Destinations

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Bradley S. Klein
The new green at the Blue Monster's par-3 15th hole, with the redesigned short par-4 16th in the background
The new green at the Blue Monster's par-3 15th hole, with the redesigned short par-4 16th in the background

Act II of Kaskel’s Folly turns out to be a whole lot better than the original ever was.

Just over a half-century ago, aspiring hoteliers Doris and Al Kaskel hired architect Dick Wilson, brought him 13 miles northwest of downtown Miami, and asked him to turn a field of muck into paradise.

When he was sober, Wilson was among the country’s finest golf course designers – a master of diagonal greens, placing hazards close to the ideal line, and building fairways with the dirt scooped out of what would become lakes. There was a lot of strategic ingenuity in ...

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Julie Williams
The 15th hole at La Quinta Resort's Mountain course in Palm Springs, Calif.
The 15th hole at La Quinta Resort's Mountain course in Palm Springs, Calif.

INDIO, Calif. – There are 22 people standing on the first tee with me, pegging their golf balls in rapid-fire succession. I’m about to play 18 holes of night golf in less than four hours in a twenty-three-some.

Aside from the size of the crowd, I am most intrigued by the attire. It’s a comical array of golf shoes, cross-trainers and Chuck Taylors. One player goes barefoot. There are board shorts, plaid shorts, polos and T-shirts. This is the traditional Tuesday night skins game at Indio Municipal Golf Club, an 18-hole par-3 layout, and the attire sums up the ...

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Martin Kaufmann
Carne Golf Links on Ireland's west coast.
Carne Golf Links on Ireland's west coast.

I first met Alan Maloney during a whirlwind 2012 tour of some of the great links of western Ireland – Carne, Enniscrone, County Sligo and Connemara. Maloney is the owner of Mount Falcon Country House Hotel, a 100-acre resort conveniently located near the town of Ballina, a short drive from Enniscrone.

Maloney is the consummate host, the sort of person who welcomes guests to his hotel as if we were hosting old friends at his home. Maloney also is one of the biggest boosters of Ireland’s western seaboard, touting its beauty, culture, fabulous links and affordability to anyone who will ...

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January 28, 2014 | 5:49 p.m.

Q&A: Alana Hughson, Bend, Ore., tourism chief

Martin Kaufmann
The sixth hole at Tetherow.
The sixth hole at Tetherow.

At first glance, the tourism people in Central Oregon would seem to have their hands full trying to get golfers to visit them. After all, the top four courses in the state, according to the Golfweek’s Best rankings, are at Bandon Dunes Golf Resort, 260 miles southwest of Bend on the Oregon coast.

But Bend and the surrounding region can tout a rich portfolio of assets. First, Tetherow, the Nicklaus Course at Pronghorn Club, and Crosswater at Sunriver Resort rank Nos. 5-7 in the state, right behind Bandon’s foursome. That doesn’t include architect John Fought’s recent ...

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December 13, 2012 | 9:29 p.m.

Wynn GC embodies The Strip's grandiosity

Bradley S. Klein
The sixth hole at Wynn GC in Las Vegas.
The sixth hole at Wynn GC in Las Vegas.

LAS VEGAS -- Spend enough time in this oasis of a town and you’ll end up thinking it’s for real.

Or so it seems – which is pretty good for a faux city that has erased the line between nature and culture, between artifice and substance.

A round at Wynn Golf Club, just off the Las Vegas strip, should be enough to convince anyone that given unlimited imagination, money and nerve, you basically can create something out of nothing. In this case, a Tom Fazio layout, ranked No. 16 on Golfweek’s Best Casino Courses list, that’s good enough ...

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Northwood Golf Club, a historic nine-hole layout in Sonoma County, roughly 90 minutes north of San Francisco.
Northwood Golf Club, a historic nine-hole layout in Sonoma County, roughly 90 minutes north of San Francisco.

SONOMA, Calif. -- Spend enough time in wine country, popping corks and playing courses, and you come to learn this difference between grapes and golfers: the former like to struggle, the latter don’t.

Just ask Ehren Jordan, an acclaimed winemaker who carries a 10 index and produces, among other prestigious labels, some of California’s finest pinot noir.

When he’s in the field, Jordan favors vines that battle for survival; their fight in stingy soil gives rise to complex fruit. But on the links, he sees no point in suffering, even when his game is rusty, as it was ...

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Categories: Travel, Destinations
Martin Kaufmann
The Prairie Club in Valentine, Neb.
The Prairie Club in Valentine, Neb.

VALENTINE, Neb. -- Three hundred sparsely populated miles separate this north-central Nebraska town from Omaha, but for Sherman Bixby, an investment counselor who had made the drive to host some clients at The Prairie Club, the distance seemed even greater.

“It’s a whole different world up here,” Bixby said.

That’s clearly a good thing. Having just feasted on a Nebraska-bred filet and bacon-wrapped scallops, Bixby was relaxing at dusk on the deck just off the Canyon Room restaurant, holding a glass of red wine and wearing the beatific look that one might find on a man who had just ...

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June 22, 2012 | 12:34 p.m.

Blown away

The par-4 5th hole 'White Rocks' on the Dunluce Course at Royal Portrush Golf Club.
The par-4 5th hole 'White Rocks' on the Dunluce Course at Royal Portrush Golf Club.

PORTRUSH, Northern Ireland -- Here’s a textbook case of how not to do a golf trip: 8 days, 11 courses, four hotels, 700 miles. I always tell people not to cram too much into a golf trip. But what do you skip when canvassing Ireland’s northern coastline?

In our case, not much. Irish Links Tours & Travel had arranged an aggressive itinerary for our group of 24 Golfweek course raters.

Shortly after arriving in Dublin, we were whisked to Enniscrone Golf Club, where we warmed ourselves in the modest clubhouse on the island’s far northwest corner. It quickly became ...

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No. 3 at Fairmont Chateau Whistler Golf Club
No. 3 at Fairmont Chateau Whistler Golf Club

Whistler, British Columbia – If you must know, the city of Whistler – best known for hosting the 2010 Winter Olympics – was given its onomatopoetic name by prospectors some 100 years ago upon hearing the shrill shrieks of the western hoary marmot living in the nearby rocks. Formerly called London Mountain because of its heavy fog and rain, the city was renamed for the noisy ground squirrel to make it sound more user-friendly.

The ruse worked. Nowadays, Whistler is a top-drawer, four-season resort destination, especially for thrill jockeys who like hurtling downhill at breakneck speeds on skis or mountain bikes. For those ...

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Categories: Destinations
April 26, 2012 | 1:40 p.m.

Mountain trek

Martin Kaufmann
No. 4 on the Mount Kidd layout at Kananaskis Country Golf Course
No. 4 on the Mount Kidd layout at Kananaskis Country Golf Course

BANFF, Alberta – Steven Young, the director of golf at Banff Springs, sometimes likes to greet playing partners wearing a sportcoat, plus-fours and spiffy purple-and-black saddle shoes. His weapons of choice on such occasions are hickory clubs and gutta percha balls. He’s a gregarious and gracious host – that is, if you don’t mind getting waxed by a guy playing equipment that Ben Hogan would have considered primitive.

Young’s attire might seem like an anachronism at some of the newer courses here in the Canadian Rockies. But it works at Banff, a classic Stanley Thompson design.

OK, let’s ...

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April 19, 2012 | 6:06 p.m.

Heights of adventure

Julie Williams
Red Sky Golf Club remains the universal reference point for mountain golf in Vail, Colo.
Red Sky Golf Club remains the universal reference point for mountain golf in Vail, Colo.

VAIL, Colo. - Alice Plain arrives on the first tee at Vail Golf Club dressed in a pullover, vest and waterproof pants, a look more appropriate for a day of skiing than an afternoon on the links. On this unseasonably cold autumn day, locals are buzzing about the first weather advisory of the season. Snow, albeit unlikely to stick, was forecast for above 10,000 feet.

Plain, the director of golf at the municipal course located at the base of the Gore Mountain Range, epitomizes the golfing, skiing, outdoor-loving breed of local found in the breathtaking Vail Valley. Options for outdoor ...

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April 13, 2012 | 9:12 a.m.

Palmetto pleasures

Martin Kaufmann
The iconic lighthouse at Harbour Town Golf Links.
The iconic lighthouse at Harbour Town Golf Links.

HILTON HEAD ISLAND, S.C. - Maybe it’s all of the tranquil images associated with Harbour Town Golf Links – the candy cane-striped lighthouse, the yachts bobbing gently in the harbor behind the 18th green, the almost invariably sun-splashed April days, the whimsical tartan sportcoat that’s awarded to the RBC Heritage champion – that ultimately prove so confounding.

All of those visuals are pleasant and welcoming, particularly for the first-time visitor who has been savoring them on television for years. It’s where we’re told the pros go to decompress following the Masters. So why shouldn’t we amateurs expect ...

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March 30, 2012 | 9:27 a.m.

Gone with the wind

The stunning par-3 12th at the aptly named Challenge at Manele.
The stunning par-3 12th at the aptly named Challenge at Manele.

MAUI, Hawaii - The legendary Greek traveling salesman Odysseus was really a bit of a whiner, wasn’t he? Compared to his supposedly perilous travails at sea – Circe’s lethal singing, an irascible Cyclops – my recent trip to Maui was a veritable tropical Trojan War: a grueling week’s worth of wind-whipped morning golf, capped by small doses of afternoon sun and sand, and washed down with umbrella-festooned cocktails and flapping-fresh local seafood.

Cue the violins – but please, no more ukulele music.

Truth be told, it takes a road-raging, L.A.-based, Type-A madman like me a good week to adapt ...

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March 8, 2012 | 3:47 p.m.

Fusion Power

Nos. 6 and 7 at Fisher Island
Nos. 6 and 7 at Fisher Island

I’m not sure at what moment it actually hit me. Maybe it was during my relaxing walk around the Donald Ross design at the iconic Biltmore Hotel. Or on the short ferry ride to ritzy Fisher Island. Perhaps it was while playing a round with three Europeans at The Westin Diplomat. It may even have been as I strolled past a Michael Jackson impersonator moon-walking to the blaring boom-box strains of “Billie Jean” on a raucous night – is there any other kind? – in South Beach.

Regardless, at some point the thought occurred to me: Miami is unlike any other ...

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Categories: Destinations
February 15, 2012 | 11:48 a.m.

Industry insider

Martin Kaufmann
No. 7 at Querencia, with the Sea of Cortez in the background.
No. 7 at Querencia, with the Sea of Cortez in the background.

LOS CABOS, Mexico – Jorge Carrera was appointed CEO of Querencia, a private golf club and residential community here, in July 2004, just as real estate sales were hitting their peak. Querencia benefited greatly from that, in part because of the quality of its golf course, which was designed by Tom Fazio and is ranked No. 2 on the list of Golfweek’s Best Courses of the Caribbean and Mexico.

More recently Carrera has had to navigate Querencia through recessionary times, which have forced the community to delay development of a second golf course that Gil Hanse has been selected to ...

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