Sometimes golf just isn’t fair. Professional baseball has Spring Training. The NFL and NBA have training camps and a handful of preseason scrimmages. But golf? Well, it’s up to each and every professional to get their game on track on their own and show up ready to compete at the highest level. There’s no organized stretching sessions (Can you see Tim Herron or Phil Mickelson showing up?), no group mental conditioning, no preseason practice tournaments. Professionals are left to prepare by themselves.
The best of the Desert West is now better than ever
Want a real party? The PGA Tour comes to The TPC of Scottsdale January 29 through February 4 for the FBR Open–the most attended tour stop in the country. Along with the best players in the world come huge galleries, nightly parties, music and opportunities to meet, greet or watch people as they pass on by. The FBR Open is one of the few tournaments where cheering is encouraged, as evidenced by the rowdy par-3 16th hole. It really is the “Greatest Show on Grass.”
Surprises are usually the last thing you’re looking for on a golf trip. No matter where in the world you’re lugging your clubs, and regardless of the time of year, you can never be too prepared for the likes of ugly weather, snarled traffic, allergy attacks, lost luggage, stolen clubs and more. That’s why what you pack for your golf trip should consist of more than just clubs, balls and golf clothes. Other staple items may make your vacation a lot more enjoyable and easy.
You know you’ve always dreamed of it–navigating your way around the hallowed humps and hillocks of the Old Course at Saint Andrews. The history doesn’t just accent the Old Course experience. It defines it. Seek out the Elysian Fields. Avoid the dreaded Hell Bunker, where Jack Nicklaus took five shots to escape in 1995. Take the bold line over the hotel at the Road Hole and face the dreaded approach, which has struck fear into the hearts of the likes of challengers from Old Tom Morris to David Duval.
If you want to maximize fun and minimize panic on your next golf vacation, then prepare up front. That is, think about where you’re heading and what’s unique about that place. Then imagine everything you might encounter on your journey, and address your concerns before you walk out your front door. Work the trip chronologically through your mind, and use the Internet as much as possible. As the time of your trip approaches, start a running checklist of everything you need to pack, keeping it on your nightstand so it’s conveniently located.
There are golf photos, and then there’s golf photography. Like models, some courses beg to be photographed. If you can’t snap a good shot on the 18th at Pebble Beach, you’re in the wrong game, my friend. The contrast of vivid green fairways, shimmering water and cloud-flecked blue skies can make an artist of just about anyone.
The PGA Tour is a showcase for many of the greatest cities and areas in the United States. Okay, the Tour may have abandoned D.C., and its decision to put Chicago on an every-other-year rotation is curious at best. Still, there are plenty of great places to catch an event. With all due respect to San Diego, Hilton Head, the Florida stops and New Orleans, however, no city on the PGA Tour tops Denver from a golf spectator’s unique perspective.
No one here would ever blame you for opting for that second 18, but if you’re looking to add a little adrenaline to your next golf trip, check out these exotic locales and the thrills they can serve up.
Golf course operators in Las Vegas regularly concede and admit that gambling is and always will be the main draw to the area. But that doesn’t mean you can’t combine the two during your stay. A few of the casinos have golf courses nearby; however, they come with a price. The new Wynn Golf Club and Bali Hai are both on the Las Vegas Strip, and both have relatively high green fees.