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Posts Tagged ‘Tim Gavrich’

16 PGA Championship courses to add to your bucket list!

16 PGA Championship courses to add to your bucket list!

 
 
 

16 PGA Championship courses to add to your bucket list!

Golf Chats is a website to encourage discussions on various subjects relating to the game of golf. I am Mel Sole, Director of Instruction of the Mel Sole Golf School and SAPGA Master Professional.  I invite you to enter into a discussion on this or any article on the golfchats.com website.  The input is for the entire subscriber base to learn something new each time!  Please post your comments below.  Keep it clean and tasteful.  We are here to learn from one another!

The PGA Championship is always played on spectacular golf courses chosen by the PGA of America to provide the best test for the top players in the world.  But you can also experience these great courses.  Tim Gavrich of golfvacationinsider gives you a list of all the golf courses used by the PGA to conduct their Championship that is accessible to you, the everyday golfer!

16 PGA Championship courses to add to your bucket list!

Wannamaker Trophy

There are plenty of PGA Championship courses you can play on golf vacations.

This year’s PGA Championship at Baltusrol Golf Club in New Jersey is off to a great start.

I’m particularly fascinated by the course’s routing – how strange it must be for the pros not to encounter a par five until the 649-yard 17th, and then finish on another (more reachable) three-shotter.

That should make for quite the finish come Sunday afternoon.

One slight bummer about Baltusrol, though, is that unlike last year’s PGA venue – Whistling Straits – very few of us will have the opportunity to play the course, given the private nature of the club.

That said, there are a number of past and future PGA Championship venues that you and I can (and should) visit and play.

And guess what? There are more of these courses than you might think…and you probably live or will soon travel near one of them.

Check out the list here:

As you can see, the PGA Championship has been (and will continue to be) played on plenty of public courses in some of the best golf vacation destinations in America, making it easy to add a major championship to your own personal record book.

California

16 PGA Championship courses to add to your bucket list!

Course: Pebble Beach Golf Links
Location: Pebble Beach, CA
Hosted the PGA Championship in: 1977
Architect: Jack Neville and Douglas Grant
Green Fee: $495

Course: TPC Harding Park
Location: San Francisco, CA
Will Host the PGA Championship in: 2020
Architect: Willie Watson and Sam Whiting
Green Fee: $177

Florida

16 PGA Championship courses to add to your bucket list!
Course: PGA National Resort & Spa (The Champion Course)
Location: Palm Beach Gardens, FL
Hosted the PGA Championship in: 1987
Architect: Jack Nicklaus
Green Fee: $347

Indiana

16 PGA Championship courses to add to your bucket list!
Course: French Lick Resort (Donald Ross Course)
Location: French Lick, IN
Hosted the PGA Championship in: 1924
Architect: Donald Ross
Green Fee:  $120

Minnesota

16 PGA Championship courses to add to your bucket list!

Keller Course.


Course: Keller Golf Course
Location: Maplewood, MN
Hosted the PGA Championship in: 1932 and 1954
Architect: Paul Coates; renovation by Richard Mandell
Green Fee: $43

To see the rest of the PGA Championship courses that you can play, go here!

Source: Golf Vacation Insider   Tim Gavrich

Pictures: Evan Schiller   Destination Kohler/The American Club

Thanks for watching – 16 PGA Championship courses to add to your bucket list!

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Do you want to play in the Biggest Amateur Tournament Ever?

Do you want to play in the Biggest Amateur Tournament Ever?

Do you want to play in the Biggest Amateur Tournament Ever?

Golf Chats is a website to encourage discussions on various subjects relating to the game of golf. I am Mel Sole, Director of Instruction of the Mel Sole Golf School and SAPGA Master Professional.  I invite you to enter into a discussion on this or any article on the golfchats.com website.  The input is for the entire subscriber base to learn something new each time!  Please post your comments below.  Keep it clean and tasteful.  We are here to learn from one another!

Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, is the golf capital of the world!  So, to get an opportunity to visit is always fun.  But to compete in the biggest worldwide tournament and actually have a chance to win is an absolute must!

Thanks to Tim Gavrich of  Golf Vacation Insider for posting this article and allowing your readers to get an early bird discount.  To subscribe to Golf Vacation Insider – go here! 

Do you know why these golfers are excited?

Do you want to play in the Biggest Amateur Tournament Ever?

They’re having the time of their lives at what I believe to be one of the “most fun” and “best value” golf experiences on the planet.

I’m talking about the Myrtle Beach World Amateur, coming up from August 29 through September 2.

Do you want to play in the Biggest Amateur Tournament Ever?

A Golf Tournament?!

Yes, a golf tournament.

But not just any golf tournament.

Now in its 33rd year, the Myrtle Beach World Amateur is the largest amateur golf tournament in the world.

Last year, more than 3,400 players descended on “Golftown, U.S.A.” for a week full of golf, camaraderie…and a whole lotta fun.

In fact, it’s more like a 4-round golf vacation with a little friendly competition thrown in.

And as a Golf Vacation Insider reader, you can get a sweet discount on what is already a super rate to play in this amazing, bucket-list event.

More on that in a minute.

First, let me explain why the “World Am” is so insanely popular.

Do you want to play in the Biggest Amateur Tournament Ever?

A Fun Event You Might Actually Win…

We all know winning isn’t everything, but boy is it nice to have a real shot at it once in a while.

Well, the World Am is a handicapped event, so no matter your skill level, you will play in one of more than 60 flights (groups) against players of similar skill.

How similar?

Well, last year, there was an entire flight (48 golfers) made up entirely of those with handicap indexes of 12.4 to 12.6.

And if you’re concerned about sandbaggers ruining your chances to win fair and square…don’t be.

The World Am’s tournament staff has decades of experience ferreting out cheaters and they are not shy about disqualifying anyone trying to game the system.

Bottom line, you’ll be competing against players of similar skill and age…

The tournament divides flights into 49-and-under, 50-to-59, 60-to-69 and 70-and-over for men. There are multiple women’s flights, too.

By the way, the World Am has a Gross Division for more experienced players who want to compete “straight-up” against their peers.

I played in the gross division in 2014, and it was an absolute blast.

Play on Some of Myrtle Beach’s Best Golf Courses…in their Best Condition All Year

Because of the sheer size of the World Am, the tournament uses more than 60 of the Myrtle Beach area’s wonderful golf courses.

These have included some Golfweek-ranked beauties…

  • Barefoot Resort, Dye (ranked 13th)
  • Caledonia (ranked 5th)
  • Grande Dunes – Resort Club (ranked 15th)
  • Heritage (ranked 14th)
  • Legends, Moorland (ranked 12th)
  • Tidewater (ranked 7th)
  • TPC Myrtle Beach (ranked 11th)
  • True Blue Golf Plantation (ranked 6th)

You’ll play a different course each day, giving you a true feel for the awesomeness of Myrtle Beach as a golf destination.

And, in an effort to “show off” for tournament participants, the greenkeepers at all the courses strive to get them in absolute peak summer condition, giving every round a real “tournament feel.”

But don’t worry — tees are set up at appropriate distances for all, and plenty of gross and net birdies and eagles are made during the week.

To read how you can enter this tournament and get an early bird discount, go here!

Source: Tim Gavrich   Golf Vacation Insider

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The not so "Who's Who" of Golf Course Architecture!

The not-so “Who’s Who” of Golf Course Architecture!

The not-so “Who’s Who” of Golf Course Architecture!

Golf Chats is a website to encourage discussions on various subjects relating to the game of golf. I am Mel Sole, Director of Instruction of the Mel Sole Golf School and SAPGA Master Professional.  I invite you to enter into a discussion on this or any article on the golfchats.com website.  The input is for the entire subscriber base to learn something new each time!  Please post your comments below.  Keep it clean and tasteful.  We are here to learn from one another!

There are a lot of golf course architects whose names we are not familiar with.  

A lot of these golf course designers deserve more recognition.  Tim Gavrich of Golf Vacation Insider has decided to share some of the names behind some great designs that scatter the American Golf Course landscape!

Donald Ross. A.W. Tillinghast. C.B. Macdonald. Seth Raynor.

Robert Trent Jones. Pete Dye. Tom Fazio. Arnold Palmer. Jack Nicklaus. Tom Doak. Bill Coore and Ben Crenshaw. Gil Hanse.

These are the luminaries of golf course architecture. If you keep a list of your favorite golf courses, chances are most of them will have been designed by one of the names above.

But if you truly care about getting an education in golf course architecture, these are far from the only names you need to be aware of.

Given the cachet associated with the biggest names, it can be easy to overlook certain courses by architects whom you’ve never heard of, but in many cases, this would be a mistake.

Those name-brand architects are often active across the country, while the work of the ones you may not have heard of tends to stay mostly in one region. This is not universally the case, as you’ll see with our list, but if you are planning a trip to a new-to-you destination and balk at certain course designer names, you may end up missing out on some great courses.

So, here are some names whose work you should seek out in addition to the “big boys.”

Mike Strantz

The not so "Who's Who" of Golf Course Architecture!

Sadly, Strantz only enjoyed about a decade-long career, from his first solo design, Caledonia Golf & Fish Club in Pawleys Island, S.C., in 1994, to his death in 2005. But his output was of amazing quality, and every single one of his courses is memorable. His Tobacco Road Golf Club, near Pinehurst, truly must be seen to be believed.

Other notable work: Tot Hill Farm – Asheboro, N.C.; True Blue Golf Club – Pawleys Island, S.C.; Royal New Kent Golf Club – Providence Forge (near Williamsburg), Va.; Shore Course at Monterey Peninsula Country Club (private; renovation) – Pebble Beach, Calif.

Todd Eckenrode

The not so "Who's Who" of Golf Course Architecture!

With Tom Doak, Coore and Crenshaw and Gil Hanse earning recent acclaim for their minimalistic and rustic aesthetics, Eckenrode and his Origins Golf Design firm may be the next to join that pantheon. His highest-ranked course to date is the terrific Barona Creek Golf Club east of San Diego, and his Country Club of the Golden Nugget in Lake Charles, Louisiana, which opened last year, has received rave reviews as well.

Other notable work: Links at Terranea (9-hole par-3 course) – Rancho Palos Verdes, Calif.; Quail Lodge Golf Club (renovation) – Carmel, Calif.

Paul Albanese & Chris Lutzke

The not so "Who's Who" of Golf Course Architecture!

Albanese & Lutzke have been most active in the Midwest, gaining recent notoriety for their designs at a couple of that region’s casino resorts: Sweetgrass Golf Club in Harris, Michigan; and Tatanka Golf Club in Niobrara, Nebraska.

Other notable work: Mill Creek Golf Club – Rochester, N.Y.; Eagle Eye Golf Club – Lansing, Mich.; Timberstone Golf Course – Iron Mountain, Mich.

To read about the other 12 relatively unknown golf course architects in the USA, go here!

Source: Golf Vacation Insider   Tim Gavrich

Pictures: Brian Oar – Fairways Photography   Origins Golf Design  Tatanka Golf Club   

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7 Things to know when playing with a scratch golfer!

7 Things to know when playing with a scratch golfer!

7 Things to know when playing with a scratch golfer!

Golf Chats is a website to encourage discussions on various subjects relating to the game of golf. I am Mel Sole, Director of Instruction of the Mel Sole Golf School and SAPGA Master Professional.  I invite you to enter into a discussion on this or any article on the golfchats.com website.  The input is for the entire subscriber base to learn something new each time!  Please post your comments below.  Keep it clean and tasteful.  We are here to learn from one another!

Like the writer of this article, Tim Gavrich, editor of Golf Vacation Insider, I moved between a +2 and a 2 handicap over the past 50 years.  I have played with hundreds of high handicap players and have enjoyed almost all of them.  I say almost because there has been the rare exception where the player is painfully slow, and as a golf professional, I am very aware of keeping up with the group in front.  What generally ends up happening is I speed up my play to compensate, and that is not enjoyable for me.  

But as I said, those are rare, and I know as a scratch golfer I will always be playing with golfers who have a higher handicap than me.  I am often thrilled when a higher handicap asks me to play.  So go ahead, don’t be shy.  I bet you’ll really enjoy the round. Oh, and another thing, your golf game will improve if you regularly play with golfers who are better than you!

The PGA Tour is holding the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am this week.

Not only will pros be competing against each other, they’ll be alongside some rank amateurs. Needless to say, there may be some nerves on the part of the higher-handicappers, who will be playing with some incredible golfers…in front of crowds. Believe it or not, this could affect your next golf vacation. Have you gone on a golf vacation as part of a twosome or threesome?

I have a number of times, and that has meant I’ve been paired up with an incredible range of characters over the years, from all across the spectrums of age, golf-seriousness and handicap. My current handicap index is exactly 0.0. I could not possibly be more of a scratch golfer than I am right now. And I’ve been one for a while – my handicap has hovered between 1 and +1 for a number of years.

This is not to brag, but rather to say that I’ve been a low-handicap golfer for long enough to make some observations about how higher-handicap players tend to perceive me and others of my approximate skill level. I’ve joined groups that ranged from threesomes of fellow competitive amateur players to triads of ladies who all shot 100 or higher, and every permutation in between. I’ve gathered a lot of intel over my years of playing golf. So, here are 7 “confessions” from a scratch golfer that might surprise you:

7 Things to know when playing with a scratch golfer!

You can benefit from playing with someone with a good swing!

To read the 7 things to know when playing with a scratch golfer, go here!

Source: Golf Vacation Insider

Pictures: Today’s Golfer   Superior Performance Physical Therapy.

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What was New for 2016 at the PGA Merchandise Show?

What was New for 2016 at the PGA Merchandise Show?

What was New for 2016 at the PGA Merchandise Show?

Golf Chats is a website to encourage discussions on various subjects relating to the game of golf. I am Mel Sole, Director of Instruction of the Mel Sole Golf School and SAPGA Master Professional.  I invite you to enter into a discussion on this or any article on the golfchats.com website.  The input is for the entire subscriber base to learn something new each time!  Please post your comments below.  Keep it clean and tasteful.  We are here to learn from one another!

Having just returned from the 2016 PGA Merchandise Show in Orlando, FL, I have to say this was the best one ever!  I attended the “Top 100 Teachers Summit”, which preceded the Show.  I heard the best minds in the teaching business discuss the latest idea and technologies in coaching, both mental and physical, and even extended to innovations in shoes and clothing.  It is an exhilarating time in our industry right now! Tim Gavrich of Golf Vacation Insider gives you a unique look into this extravaganza from Demo Day to walking the floor at the Orange County Convention Center and seeing all the latest golf stuff!

What was New for 2016 at the PGA Merchandise Show?

Here at Golf Vacation Insider, we know what you’re looking for: honest, effective golf travel advice.

But we also know that if you’re a golfer who likes to travel, chances are travel isn’t the only thing to catch your interest.

That’s why we make the trip every January to the massive PGA Merchandise Show.

In short, if you’re a golfer, it’s the place to find the newest in golf equipment, products and services.

You loved our coverage of last year’s Show, so here’s our 2016 edition of the “PGA Show in Pictures.”

Demo Day.

PGA Show Week kicks off in style at Orange County National Golf Club just west of Orlando, Florida. The facility is home not just to two acclaimed golf courses but an immense, 40-plus acre practice facility that includes a 360-decree grass driving range. This year, the entire circle was occupied by exhibiting companies.

What was New for 2016 at the PGA Merchandise Show?

This view across the range at Orange County national captures only a sliver of the exhibitors at Demo Day.

 

Demo Day serves as an outdoor version of the three indoor exhibition days that follow. Companies from major equipment manufacturers…

What was New for 2016 at the PGA Merchandise Show?

Calloway at the Demo Day of the PGA Merchandise Show.

…to minor training aid makers…

…to the folks from Golf Beer all set up shop in order to create some early PGA Show Week buzz.

We got a chance to get up-close looks at a bunch of the major equipment makers’ new clubs, but what was an eye catcher was a little bit of a throwback: PING’s TR 1966 line, which paid tribute to the Anser and Anser 2 putters that put them on the map as a company.

What was New for 2016 at the PGA Merchandise Show?

Ping’s TR 1966 putters combine the company’s traditional putter shapes with their recently developed True-Roll face technology.

Given the large setup of Demo Day, spending all those hours trying new clubs can be exhausting:

By far, the most entertaining sight we came accross at Demo Day was not made by a golf club, but an…interesting fitness related machine, which can only be done justice in video:

The Show Floor

This is where the main PGA Show action takes place. And as in the past, more than 10 miles of carpet alleys were set up at Orlando’s massive Orange County Convention Center, weaving between more than 1,000 exhibitors. Once again, two massive rooms brought together a who’s-who of golf, from TaylorMade…

What was New for 2016 at the PGA Merchandise Show?

Known as a company that makes bold statements, TaylorMade followed their marketing playbook at the PGA Show.

 

…to Team Tables, which strike us as golf’s answer to the famous “leg lamp” from the movie “A Christmas Story.

As usual, underdog companies tended towards eye-catching displays in order to generate buzz. The runaway winner for inventive booth design this year was KLVN (pronounced “kolven”), which makes a plastic cart bag with a pop-out carry bag for taking a few clubs to your ball. Check out the “robot” demonstration model:

Conversely, we’re compelled to give the award for “Biggest Head-Scratcher” award to the US Postal Service, whose booth was completely empty every time we went walking by.

What was New for 2016 at the PGA Merchandise Show?

It seemed to us that the USPS should have saved their money and declined to exhibit at the year’s PGA SHow.

And the “Saddest Exhibit” award goes to the G-Trike, an alternative to golf carts that is so futuristic, its exhibitor didn’t even bother to bring a prototype to the Show:

What was New for 2016 at the PGA Merchandise Show?

G-Trike – No Model, only pictures.

Source: Tim Gavrich of Golf Vacation Insider

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Resorts for Couples - Check out the Best right here!

Resorts for Couples – Check out the Best right here!

Resorts for Couples – Check out the Best right here!

Golf Chats is a website to encourage discussions on various subjects relating to the game of golf. I am Mel Sole, Director of Instruction of the Mel Sole Golf School and SAPGA Master Professional.  I invite you to enter into a discussion on this or any article on the golfchats.com website.  The input is for the entire subscriber base to learn something new each time!  Please post your comments below.  Keep it clean and tasteful.  We are here to learn from one another!

My wife and I both like to play golf, and we both appreciate beautiful resorts when we go on vacation.  

So, where are the best spots in the US to go?  Obviously, there are a ton of great places to go, but Tim Gavrich of golfvacationinsider.com has sussed out some really unique places to add for your consideration before you plan your next trip.  Check these out!

Resorts for Couples - Check out the Best right here!

Senior couple, the 70s, on the golf course.

We write a lot about “buddy trips” (often all-male or all-female) as a main type of golf vacation.  But we know all too well that these are far from the only way to craft a memorable golf travel experience.

I was reminded of this when I received a note about the International Husband & Wife Golf Championship. The “IH&WGC” is being played for the 32nd time this year (host sites rotate around the Caribbean).  And even though team golf can get intense at times, we’re not aware of it ever resulting in divorce proceedings.

In other words, spousal golf is happy golf.  So if you and your better half are looking for a great golf getaway, below are some of our best suggestions.

Trump National Doral – Miami, Fla.

Resorts for Couples - Check out the Best right here!

One could say the thrice-married Donald has a lot of experience with matrimony, so it’s a good assumption that upon assuming control of Doral, he would focus on making it a particularly appealing destination for couples. His team succeeded – in addition to making improvements to all on-site golf courses, the 48,000 square foot spa is now undergoing a major renovation project that will bring it into similar prominence.

Destination Kohler/The American Club Resort – Kohler, Wisc.

Resorts for Couples - Check out the Best right here!

On the golf side, the Whistling Straits facility has gotten the bulk of recent press, having hosted the 2015 PGA Championship. But its Blackwolf Run complex is equally as famous in the women’s game, having hosted two U.S. Women’s Opens. The resort’s overseers understand the appeal to couples, as evidenced by the popular Celebration Experience package, which includes champagne, chocolates and rose-petal turndown service. Furthermore, the Kohler Waters Spa, one of the best of its kind in the world, is particularly famous for its range of couples’ massages. What could be better before or after a round on one of the resort’s four Pete Dye-designed courses?

Royal Isabela – Isabela, Puerto Rico

Resorts for Couples - Check out the Best right here!

Royal Isabela is one of those under-the-radar, peaceful enclaves that the Caribbean seems to be losing in favor of overcrowded, noisy resorts that seem to pack people together like sardines. Its quiet beauty makes it especially well-suited to those looking for a romantic getaway, as the resort’s accommodations consist of 20 separate, 1,500 square foot “Casitas,” each with a pool.

Check out the other 3 Best Resorts for Couples right here!

Source: golfvacationinsider.com

Pictures: Trump National Doral   Destination Kohler  JoAnn Dost   The Beaches of Fort Myers & Sanibel

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Where to play and where not to play - that is the question!

Where to play and where not to play – that is the question!

Where to play and where not to play – that is the question!

Golf Chats is a website to encourage discussions on various subjects relating to the game of golf. I am Mel Sole, Director of Instruction of the Mel Sole Golf School and SAPGA Master Professional.  I invite you to enter into a discussion on this or any article on the golfchats.com website.  The input is for the entire subscriber base to learn something new each time!  Please post your comments below.  Keep it clean and tasteful.  We are here to learn from one another!

Have you ever thought you would like a personal travel agent who would check out the best places for you to vacation and play golf?  

Well, Tim Gavrich of GolfVacationInsider.com is that person.  Subscribe to his fabulous newsletter, and you will find all kinds of vacation deals, as he does here.  Tim tells you not only where to play but where not to play so you can save yourself some bucks!

We’re back this week with another installment of our series “Play Here, Not There.” Consider this our version of Men’s Health’s “Eat This, Not That” format of articles.

After all, there are lots of golf courses in the most popular golf destinations, and with all the marketing hype that gets thrown around, it can be hard to cut through all the noise.

Bottom line: it’s our advice on making better choices about which golf courses to play (and which to skip).

For example:

Where to play and where not to play - that is the question!

The Donald Ross Course at French Lick Resort.

At Indiana’s French Lick Resort, the Pete Dye Course is the one that gets the majority of the press and demands a higher green fee than its sister Donald Ross Course.

And yet, though we love both courses at the resort, if we had to pick one to play, especially for a higher-handicap player, we’d lean toward the Donald Ross layout. It is a fun, well-restored course that will challenge you without beating you up in the way Dye’s monster can.

Here are some more examples, keeping in mind that you’re probably planning a late-summer or fall golf vacation:

In Phoenix/Scottsdale and looking for a true desert golf course near the airport?

Play Here: Vistal Golf Club
Not There: Papago Golf Course
Because: Papago is a pleasant municipal effort convenient to Sky Harbor International Airport, but it’s more of a parkland-style course. If you’re looking for cacti and pale sand, you may be a bit disappointed here. Miss fairways at Vistal, though, and you’ll have to interact with the native vegetation in a hurry.

Sanctuary Cove's design may look simple, but every feature is carefully placed to provide fun and intrigue.

In Sea Island, Georgia, and looking for an inexpensive alternative to the resort courses?

Play Here: Golf Club at Sanctuary Cove
Not There: Coastal Pines Golf Course
Because: Coastal Pines and Sanctuary Cove are about the same distance from Sea Island (25 minutes), but Sanctuary Cove’s throwback design, courtesy of Fred Couples and Davis Love III’s firm, gets the nod. Partly because the community around it has yet to take off, it’s often very quiet, meaning you can get around in well under four hours if you’re worried about burning daylight. Conditioning can be austere, but the course is enough fun to mitigate it.

In Wisconsin and looking to add some classic flavor to your golf vacation?

Play Here: Golf Courses of Lawsonia – Links Course
Not There: Golf Courses of Lawsonia – The Woodlands
Because: Lawsonia is located in Green Lake, less than 90 minutes from both Erin Hills and Kohler, and is well worth a day trip. Even though there are two courses on-site, play 36 at the spectacular Links course, a hidden gem designed by the duo of William Langford and Thomas Moreau that has some of the boldest bunkering and mounding in the Midwest.

To check out other areas on where (and where not) to play, go here.

Source: GolfVacationInsider.com   Tim Gavrich

Pictures: GolfGommunityReviews.com   Dan Perry

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The top 6 par 69 courses around - These are not easy!

The top 6 par 69 courses around – These are not easy!

The top 6 par 69 courses around – These are not easy!

Golf Chats is a website to encourage discussions on various subjects relating to the game of golf. I am Mel Sole, Director of Instruction of the Mel Sole Golf School and SAPGA Master Professional.  I invite you to enter into a discussion on this or any article on the golfchats.com website.  The input is for the entire subscriber base to learn something new each time!  Please post your comments below.  Keep it clean and tasteful.  We are here to learn from one another!

When I took a group to Scotland in 2014, one of the courses suggested by our travel agent was Crail’s Balcomie Links.  

When we arrived on a sunny but blustery day and looked over the course (see picture below) I thought “What a boring looking course.”  When I looked at the scorecard and saw that it was only 5861 yards, I thought “Why in heavens name did the travel agent suggest this course? We are not going to enjoy this.”

The top 6 par 69 courses around - These are not easy!

When the wind blows off the North Sea this short course can be a brute!

Wow, was I wrong!  This is by far the most interesting “short course” I have ever played and I realized why a lot of the Scottish courses are so short – the wind!  The 5th hole curving alongside the North Sea is all the par 4 you would ever want!  I hit a really good drive down the left hand side (avoiding the North Sea on the right) followed it up with a stinging 3 wood that still left me 50 yards short of the green.  A perfect pitch to 5 feet and a good putt gave me a 4 that I will remember for the rest of my life!  The par 3 6th at stroke 17 has to be the hardest stroke 17 on the planet.  

If you are going over to Scotland, don’t miss this one!  Playing par 69 courses has never been so much fun!

Thanks to Tim Gavrich (whose father I had the pleasure of having recently in a 3 day school,) from golfinsider.com, for a very interesting article written in May, 2015!

Did you hear about the PGA Tour playing a par-69 golf course this past weekend?

Tournament officials were forced to shorten the par-4, 14th hole of the par-70 TPC Four Seasons Las Colinas to a 100-yard par-3 due to the rains that have assaulted Texas for weeks now.

Courses with a par lower than 70 often get a bad reputation among golfers. They’re generally dismissed as “short” golf courses – too easy or boring to be worth playing.

This could not be more wrong, in my opinion.

The “standard” par of 72 is a relatively new invention in golf, birthed by the American-driven obsession with the notion of a “championship course,” despite that 99% of all golfers will never play well enough to play national- or world-scale championship golf.

There are many wonderful golf courses that adhere to the standardized 4/10/4 par-3/par-4/par-5 configuration. But there are just as many – if not more – great courses that are less formulaic.

Some even weigh in at a par of less than 70. But you’d best not underestimate these apparent flyweights of the golf world. They tend to punch well above their weight with long par threes and fours that make them play much longer than their scorecards seem to indicate.

Perhaps the most famous of these courses in the private realm is the par-69 Wannamoisett Country Club outside of Providence. It hosts the Northeast Amateur every year, a tournament of only slightly lower prestige than the likes of the U.S. Amateur. Past Northeast Amateur Champions include Ben Crenshaw, Hal Sutton, David Duval, Luke Donald (twice) and Dustin Johnson.

Likewise, there are a number of public courses of par-69 or less that you can and should play. Most of them are in the British Isles and are more than a century old. Here are our nominations:

Crail Golfing Society (Balcomie Links) – Anstruther, Scotland

When the wind blows off the North Sea this short course can be a brute!

Par 4 14th. Tee is near the clubhouse!

Crail was first founded in 1786 and proudly trumpets its status as the seventh-oldest club in the world. The par-69, 5,861-yard Balcomie Links is the shorter and older of Crail’s two courses, but offers constant views of the North Sea making for an unforgettable experience. Its much younger sister, the Gil Hanse-designed Craighead course, is also worth a play. Should you fall in love with the club when you visit (many do), overseas club membership costs less than £500.

Cranwell Resort – Lenox, Massachusetts

The top 6 par 69 courses around - These are not easy!

The Berkshires in western Massachusetts is a terrific area to visit for leaf-peepers, as well as fans of classic golf course architecture. The Wayne Stiles/John Van Kleek course opened in 1926. At a par of 69 and 5,991 yards from the tips, it is undersized but long on character. In spite of the diminutive course, Cranwell’s golf practice facilities are extensive – perfect for an autumn game-honing retreat. For those who want a “bigger ballpark,” the superb Taconic Golf Club is a scenic 30-mile drive north.

Cape Arundel Golf Club – Kennebunkport, Maine

The top 6 par 69 courses around - These are not easy!

This semi-private club, which dates to 1896, is both a par-69 course and measures less than 6,000 yards from the tips. But it’s been compelling enough to host rounds by presidents such as Nixon, both Bushes and Clinton over the years, and it’s worth your visit, too. It was designed by Walter Travis, whose designs are some of the most old-school found in the United States.

To see the other 3 “Short Courses” that are fun to play, click here.

Source : golfinsider.com  Tim Gavrich

Pictures : Crail Golfing Society   Cranwell Resort  Sandy Stevenson

Thanks for reading – The top 6 par 69 courses around – These are not easy!

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It's March Madness - Top 8 College Golf Courses!

It’s March Madness – Top 8 College Golf Courses!

It’s March Madness – Top 8 College Golf Courses!

Golf Chats is a website to encourage discussions on various subjects relating to the game of golf. I am Mel Sole, Director of Instruction of the Mel Sole Golf School and SAPGA Master Professional.  I invite you to enter into a discussion on this or any article on the golfchats.com website.  The input is for the entire subscriber base to learn something new each time!  Please post your comments below.  Keep it clean and tasteful.  We are here to learn from one another!

Tim Gavrich of Golf Vacation Insider gives us his top picks of the “Elite Eight” Top College Golf Courses.

Are you ready for “March Madness”?

If so, we’ve got the perfect golf travel tie-in for you.

Outside of golf, one of the best parts of the sports year is college basketball’s NCAA Championship.

Out of the 68 colleges and universities in this year’s field, 22 have on-campus golf courses. Not all of them are worth your time, though. Here are the eight college golf courses you need to have on your radar, with advice on other nearby courses to combine them with on a trip.

But first…

How Traveling Golfers Should Celebrate #MarchMadness

***Yale University – The Course at Yale.

It's March Madness - Top 8 College Golf Courses!

Yes, Yale failed to make the NCAA tournament, but no self-respecting piece about America's best college courses is complete without mentioning this C.B. Macdonald/Seth Raynor stunner.

Okay, so Yale failed to make the NCAA Tournament this year, losing a rare Ivy League playoff to the golf course-less Harvard on Saturday. But no list of great college courses is complete without Yale’s, the best in the country. Built in 1926 at the then-exhorbitant sum of $400,000 and designed by C.B. Macdonald, Yale has everything you could want in a golf course: one-of-a-kind holes, huge, wild greens, a rustic atmosphere, and a gnome carved from a tree stump on the side of the 14th hole. Access by non-Yale affiliates can be tricky during the summer; a courteous letter from the perspective of a lover of classic golf courses is our recommended course of action.

While you’re in the neighborhood… The Country Club of Woodbridge is a former private course designed by Donald Ross disciple Orrin E. Smith, with interesting greens and a convivial feel. Another former private course nearby is the Tradition Golf Club at Oak Lane, a Geoffrey Cornish design with greens that are fast and steeply pitched from back to front. Après-golf, Frank Pepe’s and Sally’s are pilgrimage sites for pizza lovers.

It’s March Madness – Top 8 College Golf Courses!

1. University of Wisconsin – University Ridge Golf Club.

It's March Madness - Top 8 College Golf Courses!

The Badgers’ basketball team earned a number-1 seed in the tournament, and Wisconsin students have access to a wonderful golf course to match. Designed by Robert Trent Jones, Jr., University Ridge is long but fair – perfect for both a Division-I golf team and the thousands of University students and staff who pay deeply discounted rates to play it. Golfweek ranks it seventh in the state.

While you’re in the neighborhood… Erin Hills is less than 90 minutes from Madison. Or, if you want to see two of the country’s most under-appreciated public courses, head about an hour and 40 minutes north to check out the Golf Courses at Lawsonia, particularly the dramatic Links Course, with its open feel, heaving fairways and imposing bunkering.

2. Ohio State University – The OSU Golf Club. (Scarlet Course.)

It's March Madness - Top 8 College Golf Courses!

The Scarlet Course has played  host to the Web.com Tour’s Nationwide Children’s Hospital Championship since 2007, with that tournament being a part of the Web.com Tour Finals since 2013. The course, radically redesigned by Buckeye alum Jack Nicklaus, is similar to Wisconsin’s: big, brawny but with a range of tee yardages for all.

While you’re in the neighborhood… The Scarlet is not the only course at OSU; while not as interesting as its big brother, the Gray Course, at just 5,800 yards from the tips, provides more birdie opportunities. Just west of town, the Golf Club of Dublin is a Hurdzan/Fry design with a linksy look.

3. Purdue University – Birck Boilermaker Golf Complex. (Kampen Course.)

It's March Madness - Top 8 College Golf Courses!

Pete Dye has lent his hand to a number of universities’ golf facilities. Had the likes of Virginia Tech (the River Course), Michigan (Radrick Farms) or Arizona State (Karsten) made the NCAA Tournament, their courses would vie for inclusion on this list as well. Purdue’s facility actually has two courses, but Kampen is the superior one, with all the Pete Dye markings: mounds, railroad ties, water and plenty of bunkers, from pots to enormous sandy wastes.

While you’re in the neighborhood… Kampen’s companion Ackerman Hills Course is being renovated by Pete Dye’s firm, so once it reopens in 2016 there will be a much smaller quality gap between Purdue’s courses. In the meantime, if you find yourself in the area, head southeast toward Indianapolis and play The Trophy Club, designed by Tim Liddy, a Dye disciple with an excellent reputation.

4. University of Georgia – University of Georgia Golf Club.

It's March Madness - Top 8 College Golf Courses!

UGA’s golf course, originally designed by Robert Trent Jones, Sr., was redesigned by Davis Love III’s Georgia-based design firm. The layout hosted a Web.com (then Nationwide) Tour event for four years, with three of the events being won by Georgia alums Russell Henley (2011), Hudson Swafford (2012) and Brendon Todd (2013). Talk about home-course advantage!

While you’re in the neighborhood… Head southeast toward Lake Oconee, home to Reynolds Plantation’s courses, as well as Cuscowilla, a Coore/Crenshaw layout that is one of our favorites.

It’s March Madness – Top 8 College Golf Courses!

5. The University of Notre Dame – Warren Golf Course.

It's March Madness - Top 8 College Golf Courses!

Speak of the devils, Bill Coore and Ben Crenshaw are now household names in golf course design, but their design on Notre Dame’s campus came before their recent meteoric rise. Nevertheless the course is a good one – understated and strategically complicated without being overly difficult.

While you’re in the neighborhood… South Bend, Indiana is a bit isolated from other stellar golf options, so we recommend heading north into Michigan, where prospects improve, starting with the Jack Nicklaus-designed Harbor Shores in Benton Harbor, about 50 minutes away.

6. Duke University – Duke University Golf Club.

It's March Madness - Top 8 College Golf Courses!

Duke’s basketball tradition is world-renowned, but its golf history is strong as well, thanks to the presence of this Robert Trent Jones, Sr.-designed and Rees Jones-renovated track that sits at the foot of the stately Washington Duke Inn. In fact, the hotel may be even better than the course, which winds its way through the valley below. It’s not an obvious place for a golf getaway, but parlay a round at Duke with visits to two other nearby ACC courses, UNC – Finley and NC State – Lonnie Poole, and you have an interesting, affordable trip.

While you’re in the neighborhood… To reiterate, we’re big on the idea of a Duke-UNC-NC State road trip, especially if you’re a college basketball nut. All three courses are within an hour of each other.

7. Oklahoma University – Jimmie Austin Golf Club.

It's March Madness - Top 8 College Golf Courses!

Hunter Mahan and Anthony Kim (remember him?!) honed their games at this track originally designed by Perry Maxwell (responsible for many of Augusta National’s greens) and later modified by Bob Cupp (responsible for Liberty National in New Jersey). If your son or daughter is considering becoming a Sooner, we recommend you bring your clubs for the visit.

While you’re in the neighborhood… There’s little else in Norman, so your best bet is to head up the road to Oklahoma City, though while cheap, none of the public golf options stick out much.

8. University of North Carolina – Finley Golf Course.

It's March Madness - Top 8 College Golf Courses!

UNC's Finley Golf Course ranks eighth on our list, but this Fazio layout is no sleeper. (Larry Gavrich/GolfCommunityReviews.com)

Just squeaking into our field of eight is this home of the Tar Heels that sports big greens and fairly generous fairways, with designer Tom Fazio’s recognizable bunkering standing guard at every turn. Fazio’s courses tend to be private, so if you’re a fan of his work but don’t have tons of juice, this is a handy alternative.

While you’re in the neighborhood… See our entry on Duke’s course. And eat some barbecue along the way.

It’s March Madness – Top 8 College Golf Courses!

First Four Out.

As with any list, there’s bound to be debate over who we left out, so here were the “bubble” courses that didn’t quite make our own “Elite Eight”:

– University of Virginia – Birdwood Golf Course.

– North Carolina State University – Lonnie Poole Golf Course.

– University of Kentucky – University Club of Kentucky. (Big Blue.) 

– University of Maryland – University of Maryland Golf Course.

What do you think of our list? What other college and university courses are on your “must-play” list? Give us your thoughts below

Source: Golf Vacation Insider   Tim Gavrich

Pictures:  Larry Gavrich   GolfCommunityReviews.com     Paul J Everett

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Do you like the new brown or the old green Pinehurst #2?

Do you like the new brown or the old green Pinehurst #2?

Do you like the new brown or the old green Pinehurst #2?

Golf Chats is a website to encourage discussions on various subjects relating to the game of golf. I am Mel Sole, Director of Instruction of the Mel Sole Golf School and SAPGA Master Professional.  I invite you to enter into a discussion on this or any article on the golfchats.com website.  The input is for the entire subscriber base to learn something new each time!  Please post your comments below.  Keep it clean and tasteful.  We are here to learn from one another!

There was much talk about the “new” Pinehurst #2 when the USGA hosted back-to-back Men’s & Women’s US Opens.  

Do you like the lush green courses we are all used to in the US, or do you think the time has come to recognize that water is a limited resource and we should conserve, thus making the courses more “brown”?

Do you like the new brown or the old green Pinehurst #2?

Pinehurst #2!

Here is Tim Gavrich’s view on the matter for golfvacationinsider.com

This year’s back-to-back U.S. Opens were two of my favorites ever.

Yes, Martin Kaymer sucked most of the drama out of things with his brilliant play–and Michelle Wie added a bit back–but for golf course architecture nerds like me, Pinehurst No. 2 was the star.

Why?

Because I’m down with brown.

If you watched coverage of the men’s and/or women’s U.S. Opens, you probably noticed that Pinehurst No. 2 was a lot less green than in past years.

Contrary to what we’ve grown accustomed to here in the USA, I think that’s a great thing.

Let me explain:

When Bill Coore and Ben Crenshaw worked on Pinehurst No. 2 in 2010 and 2011, they were not adding their own marks to the course so much as peeling away the last few decades of architectural neglect that had compromised some of the brilliance of a course that Donald Ross spent the last third of his life refining.

No. 2 had always had its trademark green complexes, where the putting surfaces often drop off on all sides to fairway chipping areas, but thick Bermuda rough and overwatering had slimmed the fairways down to a fraction of their intended size.

Not only did Coore and Crenshaw remove more than 30 acres of rough—replacing it with the sandy scrub you saw—they cut the number of sprinkler heads in the fairways by more than half, despite dramatically increasing fairway acreage.

That’s why you noticed the fairways were brown up the sides and only a pale green up the middle. That’s by design—the USGA’s, Coore and Crenshaw’s, and Donald Ross’.

In other words, Pinehurst No. 2 now plays a lot more like the great links courses of Great Britain and Ireland, where golf was born.

So why did so many golfers think Pinehurst looked “ugly” and “awful”?

Blame Augusta National.

Augusta is known as the most immaculately maintained golf course in the world. And it’s no wonder—they have the biggest maintenance budget of any golf course in the world by such a large margin it’s scary.

And yet, many public course players and private club types demand that their courses emulate Augusta because they think that’s “how a golf course is supposed to look.”

So superintendents have been commanded to overwater courses, producing excessively soft conditions that kill the opportunity for bump-and-run in favor of the much less interesting “flop-and-splat.”

That’s no fun and, what’s worse, it’s expensive.

In a world where water is going to be more and more important to conserve, golf courses that learn to live on less will thrive.

Pinehurst No. 2 will be one of them, having cut their annual water usage from 55 million gallons pre-restoration to just 15 million gallons.

Not only does this have both a positive financial and environmental impact, it allows golfers to play the type and variety of shots that makes the game so endlessly intriguing.

Next month, the golf world will watch as another lovely blonde, Royal Liverpool Golf Club, hosts the Open Championship.

Tiger Woods won the 2006 Open there during a summer drought when the entire course was brown and the fairways were running almost as fast as the greens.

Woods’ display of shotmaking that week was one of the best in history, as he built up a two-shot victory employing all sorts of punch and bump-and-run shots at the course known as Hoylake.

Again, this is what I’d like to see more of here in North America.

But what do you think? Do you enjoy courses that are a little brown on the edges, rather than green and lush throughout?

Source: golfvacationinsider.com   Tim Gavrich

Pictures: Mike Renlund

Thanks for reading – Do you like the new brown or the old green Pinehurst #2?

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