. The mini refrigerator in every guest room.
9. Bar 1521, a sophisticated bar with luxury furnishings near the lobby. Mojito or Sangria, anyone?
10.The oh-so-convenient Barista Coffee Bar near the lobby where you can get your Starbucks Coffee fix, Gelato and Panini sandwiches.

Golf Options

The on-site Waldorf Astoria Golf Club designed by Rees Jones is the primary golf option at Wyndham Grand Orlando. Other nearby possibilities include the four courses at Walt Disney World and 45 holes designed by Jack Nicklaus at the Grand Cypress Resort (both are within a 10-minute drive from the resort).

The Jones course, which opened in 2009, snakes through a large wetland preserve and bunkers are carved to be reminiscent of the hazards designed on courses a century ago. Tall pines and cypress trees line the fairways on the 7,108 yard layout (slope 139 and 74.6 rating from the back tees).

It's very impressive visually with its high impact features and Jones' creative ways to use water and sand as hazards, either in play or perceived to be in play.

I've played it several times and it's an enjoyable resort layout, especially if you don't spray the ball too much. It's not target golf, but pretty close to it.

 Spa Overview

The on-site 5,700 square-foot Blue Harmony Spa has six massage rooms, two outdoor treatment rooms and a 1,900 square-foot fitness center. After a grueling day on the links, try the Signature Blue Bliss Massage, a treatment incorporating marine oil, salt, Lavender buds and steamed, fragrant linen bundles.

Dining Overview

When it's time to dine, you don't have to leave the resort for a great meal. There are three main dining possibilities at the hotel: deep blu Seafood Grille, a fine dining experience; Tesoro Cafe, a family-oriented eatery and Back Bay Pool Bar & Grill, which features al fresco dining, a divergent menu and cocktails.

On the lobby level, deep blu Seafood Grille has instantly become a hit on Orlando's dining scene. It was voted the Best New Restaurant for 2012 by Orlando Magazine and it's chef, Cory York, was voted Best Chef in Orlando.

While I was extremely busy and did not dine at deep blu on my visit, I was told by numerous reliable sources that it's a dining experience not to be missed. Among the popular menu selections are entrees like Grilled Swordfish and the 22 oz. Black Angus T-Bone and side dishes such as Tempura Broccolini with Thai pepper sauce and blu Crab Mac N' Cheese.

The deep blu dining room has an open kitchen, a sushi bar and an excellent wine selection with a "Sommelier's Pick of the Week". A quick perusal of the wine list reveals a wide variety of California, Chilean and New Zealand wines as well as many others.

You'll feel comfortable and at ease with an ambiance dominated by furnishings in soft beige and cream tones and solid wood tables.

Overlooking a lake, the Back Bay Pool Bar and Grill is a great place to unwind after a round of golf or a sojourn to the spa. The cocktail menu is a good one with selections like the Back Bay Blueberry Lemonade (Blueberry infused Bacardi Superior Rum, fresh lemon Sour and simple Syrup) and Oakheart Pina Colada (Bacardi Oakheart Spiced Rum, Pina Colada and banana puree).  

Meetings Overview

For meetings and conferences, the resort has 25,000 square feet of meeting space encompassing multi-function ballrooms and a Grand Foyer with 19-foot high ceilings, a luxurious 14th floor boardroom and small event area with natural lighting overlooking a private 10-acre lake, a private dining room that can accommodate up to 30 guests and outdoor function areas along the pool deck and resort grounds.

Monday, December 3, 2012

Graeme McDowell's Upcoming Nona Blue Tavern


Graeme McDowell is known to enjoy a pint or two after a successful tournament performance. The popular, amiable Irishman will open an upscale pub/restaurant in Orlando in March, which will have a great selection of beers and a lot more. Click here for sneak preview via The Golf Travel Guru T.V.

I’ve done some intrepid research and here’s the scoop: 

Partnering with Bistro Concepts LLC, the 5,618 square-foot Nona Blue Tavern, slated for a grand opening on Friday March 15th, is located at the Lake Nona Village shopping complex at the corner of Narcoossee Road and Boggy Creek Road near the gates of Lake Nona, a luxury master-planned community near Orlando International Airport, where McDowell resides.

The display kitchen is complemented with exposed brickwork and rich, dark mahogany, creating a warm and inviting atmosphere. The indoor dining area offers a number of options, including a 40-seat bar, two captain’s tables, wrap-around booth seating throughout and a seating area with drawn curtains for private events. An outdoor patio features a fireplace, intimate bar and al fresco dining.

Light fare on Nona Blue’s menu will include deviled eggs with apple wood smoked bacon, lightly fried oysters and blue cheese kettle chips. Among the “Handwiches” Nona Blue will offer is a decadent twist on the BLT. Order the BLT Grilled Cheese and dive into a pile of lobster salad, apple wood smoked bacon, diced tomato and havarti cheese, served on generous slices of Texas Toast.

Steaks and fresh fish off the hardwood grill are joined by a cider-brined, double cut pork rib chop served with mashed potato and braised apple chutney. The Nona Blue Bar Chefs will be mixing up the freshest seasonal cocktails, along with pouring off plenty of the 49 different wines and 16 craft beers on tap.

McDowell inadvertently gave the concept its name after a victory at the 2012 Tavistock Cup, staged at Lake Nona. Clad in Team Nona’s iconic blue and celebrating another victory in the annual team competition for touring professionals, McDowell shouted, “Nona Blue!” to a gathering of supporters, which included his business partner, Bill Bona.

Other big name golfers who own homes in Lake Nona and reside there full or part-time, include Annika Sorenstam, Retief Goosen, Justin Rose, Ian Poulter and Yani Tseng. 

Lake Nona Golf & Country Club has an 18-hole championship golf course designed by Tom Fazio and a 40,000 square-foot clubhouse.

Bistro Concepts are the managing partner of the Celebration Town Tavern, a successful restaurant in Celebration, the Disney conceived urban village near Kissimmee.

McDowell talked about the new bar/restaurant recently in a post tournament interview:

“Yeah. The bar's called Nona Blue. It's a tavern restaurant. It's just outside the gates of Lake Nona. Free bars are with PGA TOUR media credentials only.

Traditionally when I win an event I call home to my home golf club. Lake Nona has kind of become my second home golf club, and I typically have a free bar for the members for a defined period of time, obviously.

I always call Rathmore (in Northern Ireland), my home golf course. It's a bit late there now. What is it, 11:35. I was going to say it's not too early for those boys, believe me. Hopefully my dad will make a phone call and we'll shed the boys a few drinks and shed the boys a few drinks at Lake Nona. But I think traditionally it may be drinks on the house at Nona Blue when I win a tournament.

So thankfully it's not open yet. So I'll save a few dollars this time around. I'll be working on it obviously my next ten weeks. We're hoping for mid to late January. So I'll be putting my January dad on hold for the opening. But looking forward to it.”

I don’t know about you, but I can’t wait to hoist a few at Nona Blue, rub shoulders with a few of his Lake Nona celebrity neighbors and maybe even have a Rory and Carol sighting.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

5 Emerging International Golf Destinations in 2013

Montgomerie Golf Links in Danang, Vietnam
Get ready for the New World Order in golf vacation destinations. Suddenly, golf opportunities are springing up in the most surprising locations.

If you're looking for a decidedly different golf getaway experience in 2013, check out this menu of emerging destinations:

Inverness, Nova Scotia, Canada--The phenomenal seaside Cabot Links course, which debuted this year (2012) to rave reviews, instantly put Nova Scotia on the golf vacation radar. Enhancing the area even more is the recent announcement that a second course, Cabot Cliffs, designed by Bill Coore and Ben Crenshaw, will debut in 2014. The impressive golf complex is being developed by Mike Keiser, the same developer who brought us Bandon Dunes Resort in Oregon.

Veneto, Italy--Selected by the International Association of Golf Travel Operators (IAGTO) as the "Undiscovered Golf Destination of the Year" for 2013, Veneto, in the northeast corner of the country extends from the Dolomites to the Adriatic Sea encompassing cities such as Venice, Verona, Padua and Vicenza. There are eight golf courses in the region highlighted by the Golf Club Ca Della Nave, an Arnold Palmer design near Venice with American style amenities and high quality maintenance standards.

Bavaria, Germany--The land of oompah bands, Oktoberfest and some of the world's best beer is also home to more than 170 golf courses featuring hilly Alpine landscapes and lush, heavily forested parkland layouts. Major cities in the region include Munich, Augsburg and Nuremburg. Masters champion and Germany native son Bernhard Langer has designed three exceptional courses at Bad Griesbach in southeast Bavaria.

Belek, Turkey--On Turkey's southern coast, this region is part of an area often referred to as the Turkish Riviera or Turquoise Coast because of its stunning beaches and collection of exceptional resorts, hotels and restaurants. The Belek region has 14 golf courses with designer tags like Nick Faldo, Colin Montgomerie, David Feherty and Irish golf designer David Jones. There are more than 30 four-star and five-star hotels in Belek. In 2012, the region took center stage in the golf world when it hosted the Turkish Airlines World Golf Final at Antalya Golf Club (Sultan Course) won by Justin Rose.

Danang, Vietnam--In its embryonic stages, the Danang and Hoi An area has spectacular beaches, an ample selection of first class hotels and resorts and courses like the Montgomerie Golf Links Vietnam designed by Colin Montgomerie and Danang Golf Club, a Greg Norman design.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

5 Off-The-Beaten Path Golf Destinations

Ledgestone Golf Club in Branson, MO
Are you tired of fighting crowds in Myrtle Beach, Orlando, Scottsdale and other popular golf destinations?

If so, you might want to venture away from the proverbial well-worn cart path and check out new frontiers.

Here are some destinations that don’t get much golf travel notoriety, but, nonetheless, offer some excellent golf at good prices.

The next time you getaway to golf, check out one of these places:

Panama City Beach, Florida—Overshadowed by its sugar white sand beaches and great deep sea fishing, this beach area has more than enough golf to keep you busy while your bathing suit dries. The Wyndham Bay Point Resort has two 18-hole championship layouts highlighted by the Nicklaus Design Course, a spectacular resort course panoramic views of St. Andrews Bay. Other places to tee up include Shark’s Tooth, a Greg Norman design, Hombre Golf Club, a 27-hole complex that has hosted the PGA Tour Qualifying School and numerous professional tournaments, Holiday Golf Club, home to an 18hole course, 9-hole par 3 layout and driving range, Signal Hill, an affordable course in the St. Thomas Drive area near the beach and Camp Creek Golf Club, a Tom Fazio design just off Highway 30A near the coastal village of WaterColor.
Camp Creek Golf Club near Panama City Beach, FL

Branson,Missouri—Set in the Ozark Mountains, Branson, which bills itself as the ”Live Music Show Capital of the World” has more than 50 live performance theaters, Silver Dollar City theme park, 8 championship golf courses, an historic downtown district, water sports galore and shopping.  Regular entertainers include the Oak Ridge Boys, Gatlin Brothers and Roy Clark. The course menu includes Branson Creek Golf Club (a Tom Fazio design), Payne Stewart Golf Club, Thousand Hills, Ledgestone Golf Club, a mountain course experience, and John Daly’s Murder Rock.

Savannah,Georgia—Once you stroll the shady streets with Civil War era buildings and shady town squares, you’ll find some good golf in the historic city. The headliner course is at the Westin Savannah Harbor Golf Resort & Spa. The Troon-managed layout, designed by Robert Cupp and Sam Snead, has been home to the PGA Tour’s Champions Tour Liberty Mutual Insurance Legends of Golf since 2003. There’s also a great family-friendly nine-hole short course on property. You can tee up at more than 20 courses in the Savannah area. Some you should consider are the Championship Course at Crosswinds Golf Club, Hunter Golf Club, Henderson Golf Club and Southbridge Golf Club.

Kissimmee, Florida—If you’re looking for a family base camp near Walt Disney World Resort, Kissimmee is a logistical winner. Resort choices include ChampionsGate Resort with two 18-hole championship Greg Norman-designed courses and David Leadbetter Golf Academy, Reunion Resort, where highlights include three championship golf courses designed separately by Jack Nicklaus, Arnold Palmer and Tom Watson and the ANNIKA Academy and Gaylord Palms Resort, which affords guests preferred tee times and transportation to nearby Celebration Golf Club. Popular daily fee courses are the Harmony Golf Preserve designed by Johnny Miller, Royal St. Cloud Golf Links, a 27-hole complex with numerous Scottish links features and Mystic Dunes Golf Club, an exciting Gary Koch design.
Reunion Resort in Kissimmee, FL

Seattle,Washington—It turns out there’s more than just great coffee and excellent sushi and seafood restaurants in Seattle.  How about great golf on uncrowded courses? The reputation for lots of rain scares lots of golfers away so tee times are easy to get.  Truth is, Seattle gets less rainfall per year than Houston, New Orleans, Miami and Boston. If you really want a great golf deal, visit Seattle from September to November when room rates plunge. You’ll have some ever present drizzle and occasional chilly winds, but you can use your savings to buy a nice rain suit or wind shirt. Don’t miss daily fee courses are Chambers Bay, Golf Club at New Castle Coal Creek Course and Druids Glen. For affordable municipal layouts try Jackson Park and Jefferson Park.
Chambers Bay in Seattle, WA

Friday, October 26, 2012

Twitter: Top 10 Golfers to Follow

The next best thing to following big name golfers in tournaments is, of course, to, uh, follow them on Twitter, right?

If you want to read and respond to some of the best tweets in the golf kingdom, try some of these:

1. Ian Poulter (@IanJamesPoulter)—Poulter takes great pride in his Twitter banter and you never know what he’ll come up with from day to day. He’s brash and sometimes annoying, but always interesting.

2. Paul Azinger (@PaulAzinger)—The outspoken “Zinger” comments on everything from politics to golf and other sports. He’s never dull.

3. Stewart Cink (@stewartcink)--He has an amazing 1,157,740 followers so he must be saying something interesting on a regular basis.

4. Rory McIlroy (@McIlroyRory)—The young Irish phenom seems to drone on incessantly about his great girlfriend, tennis star Carol Wozniacki (@CaroWozniacki), but also has personal tidbits about his daily life.

5. Bubba Watson (@bubbawatson)—Known for his offbeat tweets like “View of 16th hole in Bermuda from jet ski”, Watson keeps you posted on his great life.

6. Natalie Gulbis (@natalie_gulbis)—The LPGA’s glamour girl keeps you updated on her life on and off the course and always provides a lot of eye candy with great photos.

7. John Daly (@PGA_JohnDaly)—Nobody lives a wilder life on the PGA tour than J.D. He was made for Twitter because you never know where he’ll be and what he’ll say.

8. Rickie Fowler (@RickieFowlerPGA)—One of Tour’s rising young stars, Fowler’s interests go well beyond golf. He sort of over tweets on the Oklahoma State Cowboys (where he attended college), but he’s still a good one to follow.

9. Brittany Lincicome (@Brittany Lincicome)—Good behind-the-scenes LPGA information available here. Lincicome and LPGA’er Christina Kim (@TheChristinaKim) recently got into a highly entertaining Twitter dust up.

10. Tiger Woods (@TigerWoods)—He has the most followers in the golf industry (2,718,053), but he never seems to say much that’s enlightening or interesting. Here’s a classic mundane tweet by Tiger: “Amazing first visit to Turkey. Thanks Turkish Airlines, event organizers and fans. Very special place and a really fun event.” Yawn.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

10 Annoying Golf Televison Cliches

Like most golfers, I watch lots of golf on television. 

I'll even watch tournaments with the insufferable Chris Berman at the mike, so you know I'm either dedicated or nuts.

Regardless of who's at the microphone, the instant a golf telecast starts, the cliches start rattling off faster than balls flying off mats by hackers at 2-for-1 bucket night at the local driving range.

Here are ten of the most tired and overused cliches that annoy The Golf Travel Guru:

1. "Better than most."--Gary Koch

2. "The pageantry, the majesty, the beauty of the Masters."--Jim Nantz

3. "The Masters, a tradition like no other."--Jim Nantz

4. "You'll never know how good of shot that was."--Mark Rolfing

5. "Tiger's on the prowl."--Just about every golf announcer with a microphone

6. "There's a fried egg."--Chris Berman, king of the cliches

7. "Looks like a bad lie, back to you Johnny."--Roger Maltbie

8. "What a courageous shot."--Ian Baker-Finch

9. "It's in the hole"--Boozed up golf fans at the tee box on par five hole, followed up, of course, by the obligatory "You da man."

10. "It's a 4-metal, not a 4-wood."--Johnny Miller

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Ryder Cup 2012 Re-Cap--Studs and Duds

What did we just witness?

The Miracle at Medinah or the Meltdown at Medinah.

I'm going with the latter. For two days, Captain Love made all the right moves. On the third day, everything fell apart for the Americans. He front loaded the line-up and none of his big guns delivered.

At least Jean Van de Velde, who melted down in the '99 British Open, and Greg Norman, who squandered the '96 Masters, can welcome some new members to the "All Crash and Burn All-Stars" team.

Here are some observations:

* Not to gloat, but, in a previous column I picked the Euros to win. Why? Because the Ryder Cup is a glorified putting contest and I thought the Euros could hit more clutch putts on Medinah's greens.

* All the announcers kept telling us over and over again about how Steve Stricker is the best putter on Tour. Geez, I can't remember him ever hitting a clutch putt, anywhere.

* I believe the match was lost in the Mickelson v. Rose match. Mickelson was so sure he had it wrapped up, he was giving thumbs up and smiles to Rose. Once Rose hit that 35-foot bomb putt on no. 17, it was all but over.

* Another key match was Paul Lawrie v. Brandt Snedeker. Sneds was one of the hottest players on the American squad. The 43-year old Scotsman torched him in a match Captain Love was probably sure he had in the bag.

* My biggest disappointment was the Keegan Bradley singles match loss to Rory McIlroy. The floppy haired Irish lad arrived in a police car about five minutes before his tee time. He didn't have time to warm up and hit a couple of practice putts. Then he goes out and wins a point against the red hot Bradley. Absolutely amazing. Bradley seemed a bit lost without his old back-slapping buddy Mickelson.

* I like Jim Furyk, but, let's face it, he was only chosen based on being a good buddy of Love's. Rickie Fowler or Nick Watney should have been selected instead. The only thing I'll remember about Jim at this year's Ryder Cup is him and his caddy, Fluff, spending what seemed like hours trying to read a putt. Then Furyk steps up and blows it. No, correction. First he steps up to the putt, steps away, then blows it.

* Please, no more Ian Poulter until the next Ryder Cup. With his middle-school spiked haircut, bugged out eyes and general annoying demeanor, I've had enough of this guy for a while.

* If you thought Poulter was annoying this year, wait until, oh, 2024, when becomes a captain.

* Hey, that "Win it for Seve" thing really worked.

* This was the ultimate payback for Brookline.

* In the end, their top players, McIlroy, Westwood and Donald, were better than ours, Woods, Mickelson and Watson.

* Is it just me, or does Medinah Country Club clubhouse look like it belongs in some Arab country, not Chicago.

* I absolutely love the finishing holes at Medinah, numbers 15, 16, 17 and 18. They created lots of drama and excitement.

* Sorry Captain Love, Tiger Woods should never be on the bench in any golf competition.

* You can spin the Ryder Cup 2012 anyway you want to, but the bottom line is the Euros hit countless clutch putts on the last day and the Americans did not.

Monday, September 24, 2012

Best and Worst PGA Tour Golfers to Watch

Best Player to Watch
There's nothing like the "oh no" moment when the television camera in the tower focuses on a slow and annoying golfer playing in a PGA Tour event.

Watching one of these agonizingly methodical pros work through a seemingly endless pre-shot or putting routine drives me crazy. These guys really know how to ruin good televised golf.

Here's my list of  favorite players to watch and some of the worst culprits of slow, hard-to-watch golf:

BEST-Mark Calcavecchia--The ultimate shotmaker, "Calc" is also a fast player. In 1992 in the final round of the Players Championship at TPC Sawgrass, he played a round with John Daly in 2 hours and 3 minutes.

BEST-John Daly--I've followed Daly on the course for years and he never, I mean never, stands over a shot for more than a few seconds. Better still, love him or hate him, he's exciting to watch with his exaggerated driver swing that goes way past parallel and his phenomenal wedge play.

BEST-Rickie Fowler--You gotta love Fowler. Put a stop watch on him and he typically takes less than 15 seconds to hit a fairway shot or a putt. (once he steps over the ball). In a world dominated by technically obsessed pro golfers, Fowler is a feel player brimming with confidence. I find myself wanting him to succeed and rooting strongly against slow players.

WORST-Jim Furyk--I like Furyk. He's one of the classiest guys on Tour. In fact, he generally plays at a steady pace on the fairways, but once Jimbo reaches the green he goes into slow motion. The worst is when he stands over the ball about to pull the trigger only to step away and reevaluate. When Furyk gets to the green, I'm heading to the fridge for a brewski.

One of worst slow play culprits
WORST-Sergio Garcia--Right behind Kevin Na as one of the slowest players on Tour, Garcia has actually improved somewhat over the years. Back in 2002 at the U.S. Open at Bethpage he was heckled unmercifully by the rowdy crowds put off by his endless waggles. He solved that problem but still takes way too much time before hitting a shot or putt.

WORST-J.B. Holmes--You never like to bum kick a guy that's come back from brain surgery, but Holmes is one of the slowest players on Tour. That said, I still like to watch the guy because he's got serious game.

BEST-Dustin Johnson-He's the ultimate lock-and-load guy who plays fast in the fairway and on the green. You've got to follow Johnson in person on the course to get a true appreciation of his athletic ability. He's got tremendous flexibility and it's a joy to watch this guy off the tee.

BEST-Rory McIlroy--Fortunately the World No. 1 is a fast player. To be sure, I never get tired of watching that beautiful, natural swing of McIlroy's. Just think, we've got another good twenty years of watching Rory.

BEST-Phil Mickelson--I enjoy watching Mickelson play because he respects the game on so many levels. He's a relatively fast player on the greens and there's nothing like watching Phil hit a "hero" shot when he's in trouble ala his 6-iron on the 13th hole at the 2010 Masters.

WORST-Kevin Na--You're the champ, big fella. Na has the reputation as the slowest golfer on the PGA Tour. He takes forever on the fairway and the green. You sometimes think he goes through his endless pre-shot routine just to jack with fans. Who can forget Na at this year's Players Championship with his never ending waggles. Five, six, seven waggles.....just hit the freakin' ball will ya. Glaciers move faster than this guy.

WORST-Tiger Woods--You can't argue with success (14 majors and 74 PGA Tour victories), but Woods likes to take his time. While it was tolerable when he was dominating, now it's just annoying. This guy grinds over shots with the best of them. He analyzes every shot like it's his last and while that may be good for his game, it's boring to watch over four days.