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Looking for a Winter Getaway - Here are the Top 10 Caribbean Courses!

Looking for a Winter Getaway – Here are the Top 10 Caribbean Courses!

Looking for a Winter Getaway – Here are the Top 10 Caribbean 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!

Looking for a Winter Getaway this year or early next year?  The Caribbean is a great place that is affordable, not too far, and offers great golf and white beaches.  A terrific place for the entire family to have the time of their lives!  Thanks to Step by Step for providing this Top 10 list to make the searching a whole lot easier!

With the Hero World Challenge taking place at Albany in the Bahamas this week, we can’t help the fact our tropical juices are flowing. As much of the nation prepares for the long haul of winter, we can all use some sand, sun, and most importantly, golf in our lives. That said, we rounded up a list of the top 10 courses in the Caribbean.

Casa de Campo (Teeth of the Dog)

Looking for a Winter Getaway - Here are the Top 10 Caribbean Courses!

Casa De Campo

Located in La Romana, Dominican Republic, this course was designed by a name we know all too well: Pete Dye. He built it in tangent with his wife and it opened for play in 1971. This course spans of 7,350-yards and 7 of the 18 holes run along the coastline. Check it out.

Sandy Lane

Looking for a Winter Getaway - Here are the Top 10 Caribbean Courses!

Sandy lane – Barbados

This Tom Fazio design was the host of the World Cup of Golf in 2006, located in the Barbados Islands. This is a public course, with solid terrain throughout. The 195-yard par-3 9th catches most people’s attention with an elevated tee shot onto a rather scary green. Of course, all of this takes place under the supervision of other golfers who have a great view of this whole from the clubhouse. See the course.

Coco Beach

Looking for a Winter Getaway - Here are the Top 10 Caribbean Courses!

Coco Beach Golf – Puerto Rico

 

 

This Puerto Rican course is built in close proximity to the Rio Grande. This resort actually contains four different courses, but all are equally magical. The Lakes and Oceans nines make up the Championship course, while the Mountain and Palms nines formed the International course back when Trump owned it in 2015. It has since been bought back by Coco Beach Golf and Country Club. Check it out.

White Witch

 

White Witch is a beautifully built course in Jamaica. Keith Stein situated this course 12 miles northeast of Montego Bay. While the course looks green and inviting at first, its namesake is the “White Witch of Rose Hall,” Anne Palmer. She was an early 19th century mistress of the former sugar plantation on which the course is built. It is rumored she abused her slaves and practiced voodoo, on top of murdering three husbands. The par-three 17th is a signature hole, with the beach white bunker contrasting against the lush green, with a lone tree in the back popping out against the ocean blue. See it here.

Cinnamon Hill Golf Course

 

Another course located in the beautiful and cultural Jamaica, Robert von Hagge helped redesign this course in 2002. This course is a neighbor to the previous course on the list, White Witch. While it does have some of the same sloping lands, Cinnamon Hill incorporates natural ruins such as bridges and rock walls, and even an ancient aqueduct. Check it out.

To see the rest of the Top 10 Caribbean Courses, go here!

Source: Swing by Swing

Pictures: Getty Images    sandylane.com   tripadvisor.com

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12 Key Points in Planning a Buddies Trip!

12 Key Points in Planning a Buddies Trip!

12 Key Points in Planning a Buddies Trip!

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!

Are you planning a golf/buddies trip for the spring?  There are at least 12 key points in planning a buddies trip that is important for the success of such a trip.  Golf Digest has put together a great list of must do’s.  I like #3 as long as he is a benevolent dictator!  Make sure you check all 12 off your planning list before you leave for your destination!

12 Key Points in Planning a Buddies Trip!

Advance planning is the key to success on these trips!

What can go wrong on a golf trip with your best buds? Plenty, actually. Our keys to making it a success.

1. Plan well in advance so no one can object.

 

2. Nothing’s more important than who you invite.

 

3. Have a dictator.

 

4. Establish ground rules early for money.

 

5. Have an off-course plan.

 
 
Source: Golf Digest
 
Pictures: Golf Digest
 
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These are the Top 10 Courses in Mexico!

These are the Top 10 Courses in Mexico!

These are the Top 10 Courses in Mexico!

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!

Golfing in Mexico is everything you want in a golf vacation.  Great golf courses, great accommodations, great food and wine, and to make the pot even sweeter, very affordable!  The American dollar is very strong right now, so a Mexico golf vacation should definitely be on your list for the near future.  Here are the Top 10 Courses in Mexico as listed by Swing by Swing!

The OHL Classic is played every year in Playa del Carmen, Quintana Roo, Mexico, meaning players can expect bright sun and high temperatures. It is hosted by El Camaleon Golf Club, a par 71 layout that stretches to 6,987 yards.  In the spirit of the event, we have selected our Top 10 courses in Mexico.

10. Four Seasons Punta Mita

These are the Top 10 Courses in Mexico!

What a spectacular hole!

This Jack Nicklaus signature course can claim the rights to having the world’s only natural island green. White sand and tall palm trees surround you on every hole as you walk through a tropical paradise. This par-71, 7,000-yard course also has an optional par-3 hole. (http://www.fourseasons.com/puntamita/)

9. El Dorado 

These are the Top 10 Courses in Mexico!

A Jack Nicklaus gem!

Opened in 1999, El Dorado Golf Course feeds off the draw of the famous Golden City. Designed by Jack Nicklaus, it is said that this course blends the crashing oceans and desert surroundings perfectly. The 16th hole is the most memorable, as it looks over the Sea of Cortez. (http://www.eldoradogolfandbeachclub.com/golf)

8. Mayakoba – El Camaleon

One of many courses designed by Greg Norman.

The host of the PGA Tour’s OHL Classic, El Camaleon Golf Course, was designed by Greg Norman. This 7,000-yard plus course features golf carts with integrated GPS systems and the ability to order food and beverages from the cart. It is not a walk in the park, however, as water comes into play on all but 3 holes. (http://www.fairmont.com/mayakoba-riviera-maya/activities-services/golf/)

7. Puerto los Cabos 

Looks like Jack Nicklaus and Greg Norman like going to Mexico!

This course was designed in tandem by Jack Nicklaus and Greg Norman. The front nine comes courtesy of Norman, while the back has signatures of Nicklaus throughout. The long-term plan for this course is to extend each of the designers’ respective 9 holes into two full 18-hole courses, each staying true to their designers. (http://www.puertoloscabos.com/index.php/about-our-golf-courses)

6. Club de Golf Malinalco

These are the Top 10 Courses in Mexico!

One of my favorite courses in Mexico.

Built by architect Steve Burns in 1993, Club de Golf Malinalco has the enviable nickname of “The Augusta National of Mexico!” With greens just as fast as Augusta, the course plays at just over 7000 yards.  A real test and a pleasure to play! visit http://www.clubdegolfmalinalco.com/

To see the other half of the Top 10 Courses in Mexico, go here!

Source: Swing by Swing

Pictures: pinterest.com   top100golfcourses.com  tripadvisor.com  golfcabosanlucas.com  vimeo.com

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How to put a great golf trip together to Scotland or Ireland!

How to put a great golf trip together to Scotland or Ireland!

How to put a great golf trip together to Scotland or Ireland!
 
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!
 
If you are thinking of putting together a golf trip to Scotland or Ireland,   Guy Proddow of GolfWrx has some really good ideas to help.  Knowing these insights can turn a bland golf trip into a great golf trip!  I have hosted several excursions to both countries and I can say they have all been memorable!  July and August are the best times weather-wise, but even then you can get rained out.  At least in those months, it’s warm rain!  Layering is key!  I always take the minimum of clothing over there.  So if it gets rainy or cold it gives me the excuse to buy some logoed sweaters or windbreakers!
 
Having organized countless golf trips in the past for both customers and friends, I can safely say we’ve gained considerable experience at Golfbreaks.com in putting together tours of the British Isles… and it’s about time that we passed some of this knowledge on to you. GolfWRX asked us for our “tips for tour,” so we put pen to paper. Being blessed with incredible courses on this side of the pond, it’s always a pleasure to share the advice.

Here are 9 tips to plan the perfect golf vacation to the UK and Ireland.

1. Plan Your Dates in Advance

How to put a great golf trip together to Scotland or Ireland!

Ardglass – County Down.

When you consider our famously unpredictable weather, it’s key to get the dates of your trip right.  Particularly if your vacation is to Ireland or the West Coast of Britain. The best conditions are usually between mid-May and mid-September, although April and October have also been known to also deliver the perfect setting for golf.

If you were to come in the Spring or Fall, the main advantage would be the big savings on green fees and accommodation, but there is always the chance of being caught out in a strong coastal breeze.

2. Choose Your Group (…wisely)

How to put a great golf trip together to Scotland or Ireland!

Group with caddies at Kingsbarns, Scotland

If you’re considering the possibility of taking a vacation across the pond, you’ll probably have a core group of buddies who are interested in coming along for the ride. With some perhaps undecided it’s a priority to ensure that you get a guaranteed commitment from them.  Anyone dropping out can cause logistical nightmares and lose you money from advance payments.

Therefore, always aim to get a deposit from your potential group members.  Which will in turn tie them to the trip.

We’d also recommend that you choose your group wisely. Are these the kind of guys and gals you would be willing to spend all day and night with over an extended period?

Remember, you’ve got to put up with their on-course quirks and ensure that they won’t fall off the planet after their sixth pint of Guinness! This is a dream trip, one you’ve been putting together over months, so you want to bring your first team along.

3. Set Your Budget (…and stick to it)

How to put a great golf trip together to Scotland or Ireland!

A Budget is meant to be just that! Don’t change it!

 

Before you start planning which courses you want to play, it’s always wise to agree a budget with the group beforehand, which makes decision making and planning easier. The more prestigious venues are typically more expensive — and you will be tempted to blow your budget — so make sure you set and stick to your limit in advance, which will simplify the process of deciding which courses to play.

If you’ve set a tighter budget, we suggest that you play one or two of the biggest names (such as Carnoustie or Turnberry in Scotland), but then compliment your trip with some more of the lesser known courses, which are often just as good (if not better).

Base your vacation around those must-play classics you’ve identified, and the rest can then be selected through some research, which Golfbreaks.com can help with if you’re unsure.

Additionally, it’s worth remembering that your budget also helps to define what accommodation you can afford. Choosing a modest 2-3-star hotel will allow you to spend more on the golf itself. The key, as always, is making sure that everyone in the group is in agreement on the budget and subsequently where you play and sleep!

To see the rest of the 9 tips to plan your golfing trip to Scotland or Ireland, go here!

Source: Guy Proddow   GolfWrx

Pictures: Dooks Golf Links  Ardglass County Down  Kingsbarns

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Courses you have not heard of, but are fun to play in Scotland or Ireland!

Courses you have not heard of but are fun to play in Scotland or Ireland!

Courses you have not heard of but are fun to play in Scotland or Ireland!

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!

A trip “over the pond” to the fantastic courses of Scotland or Ireland is an absolute must if you really love golf.  The experiences create a lifetime of memories for you.  I have been fortunate enough to play both country’s golf courses on several hosted trips.  If you ever want to join me on a fabulous golfing vacation just visit my golf trips page here.  In the not too distant future, I would like to put a trip together that includes these intriguing golf courses listed here by  Graham Hesketh of GolfWrx to really whet your appetite!  I’m sure we’ll have a blast!

Courses you have not heard of but are fun to play in Scotland or Ireland!

Everyone wants to play golf in Scotland and Ireland. Fact. Maybe this is a once-in-a-lifetime experience, or perhaps an annual pilgrimage. The bucket lists will be overflowing with your old courses, whether that’s at Portmarnock or St. Andrews! The Open Championship courses will roll off your tongue, including Portrush, back on the rota, and rightly so. There will even be the must-plays that very few can play, unless well connected, financially sound, or both.

I can understand why the usual suspects are always on the golf itinerary. And, by writing this, I don’t want to question their appeal, or their quality. But my argument lies in that in this day and age of travel and tourism, it is all about going off the beaten track, exploring, living a little, and not conforming. Some may argue my selections aren’t off the beaten track enough, but they’re there to debate!

It is with a great deal of smugness that I present to you 10 golf courses (11 if you include two at Moray) I have experienced — five in each country — where you can be assured of as Scottish and Irish golf experience as you richly deserve.

Courses you have not heard of but are fun to play in Scotland or Ireland!

Courses you have not heard of, but are fun to play in Scotland or Ireland!

Carne Golf Links was the last links course designed by architect Eddie Hackett.

Protruding deep into the Atlantic on the west of Ireland is Carne Golf Links. The village of Belmullet lies almost exactly 3,000 miles from New York City, and Carne idly inhabits an area that is low on population, but highly populated with dunes. Sand dunes of the highest order! Now offering 27 holes, you will think you are driving to New York, but just before tipping off the edge of Europe, the dunes come into view. They are something to behold.

Courses you have not heard of, but are fun to play in Scotland or Ireland!


There is the possibility that Castlegregory will be expanded one day, but for now it remains a 9-hole gem.

Traveling farther down the West Coast and driving beyond the practice greens of Ballybunion, Lahinch and Tralee is Castlegregory on the Dingle Peninsula. Surely I am not recommending a 9-holer? I will grant you access to one of the usual suspects in the morning, but following a couple pints of Guinness while watching the boats bob up and down off the Inch Peninsula, it seems appealing to play nine more, doesn’t it? Castlegregory gifts dramatic views across to Tralee, the steep-sided Mount Brandon as a backdrop and a challenge that simply not enough people know about. But, that’s its charm.

Courses you have not heard of but are fun to play in Scotland or Ireland!

The Wild Atlantic Way, the world’s longest defined coastal route, should send you in the direction of the Ring of Kerry. A beautiful stretch of road and home to Waterville and Dooks, but perhaps controversially we will head cross-country to County Wicklow on the Irish Sea.

Courses you have not heard of, but are fun to play in Scotland or Ireland!

The European Club is one of the longest links at 7,377-yards from the tips.

Pat Ruddy designed The European Club. In fact, he is still designing the European Club. Heading out with his spray can, he will mark where bunkers need to be tweaked and changed before heading in again to talk to his golfers about Tiger’s course-record 67, how Padraig Harrington has his three majors thanks to the European and how Rory thinks it’s the best links he’s ever played. Oh yes, I forgot, you get 20 holes for your money and the world’s longest green.


Druids Glen hosted the Irish Open from 1996 to 1999.

Not too far away and inland is Druids Glen. Sometimes referred to by the over-used phrase of the “Augusta of Europe,” they may be right. This is as close as I have come to what I imagine Augusta to be like. Spectacularly manicured, fascinatingly interesting, wonderfully unexpected and a lot of fun. Monty has won twice at Druids, while Sergio won his first tour event here. It goes to show it’s not just about how pretty the golf course looks; it’s tricky, too.

At the end of the 19th century, golf was steadily becoming more popular with the elite of the day. The Island Golf Club north of Dublin was originally a spur of land opposite Malahide. One fine day, a Syndicate of gents jumped in a boat and acquired the slice of land for their golf course. You could still get a boat to the course until 1973, with the clubhouse putting up colored disks to draw the attention of the boatman. Once on dry land, the dunes loom. It’s hard to tell just how big they are when you’re in Malahide, but after 18 holes and a couple pints of Guinness, trust me, they’re massive.

Hidden gems is a phrase too often used. Because a lot of the time, how you feel about a course is dependent on how you play and what type of courses you prefer to play. My challenge in Scotland is to demonstrate that no matter how low or high your handicap, or how close to it you play, you will still walk away appreciating what has just happened. This must be the reason we play? Personally, if I play poorly then I appreciate the view. If I play well I appreciate the scorecard, not forgetting the view. In Scotland, we will start by sauntering down the Edinburgh coast.

To see the rest of these underrated Scottish and Irish golf courses to play on your next trip over the pond, go here!

Source: Graham Hesketh  GolfWrx

Pictures: Carne Golf Links  Castlegregory  The European Club  Druids Glen

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10 Spectacular Golf and Tennis Vacation Resorts in the US!

10 Spectacular Golf and Tennis Vacation Resorts in the US!

10 Spectacular Golf and Tennis Vacation Resorts in the US!
 
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!
 
I have several students who either play both golf and tennis or the one spouse loves golf and the other tennis.  Where do you go on vacation to satisfy both passions?  Golf Vacation Insider has made this pretty simple.  Listed below are 5 of the top 10 golf and tennis resorts in the US, and a link is provided to see the rest of this inviting list. So don’t bother with the research, pick one of these and off you go!
 

10 Spectacular Golf and Tennis Vacation Resorts in the US!

Carmel Valley Ranch’s amenities include a Pete Dye-designed golf course and a terrific tennis facility. (Carmel Valley Ranch)

Most of our tips tend to revolve around encouraging you to go on vacations that are more or less all golf, all the time.

This is not one of those tips.

I know how many of you feel: golf should be a huge part of any vacation. But should it be the only leisure activity?

No way!

One favorite non-golf activity among golfers is tennis. With its slightly more intense brand of exercise and similar embrace of pairs or foursomes, tennis is a natural companion activity to any golf vacation.

And since tennis fans are fixated on the U.S. Open from New York for the next week or so, here are ten (plus a surprising eleventh, soon to debut) golf and tennis resorts where you can have fun both on the course and on the court:

The Boulders – Carefree, Ariz.

10 Spectacular Golf and Tennis Vacation Resorts in the US!

Boulders

The North and South Courses at The Boulders are renowned for their spectacular desert golfing charms, but that’s far from all there is to do at one of Arizona’s great resorts. The eight tennis course at The Boulders includes three different surfaces: four premier hard courts, three cushioned courts and one traditional clay court. This facility regularly features in Tennis Magazine’s “Top 50 Tennis Resorts in America” list.

The Broadmoor – Colorado Springs, Colo.

10 Spectacular Golf and Tennis Vacation Resorts in the US!

Long rated one of the top resorts for tennis in America by Tennis Magazine, The Broadmoor’s six tennis courts include two cushioned hard courts and two Har-Tru surfaces. Tennis is a year-round activity at The Broadmoor, as two of the courts sit inside an illuminated and heated bubble for all-weather play. In the summer, the tennis staff organizes round-robin tournaments that encourage camaraderie between all tennis-loving resort guests.

Carmel Valley Ranch – Carmel, Calif.

Carmel Valley Ranch’s golfing charms—a Pete Dye-designed course that sees well over 300 days of sunshine and mild temperatures per year—are well known to California golf travelers. But the resort’s tennis facility is not to be overlooked, either. With seven hard courts and two Har-Tru courts, there is plenty of space (and the aforementioned sunshine) to accommodate a bustling tennis scene.

The Greenbrier – White Sulphur Springs, W.V.

As one of America’s premier all-around resorts—never mind the terrific golf offerings—it is no surprise that The Greenbrier is a haven for tennis lovers. Just as Lee Trevino is the Greenbrier’s “golf pro emeritus,” the legendary Pete Sampras holds that title on the tennis side. In addition, the resort hosts the annual Greenbrier Champions Tennis Classic each autumn. Later this month, John McEnroe, James Blake and Jim Courier will join Sampras for the two-day exhibition.

Kapalua Resort – Maui, Hawaii

Kapalua is most famous for its Plantation Course, which hosts the PGA Tour’s annual Hyundai Tournament of Champions. Its Bay Course is worth playing, too. And for tennis lovers, there’s the Kapalua Tennis Garden. Located at the Bay Course clubhouse the Garden has ten “plexi-pave” courts, all of which have lights for nighttime play. A full tennis pro shop and a staff of instructors complete the offerings.

To see the other 5 top Golf and Tennis Resorts PLUS a bonus resort, go here!

Source: Golf Vacation Insider

Pictures: Carmel Valley Ranch   The Boulders Resort   The Greenbrier  La Quinta Resort & Club

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The most iconic and hallowed places in golf to visit in your lifetime!

The most iconic and hallowed places in golf to visit in your lifetime!

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!

According to this list of iconic landmarks, I still have 3 places to visit to make my golfing life complete.  I have never been to Oakmont, Beth Page Black, or visited Merion.  I hope to complete these in the future.  But  of Golf Digest has put together a “who’s who of golf landmarks” and strongly encourages us to make it our quest to see all 13.  Does anybody want to invite me to Oakmont?  Anyway, it would just be fun to be in all these wonderful places.  I would like to point out that the famous “Cypress Tree” in Pebble Beach, is in fact, an Australian Pine.  Sorry, America.

The Barclays visits Bethpage Black this week, a course so brutal that a first-tee marquee infamously warns players on the impending difficulty. The sign has become as popular as the course itself, with many a golfer stopping to snap a photo of the post. Which got us thinking: What are the most famous landmarks in golf?

 
The most iconic and hallowed places in golf to visit in your lifetime!

12th at Augusta.

An area so sacred that it has multiple landmarks — Rae’s Creek, the Hogan and Nelson Bridges — within its confines.
 

2. Swilcan Bridge, Old Course at St. Andrews.

The most iconic and hallowed places in golf to visit in your lifetime!
The Swilcan Bridge.
Astonishing not only because the game’s greats pass over the stones at St. Andrews’ 18th, but the links’ public nature gives the common man a chance to walk through history as well.
 

3. Putter Boy, Pinehurst No. 2.

 
The most iconic and hallowed places in golf to visit in your lifetime!

Putter Boy

Originally known as “Sundial Boy” until the 1970s, the statue was briefly located in the World Golf Hall of Fame. However, it returned to the Pinehurst clubhouse in 1990, residing once more by the Pinehurst putting green.

Source:     Golf Digest
Pictures: Golf Digest
 
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Have you played the Top 10 Golf Courses in Scotland?

Have you played the Top 10 Golf Courses in Scotland?

Have you played the Top 10 Golf Courses in Scotland?

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!

I have been fortunate to have played 8 of the top 10 golf courses in Scotland, as ranked by golfbreaks.com.  Golf in Scotland is like no other place on earth.  It is challenging, yes, but it also has a mystifying quality that is found in novels like Golf in the Kingdom by Michael Murphy.

If visiting and playing golf in Scotland is on your bucket list, check out my website at http://www.ritson-sole.com/golf-vacations/scotland/ and consider coming along with me as I take a golfing group to Scotland every third year.

Golf in Scotland is arguably the best in world. The country is blessed with so many wonderful courses that when asked to select the ten best, it’s a daunting but enjoyable task. To make sense of it we took into account the course design, landscape, playing experience and history.  To pick the very best from the planet’s best golf destination. They’re all links courses… and all mouth wateringly good!

1. Old Course, St Andrews.

Have you played the Top 10 Golf Courses in Scotland?

Picturesque view of the stone Swilken Bridge on St Andrews golf course, Scotland spanning a meandering stream between fairways with the town in the background

It won’t come as a shock to discover the timeless Old Course at the summit of this list. The definitive ‘must play’ course, the history and iconic nature of the holes and landmarks provide a surreal element to a round on the ancient links.

This is particularly true on the back nine as you play towards the town.  It also serves as an atmospheric and spellbinding backdrop.

Intriguingly strategic and complex, it would be wise to enlist the services of a knowledgeable caddie.  As the Old Lady doesn’t give up her secrets easily!

Playing the Old is an opportunity to walk in the footsteps of legends.  And to etch your own piece of history at the most famous venue in golf. There is nothing else quite like it.

Muirfield Golf Course

For many, the home of the Honourable Company of Edinburgh Golfers is the finest course on the Open Championship rotation. And it’s easy to see why. Intelligently designed, Muirfield is a challenging but fair layout that arguably doesn’t possess a weak hole in its number.

It has certainly found favour with many of the game’s greatest players down the years with the likes of Jack Nicklaus, Lee Trevino, Tom Watson, Nick Faldo, Ernie Els and Phil Mickelson all clinching the Claret Jug on this celebrated East Lothian links.

Serious golfers will appreciate the layout and challenge of the course, as well as the thrilling opportunity to recreate the shots that have defined many careers and hallmarked championship history.

Have you played the Top 10 Golf Courses in Scotland?

3. Championship Course, Carnoustie

Have you played the Top 10 Golf Courses in Scotland?

Similar to the revered Oakmont, the Championship Course at Carnoustie has attained a reputation as being one of the most difficult in the world. It is undeniably true that on a breezy day (commonplace on the coast of Angus) that the course becomes a stringent test for even the most accomplished of players.

However, that challenge can be intoxicating with the mix of holes ensuring that the experience is just as interesting as it may be difficult.

Ben Hogan certainly overcame its obstacles in 1953 and his famous Open Championship victory still resonates in the area.

The closing stretch is simply brilliant with the completion of the round bringing with it a tangible sense of satisfaction. Surviving Carnoustie is a badge of honour.

4. Championship Course, Royal Dornoch

Tucked away in the Highlands, Royal Dornochwas for decades a largely overlooked masterpiece. In recent times, however, visitor numbers have increased, word has spread and the mesmerising course has become a firm favourite with visitors from all across the globe.

After a gentle start, the course opens up in the middle of what is an incredible front nine that offers breathtakingly expansive views across the landscape.

With its plateaued greens, deep bunkers and plentiful gorse, Dornoch is a spectacular, and at times exhilarating, course to play.

There is a great deal of hype attached to this golf course, which is understandable. The holes are intriguing, the views stunning and the village welcoming. It is one of the great experiences in golf.

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Royal Dornoch

5. Ailsa Course, Turnberry Resort

Perhaps the most visually spectacular of all the Open Championship venues, Turnberry’s place in golfing lore was established in 1977 with Tom Watson and Jack Nicklaus’ legendary ‘Duel in the Sun’.

Hugging the rocky coastline of south-west Ayrshire, The Ailsa Course is arguably Scotland’s equivalent to Pebble Beach. Many of the holes in the vicinity of the now iconic lighthouse offer expansive vistas across the Firth of Clyde towards the Isle of Arran.

Significant changes and improvements are to be made to the course in 2015, with many of the holes that ran along the coast being altered dramatically. Those alterations are needed, and have only enhanced a layout that could now fulfill its potential as one of the finest in Britain.

Ailsa Course.

To see the other 5 of the top 10 courses in Scotland, go here!

Source : golfbreaks.com

Pictures : golfbreaks.com

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Courses you have not heard of but are fun to play in Scotland or Ireland.

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Play Golf and Watch Baseball - 27 places to do just that!

Play Golf and Watch Baseball – 27 places to do just that!

Play Golf and Watch Baseball – 27 places to do just that!

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!

Playing golf during the day and afterward heading to a nearby Major League baseball game would appeal to all those who love both golf and baseball.  

Here is a great guide from Golf Vacation Insider to help you plan a trip to play golf and watch baseball at a Major League Park, all on the same day!

Being a baseball fan (let’s go Mets!), one trip that I’m dying to take one of these summers is a road trip across the United States.  To combine great golf with baseball games in as many Major League stadiums as possible.

I know I’m not alone in my baseball/golf hybrid fandom.  So if you’re thinking of hitting the road, hitting the links and hitting up some of the great ballparks this summer or in the near future.  Here are some more under-the-radar suggestions for where you should tee it up near the Major Leagues’ most iconic parks.  From East to West.

Boston Red Sox – Fenway Park

Play Golf and Watch Baseball - 27 places to do just that!

One of the positive outcomes of Boston’s protracted “Big Dig” was Granite Links, which is one of the area’s best public facilities.

Boston is home to some of the most stunning recent improvements to the American municipal golf scene, with both George Wright Golf Course and the #1 course at Ponkapoag Golf Course being restored to their Donald Ross roots. On the higher-end side, we recommend Granite Links for its commanding views of the Beantown skyline.

New York Yankees/New York Mets – Yankee Stadium/Citi Field

Play Golf and Watch Baseball - 27 places to do just that!

Trump Golf Links at Ferry Point is a Jack Nicklaus designed course conceived as a linksy oasis in the middle of New York City. (Courtesy of the Trump Organization)

The greater New York City area is home to dozens of phenomenal private clubs.  As well as a number of excellent playable courses. For the Bronx bombers, we suggest either Pelham Bay and Split Rock or Trump National Golf Links, Ferry Point. Pelham and Split Rock are two classic, municipal courses that are a lot of fun to play. The latter is a Wayne Stiles/John Van Kleek classic with an excellent, fun set of greens. Trump Ferry Point is a Jack Nicklaus/John Sanford layout we’ve mentioned before, and recommend as a higher-end option.

Closer to Queens and Citi Field, pickings are a little slimmer, or at least tougher to get to, with one glaring exception: Bethpage State Park.  Home to the famous (or infamous, perhaps) Black Course. But the Black is hardly Bethpage’s only attraction.  In fact, many regulars believe the A.W. Tillinghast-designed Red Course to be the best “everyday” layout on property. If you don’t mind a bit of a drive, Montauk Downs State Park out past the Hamptons is a Robert Trent Jones, Sr. original that son Rees has updated in recent years.

Play Golf and Watch Baseball – 27 places to do just that!

Pittsburgh Pirates – PNC Park

Play Golf and Watch Baseball - 27 places to do just that!

Cranberry Highlands is an open, modern and well-kept Pittsburgh public gem.

Ranked by many outlets as the best Major League ballpark. PNC is not to be missed.  Between its scenic setting where the Monongahela and Allegheny Rivers converge in the center of the Steel City, and the intimate layout of the crisp, clean stadium, it is a can’t-miss proposition for any baseball fan. Can’t-miss golf experiences in the area include Nemacolin Woodlands Resort, whose Pete Dye-designed Mystic Rock Course is scenic, challenging and a lot of fun. It’s about 90 minutes from town, though, so if you want something a little closer in, Cranberry Highlands Golf Course, at less than half the distance from PNC Park on the other side of town, gets our high recommendation. It is a municipal course that can play more like a private club with its high standard of conditioning and engaging layout.

Atlanta Braves – Turner Field/SunTrust Park

Play Golf and Watch Baseball - 27 places to do just that!

The Oconee save the best for last: a stunning par four along the lake. (Reynolds Lake Okonee.)

2016 is Turner Field’s farewell season.  The team moves into its new digs farther out of town in 2017. And if you’re in town to play golf and see the Braves, Reynolds Lake Oconee is the premier large-resort choice. Though it is a little over an hour away, you will have your pick of five excellent courses, highlighted by the Jack Nicklaus-designed Great Waters and the Rees Jones-designed Oconee layout.

Closer in, private layouts like Peachtree and Atlanta Athletic Club tend to overshadow the public offerings, but if you like the courses of Jack Nicklaus, you can get a taste of his greatest hits at Bear’s Best Atlanta in Suwanee. The move to a new stadium benefits fans of Cobblestone Golf Course in the nearby suburb of Acworth.

Chicago Cubs/Chicago White Sox – Wrigley Field/US Cellular Field

The Gle3n Club is a Tom Fazio design in a peaceful suburban Chicago setting. (Kemper Sports)

Cubs fans are more hopeful than usual about their team’s World Series prospects.  With half the city willing the 108-year World Series drought will finally be broken.  As for golf on the North Side, you have a couple options. On the high end, The Glen Club, about 45 minutes away from Wrigley, is an excellent Tom Fazio course that is open to guests of the adjacent hotel. Standalone green fees top out at $160, but the club is currently running a weekday offer for two days of unlimited golf with cart and one night in the hotel for $300, through June 16.

If you’re seeking more convenience and a less fussy golf experience, you might enjoy a romp around Robert A. Black Golf Course, a nine-holer that dates back to 1910 and is part of the Chicago Park District’s system of courses. Walking rates top out at $18 for nine holes, and you can cruise around the course on a GolfBoard if you prefer.

The South Side ball club’s positive start to the 2016 season has been overshadowed by the Cubs’ strong start.  Take in a game (or two) at US Cellular and play your golf at Harborside International Golf Center.  Which has two expansive courses where wind, rather than trees, plays a primary factor. You can also take your own version of batting practice at Harborside’s massive, 57-acre practice facility.

To read the rest of this great article on golf courses near major League ballparks, go here!

Source: Golf Vacation Insider

Pictures: Granite Links Golf Club  Courtesy of the Trump Organization   Cranberry Highlands Golf Course   Reynolds Lake Oconee   KemperSports  

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4 Things you need to do to have an enjoyable Golf vacation!

4 Things you need to do to have an enjoyable Golf vacation!

4 Things you need to do to have an enjoyable Golf vacation!

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!

Going on a golf vacation can be a stressful experience if you don’t know how to avoid the pitfalls that await any traveler!  My wife and I have been hosting golf vacations to Scotland, Ireland, and South Africa for many years and have now got it down to a fine art.  Keeping travel expenses down, making sure there is something to do for everyone in the group and verifying the quality of the accommodations!  Sites like tripadvisor.com have been a huge help.  Reading other travelers’ comments can make some choices a lot easier.  Anyone wanting further details on any of my trips, visit here – http://www.ritson-sole.com/golf-vacations/

 Jules Paton CEO of Golfers Jewels has also done his research and suggested 4 critical ingredients for a successful trip.

4 Things you need to do to have an enjoyable Golf vacation!

Just because the temperature is dipping in most parts of the country, doesn’t mean that you can no longer play your favorite sport. This holiday, why not go on a golf vacation and spend some serious time in the sun and swing your way onto new green frontiers.

Follow these tips to get the most out of your holiday and come home feeling like this has been the best golf trip of your life.

1. Do your research

Talk to friends, scour magazines and go online. Find out as much as you can about the destination you’re considering. Pay close attention to the courses you’ll be playing in. Consider new courses or championship venues to ensure a quality golfing experience.

Also, shop around and compare offers from different golf clubs before booking. With a little effort, you’ll be able to find a great destination at a price you can afford.

2. Book early

A good golf holiday is about playing and relaxing. You don’t want to be traipsing halfway around the country only to find out that the hotel is fully booked or you can’t afford their rates. If you can, plan ahead of time and book your accommodations early. You may get yourself a better deal if you book early. It’s also a good idea to book your tee time before you arrive.

To see the other two things you need to do to have a successful golf vacation, go here!

Source: Jules Paton   Golfers Jewels

Pictures: Golfers Jewels

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Better Green Reading leads to Less Putts and Lower Scores!

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