I once saw a sign at a tackle shop in Key Largo, Florida that aptly summed up fishing’s universal appeal. The sign read: The charm of fishing is that it is the pursuit of what is elusive but attainable, a perpetual series of occasions of hope.
Hmm, sounds a lot like golf to me.
Both sports require mental flexibility—the ability to adapt to changing conditions and situations. Also, a great golf swing and a perfect cast both involve exceptional timing and coordination.
Many golfers tout fishing as the ultimate escape from the mental rigors of golf. Golf icons Greg Norman and Jack Nicklaus, PGA Tour stars like Davis Love III and David Duval and Champions Tour players Andy Bean and Joey Sindelar are professed anglers.
My favorite place to fish is around Panama City Beach in the Florida panhandle, where you can fish offshore in the gulf, surf fish, pier fish or drop a line in the bay or many of the lakes in the area. If you’re looking for a charter to fish the Gulf of Mexico and the Big Bend area, I recommend Captain Steve Sharp (850-984-5839) in Panacea, Florida, about 30 miles south of Tallahassee. Sharp holds a Coast Guard Master’s license and has been taking charters for 18 years aboard his 30 footer. Quite simply, he knows the water and he knows the weather.
I look at fishing and golf as a sort of “Fusion Getaway”. Mix a little of each in your recreation menu and it makes for a very relaxing way to spend a few days.
Whether you want to do a little angling on a course between rounds, fish lakes and rivers with the help of a guide or go after big game fish on the high seas, rest assured, there’s a golf resort or destination awaiting to accommodate your fishing desires once you stop chasing the white dimpled ball for the day.
Baypoint Marriott Golf Resort & Spa (Panama City, Florida)—It has two excellent championship courses—The Meadows and the Nicklaus Design Course. For anglers, fishing boat rentals are available as well as 23 stocked lakes and a 205-slip marina that accommodates yachts up to 120 feet long. The venerable Bay Point Invitational Billfish Tournament held each July offers the largest purse for billfish in the continental United States. Blue marlin, white marlin, sailfish, tuna, wahoo, and dolphin rate as the big catches.
Kiawah Island Golf Resort (Kiawah Island, South Carolina)—What a great spot for outdoor enthusiasts! First, the golf. How about five golf courses with designer tags like Pete Dye, Jack Nicklaus and Gary Player? Fishing wise, you’ve got everything from fishing creeks and marshes for redfish, spotted sea trout and flounder to near coastal fishing for tarpon and barracuda to surf fishing.
Melia Cabo Real Beach & Golf Resort (Los Cabos, Mexico)—The golf course designed by Robert Trent Jones Jr. meanders through rugged desert terrain and every hole has a spectacular ocean view. In Los Cabos, the Sea of Cortez and the Pacific Ocean meet, creating some of the best marlin fishing in the world. Enough said.
Sandestin Beach Resort (Destin, Florida)—When you get done playing the resort’s 4 championship golf courses (Baytowne, Burnt Pine, Raven and Links), the on-site, 98-slip Baytowne Marina offers opportunities for bay, beach and gulf fishing opportunities.
Sea Island The Cloister & Lodge (Seas Island, Georgia)—In shore you can cruise the marshes in search of trout, redfish, flounder and whiting. Offshore, there’s bottom fishing over an artificial reef for mackerel, cobia, barracuda and sailfish. The Sea Island Yacht Club has six custom boats designed for fishing and touring the Georgia coast.
Shawnee Inn & Golf Resort (Shawnee-on-Delaware, Pennsylvania)–It has 27 holes of golf including A.W. Tillinghast’s first ever design built in 1911. Fishing is on resort grounds in the Delaware River and encompasses the Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area. The “Big D”, as locals call the river, has seasonal runs of shad and striped bass, along with resident populations of trophy trout, smallmouth bass, walleye and muskellunge.
Sunriver Resort (Bend Oregon) –For fly fishing enthusiasts, this resort is bounded on two sides by the Deschutes River, an outstanding river for brown, rainbow and steelhead trout. Also, there are over 100 lakes and 450 miles of rivers located within one hour of the resort. Golf offerings include three championship layouts and a nine-hole short course.
WaterColor Inn & Resort (Near Destin, Florida)—In addition to having access to great courses like the Tom Fazio designed Camp Creek, Greg Norman designed Shark’s Tooth and Davis Love III’ s innovative Origins 6-hole layout, guests can easily set up fishing expeditions through Old Florida Outfitters, a store adjacent to the hotel that specializes in fly-fishing and light tackle. They’ll set you up with an experienced guide or charter.