Imagine playing a round of golf at the Ocean Course on Kiawah Island, then boarding a luxurious 104-foot yacht with a few of your closest friends and cruising down the coast to Hilton Head to play Harbour Town. Sort of makes the winding drive down U.S. 17 seem passé by comparison.
Tour operator PerryGolf is launching just such a service this fall as part of a new partnership with McMillen Yachts Inc. The golf cruises are being offered during McMillen’s shoulder seasons – late October to early December, and mid-April to early June.
PerryGolf, best known for taking golf groups to play the world’s trophy courses, has been operating golf cruises in Europe for several years. Its partnership with McMillen Yachts is its entree into the U.S. cruising market.
“We feel strongly that’s it’s one of those unique experiences that no one is really doing,” said Gordon Dalgleish, president of PerryGolf.
Dalgleish emphasizes that itineraries are flexible and can be tailored for small golf groups. A tentative five-day, four-night itinerary, posted on PerryGolf’s website (www.perrygolf.com), suggests a trip that begins in Charleston, with golf at the Ocean Course, Harbour Town and May ...
ERIN, Wis. – For a course that is only 5 years old, Erin Hills understandably wouldn't yield many historical anecdotes. However, the site of the U.S. Amateur still offers some interesting facts, despite its relative youth. After scouring the course in search of interesting facts and stories, here’s what I came up with:
During a course renovation in 2009, the grounds crew laid out 24 1/2 miles of sod.
The caddie barn is, in fact, a barn. Original owner Bob Lang was driving through Iowa when he stumbled upon a random barn. He had to have it, so he bought the building and had it disassembled to be trucked back to Wisconsin.
This week, spectators are parking on an open piece of land on the golf course, then being shuttled to the course. Before the land was used for a parking lot, it was home to four houses. Erin Hills did not want any houses on the golf course, so one by one they were purchased and moved off of the property. Through the spring of 2009, the director of golf resided in the last house that remained. In the fall of 2009, new owner Andrew Ziegler ...
When he was a member of Jefferson Country Club in Columbus, Ohio, in 2008, McRedmond Morelli noticed something that offended his business sensibilities: an abundance of unused tee times. This is hardly unusual. Nationwide, Morelli found, 62 percent of private-club tee times go unused.
From that observation, a business was born. In 2009 Morelli launched Boxgroove.com, a web-based vehicle for golfers to schedule rounds at hundreds of private clubs. In theory, golfers could do that already by asking their home-club pro to arrange reciprocal rounds with other clubs. But, Morelli said, "That's like calling your travel agent to schedule a flight. Nobody does that anymore."
Boxgroove's appeal to private clubs is not only incremental revenues, but a marketing vehicle to increase membership. Brian Jorgenson, director of golf at Nashville Golf and Athletic Club, said he viewed Boxgroove as "a no-brainer" because it's a free, low-maintenance means of advertising his club to Nashville residents and visitors.
Boxgroove has signed 395 affiliated clubs and almost 6,000 golfers in 43 states and three countries. Nearly 40,000 tee times have been booked through the service. Unlike tee-time services, Boxgroove does not discount; its software is free to courses ...
What a week for caddies on the PGA Tour. Anyone who thought that bag toters (like baseball umpires) did their jobs the best when nobody noticed them would have been caught off guard by a flurry of news reports.
The big story, of course, was snarly Steve Williams getting sacked after 12 spectacularly successful years of clearing the way for Tiger Woods. Seems the issue was loyalty. In a rare faux pas, it seems Williams got antsy sitting around waiting for his man to heal and went out to work for Adam Scott without securing proper clearances.
Considerable speculation ensued as to who would succeed Williams.
British bookies even established a betting line on the several candidates. In the end - or perhaps only in the interim - Woods opted for his longtime friend, Bryon Bell, who has exactly three tournaments under his belt. Nominally, Bell is head of Woods’ golf course design operation, though the workload there is moribund of late.
In any case, there’s only one person who will be scrutinized more carefully than Bell this week for his on-course performance at the Wold Golf Championships-Bridgestone Invitational at Firestone Country Club in Akron, Ohio: That’s Tiger Woods himself ...
Add Pete Dye to the list of architects who have had golf trails named in their honor.
Dye’s home state of Indiana has begun marketing the Pete Dye Golf Trail, a collection of seven of the architects’ design. The trail stretches from Culver in northern Indiana to French Lick, about 100 miles south of Indianapolis. The idea is similar to the Robert Trent Jones Golf Trail in Alabama and Jack Nicklaus' Bear Trace courses in Tennessee.
Indiana is home to more Dye-designed courses than any other state. The 85-year-old Dye, a longtime resident of the Indianapolis suburb of Carmel, picked the seven courses that make up the trail.
Moving from north to south, the trail courses are:
• Mystic Hills (Culver), which has starkly different nines thanks to the sandy terrain on which the front side was built;
• The Kampen Course (West Lafayette), Purdue’s home course and host to 2008 NCAA Men’s Championship and 2003 NCAA Women’s Championship;
• Plum Creek (Carmel), which hosted the 2003 State Open;
• The Fort (Indianapolis), located on the site of a former U.S. Army post that is now a state park;
• Brickyard Crossing (Indianapolis), a former Champions Tour site with four ...
Renovations to Dorado Beach Resort & Club in Puerto Rico are continuing with the recent announcement that the resort will be home to a new Ritz-Carlton Reserve.
The 130-room property, the first phase of a planned $1.2 billion project, will fill a void left since the 2006 closing of the Hyatt Dorado Beach. Twenty of the Ritz-Reserve rooms will be offered for purchase. The hotel is expected to be open by late 2012.
Dorado Beach, owned since 2007 by the Caribbean Property Group, is a 962-acre resort and residential property with four golf courses and 2.5 miles of beachfront. It is located west of San Juan, on the island’s north shore.
The government of Puerto Rico has thrown its weight behind the project, pledging a $231 million loan for the first phase. That loan is backed by the Government Development Bank, the Tourism Development Fund and several financial firms.
Long-term plans call for construction of a $600 million hotel with 400 rooms, but that financing has not been secured.
Dorado Beach is one of Puerto Rico’s most historic properties. Laurence Rockefeller opened the resort in 1958 with one course designed by Robert Trent Jones Sr., and it ...
Editor's note: Since the writing of this initial article, Giants Ridge has re-opened despite the budget issues.
This should be the height of the golf season in Minnesota, but since July 1 golfers haven’t been able to play the top-ranked course in the state.
The two courses at Giants Ridge, a resort in northeast Minnesota’s Iron Range, were forced to close when the state government shut down over a budget impasse. The resort, located about 60 miles north of Duluth, is operated by the Iron Range Resources and Rehabilitation Board, a state economic-development agency. The resort’s privately operated lodging facilities remain open.
Giants Ridge is home to The Quarry, ranked No. 1 on the list of Golfweek’s Best Courses You Can Play in Minnesota. The resort’s other course, The Legend, also is highly regarded and has been ranked among the state’s top 10 in past years.
Though the region is remote and lightly populated, it’s a popular golf destination because of Giants Ridge and The Wilderness at Fortune Bay, a resort course located nearby in Tower, Minn. The Wilderness is ranked No. 2 in the state and held the No. 1 ranking ...
“Let There Be Pebble” arrived as unexpectedly as Shivas Irons showing up on the first tee at Burningbush, ready to share golf’s mystical and metaphysical secrets. In a world where the hype machine needs to be taken in for a tuneup after every 5,000 press releases, Zachary Michael Jack’s chronicling of his year at Pebble Beach, culminating with the 2010 U.S. Open, landed on my desk with precious little fanfare.
Perhaps we can chalk that up to the modest Midwestern ethos of Jack, a college professor in Illinois, and his publisher. Regardless, I suspect “Let There Be Pebble” won’t fly under the radar for long, this being the writerly equivalent of Tiger Woods’ 15-shot romp at Pebble in 2000.
Jack self-deprecatingly refers to himself as “an Iowa farm boy” or – far more damning – a “golf writer.” (He has the Toyota Echo with 200,000 miles on it to prove it.) Truth is, Jack is simply a writer, and one with unusual gifts; golf just happens to be his genre, albeit one he knows well. Words and metaphors seem to cascade from Jack’s brain in a wondrous display of free association. While his narrative is ...
BETHESDA, Md. – When following the U.S. Open on screen, whether digitally or visually, here are Five Things to look for about how the course is playing. As strong of a playing surface as Congressional presents, there are some areas that will really test a player’s ability to adjust.
1.) 10th-tee blues: The toughest shot this week will be the opening tee shot on the 10th tee, the 218-yard par-3 across water to a green that is pretty shallow from back to front. With split times and players going off the first and 10th holes, every player will face this daunting opening swing once this week. But pity the morning players who have to face it before their bodies are likely to be fully tuned. We’ll try to track the statistical difference here, but watch for a shot differential between those who play it first and those who play it as their 10th hole.
2.) Toast: If the edges of greens look as though they’ve been through a toaster, the discoloration is real. Something’s going on with these putting surfaces, whose bentgrass surfaces are only 2 years old after yet another rebuild. Maybe it’s the ...
VERO BEACH, Fla. – By the time Sam Saunders putted out on his 37th hole Monday evening – a swift 6-footer for par – the shadows were so long that the gallery assembled on a hill near the 18th green had to be careful not to move so as not to interfere with the fierce playoff taking place below. History was on the line.
Saunders, the 23-year-old grandson of Arnold Palmer, was on the verge of qualifying for his first U.S. Open. After a grueling day of golf in blazing Florida heat at Quail Valley Golf Club in Vero Beach, Saunders ended regulation tied at 3-under 141 with Andres Echavarria, who just finished his senior year at Florida, and Michael Barbosa, a former Georgia Tech standout.
The three were shuttled back to the 18th tee, a 450-yard par 4 with water running down the left side, and Saunders, under a dramatic stillness, managed an up-and-down par from the back of the green to safely qualify. Barbosa, with bogey, joined him as Joey Lamielle was already safe in the clubhouse after finishing at 4-under 140.
Though hardly a seasoned veteran in this game, Saunders has had his share of experience in both Tour ...
Souris Valley Golf Course, a popular muni in Minot, N.D., has more water holes than ever. The Souris River that bisects the course has spilled its banks and flooded most of the 18 holes. The course, part of the Minot Park District, might not fully open this season, golf professional Steve Kottsick said.
If so, it likely won’t be alone.
Across the Upper Midwest, where melting snowpacks and record spring rains have forced the evacuation of entire towns, golf courses stand in danger of an abbreviated season – perhaps a total wash-out. The Missouri River Basin imperils courses from eastern Montana across the Dakotas and into western Iowa.
Bully Pulpit Golf Course in Medora, N.D., has closed because of the rising Little Missouri River that ambles through the front nine. In Bismarck, the raging Missouri River has closed Riverwood Golf Course for the year.
Downriver in Pierre, S.D., city muni Hillsview Golf Course is “two-thirds covered with water,” course manager Todd Surdez said. Ironically, the course has no usable irrigation, because the pump house is submerged. Workers haul water by truck to hose elevated greens in an effort to keep them alive. With the Army Corps of ...
Paul Schock is one of the most accomplished amateur golfers in South Dakota history. But when it comes to The Prairie Club, the ambitious golf resort project that he developed in the Sandhills of north-central Nebraska, Schock acknowledges that he needed a mulligan.
The Valentine, Neb., resort, which just celebrated its one-year anniversary, has some stunning assets, including two distinctive 18-hole courses, a short course, and an elegant lodge near the rim of the Snake River Canyon. Schock and his staff, however, quickly learned last year how difficult it is to run a high-end resort, particularly in a remote location.
“We really stumbled at times with our operations,” Schock said. “One of the strengths of The Prairie Club is that it’s a long way away. But trying to run a five-star resort in such a remote area is really hard. Hiring the right people has been really hard.”
Schock and some of his senior staff tried last year to manage the property from their offices in Sioux Falls, S.D., a four-hour drive from Valentine. That experience convinced him that he needed stronger onsite management. John Harbison, who had been the general manager of two Florida clubs over the ...
Buoyed by Rio de Janeiro’s hosting of the 2016 Summer Olympics, Brazil is beginning to realize what many industry observers anticipated would be the dawning of a course-development era.
The Summer Games, which will feature golf competition for the first time since 1904, is expected to spark interest in the sport not only in Brazil, but throughout the region. Hoping to capitalize on that Olympic legacy are new golf facilities such as the Rio de Janeiro International Golf Resort.
Led by the UK’s International Golf & Resort Management Ltd. and Rio-based development company JCN, the development has been approved to start construction just outside Petropolis, Brazil. The $300 million project is planned to feature at least 850 hotel rooms and two 18-hole courses. The first of the layouts will be designed by Nick Faldo in association with Steve Smyers Golf Course Architects.
The developers are touting the project as a pioneering effort in South America, in part, because it also will feature a golf academy designed to teach future golfers of various economic backgrounds. The resort also is hoping to become a tourism magnet, especially with its location approximately 30 miles from Rio de Janeiro’s International Airport.
Want to play 18 holes in well under four hours? You need to get in the Express Lane.
That’s the name of a fast-play program being run on Saturday mornings at Angel Park Golf Club, a busy 36-hole facility in Las Vegas. Express Lane players sign a pledge agreeing to play in 3 hours, 45 minutes or less. Angel Park’s staff reserves the right to make groups skip holes or move to the other course if they’re not maintaining the proper pace.
So far that hasn’t been a problem, according to Greg Brockelman, Angel Park’s director of golf. Angel Park, which is managed by OB Sports, started the program in mid-February, and Brockelman said golfers have maintained the 3:45 pace. They’re actually averaging less than 3:30, and the record to date is a foursome that finished in 2:48. The program, he added, “has policed itself.”
“We’re not reprogramming these golfers,” Brockelman said. “They’re generally fast golfers who are gravitating to those tee times because they want to play with other fast golfers.”
When golfers call to schedule Express Lane tee times, they are told that they have to play ...
Boyne Resorts, the large golf-and-ski operator in northern Michigan, has added a ninth course to its golf portfolio.
Boyne will manage Hidden River Golf & Casting Club in Brutus, Mich., about 10 miles east of Boyne Highlands, where four of the company’s 18-hole layouts are located.
Hidden River was designed by Michigan native W. Bruce Matthews III, and opened in 1998. It was acquired in 2007 by Tom and Lisa Foster, who live in Spring Lake, Mich., about a four-hour drive south of the course. The Fosters continue to own the property, but have turned over management of the course and restaurant to Boyne.
Hidden River opened for the 2011 season on April 15, earlier than any other course operated by Boyne. The course, which is included in Boyne’s golf packages, also typically stays open later in the fall season than Boyne’s other courses.
“Hidden River complements the BOYNE golf experience by providing our guests with another premier course to play plus creates greater tee time availability and further increases the value of our golf packages and memberships,” Bernie Friedrich, Boyne Resorts’ vice president of golf, marketing and retail operations, said in a statement.