Category: Travel Deals


February 05, 2014

Can't afford to play the Pebble Pro-Am? Here's five affordable seaside spreads

Posted at 9:33 AM by Pete Madden

By JOE PASSOV, Golf Magazine Senior Editor

Pacific Grove Golf Links
Pacific Grove Golf Links / Joann Dost

 

PACIFIC GROVE GOLF LINKS, Pacific Grove, Calif.

Locals call this 82-year-old muni the "poor man's Pebble Beach" for good reason. Instead of Pebble's $500 green fees, hoofing it weekdays at the walkable layout is $46, $52 on weekends and $25 for twilight. You get two distinct nines: a passable parklander to open, followed by a stirring seaside loop, complete with huge sand dunes, ocean views, coastal breezes and a lighthouse. My favorite is the 513-yard, par-5 12th, which boomerangs to the right around dunes. It's reachable in two, but a rumpled fairway, stern crosswinds and the ocean to the left complicate matters.

WAILUA MUNICIPAL GOLF COURSE, Kauai, Hawaii

Three times the host venue for the U.S. Amateur Public Links Championship, this busy muni doesn't boast the most sophisticated design, yet it proved a worthy test on each occasion. Gusts from the adjacent Pacific, trees that bracket many fairways, and a healthy 6,991 yards from the tips all add up to a serious scoring challenge for any level. What truly elevates Wailua are its wondrous ocean vistas and affordable price tag. It's just $48 for nonresidents to walk during the week, and half that for twilight play. Local seniors and juniors pay less than 10 bucks, all to tackle holes such as the 456-yard, par-4 second, the Pacific churning along the left side; and a pair of into-the-wind, well-bunkered par 3s, the 14th and 17th, both of which face the ocean.

Highland Links Golf Course
Highland Links Golf Course / Larry Lambrecht

 

HIGHLAND LINKS GOLF COURSE, Truro, Mass.

This funky 2,753-yard nine-holer on Cape Cod has so many delightful quirks it makes Prestwick look tame. Summer rates will set you back only $35, another $9 to ride. It's a small price to pay for fescue-framed holes that dip into beach canyons. Unforgettable attractions abound. The par-5 second sports a medieval granite tower honoring nineteenth-century singer Jenny Lind. And the par-3 ninth is backdropped by Cape Cod Lighthouse; dating to 1767, it's the oldest lighthouse on the Cape.

LOS VERDES GOLF COURSE, Rancho Palos Verdes, Calif.

A few years back I lambasted this superbly situated muni for my nearly four-hour round -- on the front nine! Since then, the pace remains leisurely but not as glacial. No wonder it's packed; green fees are under $50 every day, even if you're in a cart, with prime-time walkers during the week paying $27 for a course that's a half-hour from LAX. Los Verdes' 6,617 breezy yards prove a sufficient challenge, especially the bluff-top, 441-yard, par-4 fourth. That hole, along with many others, offers sensational views of the Pacific Ocean. Hey, everyone deserves a second chance, right?

PALM BEACH PAR-3 GOLF COURSE, Palm Beach, Fla.

In 2009, Raymond Floyd supersized this 1961 Dick Wilson/Joe Lee 18-hole par-3 charmer, making it tougher and more dramatic. As for sheer drama, nature had already taken care of that. Long a popular LPGA Pro-Am venue, nearly half of Palm Beach's holes hug the Atlantic Ocean, while the other half wind along the Intracoastal Waterway. It's a blur of sand, water and wind, but with seasonal prices as low as $20 -- and with Golf Magazine Top 100 Teachers Kellie Stenzel and Scott Munroe on-site -- Palm Beach Par-3 belongs on your must-play list.

For more news that golfers everywhere are talking about, follow @si_golf on Twitter, like us on Facebook, and subscribe to our YouTube video channel.

January 06, 2014

Budget Breaks: Pop the cork on great golf deals in 2014

Posted at 12:10 PM by Pete Madden

By JOE PASSOV, Golf Magazine Senior Editor

Innisbrook
Credit: Courtesy of Innisbrook, a Salamander Golf and Spa Resort

 

SAVE $120: Innisbrook Resort and Golf Club Palm Harbor, Fla.

Don't get snake-bit this winter. Try Innisbrook's Tour-tested Copperhead course -- and its 54 other holes -- with the Classic Golf Package. It includes lodging, one round per golfer per night, $10 retail credit, unlimited practice and fitness facility use, and club storage. January rates start at $458 per room, per night, based on double occupancy. 888-794-8627, innisbrookgolfresort.com

SAVE $105: Robert Trent Jones Golf Trail [Grand National] Opelika, Ala.

Already one of the best deals in golf, Alabama's Robert Trent Jones Trail is an even bigger bargain with its Winter Unlimited Package. Available at all sites except Lakewood and Ross Bridge [with a $10 surcharge for the Judge at Capitol Hill], the package gets you all the golf you can play in January for $75 per day. Price includes cart and unlimited range balls. 800-949-4444, rtjgolf.com

SAVE $115: Omni Amelia Island Plantation Amelia Island, Fla.

Pete Dye and protégé Bobby Weed crafted 36 holes at Amelia -- including a fistful that skirt the Atlantic Ocean. The Stay and Play Package offers ocean-view lodging and one round at $100 per person -- with a second round, rental clubs and a $40 beverage-cart credit free. January rates start at $319 per room, per night, based on double occupancy. 904-261-6161, omnihotels.com

SAVE $105: The Biltmore Hotel Coral Gables, Fla.

Its venerable Donald Ross design -- not to mention legendary swimming pool -- made the Biltmore one of Babe Ruth's favorite hangouts. See it yourself with the Hole-in-One Package, which includes lodging, unlimited golf, and practice facility use. January rates start at $589 per night, based on double occupancy. 855-311-6903, biltmorehotel.com

For more news that golfers everywhere are talking about, follow @si_golf on Twitter, like us on Facebook, and subscribe to our YouTube video channel.

December 01, 2013

Ask Travelin' Joe: From One Fine Bay to Another

Posted at 10:49 AM by Pete Madden

By JOE PASSOV, Golf Magazine Senior Editor

TPC Harding Park
TPC Harding Park / Getty Images

 

Dear Joe: I'm heading out to San Francisco and I have three days to squeeze in a couple of rounds. What are your recommendations? -- Kyle McKearney, via email

There's iconic TPC Harding Park ($155-$175; 415-664-4690, tpc.com/tpc-harding-park), the foggy, cypress-lined home of the 2005 WGC-American Express Championship (won by Tiger Woods) and the 2009 Presidents Cup. A heads up: On December 1, after it hosts the Champions Tour's season-ending Schwab Cup, Harding's greens will get a face-lift. This means you'll have 18 temporaries (along with a deep discount on green fees) through March. Until then, Presidio Golf Club ($110-$145; 415-561-4653, presidiogolf.com) is your best option. This hilly challenge is a bear to walk, but it compensates with imposing pines and some fun shotmaking challenges. And be sure to check out Lincoln Park ($38-$55; 415-221-9911, sfrecpark.org). This quaint, 5,146-yard muni is more about the postcard (as in amazing views) than the scorecard, with a dazzling glimpse of the Golden Gate Bridge on the par-3 17th.

Redstone Golf Club
Redstone Golf Club / Larry Lambrecht

 

Yo Joe: I'm heading down to Houston in late November to catch a college football game. Where should I tee it up? -- Jake Davidson, Cincinnati, Ohio

There's nothing like college pigskin in the Lone Star State. After you watch your Cincinnati Bearcats battle the Houston Cougars, check out Redstone's Tournament course ($125-$175; 281-459-7800, redstonegolfclub.com) in suburban Humble. Host to the PGA Tour's Shell Houston Open, this Rees Jones creation is a bomber's paradise. It's long, wide and watery. Phil Mickelson and Hunter Mahan are among the recent winners. Closer to downtown (and to Rice Stadium, where you'll watch the game), you'll find Memorial Park ($39-$49; 713-559-2000, memorialparkgolf.com), a flattish, well-treed, 7,300-yarder that boasts some history of its own -- 14 Houston Opens were contested here between 1947 and 1963, with Arnold Palmer claiming the crown in 1957. It's a score either way, so why not go for two?

Orange Lake Golf Resort
Courtesy of Orange Lake Golf Resort

 

Hey Joe: My wife and I are older golfers and fairly new to the game. We want to take a vacation, ideally to a moderately priced place with good instruction. Ideas? -- John and Pat Morello, via email

With December closing in faster than a one-horse sleigh, I direct you to the Sunshine State, specifically Orange Lake Golf Resort (407-239-1050, orangelake.com) in Kissimmee, just south of Orlando and three miles from Disney. If you're feeling ambitious, there are two championship 18s on-site, as well as a pair of beginner-friendly nines, first-rate practice facilities and excellent instruction (we rank the McCord Golf Academy as one of the 25 Best in the U.S.). With December lodging rates that begin at $99/night, for pure value, this Orange is very sweet.

Dear Travelin' Man: I'm taking the family to Pensacola, Fla. I'd like a break from the beach and plan to hit the links for a day. Any diamonds in the rough under $70? -- Dave Gardner, Louisville, Ky.

Value on the Emerald Coast is as prevalent as the sugary-white beaches. My top pick is Kiva Dunes ($64.50-$92; 251-540-7000, kivadunes.com) across the border in Gulf Shores, Alabama. It's a superb, linksy Jerry Pate design between Mobile Bay and the Gulf, with afternoon rates of less than $70 in December. Just one catch: It's more than an hour's drive away. If that's too much of a haul, try Tiger Point ($40-$50; 850-932-1333, tigerpointgolf.com), 12 miles from Pensacola in Gulf Breeze. Its Jerry Pate-designed East course offers water on 14 holes and views of Santa Rosa Sound. I'm also a fan of Sandestin, about an hour to the east. The Baytowne course ($54-$89; 850-267-8155, sandestin.com) charges $54-$74 during the winter and features what passes for an elevation change in the Panhandle, along with kid-friendly tees and rental clubs -- so bring the wee ones and wipe away the guilt.

Our traveling correspondent has been where you're going. Heading out of town on vacation? Business trip? Travelin' Joe can suggest the best places for you to tee it up. If you want to ask Travelin' Joe a question, e-mail him at askjoe@golf.com.

For more news that golfers everywhere are talking about, follow @si_golf on Twitter, like us on Facebook, and subscribe to our YouTube video channel.

November 24, 2013

Deal of the Month: Royal Isabela in Puerto Rico

Posted at 3:56 PM by Pete Madden

By JOE PASSOV, Golf Magazine Senior Editor

Royal Isabela
Credit: Joann Dost

 

Draped atop rugged cliffs in northwest Puerto Rico, 75 miles west of San Juan, Royal Isabela dishes out a stunning (if ferocious) 7,667-yard par-73 replete with soaring Atlantic vistas. The 435-yard, par-4 12th and 200-yard, par-3 17th, which peer over the beach, are two of the hardest, most spectacular holes I've played. Pack an extra dozen balls -- and throw in another sleeve, just in case. Fortunately, Royal Isabela soothes in so many ways. On my visit, Rafael Bernaloa and his team of bartenders wiped away my double-bogey blues with a tropical-drink class, and head pro Miguel Suárez Igartúa patched up my swing at his academy. Toss in superior dining at La Casa and lodging in a huge one-bedroom casita, and you have the ultimate secluded seaside golf escape.

This month, the resort is offering a special to Travelin' Joe readers: one free round with each 3 night/4 day stay at regular rates. December rates start at $800 per casita, including breakfast for two. 855-609-5888, royalisabela.com

For more news that golfers everywhere are talking about, follow @si_golf on Twitter, like us on Facebook, and subscribe to our YouTube video channel.

November 20, 2013

Best Trips: Sewailo Golf Club in Tucson, Ariz.

Posted at 1:06 PM by Pete Madden

By JOE PASSOV, Golf Magazine Senior Editor

Sewailo Golf Club
Credit: D Squared Productions

 

It's been four long years since a new course opened in golf-crazy Arizona. As it turns out, good things are worth waiting for. Sewailo Golf Club was built as an amenity for the Casino del Sol Resort in Tucson. In the Native American language of Yaqui, "sewailo" translates to "flower world," and this Ty Butler-Notah Begay co-design lives up to that name.

If you're looking for a cactus-lined, target-style track, you won't find it here; instead, you'll play through a kaleidoscope of year-round floral displays. White and pink roses, yellow brittlebush and purple sage from a stunning palette, while cottonwood, pine and willow trees (which are important in Pascua Yaqui tribal ceremonies) dot the course.

Still, pretty colors won't entirely ease the menace of the seven elegant yet daunting lakes and interlocking streams that dominate the layout, influencing play on half the holes. All that water makes its presence felt, most memorably on a trio of handsome but stern tests: the 145-yard par-3 third, the 620-yard, double-dogleg par-5 10th and the 390-yard par-4 18th.

Happily, it's not all punishment. Sewailo sets itself apart from its sandy competitors in town with roomy fairways and bentgrass greens, as well as a casino and mountain backdrop. Slated for a mid-December opening, Sewailo is sure to seduce parched desert-dwellers eager for a touch of the tropics.

7,282 yards, par-72; Green fees: $69-$149; (855) 765-7289; www.solcasinos.com

For more news that golfers everywhere are talking about, follow @si_golf on Twitter, like us on Facebook, and subscribe to our YouTube video channel.

November 03, 2013

Ask Travelin' Joe: From Ragin' Cajuns to Mickey Mouse

Posted at 12:40 PM by Pete Madden

By JOE PASSOV, Golf Magazine Senior Editor

Gray Plantation
Gray Plantation, Credit: Aidan Bradley

 

Dear Joe: I'll be taking a trip to Lake Charles, La., to visit family. I plan on playing at least one day while there. What area courses would you recommend? -- Mike Haig, Chicago, Ill.

I've got two top choices for you in Cajun country, one of my favorite places to play in the USA. First, a value-favorite: Gray Plantation ($35-$59; 337-562-1663, graywoodllc.com) is a handsome, well-treed track that features water, water everywhere. Bring an extra sleeve or two; you can lose ammo on 12 holes, including the tough par-3 sixth, which demands a shot over the Calcasieu Ship Channel to a peninsula green. If you want to roll the dice after rolling the rock, try Tom Fazio's Contraband Bayou at nearby L'Auberge Casino Resort ($39-$109; 337-395-7220, llakecharles.com). This 7,077-yard par 71 features superb Bermuda greens, Fazio's striking bunkers and eight lakes throughout the layout.

Bulle Rock
Bulle Rock, Credit: Evan Schiller

 

Hi Joe: I'll be in Annapolis for one day, flying into Baltimore, with time for a quick round. I prefer a quality layout with great conditioning. Where should I play? -- Ed Cadenas, via e-mail

Ed, cracking blue crabs is my first priority when I'm down Chesapeake way, with golf being a (very) close second. Bulle Rock ($79-$130; 888-285-5375, bullerock.com) in Havre de Grace is my first choice. True, it's an hour north of the airport, but with a ranking of No. 41 on our 2012-'13 Top 100 Courses You Can Play list, it's worth the journey. Bulle is a true bully (and it's pronounced that way, too). This danger-laden Pete Dye stunner has hosted the LPGA Championship five times, with Annika Sorenstam, Se Ri Pak and Suzann Pettersen among those hoisting the trophy. Conditioning? It's kept in tournament shape all year round. If you prefer something closer to Baltimore, try Waverly Woods ($54-$84; 410-313-9182, waverlywoods.com) an Arthur Hills course just a 20-minute drive from Baltimore's Inner Harbor.

Hi Joe: While my kids are at Disney World, I have time for some peace and quiet on the course. I've already played Grand Cypress, a great pick. What's next? -- Luis M. Rivera, via e-mail

I don't blame you for resisting the siren call of the Mouse -- there's plenty of golf to play. I agree with Tiger, who once called the greens at the Ritz-Carlton Golf Club Orlando, Grande Lakes ($60-$180; 407-393-4900, grandelakes.com) some of the best he's ever putted. Although this Greg Norman design is runway wide and flat, it's also truly tranquil, offering just the serenity you're seeking. You might also consider Rees Jones's Waldorf Astoria Golf Club ($50-$170; 407-597-3780, waldorfastoriaorlando.com). Hewn from pristine woodlands, it's only about three miles from Disney and offers strategic resort golf at its best. Right at the park, consider Disney's Magnolia Course ($104-$165; 407-939-4653, disneyworldgolf.com). Don't let the hokey, mouse-ear-shaped bunker fool you—for 40 years, this track was tough enough to be a PGA Tour stop. At 7,500 yards, it's hardly child's play.

Sedona Golf Resort
Sedona Golf Resort, Credit: Evan Schiller

 

Dear Joe: I'm planning a trip to Scottsdale this November, but lots of courses will be overseeding. Any way around that? -- Scott Gentry, Tulsa, Okla.

If they're overseeding, head north over the hills to Sedona. The town has quaint charms that dear old Scottsdale can't match, and at 4,500 feet of elevation, there's no need to overseed; the courses have cool-season grasses. Both Sedona Golf Resort ($69-$99; 928-284-9355, sedonagolfresort.com) and Oakcreek ($79-$99; 928-284-1660, oakcreekcountryclub.com) will dazzle you with red-rock landscapes. Seven Canyons ($100-$150; 928-203-2000, sevencanyons.com) is beautiful, too, but it's only open to guests of Enchantment Resort.

Our traveling correspondent has been where you're going. Heading out of town on vacation? Business trip? Travelin' Joe can suggest the best places for you to tee it up. If you want to ask Travelin' Joe a question, e-mail him at askjoe@golf.com.

For more news that golfers everywhere are talking about, follow @si_golf on Twitter, like us on Facebook, and subscribe to our YouTube video channel.

October 31, 2013

Deal of the Month: The Resort at Pelican Hill in Newport Coast, Calif.

Posted at 12:48 PM by Pete Madden

By JOE PASSOV, Golf Magazine Senior Editor

The Resort at Pelican Hill
Credit: Jay D. Jenks / Courtesy of The Resort at Pelican Hill

 

For most of my stay here, I simply couldn't stop smiling. Why?

Let me count the ways. The ocean views are spectacular. The service is superb. If you like celebrity-spotting, simply settle in beside the retro-cool pool. The Pelican Grill is one of the great 19th holes, and the spa is an excellent place to recover after your round. As for golf, there are two Tom Fazio layouts along the Pacific Ocean, and a Top 100 Teacher, Glenn Deck. (Thanks for the putting tip, Glenn -- it's still working!)

Come checkout time, the cost will wipe the smile off your face. Perfection is pricey. But there are ways to trim the tab. If you have a lot of rounds in mind, consider the Fazio Unlimited Package, which covers Bungalow or Villa lodging and all-you-can-play access to three courses. (There's another Fazio at nearby Oak Creek.) Carts, club rental, forecaddies and valet parking are also part of the package.

Rates start at $835 per night, with a two-night minimum stay; (888) 802-1777, pelicanhill.com

For more news that golfers everywhere are talking about, follow @si_golf on Twitter, like us on Facebook, and subscribe to our YouTube video channel.

July 25, 2013

Deal of the Month: The Grove Park Inn

Posted at 2:58 PM by Joe Passov

Grovepark

Few resorts get to celebrate their 100th anniversary, and this year venerable Grove Park Inn will blow out a whole lot of candles.

Perched high above Asheville in the mountains of western North Carolina, Grove Park Inn has hosted such names as Ford, Rockefeller and Edison. Ten U.S. presidents, including golfer-in-chief Barack Obama, have put their heads in these beds, and the likes of Bobby Jones, Ben Hogan and Jack Nicklaus have teed it up here as well.

As a birthday present to itself, the Grove Park Inn has unveiled a $25 million renovation, along with specials such as the old-fashioned Hickory Sticks Golf Tournament and a variety of golf packages.

My pick is the Stay & Play Getaway package, which includes lodging, one round of golf (with cart) on the Inn's excellent Donald Ross layout, and one cocktail per person in The Great Hall Bar. August rates start at $409 per night, based on double occupancy.

800-438-5800, groveparkinn.com

June 27, 2013

Dye Hard, the Original: Casa de Campo Stages Blockbuster Event

Posted at 4:28 PM by Golf.com

Teethofthedog
Before 1971, the closest most golfers got to the Dominican Republic was a premium cigar at the 19th hole.

Then Teeth of the Dog opened, and everything changed.

The Pete Dye design, at Casa de Campo resort, spread so close to the DR’s southeast coast that you could nearly dip your driver from several tees. It was immediately hailed as a bucket-list layout -- the course that put the island nation on the golfing map.

In the years since, the resort has christened three other Dye layouts -- the Scottish-style Links Course, the cliff-hugging Dye Fore and the private resort course, La Romana -- making Casa de Campo what it is today: the Caribbean’s top-rated golf destination.

Not a bad place for a few relaxing rounds -- or a serious, stroke-play competition.

Which brings us to the first-ever Dye Hard Cup. From Nov. 10-15, 2013, the resort will be the stage of the inaugural event, a four-day competition that pits 90 contestants on 90 holes for a winner-take-all prize of $90,000.

The event, which is open to both professionals and amateurs, will play out on all four resort courses. The number of holes in each round will correspond to the number of holes on each track. Day one calls for 27 holes at La Romana. Day two brings 27 holes at Dye Fore, followed by 18 holes on day three on the Links.

The closing 18 will be at Teeth of the Dog, a fitting finish on the property’s most prestigious test.

This being the Caribbean, the event will be part party, part competition, starting with a November 10 welcome reception at The Beach Club by Le Cirque, the resort’s marquee restaurant and lounge. Early arrivals are welcome to play a practice round on any of the resort’s courses that day.

Also included in each contestant’s entry fees are:

* Five nights’ accommodations in the newly renovated elite-class room

* Breakfast, lunch and dinner daily

* Unlimited drinks in all resort bars and restaurants, including Oasis bars and beverage carts on the course

* Unlimited use of the driving range

* Complimentary use of personal golf cart across the property

* Complimentary access to the resort’s sports and fitness center

* VIP welcome at La Romana airport and at check-in

* Airport transfers, resort taxes and service charges

The all-inclusive cost is $5,000 for contestants; $3,000 for non-golfers, who, in lieu of golf, will have unlimited access to horseback riding, tennis and non-motorized watersports at the resort’s private beach.

For more information, call 809-523-8215 or visit casadecampo.com.do/dyehardcup2013/

June 25, 2013

Budget Breaks: Head for the hills this summer for a scenic mountain getaway

Posted at 12:11 PM by Joe Passov

Homestead
SAVE $115

The Homestead Resort Hot Springs, Va.

Combine outstanding value, a hilly layout that Sam Snead called the greatest mountain course in the country, and the rushing brooks of summertime, and you have the Unlimited Cascades Golf Package. It includes all the golf you can handle on the Homestead's Cascades [ranked No. 24 in our Top 100 Courses You Can Play], a room upgrade, cart and range balls. June rates start at $355 per room, per night, based on double occupancy. 800-838-1766, thehomestead.com

SAVE $120
The Broadmoor Colorado Springs, Colo.

The highest-altitude Platinum Medal winner in our 2012-13 Premier Resorts awards is the Broadmoor. The property soars with its Five Star Golf Package, which features lodging, one round of golf [plus cart] for each person each night of the package, $60 breakfast credit per night, and range balls, with suites available at 30 percent off published rates. July rates begin at $420 per person, per night, based on double occupancy. 866-837-9520, broadmoor.com

SAVE $105
The Equinox Resort Manchester Village, Vt.

New England mountain scenery? Check. A classic, playable Walter Travis/Rees Jones golf course? Check. A package to maximize the experience? Checkmate! The Unlimited Equinox Golf Package has everything, including all the golf you can play and lodging in a setting that's loaded with Yankee charm. July rates begin at $499 per room, per night, based on double occupancy, with a two-night minimum on weekends. 800-362-4747, equinoxresort.com

SAVE $100
Shanty Creek Resorts Bellaire, Mich.

Believe it or not, northern Michigan is almost always gorgeously sunny come summer. All the better to take advantage of Shanty Creek's Golf 'Til You Drop package. Included is lodging, breakfast and two days of unlimited golf on any of the resort's four courses, among them Shanty Creek's Legend and Cedar River layouts, plus the Summit and the Schuss. July rates start at $199 per person, per night, based on double occupancy. 800-678-4111, shantycreek.com

Ask Travelin' Joe

Our traveling correspondent has been where you're going. Heading out of town on vacation? Business trip? Travelin' Joe can suggest the best places for you to tee it up. If you want to ask Travelin' Joe a question, e-mail him at askjoe@golf.com.


 

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