Bust out the plus-fours, tam-o’-shanters and Calamity Jane knockoffs. The fourth annual U.S. Hickory Open championship is approaching.
French Lick (Ind.) Resort will host the national championship of the persimmon-and-featherie crowd July 11-13 on its Donald Ross Course. The course, which opened in 1917 and hosted the 1924 PGA Championship won by Walter Hagen, has the sort of history that is well suited for hickory players’ biggest tournament. The layout is just a few years removed from a $4.6 million renovation, part of a $500 million renovation of the 3,000-acre resort.
The U.S. Hickory Open will consist of a practice round July 11, followed by a 36-hole tournament over the next two days. There will be three divisions for competitors: Championship, which will be played from the 6,274-yard white tees; Senior (60-plus), which will be played from the 5,810-yard gold tees; and Ladies, who will play from the 5,008-yard red tees. The overall champion must play from the white tees.
French Lick Resort, located about 100 miles south of Indianapolis, completed a $500 million renovation in 2009. It has 689 rooms in its two hotels – the French Lick Springs Hotel and West ...
The owners of the Resorts of Tullymore & St. Ives want to make you a deal on a new home. Sound familiar? There’s a twist. The Stanwood, Mich., resort will buy your current home if you buy a home at Tullymore.
Tullymore (www.tullymoregolf.com) adopted the unusual trade-in program this month in an effort to sell about a dozen spec homes, most of which are finished construction. Terry Schieber, CEO of the resort, said a homeowner suggested the trade-in idea, which had been tried about a decade ago on a Detroit construction project.
“We’re trying to jumpstart our economy here at Tullymore,” Schieber said. “We have a strategic plan to do this because of our competitive advantage of not having any debt.”
The program allows for the possibility that a homebuyer could receive more for his existing home than he pays for a new home at Tullymore. For example, the buyer might pay $500,000 for a home at Tullymore, but receive $600,000 for his existing home if that is the property’s value.
He emphasized, however, that this is “not a bailout program” for homeowners whose existing mortgages are underwater.
“We don’t have to make ...
SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. – It was 18 years ago when Robb McCreary first saw plans for a large resort on Indian Bend Road, just outside of the 101 Loop. Those plans called for an 800-room hotel, casino, horse track and arena.
Flash forward to the present day and McCreary, who spent 27 years working for Hyatt and Hilton, now is the director of that resort, which is owned by the Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community.
The plans for Talking Stick Resort changed over time, but the idea for a self-contained, amenity-rich resort ultimately was realized. The 15-story, 497-room hotel towers over 36-hole Talking Stick Golf Club. The casino that used to be housed in tents along Indian Bend Road has been moved into the hotel’s lobby casino.
Just inside the 101 Loop, Salt River Fields at Talking Stick, an 11,000-seat baseball stadium with 12 practice fields, opened in late February to serve as the spring home of the Arizona Diamondbacks and Colorado Rockies.
The hotel opened last July – not exactly the height of Scottsdale’s tourism season – and gradually has been ramping up business.
“We are not hitting the levels of the established properties as far as occupancy, but we ...
These days, if you’re looking for the best deal in this golf hotbed, you have a lot of options from which to choose given the recessionary effect on home prices, club memberships and green fees.
One of the most intriguing, however, can be found at Golf Club Scottsdale, where the nonrefundable price to get in the door recently dropped to $25,000 ($50,000 refundable). That’s down from $110,000 when the club opened in 2007.
The rate cut has had the desired effect. McIntee said the club added 12 memberships the first month it was in effect, and he said last month was the best February sales period to date.
Golf Club Scottsdale, a highly regarded Jay Morrish design, sits on 290 of the most pristine acres in North Scottsdale, with no homes in sight and some dramatic swings in elevation that afford players striking views of the McDowell Mountains and Four Peaks. It aims to be a club for serious players – somewhat akin to that found at nearby Whisper Rock – with what McIntee describes as a “cowboy casual” culture.
The club initially was a hit, signing up 67 members in its first year of operations. In ...
PALM BEACH GARDENS, Fla. – It’s the first week on the Florida Swing, which means visiting one of the best courses on the PGA Tour: PGA National.
Since the Honda Classic was moved to the Champions Course five years ago, the beauty of the venue has been the hard and fast conditions of the Jack Nicklaus-designed course. Early this week, hard and fast has been replaced by soft conditions, which has changed the characteristics of the course.
“The golf course is soft, without any question,” Paul Goydos said after his practice round on Tuesday. “What matters is how the course is Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday. Hopefully it will be a little firmer Thursday. We were actually getting mud on our balls on the front side.”
With the warm conditions in South Florida, it was clear that the superintendent needed to put ample amounts of water on the course to allow for the winter overseed to take. While the course will look very green, it also is wetter than usual. With a storm coming Tuesday afternoon, the course will have additional water added to the mix.
One of the by-products of the warm conditions has been intense rough that is ...
It looks like carefully calibrated mutual interest might just bring together two powerful golf forces in New Jersey.
It’s no secret that Donald Trump wants his Trump National Club in Bedminster, N.J. to hold a U.S. Open. Now it turns out that the U.S. Golf Association is considering looking for a backup site for a U.S. Open should some calamity arise that knocks it out of commission.
According to a memo circulated through USGA Golf House in early December, the USGA is exploring whether it needs to have a contingency plan in case some unforeseen development – be it a massive storm, terrorist attack or a major agronomic problem – renders the primary host course inoperable for the week. With the U.S. Open a major profit center for the USGA as well as its most prestigious tournament, “to not have a backup plan is irresponsible,” said one official. “We owe it to the USGA and to the game.”
Since the advent of the U.S. Open in 1895, the national championship was canceled only during times of world war (1917-18 and 1942-45). Nevertheless, USGA officials are starting to explore the logistics of such a contingency plan ...
Much of Jim Engh’s formative time as a course architect was spent in Ireland, which probably would come as a surprise to many people familiar with some of his more mind-bending designs. He fell hard for the untamed Irish style, and says he has tried to bring that same no-holds-barred spirit to his own work.
With the opening of Awarii Dunes Golf Club tentatively scheduled for Memorial Day weekend in Axtell, Neb., golfers will get a chance to see Engh’s riff on the great Irish courses.
“Awarii Dunes is my version of what links golf is, although it’s not on the ocean,” he said. “My vision of it is more of the wild, crazy, there-are-no-rules Irish (courses) that’s a little different than Scottish stuff.”
Engh recently showed me pictures of Awarii Dunes and talked about some of its characteristics of his first course in Nebraska's Sand Hills region. He said those include some huge greens – he estimated one double green is 35,000 square feet – and fairways as wide as 90 yards. On tees, fairways and greens, he used T-1 bentgrass, which he expects to play hard and fast. There will be no intermediate rough ...
VILLAGE OF PINEHURST, N.C. – Golfers won’t be able to play Pinehurst No. 2 until March 4, but they can keep tabs on the year-long restoration through a new website: www.pinehurstnumber2.com.
The site has photo galleries of some of the work that has been done by architects Bill Coore and Ben Crenshaw. There also is a video gallery in which the architects discuss some of the changes they’re making to specific holes.
Coore and Crenshaw have widened fairways and stripped away 35 acres of turf, which has been replaced with natural sand, pine straw and native grasses. All rough has been removed from the course.
“With all the excitement about the restoration of No. 2, we wanted to give golfers a place where they could see and hear about all the work that’s been done, as well as get a taste of what they’ll encounter the next time they play No. 2,” said Tom Pashley, Pinehurst’s executive vice president of marketing.
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LOS CABOS, Mexico – The PGA Tour and One & Only Palmilla in March will launch Tour Academy Palmilla, the first international PGA Tour Academy.
The academy will offer golf schools ranging from a ...
Even by the standards of golf’s go-go era of course development – which ended only a few years ago, yet seems as distant as the Roaring ’20s – the 2006 opening of $50 million Temenos Golf Club on Anguilla was big news.
In golf circles, accustomed to new-course announcements from less exotic outposts such as Myrtle Beach, S.C., or Scottsdale, Ariz., the news raised two questions: 1. Where is Anguilla? (Answer: It’s one of the northernmost Leeward Islands in the Lesser Antilles, about 180 miles east of Puerto Rico.) And 2. Does that part of the Caribbean have gold-flaked Bermudagrass? (No, standard 419 Bermuda is grown there.)
Given the price tag and the economic tsunami that was about to sweep across the globe, what happened next was all too inevitable. By 2008, Temenos, a Greg Norman design, was closed, a victim of the recession and cost overruns in constructing seaside villas and a resort associated with the project. Cap Juluca, the luxurious beach hideaway that has anchored the southwest corner of the island for 23 years, stepped in to nurse Temenos back to health. The course, the only one on the 35-square-mile island, reopened for play in December 2009 ...
Perry Golf has expanded its golf-cruise operations through a partnership with Azamara Golf Cruises.
Azamara, an upscale division of Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd., bills itself as a brand that delivers smaller, amenity-rich trips, often to destinations that are out of the ordinary. It operates two ships, the Journey and the Quest, each of which can accommodate 694 guests. Perry Golf president Gordon Dalgleish said his company plans to fill about 100 to 130 of those beds, and will have an employee onboard to run the golf itinerary for each trip.
Azamara and Perry are running seven golf cruises this year, primarily in southern Europe, though one trip includes stops in Ireland. The companies also are marketing a 16-night trip to China, Vietnam and Thailand.
Perry Golf has been selling golf cruises since 1999, and cruises account for about 15 percent of the company’s business, Dalgleish said. Until now, however, the company has been chartering boats, which involves the financial risk of chartering ships two or more years before the cruise occurs.
“As a business model, it’s not great,” Dalgleish said.
Dalgleish added that the Azamara partnership relieves his company of the need to charter ships while helping Azamara ...
A lot of tournament announcement flow into my inbox, and most of them aren’t given a second thought. But one caught my attention because it combines one of my favorite destinations – Bermuda – with a great brand, Bacardi.
The Fairmont Southampton and Bacardi International will host the second annual Bacardi National Par-3 Championship, a 36-hole tournament played March 26-27. The hotel’s Ted Robinson-designed course is an 18-hole par-3 layout that requires players to use virtually every club off the tees, possibly including driver if the wind kicks up.
The tournament is sanctioned by the Bermuda Golf Association and the PGA of Bermuda. A pro-am will be played March 25.
The entry fee is $225 for professionals and $175 for amateurs, with proceeds benefiting the Bermuda Red Cross. Fees include a practice round, 36-hole tournament, lunch and a welcome gift. The deadline for entry is March 1.
Accommodations at the Fairmont Southampton start at $179 per night. To register for the tournament, email email@example.com or call 441-239-6952.
Here’s some other resort news:
Kiawah Island, S.C. – Want to test your game under major championship course conditions? From Aug. 1-7, Kiawah Island Golf Resort will set up its ...
The first thing readers will notice when they pick up a copy of “True Links” is the number 246. That, in the authors’ estimation, is the number of golf courses that accurately can be described as “links.”
The concept is, at best, dubious. George Peper and Malcolm Campbell have created a fraternity for which the rules of admittance are clear, except when they’re not – sort of like Augusta National, come to think of it. But this weakness also is part of what makes “True Links” intriguing.
While golf books often sidestep controversy, Peper and Campbell have embraced it. The device of establishing a specific number – 246 – arguably is a gimmick, but it’s one that will spark debate. The authors provide plenty of information to support their arguments, which aren’t necessarily scholarly but are compelling.
The process, however, smacks of bureaucratic rulemaking with inherent consistencies. The authors note, “Proximity to the sea would seem to be an artificial sort of criterion,” but then exclude Sand Hills because it’s not near an ocean, despite the fact that “this magnificent Nebraskan course looks and plays more like a links than some of those on our list.”
Kiawah Island’s ...
DEAL, England – If you want to find out more about the origins of the game, go and play a links course in the winter. Go down to Deal and Sandwich on England’s South Coast and experience Prince’s and Royal Cinque Ports, maybe even Royal St. George’s, in the depth of a British winter.
You’ll soon realize why golf was first played by the seaside.
While most inland courses all over the British Isles are struggling to keep play going with winter tees and temporary greens, true links like Prince’s and Royal Cinque Ports carry on as normal. Only snow can close these great championship courses.
It struck me while playing these two wonderful links on a recent three-day trip that our forebears knew what they were about. We’re the ones that have mucked things up ever since.
Two greenskeepers at Royal Cinque Ports showed me and my playing companions why we can play these great links all year long while the rest of the British Isles struggle. The two greenskeepers were working on a fairway bunker on the par-5 15th hole. They had dug down deep into the bunker, into pure sandy soil.
AVENTURA, Fla. – The Fairmont Turnberry Isle took another step toward upgrading its training facilities for serious golfers with the announcement that it had partnered with Bill Forrest, the 2006 PGA of America Teacher of the Year, to open a golf school.
Forrest, director of instruction at Troon Country Club in Scottsdale, Ariz., will provide instruction on a monthly basis. Turnberry Isle’s THEgolfacademy, which borrows its names from Forrest’s existing golf school, will focus on the “building blocks” of Forrest’s teaching: ball striking, management, short game and the mental side of golf.
Gary Knapp, a former South Florida PGA teacher of the year, will oversee daily operations. Other instructors include Christina Trammell and Hiro Suzuki, Turnberry Isle’s resident professional.
The golf school complements the resort’s new fitness program led by Pete Bommarito of Bommarito Performance Systems and Dr. Matthew Cooper, president of USA Sports Therapy.
The Fairmont Turnberry Isle, a 300-acre property, is home to two golf courses, 392 guest rooms and suites, the Willow Stream Spa, and noted chef Michael Mina’s Bourbon Steak restaurant.
NEWPORT COAST, Calif. – Less than 10 minutes into an hour-long conversation, Giuseppe Lama, managing director of The Resort at Pelican Hill, acknowledged a recurring theme.
“I must have used the word ‘value’ 20 times already,” Lama said.
Not quite, but close. Lama is cognizant of the fact that “value” isn’t a word commonly associated with a AAA/CAA Five Diamond property – a distinction his two-year-old resort achieved this year. Nor is “value” often used when referencing a hotel where rooms start at $395 per night and rates can eclipse $1,000.
But it has become the mantra at Pelican Hill, which opened in late 2008 to much fanfare, but in the face of a miserable business climate, particularly for luxury resorts that are heavily dependent on corporate and group sales. The “AIG effect,” a malady that could not have been anticipated, took root just as the resort was opening and, Lama said, helped drag down business in the first half of 2009.
The latter half of 2009, corporate business began to rebound at Pelican Hill and elsewhere.
“All of a sudden, corporate America said, ‘We have to reward our people,’ ” Lama said. “People realized (they hadn’t) done any ...