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Len Ziehm On Golf

Travel Destinations

  • HERE AND THERE: Boyne’s Heather course starts 50th anniversary season Here’s the latest for golfers who like to travel: The Heather Course at Michigan’s Boyne Highlands Resort hit a milestone when it opened for the season on Friday the 13th. The 2016 campaign will mark the Heather’s 50th anniversary season. The Robert Trent Jones Sr. design was the first course at Boyne. Heather opened for ...
  • Here’s what’s new from some of our favorite travel destinations Our latest, extended travels to golf destinations are over now, and they were unprecedented. We were basically on the road for six months – from Oct. 1 to April 10 – and made visits to destinations in Nebraska, Montana, Idaho, Washington, Oregon, California. Mississippi, Louisiana, South Carolina, Florida, Georgia, North Carolina, Virginia and Indiana. We ...
  • Wintergreen can accommodate golfers and skiers at the same time WINTERGREEN, Virginia – Let there be no mistake about it. Located in the Blue Ridge Mountains, Wintergreen Resort is a destination for skiers – but it’s also quite a bit more than that. Wintergreen also has 45 holes of golf available and, while it’s not unusual for resorts to have both ski slopes and ...
  • Golf on North Carolina’s Outer Banks is more than an afterthought OUTER BANKS, North Carolina – The Outer Banks of North Carolina had been a mystery to us, and apparently we weren’t alone. A golf buddy of mine who lives in North Carolina, who had been there and liked it, told me that “most people in North Carolina don’t know about it.’’ A much bigger portion ...
  • The `other’ Pinehurst offers pretty nifty golf, too PINEHURST, North Carolina – Make no mistake. Pinehurst is at the very top of the world’s golf resorts. That hasn’t changed. The nine courses there — coupled with the other amenities provided at its Carolina Hotel, Holly Inn, Manor Inn and related condos — make Pinehurst a very special destination. The term Pinehurst, though, doesn’t ...
  • Could Thistle be the best of Myrtle Beach’s gems? SUNSET BEACH, North Carolina – I’m frequently being tipped off about “hidden gem’’ golf courses. They’re in all parts of the country and are said to be great courses that are off the beaten path enough so that many golfers don’t know about them. The last such course brought to my attention was Thistle Golf ...
  • Professionally speaking, Dustin Johnson is all that Myrtle Beach needs MYRTLE BEACH, South Carolina – I love Myrtle Beach. There, I’ve said it again. With 100 courses in a very condensed area, there’s no golf destination quite like it. After about a half dozen visits spread over several years there’s one thing I don’t quite understand about this golf mecca yet, however. None of the professional ...
  • Hilton Head has the best clubhouse on the PGA Tour — and much more HILTON HEAD ISLAND, South Carolina – It’s inevitable, I suppose. Major improvement projects that impact a PGA Tour event will get more attention than ones that don’t. That’s why you can’t downplay all that’s been done at Harbour Town Golf Links. This home base for the RBC Heritage Classic, coming up on April 14-17 – the ...
  • Ocean influence makes golf on Amelia Island something special AMELIA ISLAND, Florida – Located in the northeastern most corner of Florida, Amelia Island isn’t the easiest place to find and it isn’t all that big, either – just 18 square miles. When it comes to golf, however, Amelia Island is clearly in the big time. It has 117 holes, seven of which play along the ...
  • Housing boom could bolster World Golf Hall of Fame ST. AUGUSTINE, Florida – The World Golf Hall of Fame should be a regular stop for serious golfers. For me it’s been an annual one the last five years. This time there were some notable changes since the winter of 2015. The menu at the delightful Caddie Shack restaurant changed three times (and is about ...
  • IT ZIEHMS TO ME: Kingsmill’s “packages” take politics into account Our road trip ventures resume next week, with five weeks worth of stops at golf destinations in Florida, the Carolinas and Virginia. Before our on-site reports resume, however, here’s an array of things going on at golf facilities around the country. THE KINGSMILL Resort, in Williamsburg, Va., unveiled its own “Best Golf Package Ever,’’ and it ...
  • This Florida course sure knows how to attract golfers WINTER PARK, FLORIDA – A big reason for scheduling a round at Winter Pines Golf Club is that it is – at least arguably – the busiest course in Florida. Given the reported 1,500-plus courses in the Sunshine State – and particularly the array of good ones in the Orlando area – that’s saying ...
  • IT ZIEHMS TO ME: Lehman’s new Florida course is one of a kind OCALA, Florida – The ingenuity of golf course architects never ceases to amaze me, but Tom Lehman – a player first and designer a distant second – has outdone all his architectural counterparts for the time being. Lehman — a two-time major championship winner, former Ryder Cup captain and a regular on the Champions Tour – ...
  • IT ZIEHMS TO ME: Rio Pinar is hanging on to its tournament history ORLANDO, FLORIDA – It probably wasn’t a good idea for the operators of St. Lucie Trail and Rio Pinar to have those courses open in the immediate aftermath of the 63rd PGA Merchandise Show. Both had been pelted with two-plus days of rain while the show was in progress at the Orange County Convention ...
  • IT ZIEHMS TO ME: Ross or Raynor? Lake Wales course has a nice dilemma LAKE WALES, Florida – I can’t think of a much more pleasant golf experience than playing a Donald Ross course on a crisp, sunny day. That’s what we thought we were doing when we visited Lake Wales Country Club, which is about 40 miles from Orlando. Lake Wales is managed by Chicago-based GolfVisions, and we found ...
  • Reunion Resort’s courses are a good starting point for a Salamander Slam ORLANDO, FLORIDA – Want to take on a real golf challenge? Try to complete what I’m now declaring the Salamander Slam. The Salamander Golf Collection includes nine courses in Florida plus another in the company’s home base of Middleburg, Va. Sheila C. Johnson — former Chicago resident, University of Illinois alum and founder and chief ...
  • Illinois transplants turn Florida course into a success story ST. CLOUD, FLORIDA – The story of the Royal St. Cloud Golf Links started ominously. Its grand opening came two days before the horrendous 9-11 terrorist attack in 2001. The 18-hole course was known as the St. Cloud Golf Club then, and the designer was Chip Powell. That’s where facility’s connection with Illinois ...
  • Florida’s Grenelefe is working to regain its old popularity HAINES CITY, Florida – Though I’ve belong to a Chicago area private club for about 30 years I still consider myself more of an avid public course player. Wherever I go, I’d rather play a wide variety of courses rather than a select few. When away from Chicago the ideal combination is in an area ...
  • Florida’s Mission Inn serves up great golf family-style HOWEY-IN-THE-HILLS, Florida – Its name may not suggest that of a full-fledged golf destination, and neither does the town in which it’s located, either. Make no mistake, though. Mission Inn Resort & Club, located in central Florida 35 miles southwest of Orlando, is all you could want in a golf resort. It has two ...
  • Innisbrook’s Copperhead layout is ready to unveil its exciting new/old course PALM HARBOR, FLORIDA – Black Friday may be the biggest day of the year for shoppers, but it won’t mean as much to the golfers at Innisbrook Resort in this suburb of Tampa. The day after Thanksgiving to them means the re-opening of Innisbrook’s famed Copperhead Course, annual site of the PGA Tour’s Valspar Championship. ...
  • Mossy Oak will give Mississippi one of top golf destinations in the U.S. WEST POINT, Mississippi – Right now all that’s in operation is the practice facility – albeit a very nice one – used by the men’s and women’s teams at Mississippi State University. Within a year, though, that will change as this town of about 12,000 residents can boast of having one of the premier golf destinations ...
  • These Louisiana courses provide an enticing option for casino resort visitors LAKE CHARLES, Louisiana – Given the economic difficulties golf has experienced across the country the last few years, it was refreshing to see what’s been happening in this tourist-driven town just 30 miles over the Texas line in southwestern Louisiana. Lake Charles has almost as many casinos (four) as it has golf courses (six). Two of ...
  • New par-3 finishing hole climaxes renovation at Wild Dunes ISLE OF PALMS, South Carolina – For Wild Dunes it was a long time coming. “It was a long process,’’ said director of golf Jeff Minton. “We’d talked about renovating for about 10 years (Minton himself has been at the resort on the outskirts of Charleston for only eight years), but we finally closed the ...
  • This little South Carolina town is a big-time bargain for golfers SANTEE, South Carolina – Sure, South Carolina is one of the best states in the U.S. for golf. Myrtle Beach might well be the best single city in America for golfers, given the number and variety of its courses. The Kiawah Resort in Charleston is world famous, with its Ocean Course a popular site for ...
  • California’s La Costa is still going strong after celebrating 50th anniversary CARLSBAD, California – Little-promoted fact: one of golf’s iconic tournament venues celebrated its 50th anniversary in 2015. La Costa, the Southern California site for 35 PGA Tour events and two LPGA tourneys, reached that milestone with the admitted realization that “things ain’t what these used to be.’’ The Mercedes Championship, also known as the Tournament of Champions, ...
  • Monarch Beach has earned its place among Jones’ creations DANA POINT, Calif. – Robert Trent Jones II has long been one of my favorite golf architects and our far-reaching tour of the Pacific Northwest already included rounds at two of his courses – Chambers Bay and Poppy Hills — that have been especially newsworthy lately. For that reason I suspected a round at Monarch ...
  • Poppy Hills visit was enlightening for more than just the golf CARMEL, Calif. – This was going to be just a short trip triggered by a relatively new development in a legendary golf area with, perhaps, a little nostalgia mixed in. Instead it turned out a lot more than that. The Pebble Beach-Carmel area is well known in golf circles. Pebble Beach Golf Links may be ...
  • Is there anything that Bandon Dunes DOESN’T have? BANDON, Oregon – There’s definitely a lot to say about Bandon Dunes, the very unique multi-course facility on the shores of the Pacific Ocean. In short, though, it has most everything. There’s four quality walking-only 18-holers, a 55-acre practice range, the 100,000-square foot Punchbowl putting course, a 13-hole par-3 layout called Bandon Preserve that ...
  • U.S. Open is over, but golfers are still flocking to Chambers Bay UNIVERSITY PLACE, Wash. – At the start of 2015 Chambers Bay was viewed as an exciting new venue for June’s U.S. Open. Four months after Jordan Spieth’s victory in one of the most dramatic finishes to that championship the course is viewed differently. Now, four months later, it still has the historical benefits from being a ...
  • Montana’s Big Sky gets an early winterizing. BOZEMAN, Montana — Based on our driving the last two days Montana is the most beautiful state in the U.S. and its town of Bozeman merits a more long-term stay ASAP. We took a side trip there to check out Big Sky Resort, even though we were aware its golf course had closed for ...
  • Floating Green will get re-grassing before 25th anniversary COEUR D’ALENE, Idaho — The Floating Green is a gimmicky thing, but it brought the desired attention to Lake Coeur d’Alene Resort. It was envisioned by Duane Hagadone in 1991, when the first ball was struck toward this movable putting surface. The 6,803-yard course was designed by Scott Miller but No. 14 is the hole that ...
  • Nebraska’s Prairie Club offers a unique brand of golfing fun VALENTINE, Neb. – The first thing you notice as you approach the Prairie Club in the sandhills of Nebraska is what’s not there. You cruise through the “big’’ town of Valentine (population 2,830) and 17 miles later you see the first indication that a big-time golf resort is nearby. It’s just a small sign saying ...
  • Nebraska’s new Tatanka course has buffalo among its many special features NIOBRARA, Neb. – Unfortunately, this doesn’t happen much anymore. New courses are rare, and most of those are created as renovations. They’re not really built from scratch; they’re built over existing golf courses. It’s great that there are more renovations now than there were the last few, economically difficult, years. Some are good-looking courses, ...
  • HERE AND THERE: Harbour Town’s course has re-opened With the golf season in the Midwest winding down, it’s a good time to check out what’s been happening at golf’s best travel destinations – and there’s been plenty. Our first golf/travel notebook of the fall begins at one of America’s most famous courses. The famed Harbour Town course at Sea Pines Resort in Hilton Head, ...
  • Sand Valley is taking shape — and it’ll be good. You can count on that! ROME, Wis. – Given the popularity of Bandon Dunes, Mike Keiser’s venture into Oregon, it was inevitable that golfers would be closely watching the progress at Sand Valley in this somewhat remote corner of Wisconsin. I know. I was one of them. Now I’ve visited the place, a much-anticipated stop before the PGA Championship at ...
  • HERE AND THERE: Harbor Shores’ impact has been positive — and far-reaching From the beginning the building of Harbor Shores was a feel-good thing. Creating a beautiful, upscale golf destination could only be an enhancement for an economically depressed area in southwestern Michigan. Well, the building of the Jack Nicklaus-designed Harbor Shores course wasn’t all that long ago – it opened in 2010 – but the ...
  • Branson has the most scenic golf course in America BRANSON, Mo. – Golf isn’t the main attraction in Branson, this rocking town of about 10,000 in southern Missouri. It has a wide range of entertainment options. Golf is just one of them. Plenty of links-related things have been happening in Branson, however, with most of them tied in some way to Johnny Morris – ...
  • Old Kinderhook’s full-service expansion will also result in a course upgrade CAMDENTON, Mo. – There never was a doubt about the quality of The Course at Old Kinderhook. The Tom Weiskopf designed layout has ranked among the top three public courses in Missouri and the top 20 in the state overall since its opening in 1999. In the last four years, though, this scenic place in ...
  • Erin Hills update: 2017 U.S. Open site keeps getting better ERIN, Wis. – Erin Hills has gotten nothing but better since its opening in 2006. That was clearly evident when the facility on the outskirts of Milwaukee conducted what has become an annual outing leading into its ultimate showing – as the site of the 2017 U.S. Open. Jim Reinhart, general chairman for the big event, ...
  • Next Tom Doak course is unique; it’ll play in two directions ROSCOMMON, Mich. – The idea is at least intriguing. Tom Doak has designed a golf course that will have 18 greens and fairways but will play in two directions. The No. 18 green will always be the No. 18 green, but one day you play around to that green from a clock-wise direction, and the next ...
  • Michigan’s Homestead could be `Most Beautiful’ for visiting golfers GLEN ARBOR, Mich. – The Homestead is located in the heart of Michigan’s best golf areas, but it’s difficult to consider it a golf destination. There’s so many more attractions there, most notably Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore. In 2011 ABC’s Good Morning America labeled that area “the Most Beautiful Place in America.’’ It’d ...
  • America’s Golf Capital in Michigan? Why not? THOMPSONVILLE, Mich. – Crystal Mountain Resort started as a community ski area in 1956. Golf didn’t come until 1977 when one of the owners, Bob Meyer, designed the first nine holes of what is now the Benzie Valley course. That course became an 18-holer a year later, and Bill Newcomb, a well-established Midwest course designer from ...
  • HERE AND THERE: Players keep coming to Grand Geneva LAKE GENEVA, Wis. – For the life of me I can’t understand why Grand Geneva Resort hasn’t hosted a big PGA or U.S. Golf Assn. championship. The playing facilities are certainly there to do it. So is the lodging (355 guest rooms and suites), restaurant options (three fine-dining spots on property plus more in ...
  • HERE AND THERE: French Lick dominates in hosting senior majors Dave Harner, director of golf at the French Lick Resort in southern Indiana, looked for a big event to spotlight the stunning Pete Dye Course when it opened for play in 2009. He ended up establishing the premier event for the LPGA’s Legends Tour – the only 54-hole event on the circuit for women professionals 45 ...
  • HERE AND THERE: PGA happy with Harbor Shores’ changes Golf courses generally get toughened up before they are used for a major professional tournament. That wasn’t the case at Harbor Shores, the Jack Nicklaus design in Benton Harbor, Mich., however. Harbor Shores has already hosted the Senior PGA Championship twice and has already been awarded that plum for 2016 and 2018. It’ll play differently ...
  • IT ZIEHMS TO ME: Masters will trigger another big year at Reynolds Plantation GREENSBORO, Ga. – A Ritz-Carlton situated in a small town in central Georgia? At first that seemed hard to imagine. Then again, Greensboro – located off Interstate 20 midway between Atlanta (it’s 75 miles from the Atlanta Hartsfield-Jackson Airport) and Augusta — isn’t your usual small town by any means. That explains why Ritz-Carlton has ...
  • IT ZIEHMS TO ME: A nice dilemma for Myrtle Beach golfers MYRTLE BEACH, S.C. – An embarrassment of riches. That’s what I’ve always felt about this unique golf mecca. There is a potential problem for those many who make return trips, however. You find a favorite course (or two or three) and there’s many times a tendency to just play them on each visit. To ...
  • IT ZIEHMS TO ME: Florida’s Historic Coast courses offer variety, affordability PALM COAST, FL. – Our three-month stay in this ocean-side community between St. Augustine and Daytona Beach was much different than our previous three winters, spent in Sarasota, Naples and Port St. Lucie. In this case, “different’’ means generally better golf-wise with one notable exception. We played lots of golf in cold (50 degrees), windy ...
  • IT ZIEHMS TO ME: Florida Historic Golf Trail is something special Golf trails are nothing new. Courses and clubs have formed marketing partnerships for years with varying degrees of impact. In the United States alone there are at least 50 trails. Texas has five separate of them. Colorado Golf Trails is one marketing entity, but it promotes 10 different trails within that state, and some ...
  • GETTING TO ARIZONA: Plenty of good stops along the way Given the brutal winter of 2014, no doubt plenty of Chicago golfers will want out in search of warmer climates within the next few months. Many will likely head for Arizona. After all, in addition to the sunshine there are lots of good courses in that state and – for another diversion – the ...
  • Acquisition of a Nicklaus course is a boost for Pinehurst PINEHURST, N.C. – Sometimes even big events can get lost in the shuffle. That’s certainly what happened when the Pinehurst resort added a Jack Nicklaus design to its portfolio. Adding a Nicklaus course is a big deal anywhere golf is played, but Pinehurst’s acquisition announcement wasn’t greeted with much fanfare — and for good reason. ...
  • Bay Hill is a reflection of Arnold Palmer’s style ORLANDO, FL. – Roy Schindele, director of sales and marketing for Arnold Palmer’s Bay Hill Club and Lodge, stresses one thing before taking you on a tour of the facilities. “This is not a resort. It’s a country club,’’ said Schindele, and that’s an important distinction to make from the outset if you’re lucky ...
  • Golf at Hilton Head just keeps getting better HILTON HEAD ISLAND, S.C. – Now I know why so many golfers call Hilton Head their favorite get-away destination. It could easily become mine, as well. Prior to the early 1960s Hilton Head was basically a stop for hunters and fishermen. Then, in 1962, the Ocean Course was built at the Sea Pines Resort. That ...
  • Pete Dye’s newest creation, Full Cry, will be a big hit KESWICK, Va. – Pete Dye is in his late eighties now, but the most innovative golf course architect of this generation shows no signs of slowing down. His latest creation, Full Cry, is proof of that. Full Cry opened informally in September at the Keswick Golf Club with the formal opening on Oct. 10. It’s ...
  • The Homestead is all about history — starting with the first tee HOT SPRINGS, Va. – I don’t think I’ve ever been to a place quite like The Homestead. This resort – officially The Omni Homestead since July of 2013 — is about so much more than golf. Located just 39 miles over windy two-lane roads from the West Virginia state line, The Homestead also offers ...
  • Finding America’s first golf course wasn’t easy WHITE SULPHUR SPRINGS, W.Va. – Setting foot on the grounds of America’s first golf course took awhile – four years to be exact. Finally, though, it happened. That’s the good news. The unfortunate part is that Oakhurst Links, saved by a purchase by Jim Justice, owner of the Greenbrier Resort, was closed for the ...
  • IT ZIEHMS TO ME: Mystic Hills was a fun ending to Pete Dye Trail tour CULVER, Ind. – Mission accomplished. It took four years, but my attempt to play all seven courses on Indiana’s Pete Dye Golf Trail ended with a bang on a cold but sunny November afternoon – a most pleasant way to finish a most pleasant golf odyssey. While Alabama’s Robert Trent Jones Golf Trail is the most ...
  • IT ZIEHMS TO ME: Hazeltine is Ryder Cup-ready already CHASKA, Minn. – In just a couple years a golf club that is just 52 years old will become only the second in history to host all of the top six championships played on American soil. Hazeltine National, which opened in 1962, has already hosted the U.S. Open (1970, 1991), the U.S. Women’s Open (1966, ...
  • IT ZIEHMS TO ME: Flower Hole is still golf’s most beautiful When you visit the SentryWorld course in Stevens Point, WI., there’s always the temptation to get overwhelmed by its world-renowned Flower Hole. I’ve seen lots of beautiful golf holes, but No. 16 at SentryWorld remains my choice as the most beautiful. The course opened in 1982 and was recently renovated by Robert Trent Jones Jr. ...
  • IT ZIEHMS TO ME: Dancing Rabbit, Tunica National are Mississippi’s hot spots CHOCTAW, MS. – Determining the best golf options in your first visit to an area isn’t easy. We faced that situation in our first-ever visit to the state of Mississippi, and I don’t think we could have made any better selections. The state has less than 200 courses, but the ones we found were ...
  • Michigan’s Harbor Shores adds to its reputation as a tournament venue When Harbor Shores hosted the Senior PGA Championship in 2012 it had no tournament history. That won’t be the case when the tourney returns to the Jack Nicklaus-designed course in Benton Harbor, Mich., in 2014. The May 22-25 event will mark the tournament’s 75th anniversary. While the Senior PGA is rich in tournament history, ...
  • New finishing holes enhance Michigan’s Crooked Tree PETOSKEY, MI. – Boyne Resorts may be best known for skiing nationwide, but golf has never been just an afterthought. That was clearly evident this season when Boyne undertook two major projects simultaneously on its Michigan courses. The bunkers on The Moor layout at Boyne Highlands Resort underwent an extensive renovation while nearby Crooked Tree ...
  • Countdown is on for Par-3 national team tourney GAYLORD, MI. – The northern Michigan community of Gaylord has 17 golf courses, all of them quite good. It’s one of the best places you can go if you’re looking for a golf-getaway destination. I should know. I’ve probably visited the area 10 times over the last two decades. This year, though, there’s something new ...
  • CENTRAL IOWA: Amana Colonies course rekindles good memories Bet you never thought of Iowa as a golf destination, did you? Well, maybe you should. At least visits to two courses – Spirit Hollow in Burlington and Amana Colonies Golf Club in Middle Amana — during John Deere Classic week suggested that Iowa has plenty to offer golf-wise. The Amana Colonies layout is the older ...
  • IT ZIEHMS TO ME: Lawsonia may be in Wisconsin, but its roots are in Chicago GREEN LAKE, Wis. — Shame on me. This golf writer of nearly 50 years didn’t know nearly enough about the work of William Langford until playing in last week’s Langford Shield outing at The Links of Lawsonia. The course got its name from the legendary newspaperman Victor Lawson. He was the publisher of ...
  • IT ZIEHMS TO ME: Iowa’s Spirit Hollow is a true `hidden gem’ BURLINGTON, Iowa –I guess I’ll always be looking for golf’s so-called `hidden gems’ – great courses that are off the beaten path. Too often, though, I find that these courses are more hidden than they are gems. That’s not true when it comes to Spirit Hollow, though. This is a true hidden gem ...
  • Wisconsin’s golf boom really started at Blackwolf Run two decade ago KOHLER, Wis. – What’s been going on in golf in Wisconsin is astonishing. Another PGA Championship and a Ryder Cup coming to Whistling Straits. A U.S. Open on its way to Erin Hills. A Robert Trent Jones renovation of the famous Flower Hole at Sentry World. A new Mike Keiser resort, Sand Valley, ...
  • This is American golf’s `other Augusta’ AUGUSTA, MI. – When you put Augusta and golf together you think of April, azaleas and the Masters tournament, right? Well, that’d be understandable. Not all the great Augusta golf is played in Georgia, though. Check out Augusta, Michigan. Golf is pretty good there, too. This little town (population of only about 1,000) in southwest Michigan is ...
  • IT ZIEHMS TO ME: Georgia’s Summer Grove course could be called Jemsek South NEWNAN, Ga. – It’s no secret that the Jemseks are the first family of golf in Chicago. In fact, it’s been that way for a long time. It all started when Joe Jemsek purchased St. Andrews, in West Chicago in the 1930s. He later bought Cog Hill, in Lemont, and expanded it from 36 ...
  • Women’s events will trigger busiest year for French Lick By Len Ziehm FRENCH LICK, Ind. – Golf’s newest Hall of Fame has been slow in developing since Dave Harner, director of golf at French Lick Resort, announced plans for the LPGA Legends Hall of Fame last September. The facility, to be located off the lobby of the West Baden Springs Hotel in ...
  • IT ZIEHMS TO ME: Kiawah remains in the forefront after landing 2021 PGA KIAWAH ISLAND, S.C. – With so many golf facilities struggling these days, Roger Warren’s report on the popular Kiawah Resort is eye-catching to say the least. “We had the best year in the history of the resort last year,’’ said Warren who left the Chicago area for Kiawah in 2003 and has been the resort’s president ...
  • Wisconsin will be where the golf action is this season We Illinois golf fanatics had best disregard the state line boundaries. Our neighbor to the north, Wisconsin, isn’t far away – no matter where you live in Illinois – and that’s where the action is these days. It’d be a shame not to enjoy it to the fullest. For whatever reason, golf progress in Illinois ...
  • Golf on Florida’s Treasure Coast isn’t just for the touring pros PORT ST. LUCIE, FL. – Florida’s Treasure Coast embraces three counties – Martin, Palm Beach and St. Lucie. Add the surrounding areas and the golf options in this east coast area are numerous, diverse and competitively priced. That’s why so many tour players make this their offseason home. Tiger Woods, Dustin Johnson, Ricky Fowler ...
  • ST. AUGUSTINE, FL.: Kemper alum Hahn is part of World Golf Village’s rebranding ST. AUGUSTINE, FL. – Jim Hahn spent nearly 30 years with Northbrook-based KemperSports, leading the management efforts of all the Chicago Park District golf courses as well as suburban layouts Waters Edge, in Worth, and Rob Roy, in Prospect Heights. He worked with Kemper facilities in other parts of the country as well. Now the former ...
  • VALDOSTA, Ga.: Bob Spence wants to take Kinderlou Forest to a new level VALDOSTA, Ga. – Bob Spence is about to hit the 60-year mark as a golf professional. Now his focus is on Kinderlou Forest, a stunning 18-holer just 16 miles from the Florida state line, but Chicago golfers should remember him well. Spence, who turned pro in 1954 – a few months after graduating from high ...
  • NASHVILLE, Tenn.: Hosting LPGA tourneys has benefitted Hermitage OLD HICKORY, Tenn. – Hermitage, a 36-hole public facility on the outskirts of Nashville, Tenn., isn’t the only club to see a longstanding pro golf tournament leave its premises or disappear altogether. On the PGA Tour, En-Joie Country Club in Endicott, N.Y., hosted the B.C. Open for 34 years – the last in 2005. Warwick Hills, ...
  • GRAND TRAVERSE: Michigan mainstay takes season approach ACME, Mich. – It’s not easy operating a golf resort in Michigan. There’s just so much competition. This golf-rich state has more public courses — over 700 — than any other state. The best ones, though, are able to survive in the long term. Perhaps the best example is Grand Traverse Resort and Spa, ...
  • NORTHERN MICHIGAN: Leading resorts announce a bigger cooperative effort HARBOR SPRINGS, Mich. – For 26 years the resorts in Gaylord joined forces in a successful joint promotion under the title of the Gaylord Golf Mecca. Now there’s an even larger joint promotional effort in effect there. Leading resorts in the towns of Traverse City, Petoskey, Harbor Springs, Gaylord, Bellaire, Boyne City and Thompsonville ...
  • SOUTHWESTERN WISCONSIN: Name change is appropriate at Geneva National LAKE GENEVA, Wis. – What’s in a name? Plenty, if you’re familiar with Lake Geneva’s biggest golf facility. As Geneva National Golf Club its 54 holes were eye-catching from the outset. So was its stately clubhouse (below), but the golf was the thing. Each 18 is named after its designer – Arnold Palmer, Lee Trevino ...
  • NORTHERN MICHIGAN: Guss takes charge at Treetops’ Academy GAYLORD, MI. — Treetops has grown into – arguably at least – Michigan’s most spectacular golf resort and one of its main features is its teaching program. Started in 1990 by Rick Smith and Henry Young, the school thrived as the Rick Smith Golf Academy and Smith became prominent far beyond his home state as ...
  • DOWNSTATE ILLINOIS: Rock River is steeped in history ROCK FALLS, IL. — I’ll admit it. I’m a sucker for golf history. That explains why it seemed a good idea to stop by what had been Rock River Country Club en route to the PGA Tour’s John Deere Classic in Silvis, about 40 miles further west. Officially known now as Rock River ...
  • SW MICHIGAN: Here’s three layouts that are worth a visit CENTREVILLE, Mich. — The Scott family’s five 18-hole courses aren’t far from either Island Hills or Yarrow Golf & Conference Resort. All are near the bigger cities of Kalamazoo and Battle Creek, but the facilities are all quite different – in a good way. Between them they make Southwest Michigan a convenient golf getaway ...
  • NORTHWEST INDIANA: Opening hole provides spectacular start at Lost Marsh HAMMOND, Ind. – The Lost Marsh golf course didn’t exist when I lived in Northwest Indiana from 1967-69 and was just getting serious about golf. What a shame! Back then, while working for the Hammond Times immediately after finishing college, the courses of choice were Wicker Park – it had a player-friendly course, the best ...
  • ERIN HILLS: Wisconsin layout will be popular destination prior to ’17 Open ERIN, Wis. – The hoopla was extraordinary when Erin Hills first welcomed golfers in 2006. The very upscale public course on the outskirts of Milwaukee was even awarded a U.S. Golf Assn. national championship (the 2008 U.S.Women’s Amateur Public Links) before its land was even seeded. By 2009 – following an ownership change from creator ...
  • TRAVERSE CITY, MICH.: Two resorts have withstood the tests of time TRAVERSE CITY, Mich. – Golf course openings are rare in these tough economic times. Three decades ago that wasn’t the case, but none back then were as celebrated as Jack Nicklaus’ The Bear at Grand Traverse Resort. Grand Traverse, then just five years old, took an extraordinary step when The Bear was ready for play. Virtually ...
  • CENTRAL MICHIGAN: New lodge triggers a rebirth for Forest Dunes ROSCOMMON, Mich. – There never was a doubt about the quality of the 18 holes at Forest Dunes. The course has consistently been ranked as the No. 2 public layout in golf-rich Michigan, behind Arcadia Bluffs. A Tom Weiskopf design that opened in 1999, Forest Dunes is –in the words of general manager Todd ...
  • COUNTRY CREEK: Kenny Perry’s home course is a breath of fresh air FRANKLIN, Ky. – Squeezing in a fast nine holes is a good way to break up a long driving trip. It doesn’t cut severely into the mileage covered and certainly is refreshing. On our last winter trip we indulged in that practice twice – and with goals in mind. We’d never played golf in Tennessee ...
  • TRENT JONES TRAIL: Cambrian Ridge was a great place to start GREENVILLE, Ala. – Some things are just meant to be. That seemed to be the case when a chance to play on Alabama’s Robert Trent Jones Golf Trail finally materialized at the end of a 10-week road trip. This travel-writing journey was to finish up with rounds at Sandestin, on the Florida Panhandle, and Preserve, ...
  • PGA VILLAGE: Just the place for golf diehards PORT ST. LUCIE, FL. – It can be confusing. The PGA of America has its headquarters in Palm Beach Gardens, FL., where PGA National and its five courses are located. The PGA doesn’t own that complex, but it does own PGA Village, an hour or so north of PGA National. PGA Village is much different than National, ...
  • PGA NATIONAL: New Fazio course goes down in my memory book PALM BEACH GARDENS, FL. – The Fazio is the newest course at PGA National Resort & Spa. Playing it was to be the highlight of a four-day stay there, and it was, but for more personal reasons. This site is designed primarily to be informative about the golf destinations we visit, and this report on PGA ...
  • NAPLES: Golf in this winter vacation mecca is…er, different NAPLES, FL. – Yes, Naples is one of the most beautiful cities in the United States. And, yes, it has one of the best year-around climates. Temperatures were ideal for the entire month we stayed there. This winter hotspot in southwest Florida has plenty to entice you. Good restaurants are in ample supply (though ...
  • STREAMSONG: Finding this new resort added to the excitement STREAMSONG, FL. – The anticipation surrounding the opening of Streamsong Resort was too great. I had to see it pronto. Eventually I did. Eventually. As it turned out the adventure involved in finding the place was very much part of the excitement surrounding it. Streamsong wasn’t easy to find, but well worth it once we did. While ...
  • MYRTLE BEACH: You can’t get more golf options than this MYRTLE BEACH, S.C. – It’s almost mind-boggling when you think about it. A three-month visitor to this long-time golf hotbed could play a different course every day and would still not have played all the layouts offered. Myrtle Beach, which aptly bills itself as the “Golf Capital of the World,’’ has over 100 courses packed ...
  • PINEHURST: Famed resort’s banner year will come in 2014 PINEHURST, N.C. – It may seem silly for a golf addict from Chicago to visit the famous Pinehurst Resort – if only for a few days around Christmas – and not hit a shot. That’s what I did at the start of a long winter trip that will include plenty of golf, I guarantee that. A ...
  • MISSOURI OZARKS: Old Kinderhook is the place to go CAMDENTON, Mo. – It’s easy to have warm feelings about Missouri’s Lake of the Ozarks region. Mine go back to college days, and that was way too long ago. Not everything in the world is better now than it was back in those more carefree years, but Lake of the Ozarks fits the bill. ...
  • DOWN ROUTE 66: Good golf mixes well with all the nostalgia For years it had been on my bucket list of things to do. I wanted to make a driving trip down Route 66. Upon retirement from my full-time job as a sportswriter I made that trip happen. In June, 2010, the two of us took off on a drive of nearly 6,000 miles, which included ...
  • Michigan’s Mecca had plenty to celebrate at 25th anniversary GAYLORD, MI. – It has never ceased to amaze me how much better golf is in Michigan than it is in any other state. The season isn’t very long there, but the number of quality public courses is extraordinary. I should know. For over 25 years – starting about the time of the 1985 U.S. Open ...
  • My GolfVisions record: 16 courses played in four states CHESTERTON, Ind. – Tim Miles Sr. tells me I’ve made golf history. He says I’m the first member of GolfVisions’ Player Pass program to play all of the 16 courses offered in this most innovative program, and I’ll tell you it wasn’t easy. Miles, the GolfVisions president, started the Player Pass program two ...
  • Quad Cities should be considered as a golf destination spot MOLINE, IL. – For years now I’ve told my golf-media buddies from the Quad Cities that they reside in “the golf capitol of Illinois.’’ They think I’m kidding but, after four decades of covering the PGA Tour stop in that community, I’m not so sure. In fact, I can now say that the area encompassing Moline ...
  • Island Hills, Yarrow are good bets for golf trips to Michigan AUGUSTA, MI. – Michigan-based golf course architect Ray Hearn has made an impact in Chicago with his work at Flossmoor Country Club, one of the area’s top private facilities, as well as at Mistwood in Romeoville, one of the best public courses. If you want to test more of Hearn’s work you don’t have to go ...
  • Indiana’s Swan Lake lands U.S. finals, ING gathering GREENVILLE, S.C. – Swan Lake, the Indiana resort that has operated relatively low-key since its opening in 1969, is about to elevate its profile. Located in Plymouth, near the Notre Dame campus, Swan Lake hosted the National Junior College Championships last week and will host that event again in 2014. Of even more note, it’ll ...
  • French Lick’s fourth course, Sultan’s Run, is a keeper JASPER, Ind. – If ever there was a comeback story in the golf business, it’s the one that has unfolded at French Lick Resort — and it continues to get better. This little town in the resort’s namesake in southern Indiana, near Louisville, was the home to one of the most popular retreats in the ...
  • Eagle Ridge comes back strong from storm damage GALENA, IL. – I’ve always had a warm spot in my heart for the Eagle Ridge Resort. Not only has it been a favorite get-away retreat for about 40 years, it’s also a place where I’ve been on hand for some special events. In 1984 I played in the grand opening outing for Eagle Ridge’s South ...
  • FarmLinks finds it’s time for a change SYLACAUGA, AL. — The FarmLinks course in this little town about 45 miles from Birmingham already has a big reputation. Golf Digest, Golfweek and the National Golf Foundation have recognized it for one good thing or another. Soon, though, things will be changing. Honours Golf, which managed the facility for 10 years, will be leaving and ...
  • Alabama’s an underrated state for golfers GULF SHORES, AL. — There is, I believe, a misconception about golf in Alabama. Sure, the creation of the Robert Trent Jones Golf Trail 20 years ago was a big boost for golf in the state. In fact, it was a marketing breakthrough for the entire golf industry. The Trail has 11 courses covering 468 holes, ...
  • Searching for golf bargains on Florida’s Gulf coast SARASOTA, FL. — The main goal was to get to know a new area on our first two-month winter odyssey and — of course — that meant getting to know the golf options on Florida’s Gulf coast. We did a good job of both. Between our arrival in Sarasota on Dec. 30 and our departure on ...
  • MY OAKHURST VISIT: America’s first course provides a mystery WHITE SULPHUR SPRINGS, W.Va. — Any devoted golf aficionado should want to visit Oakhurst Links, long billed as the first golf club in the United States. A book — “Oakhurst: The Birth and Rebirth of America’s First Golf Course’’ (by Paula DiPerna and Vikki Keller, Walker and Company, 2002) — was even written about this ...
  • Pete Dye Golf Trail gives a boost to Indiana golf CARMEL, Ind. — No disrespect to Tom Fazio, Rees Jones, Robert Trent Jones, Jack Nicklaus or any of the other high-quality golf course architects putting their talents on display these days, but — for my money — one stands ahead of the others. Pete Dye is definitely the most innovative and probably the most prolific ...
  • Introducing wire-grass at Pinehurst No. 2 PINEHURST, N.C. — My frequent golf travels have led me to introduce you to a term you’re certain to hear more about in the next few months and years. It’s called wire-grass, the key ingredient in the recent renovation of North Carolina’s Pinehurst No. 2 — one of the world’s most famous courses, as well ...
  • A swing through Michigan’s Upper Peninsula IRON MOUNTAIN, Mich. — Michigan, as any avid golfer knows, is loaded with great courses. While the golf season isn’t as long as it is in some other warmer weather places, there’s an abundance of daylight in Michigan when its season is in full swing. The problem with Michigan is its abundance of riches. Most any ...
  • Florida’s Innisbrook has a Chicago flavor TARPON SPRINGS, Fla. — There’s still a good two months left in the Chicago golf season but, unfortunately, it won’t be too long until the weather changes. Snow and cold weather always arrive eventually, and then it’ll be time to head to warmer climates. For golf in the winter months that means Florida, California or Arizona. ...
  • Grand Geneva is a Midwest gem Not that there’s anything wrong with golf courses in the Chicago area, but golf getaways can be fun, too. And, you don’t have to go very far to find great getaway destinations. Our neighboring states of Wisconsin and Indiana have plenty of possibilities. In my book no state in the country has come as far golf-wise ...
  • Harbor Shores – A Feel Good Story BENTON HARBOR, Mich. — Anything Jack Nicklaus is sure to be good in golf, and The Golf Club at Harbor Shores is no exception. It’ll gain immense exposure in this summer of 2012 as the site of the Senior PGA Championship. It’ll also host that event in 2014. Considering the course didn’t open until July 1, ...
  • Branson Has A Lot More Than Golf BRANSON, Mo. — The golf is quite good in this lively little town in the southwest corner of Missouri. In just the last few years Branson, with about 6,000 full-time residents, has emerged as a golf destination. There are 13 courses in the general area, and they can accommodate all types of players. Eight of ...
  • Golf’s Hall Of Fame Deserves A Profile Boost ST. AUGUSTINE, Fla. — The World Golf Hall of Fame doesn’t get the media attention that baseball’s Hall in Cooperstown, N.Y., or football’s counterpart in Canton, Ohio, receive — and that’s a shame. It’s well worth a visit and some who were there in its first years will be quite impressed with what they’d see ...