Five To See This Spring

Golf Vacations - - Contents - by JD La­torre

1) Flor­ida:

Ranked among the “Top 75 Golf Re­sorts in North Amer­ica” by Golf Di­gest, PGA Golf Club is home to four breath­tak­ing golf cour­ses of­fer­ing truly unique ex­pe­ri­ences.

Start with the Wana­maker Course, named in honor of Rod­man Wana­maker who in­spired the birth of the PGA of Amer­ica 100 years ago. Widely con­sid­ered as one of the most pic­turesque lay­outs in Flor­ida, leg­endary ar­chi­tect Tom Fazio de­signed a course that blends seam­lessly into its nat­u­ral sur­round­ings. Fair­ways routed around wet­lands, over gen­tle hills and through na­tive pal­metto and sa­bal palms make for an un­for­get­table round of golf, while large bunkers guard­ing greens pro­vide a riskre­ward el­e­ment that’s hard to find any­where else in the Sun­shine State.

Then there is the Dye Course, which fea­tures some of the most elab­o­rate bunkers east of the Mis­sis­sippi. De­signed by the mas­ter­mind him­self, Pete Dye, and ranked in Flor­ida’s top 20, it’s as beau­ti­ful as it is chal­leng­ing. Deep pot bunkers, vast co­quina waste ar­eas and dev­il­ish greens treat guests to a wildly en­ter­tain­ing round of golf. Bore­dom isn’t in the bou­quet for the Dye Course.

Named af­ter Sa­muel Ry­der, the name­sake and founder of the Ry­der Cup, the Ry­der Course re­cently re­opened af­ter a ren­o­va­tion. The lay­out me­an­ders over rolling hills and through ma­jes­tic pine trees. Sev­eral lakes and ponds line fair­ways and guard greens, re­quir­ing golfers to be sharp on tee shots and ap­proaches. But rest easy, large land­ing ar­eas make it a treat to play for all skill lev­els. Just off site but just as good, the St. Lu­cie Trail Golf Club was re­cently opened to the pub­lic fol­low­ing an 18-month re­vi­tal­iza­tion project led by 2016 Tur­fNet Su­per­in­ten­dent of the Year Dick Gray, a pro­tégé of Dye. A true back-to-na­ture oa­sis, the charm­ing lay­out is Flor­ida golf at its purest.

Spring­time is the best time to visit PGA Golf Club. Not only is it a short drive from the Spring Train­ing home of the New York Mets, stay-and-play rates are rea­son­able. Three-night and three-round rates start at $691 in Fe­bru­ary and March, but con­sid­er­ably drop in April. www.pgav­il­lage.com, 800-800-4653

2) Hawaii

Lo­cated on Hawaii’s, “Gar­den Isle” of Kauai the golf cour­ses at Puakea and Wailua are fa­vorites among trav­el­ers and lo­cals alike. These stand­alone daily fee cour­ses are ap­pre­ci­ated for their well-re­garded lay­outs, im­pres­sive vis­tas, and great rates.

Wailua has hosted three United States Golf As­so­ci­a­tion cham­pi­onships and is rec­og­nized as one of the best mu­nic­i­pal cour­ses in Amer­ica, trac­ing its ori­gin back to the “Golden Age of Golf Course Ar­chi­tec­ture” (1900-1930). Co­conut trees and Pa­cific Ocean views pro­lif­er­ate at Wailua, with nu­mer­ous beach­side holes pro­vid­ing un­ob­structed views of the peace­ful coast­line.

Non-res­i­dents are privy to one of the best val­ues in golf at just $48 on week­days and $60 on week­ends.

Puakea rests at the base of Mount Haupu, the tow­er­ing head to a moun­tain range that formed the back­drop of sev­eral Juras­sic Park scenes. The best van­tage point of these Hol­ly­wood-wor­thy views is from the par-3 sixth hole, which drops 160 feet to a jun­gle-sur­round­ing green. Mages­tic Puakea was de­vised by Robin Nel­son, a cel­e­brated golf ar­chi­tect who did many de­signs and re-de­signs of one-third of Hawaii’s roughly 95 cour­ses. Nearly a decade af­ter Hur­ri­cane Iniki stalled con­struc­tion, Nel­son re­vised the orig­i­nal 10 holes to build the re­main­ing eight.

Man­aged by Billy Casper Golf, the pric­ing value of Puakea is their 11 a.m. vis­i­tor spe­cial for just $65, avail­able daily. www.gogolfkauai. com, 808-240-3251

3) Vir­ginia

Lo­cated just out­side of Rich­mond, Mag­no­lia Green Golf Club re­mains one of the top-val­ued cour­ses in Vir­ginia. The 18-hole course, sit­u­ated as the cen­ter­piece of the Mag­no­lia Green com­mu­nity, fea­tures vast Ber­muda-grass fair­ways with rolling ter­rain and chal­leng­ing el­e­va­tion fluxes. De­signed by the Nick­laus De­sign Team and Tom Clark, Mag­no­lia Green is open year-round and of­fers chal­lenges and

op­por­tu­ni­ties for golfers of any skill.

In re­cent months, the com­mu­nity has opened its new golf club­house, fea­tur­ing a well-stocked pro shop, full bar and restau­rant named The Grille. The Grille of­fers a ca­sual din­ing ex­pe­ri­ence for golf club mem­bers, res­i­dents of the com­mu­nity and guests from all over the Rich­mond-area. In ad­di­tion, Mag­no­lia Green just opened its new golf in­struc­tion fa­cil­ity, which of­fers year-round train­ing fea­tur­ing the lat­est in golf swing tech­nol­ogy. www.mag­no­lia­green­golf­club.com, 804-639-5701

4) Wash­ing­ton

A con­ve­nient drive from Seat­tle and Ta­coma, Sal­ish Cliffs Golf Club rests on the scenic south­ern tip of the Puget Sound. With emerald green bent grass stretch­ing tee to green, rough bor­ders of pure rye­grass and panoramic val­ley views, Sal­ish Cliffs is a vis­ual thrill. Pri­vacy abounds with 16 of 18 holes en­cir­cled in lush for­est. Hole nos. 9 and No. 18 share an ex­pan­sive 15,000-square-foot dou­ble green sep­a­rated by a sparkling lake and wet­land pre­serve. The course beauty has a lulling ef­fect, while the ex­pert lay­out and thrilling chal­lenges in­vig­o­rate the senses.

Sal­ish Cliffs was named Golf Di­gest’s se­cond-best course in Western Wash­ing­ton in 2017. Just 45 min­utes from 2015 U.S. Open venue Cham­bers Bay, trav­el­ing golfers should pair these two tro­phy cour­ses to­gether. While close in geo­graphic prox­im­ity, they present com­pletely dif­fer­ent play­ing ex­pe­ri­ences, re­sid­ing on op­po­site ends of the de­sign and ter­rain spec­trums.

A round at Sal­ish Cliffs costs al­most three times less than just one at Cham­bers Bay. Hence, many vis­it­ing golfers stay at Lit­tle Creek Casino Re­sort – an amenity-rich re­sort, of which Sal­ish Cliffs is one, that un­veiled newly re­mod­eled ho­tel tower rooms last fall – and play 2-3 rounds at here to one at Cham­bers Bay ($275 greens fee for non­res­i­dents). www.sal­ish-cliffs.com, 360-462-3673

5) West Vir­ginia

Spread across 1,700 acres of Ogle­bay Park in the scenic foothills of the Ap­palachian Moun­tains in Wheel­ing, W.V., Ogle­bay fea­tures two su­perb lay­outs at its Spei­del Golf Club that are all the golf you’ll ever want. The par-71 Arnold Palmer de­sign is a links-style course that takes ad­van­tage of the gor­geous, un­du­lat­ing coun­try­side. Strate­gi­cally-placed bunkers, well-de­signed mound­ing flank­ing the roomy fair­ways and ex­cel­lent sloped greens claim your full at­ten­tion. It de­serves high marks in ev­ery cat­e­gory: di­ver­sity of holes, scenery, playa­bil­ity and chal­lenge.

De­signed by Robert Trent Jones, Sr., the Jones Course was home to the West Vir­ginia LPGA Clas­sic for 11 years. The land on which the course sits trans­verses the higher ground away from the wel­com­ing club­house as it rolls over the hills and dales of a for­mer dairy farm. There’s a de­light­ful “away from the hus­tle and bus­tle” am­bi­ence as birds frolic play­fully through­out the trees and wild tur­keys roam the grounds.

Don’t miss the Birdie Pack­age that in­cludes: one round on the Arnold Palmer Course, one round on the Robert Trent Jones Course, one-night lodg­ing at Wil­son Lodge and a moun­taineer buf­fet break­fast. From March 25 – April 15, the pack­age is an un­beat­able $129. Af­ter April 15, the price in­creases to $149. www.ogle­bay­golf.com, 304-243-4050

Sal­ish Cliffs Golf Club

Mag­no­lia Green Golf Club Spei­del Golf Club At Ogle­bay - Jones Course

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