Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Hire A Chef For Your Next Golf Getaway

Are you tired of the buddy or family golf trip where the culinary highlights of the week include boiled hot dogs, nachos grande and a pizza prepared especially for you by Papa John or Hungry Howey?

I've got a solution to all of your mundane meals, unhealthy food choices and, uh, indigestion issues.

Hire a chef.

Chef Linda Page

It's not as expensive as you think, and it alleviates the stress of deciding about and preparing meals.

Better still, you might even play well since you're not bloated with fast food and you feel more energetic, right?

"The golf groups I work with love the experience because they don’t really have to worry about meals, One group that I have cooked for over the last 6 years - I make them dinner when they are arriving and make box lunches for the next day," says chef Linda Page, known as "The Orlando Vacation Chef", whose been cooking for Orlando visitors for the past fifteen years.  

She continues, "They get the experience of eating in a beautiful home without having to cook. Another benefit is timing. I can be flexible with timing of meals and any special dietary needs of the group."

In golf meccas like Orlando, Myrtle Beach, Phoenix-Scottsdale, Pinehurst and Palm Springs, more golfers are eschewing traditional hotel rooms and opting for spacious private homes, villas and condos with complete kitchens.

Sadly, the kitchen ends up almost ignored as golfers preoccupied with making tee times and other engagements don't have time to prepare good meals. To often, the only time golfers use the kitchen is to microwave popcorn or use the oven to heat up fast food leftovers. 

I must confess, I fall into this category. Heck, I don't even bother to heat up the oven. Cold pizza, anyone?

Enter the personal chef, who can prepare anything from box lunches and simple three-course meals to gourmet cuisine with suggested wine pairings.

Personal chefs usually use their own pots, pans and utensils and typically prepare multiple personalized meals and place them in the refrigerator or freezer so you can enjoy them at your convenience.

Personal chefs typically charge a flat fee for their services based on location, number of guests and complexity of menu items. Groceries are an extra charge. Most provide grocery-shopping services along with meals. In addition, they can address individual needs, including special diets and food allergies.

On average, personal chefs charge between $25 and $50 per hour for their services (ingredients costs are separate).

If you really want to enhance your next golf getaway, hire a personal chef and bid a fond farewell to the pizza delivery guy.

To find a personal chef in the area you plan to visit, simply go to and enter the appropriate zip code.

Bon appetit!

Friday, June 22, 2012

Donald Trump is Good For Golf

Donald Trump

Love him or hate him, Donald Trump is good for golf.

With participation numbers down, equipment sales flat and fewer golf courses under construction in the U.S., Trump is a much needed high-profile celebrity that consistently promotes the game in valueable ways.

Aside from Tiger and Phil, few people in the golf industry create as much buzz as Trump.
Trump International Golf Links opening in July

In countless interviews you see Trump touting golf as one of the world's great sporting pastimes. His popular Golf Channel show, Donald J. Trump's Fabulous World of Golf displays his passion for the game, and, most importantly, he's creating more great golf courses to play.

His company Trump Golf has a portfolio of 10 courses throughout North America and Europe. 

While the golf industry struggles with golf course closures and fewer new courses because of the sluggish economy in the U.S., Trump is aggressively purchasing and developing golf courses.

The Trump Organization recently announced it has closed on the purchase of the Doral Golf Resort & Spa in Miami. Trump plans to invest more than $200 million in an enhancement program at the 800-acre resort, which encompasses five championship golf courses, 700 guestrooms, meeting facilities and a spa.

"Every year, my father and mother would take me to Doral for a weekend. It was the ultimate treat for me. It was beautiful," said Trump.

"My ambition is to bring Doral back to its first 20 years and then top it by a wide margin," he continued. "When the renovation is complete, Doral will be the greatest resort anywhere in the country. With almost 800 acres in the middle of Miami--and home to the Blue Monster and soon-to-be-great courses--nothing will be able to compete with it. This amount of land in this prime of a location can never again be assembled."

Gil Hanse, the Malvern, Pennsylvania-based architect who was recently selected to design the 2016 Olympics golf course in Rio de Janeiro, will head the re-design effort on the Blue Monster. 

Hanse's most notable designs are Castle Stuart Golf Links in Inverness, Scotland, Rustic Canyon in Moorpark, California and TPC of Boston.

Doral Golf Resort & Spa will remain fully operational during the renovation, which is expected to conclude in Fall 2013.

On the other side of the pond, the Trump International Golf Links in Aberdeen, Scotland, slated to open next month, will be a phenomenal addition to the world's golf course menu.

Designed by highly respected architect Dr. Martin Hawtree, the course is designed around massive sand dunes on the northeast coast of Scotland. Stretching nearly 7,500 yards from the tips, the course will have more than 100 different tee boxes. 

I predict Trump International Golf Links will quickly climb up many world ranking lists and take its place alongside great modern Scottish courses like Kingsbarns, Machrihanish Dunes and Castle Stuart.

(Check out this amazing video of Trump International Golf Links.) 

Trump's other golf courses are located in West Palm Beach, Washington D.C., Los Angeles, Philadelphia, Charlotte, North Carolina, New York and New Jersey.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

5 Best U.S. Opens in the Modern Era

1. 1973--I've never seen a more mesmerizing round of golf than Johnny Miller's 63 on the final day. I remember watching the then 26-year old Miller pin-seeking on just about every hole at Oakmont resulting in a phenomenal birdie barrage that left players like Nicklaus and Trevino behind. The U.S.G.A. was so miffed that Miller essentially embarrassed them by soundly defeating its tough set-up that they came back the following year with near shin-high rough at Winged Foot where winner Hale Irwin shot a 7-over par for the victory.

2. 1999--Staged on Pinehurst No.2, this one had spectacular drama. Payne Stewart, with his wind shirt with cut off sleeves, sunk a treacherous 15-foot par putt on the final hole to beat Phil Mickelson. It was the pinnacle of Stewart's career. Sadly, he never got to defend his title. Stewart died tragically in a plane crash four months after he hoisted the U.S. Open trophy.

3. 2008--Tiger Woods won on a bum leg at Torrey Pines. Limping around the course like he'd been floored by a linebacker, Woods amazingly played at a championship level. Woods bested Rocco Mediate on the first hole of a sudden death playoff following an 18-hole playoff. Then came the fire hydrant at Isleworth, a slew of personal and knee problems and Woods hasn't won a major since.

4. 2011--This was the Rory McIlroy coming out party following his flame out at the Masters two months earlier. The 22-year old Irish lad broke the U.S. Open record by 4 shots with his 268 total at Congressional Country Club. He shot an astonishing 16 under par to win by 8 strokes. He also set the record for the 54-hole record at 199, the 36-hole record at 131 and the most under par at any point at 17 under. Here's what's truly amazing: He finished 8 shots ahead of Australian Jason Day, whose score of 8 under 276 would have been good enough to win 26 of the previous 30 U.S. Opens.

5. 2000--Up until Rory in 2011, this was the gold standard in U.S. Open play. Tiger Woods destroyed the best golfers in the world by shooting 12 under 272 and winning by a whopping 15 strokes over Ernie Els at Pebble Beach Golf Links.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Is Tiger Woods Finally Back?

All aboard, we're now loading up on the "Tiger is finally back" bandwagon.

Everybody get your red shirts, black pants, TW caps and those goofy looking white athletic golf shoes because Tiger Woods is back.

With the fire hydrant in Isleworth, sex clinic in Mississippi and Perkins Restaurant distant memories, Woods is finally back on his game following victory at Jack's tournament (The Memorial).

Even the most devoted Tiger hater must appreciate the way Woods sealed the victory. Bringing back memories of his phenomenal chip at the 16th hole at the 2005 Masters, Woods executed a similarly memorable shot at The Memorial.

It was the type of timely shot that only Tiger seemed to hit prior to the Escalade escapade.

Is Tiger back?

No, at least not the invincible Tiger.

This 2.0, 3.0, 4.0 or whatever version of Tiger will probably play more at the level of Phil Mickelson, Rory McIlroy, Rickie Fowler and Luke Donald.

Woods will be good, even great at times, but not nearly as dominant as his glory years when he was rattling off Major victories.

At age 36, with a slew of knee and personal problems, there is no way Woods will ever get close to his prime.

When you look back at the year 2000 when Woods was 24 years old, he won an amazing 11 events (9 PGA Tour titles, a European Tour event and the PGA Grand Slam) and three majors (Masters, U.S. Open and British Open).

Let's face it, Tiger set the bar so high that any future accomplishments by him and other golfers pale in comparison to that year. 

You hear all the talking heads rattle on about TW being one of the favorites to win next week's U.S. Open, but nobody really knows which Woods is going to show up.

Will we see the struggling, floundering Woods we saw in the Masters (following his Arnold Palmer Invitational win) or the new, improved Tiger that hits fairways, sinks five foot putts consistently and executes miraculous shots?

To be sure, the ratings for the U.S. Open will be off the charts because of Tiger. 

Both the bandwagon types and haters want to see Tiger either win his first major since 2008-- when he won the U.S. Open on a bum leg-- or crash and burn and miss the cut.

I'll be watching intently. 

Admit it, so will you.

Read more great GURU on Facebook.