For most folks who journey across “the pond” to play golf, chances are pretty good they’ll want to play in Scotland at courses like St. Andrews, Turnberry and Royal Dornoch. While those courses and the enchanting towns they inhabit are steeped in history, those wanting a more diverse and dramatic golfing experience should consider Ireland, in particular its southwestern quadrant.
With more than 16,000 golf courses in the United States, you’d think there would be plenty of opportunities for golfers to find their own slice of heaven–a quiet, unpopulated course where they can roam freely without feeling crowded by other golfers. But that’s not the case. Even though 3,206 courses have been added to the U.S. golf course database since 1990, it’s still really hard to find 18 holes that you can call your own. Wouldn’t it be great to know that you could just walk on a course whenever you wanted and have the place all to yourself?
Things aren’t always the way they seem. Remember M. Night Shyamalan’s movie, The Sixth Sense, with its edge-of-your-seat surprise ending? (If you haven’t seen it, Bruce Willis reveals in the last minute that he wears a toupee.) Just kidding.
One-stop shopping has become a staple of life these days. As the demands on people’s time increase, the need to take care of as much as possible in a timely, convenient manner is paramount, whether one is shopping for groceries, shoes, cars or even golf vacations.
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.