September 23rd, 2016
Jordan Spieth capturing record wins… then choking. Rickie Fowler playing his own game of Twister on the course. John Daly wearing all the colors of the rainbow in all the patterns available. Beef’s beard. Bubba Watson being… well… Bubba Watson. The cast of characters in the game has only gotten more interesting, and yet the number of golfers has decreased from 30 million to 24 million in just over a decade. It has us wondering why, and more importantly, what can be done to shift this trend to the positive.
While news of Nike exiting stage left and taking their clubs with them is certainly shocking, what it is signaling to fans and players of the sport at large is the real concern. No one wants to be on a ship that’s sinking, or tied to a sport with a negative or archaic image. While “experts” and journalists have observed that Nike has never had that one break-through product like PING’s cast-iron clubs, or TaylorMade’s metal-headed driver, or Callaway’s house name, “Big Bertha”. They have the face on top of the swoosh-bearing red shirt, and even that face is fading.
Luckily for us, places like TopGolf are allowing men and women who’ve never played the sport to try their hand at driving the ball. It’s fun enough to keep you coming back, and casual enough for those who might still be laboring under the impression that golf is an “elitist” sport, and gives you just enough to grab a you friends and hit the nearest golf course “just to check it out”.
But is that enough?
The golf course is still a place where boys will be boys, and business deals are closed. Where women can break through gender barriers, and in some places, alligators can roam free. What the sport needs is an infusion of excitement. New fans, new rules, new equipment, and more people like John Daly spicing things up… but can the old-timers and purists handle such a change? Will it drive more people from the sport than it attracts? Only time will tell, but we have our chips down on the newer, hipper generation being the catalyst for the change we need to attract more people to the sport.
What do you think could lead to regained popularity of the sport? Who is the most influential player with the most power to change the momentum?
July 31st, 2016
In 2012, Mistwood Golf Course owner, Jim McWethy, began a spectacular renovation that would take 2 years to complete—on a course that was designed in 1998 by Michigan architect Ken Hearn. His love for the game, and his passion for his facilities is readily apparent in every aspect of this undertaking. Over the spring and fall of the 2012 and 2013 seasons, renovations were completed in multiple parts, beginning with a complete overhaul of the drainage system and concluding with the full-service clubhouse, McWethy’s.
This endeavor—begun at a time when the financial state of most typical golfers was sketchy, at best—was a gamble. He adopted an “if you build it, they will come” mentality, and threw himself fully into the renovation. It was a risky move, and judging from the accolades he and his course have received, it’s paid off.
Golf Digest: Best New Course 2013, December 2013
Golf Range Magazine: Top 50 Public Range, January 2014
GOLF Magazine: Best US Renovation You Can Play, January 2014
Golf Inc. Magazine: Top “Renovations of the Year” in the World, July 2014 (yep, that says “In the WORLD”)
Golf Range Magazine: Top 50 Public Range, December 2014
Golf Digest: America’s 100 Best Clubfitters, May 2015
Stage 1: The Course
Mistwood Golf Course aerial view
The new design called for added rock walls around the ponds and lakes, and 20 stack sod-walled bunkers. As if that wasn’t enough, they completely rebuilt the third hole. The par-5 hole was converted to a semi-island green, relocating it from behind a stream to in front of a pond. From their website: “Mistwood has five tee placements per hole, with the ability to now play over 7,000 yards.” They replaced the traditional rough with fescue, reducing pesticides and maintenance, and increasing habitats for local wildlife, which thankfully does not include alligators!
Stage 2: The Performance Center
The 5,000 sq ft Performance Center
After 7 years of planning, construction for the 5,000 square foot performance center began, and passers-by would often mistake it for a new clubhouse. Jim McWethy’s dedication to a successful renovation was apparent in the details from very early on in the process. Now that it’s complete, it boasts award-winning club fitting, a restaurant/bar for snacks, 11 climate-controlled hitting stations, 2 climate-controlled training stalls, and some high-tech training tools for ball flight and putting analysis.
Stage 3: The Clubhouse
McWethy’s inside the clubhouse
The new 26,000 square foot clubhouse, McWethy’s, opened in June of 2015. It seats 300, and the menu is completely loaded with typical Irish and American fare such as shepherd’s pie, Reubens (who could rue a Reuben??), steaks, hamburgers, and a huge selection of wine, mixed drinks, and beer. The interior is breathtaking in design and decor, and the service impeccable.
Connected to the restaurant is a full banquet hall which can accommodate 220+ guests for a wedding, fundraising event, or golf outing and reception. They also have the capability to seat 300 guests in an indoor/outdoor tented area.
Rock wall details
Also included in the renovations was the addition of a short game area, allowing for chipping and pitching practice. While Mistwood is a public course, membership is an option, which includes access to an exclusive area, allowing them to avoid the crowds, or find a more quiet area to practice. These areas feature both grasses and mats.
While the renovation was quite evidently a costly endeavor (an amount that he has yet to divulge, other than to say that it was “significant”) during a time when his return on his investment was a huge unknown, Jim McWethy spared no expense. He put his faith in his course designer, his contractors, and in the true golfers he knew would appreciate the details. He took a gamble and won.
For more details about the course and the facilities, visit the Mistwood Golf Course website.
June 14th, 2016
Thanks to beginner-friendly golfing venues such as TopGolf, the sport is seeing an influx of new players. While activities such as driving the ball into specific targets can give a potential golfer a taste, it doesn’t necessarily set them up for success at the tee.
To try to shed a little light, and encourage our newest golf enthusiasts, we have compiled a series of tried-and-true golf tips that literally ANY golfer can benefit from.
Tip #1 (this may be the most important of all, so if you can only remember one, this is it!)
Keep Your Head Down!!!
Keeping your eyes as firmly planted on the ball as your feet are on the ground. From the backswing all the way down, and into the follow through until it lands (or disappears into the water), your eyes are on the ball.
Get into a solid stance…
…and commit it to memory. Feet shoulder-width apart. Hips square. Posture straight. Completely balanced. Find this stance and be sure you can duplicate it every time you approach the ball.
Practice your correct grip
- Draw lines on your glove.
- Put the side of the grip against your fingers, with the toe up.
- Let the handle rest just under your heel pad and runs to your index finger.
- The grip should touch the middle joints of your middle two fingers.
- Your right hand should sit over your left thumb.
- Hold the club at a 45-degree angle with wrists facing each other and proper grip pressure.
Leave your driver out of play… for now
We know you went out and bought yourself the latest and greatest, fastest, and lightest driver you could find… but most experts recommend that you not use it for at least 18 months. Start with your pitching wedge and master using each club effectively over time before you introduce the driver to your game.
Stick to mostly par 3 courses in the beginning
Allowing yourself to develop as a player, perfecting your grip, your stance, and your swing. Playing “easier”, lower-par courses will give you the confidence you need to master each skill.
Learn how to correctly strike the ball
Even the pros need a little help from time to time, and when they’re not recording their own videos, they’re watching other pros’ how-to videos, hoping to gain a little insight, steal some wisdom, and improve upon what we would all consider pretty darn close to perfect. Watch videos, and practice the tips you’ve learned regularly.
Perfect your swing
Ok, we lied—it’ll never be perfect, but alongside putting, it’s the one thing you’ll always have to work on.
Even Tiger has a swing coach, so don’t think that if you had one good day on the course that you’ve perfected your swing!
Some of our favorite swing tips:
- Keep your hands low—The lower you hands and followthrough, the lower the ball flight, and longer the trajectory
- Fix the “flip” or early release—Set up a duffel bag full of towels and push the club head into the bag. Set your body into a good impact position with the lead arm and shaft forming one straight, vertical line. Hold this position to learn the “feel”.
- Keep the “K”—In your stance, bend slightly forward from the hip sockets and back from the knees. You should be able to draw a line from the top of the spine through the tip of the elbow and then from the tip of your knee down through the ball joint of your foot. Your bent leg creates a “K”, which should be maintained all the way through the swing.
- Take the inside path—Your swing path needs to come just slightly from the inside. Practice this using the “Box Drill”. Stand the top half of a golf ball box on its side, aligning it parallel to your desired path. Practice swinging so the shaft passes just over the box without touching it.
Once you’ve mastered everything here, you’re ready for the next nemesis of every golfer… putting. Stay tuned for more tips, and in the meantime, keep golfing!
May 31st, 2016
“Caddies are even crazier than golfers. You know why? Because we know golfers are crazy, and we still want to work for them!”
—Michael Collins, caddie to Tiger Woods
Not many golfers step up to the tee for the first time and aspire to be a caddie. They aspire to be a pro on the PGA tour, and take home the trophy and seven-figure purse by a landslide… or if they’re the more adventurous type, an awe-inspiring, highlight reel, come-from-behind victory. We hear and read all the chatter surrounding the victor—what was in their bag; what their winnings were; what their next stop is along the tour. But what no one really talks too much about is somewhat shocking… who their caddie was.
What is a caddie, really?
A pro’s caddie provides more than a body to carry the heavy bag of clubs throughout the day. He provides him invaluable insight, support, and much more. Dan Weigand, editor of the Journal of Applied Sport Psychology and co-author of “Caddy-Talk: Psychology of Being a Great Golf Caddy.” answers that very question. “What we found is a caddie is very much an on-course psychologist, biochemist, nutritionist, physiologist, counselor, friend. It really depends on the what the player needs from the caddie.”
What do the caddies make?
As independent contractors, caddies negotiate their pay with their player. On average, caddies make about $1,000 per week while on tour, plus a share of the winnings. Caddies generally earn 5 percent if their player makes the cut, 7 percent for a top-10 finish and 10 percent for a tournament win. For a great number of caddies, this translates into pretty decent seasonal work. For those who caddie for the top players, it’s life-changing money.
There is speculation that in 2015, Jordan Spieth’s caddie, Michael Greller, took home approximately $1,275,453 in just the last five events where Spieth made the cut. While not all caddies are bringing home that kind of cash, even the caddies for the pros finishing in the Top 10 are making some decent cash, at a typical 7% of their winnings, in addition to any non-standard tips they’d receive from their player. In 2014, ten PGA players’ caddies made over $600,000 in that season alone.
Caddies earn additional money from their own endorsement deals. While they must wear bibs with names and logos of the tournament sponsors, they can display their own logos on their hats or shirtsleeves, opening up opportunities for sponsorship deals with Nike, Titleist, Bridgestone, and other major players in the industry. Players outside the top 30 only earn $5,000 to $10,000 for this, but the caddies of the big three players can earn more than $200,000 annually from endorsements, and caddies of other top players can make $30,000 to $50,000 a year from sponsorships.
How much do they work?
Tournaments are usually six- or seven-day weeks. Caddies walk the course on Monday or Tuesday, confirming yardages. Tuesday is typically a full practice day, typically including a round of nine holes. Wednesday is often a professional-amateur round, and the four-day tournament starts on Thursday.
Caddies typically work 30 weeks out of the year, leaving them time for a seasonal job, travel, and, of course, golf.
Who WOULDN’T want to be a caddy?
While the benefits of caddying for the pros can be seemingly immeasurable, after covering their travel expenses, many caddies walk away with little to nothing at the end of a tournament… and of course not everyone can be as lucky at the end of a round as Carl Spackler.
May 27th, 2016
“Where the Competition of Sport Meets Your Favorite Local Hangout”
The time has come where the sport of golf isn’t exclusively a businessman’s sport, a “rich man’s game”, or for “gentlemen only”. It’s gaining popularity at a rapid rate, shedding its exclusivity, and becoming a sport that knows no race, religion, or income level. The catalyst for that change largely in part is Topgolf.
What IS Topgolf?
A typical bay at a Topgolf facility
From the Topgolf website: “Topgolf is the premier golf entertainment complex where the competition of sport meets your favorite local hangout. Players hit golf balls containing computer microchips that track each shot’s accuracy and distance while also awarding points for hitting targets on the outfield. Each venue offers an upscale, laid-back experience that features climate-controlled hitting bays, event spaces for groups of all sizes, and an impressive food and drink menu.”
If you haven’t had the pleasure of attending an event at a local Topgolf, or played there with a group of your friends, the concept is simple to explain. For a regular Topgolf match, players score points by hitting balls assigned using microchip technology into any target. The more accurate your shot and the farther the distance, the more points you earn.
They have several types of games and matches you can play, including:
Beginner, and experienced golfers compete mano-a-mano on a level playing field. Players are split into teams, and the best score on each ball is used as the score for the team.
For fans of the short game, TopChip uses just the red target (five shots), yellow target (five shots) and green target (10 shots). Hit the correct target and you’ll score points, but hit the wrong one and see your points disappear.
This high-scoring version of Topgolf rewards you for going big. The farther the target you hit and the closer you get to the center flag, the higher the multiple of points you’ll receive.
Test your touch and accuracy by hitting all nine sections within the yellow target. Close out the first level, then see point values multiply during levels two and three. Be careful not to hit the same section twice or you’ll lose points.
Break out your big guns, and take aim at our farthest targets. Not for the faint of heart, this game challenges even the most experienced and powerful drivers.
Similar to TopChip, this game challenges you to hit the targets at four consecutive distances (five shots each). The starting target you choose (red, yellow or green) determines the game’s level of difficulty.
Groups of players can reserve a bay in a local Topgolf for as low as $30, and enjoy the game and one another’s company in their own climate-controlled area. Food and beverages are delivered straight to you and your guests, and they have a great selection of both.
“The overall Topgolf concept is bringing potential new players to the game in great numbers. According to reports, 8 million people played at a Topgolf in 2015, and more than half had previously never taken a swing.”
This influx of new golfers has caught the attention of PGA and LPGA executives, and the three entities have now begun cross-promoting their services and events.
If you’re looking to plan an event, and aren’t sure what venue to choose, Topgolf may be your answer. Absolutely NO golf experience is required, and they offer food and beverage packages for medium to large groups.
April 30th, 2016
Baboons, and gators, and bears… oh, my! Animals don’t seem to understand the concept of “members only” and tend to wander onto the fairways and greens of their local golf course from time to time. These are some of the more notable ones we’ve found.
In September of 2014, four bears decided to unwind a bit on the back nine of Fairmont Hot Springs Resort. While they held up play for a bit, their charm definitely compensated for the wait.
Watch the video
Eagle on the 12th hole! North Bellingham Golf Course in Bellingham, WA had some excitement in October of 2014 when an eagle landed on the 12th hole and decided to stay for a bit. She did eventually leave, but not before adopting a new “egg”.
Eagle on the 12th hole
Watch the video
The St. Lucie Trail Golf Club in Florida was visited by a Florida bobcat in November of 2014. While they are very rarely seen out during the day, he seemingly took “public golf course” to a whole new level.
Bobcat on St. Lucie Trail Golf Club in Florida
Luke Donald nearly ran off the course at the Nedbank Challenge, when a baboon ran down the fairway. Whomever said golf isn’t a dangerous sport has clearly never come face-to-face with a baboon in the middle of a match.
Baboon on a fairway in South Africa
Watch the video
Now this is teamwork! At the Zurich Classic of New Orleans in April, PGA Tour player John Peterson gave a very dangerous assist to playing partner James Driscoll, pushing an alligator into a pond so Driscoll could play his approach shot. John Peterson even has his own “Tips for dealing with gators on the golf course” article!
John Peterson calmly pushes an alligator back into the water.
Watch the video
And who’s not afraid of a tiny frog… or a hundred? Well, Peter Uihlein certainly IS, as demonstrated in this video of his tiny vicious frog attack ordeal.
An elk with impressive antlers watches golfers on the Stewart Creek Golf Club in the Canadian Rockies.
An elk at the Stewart Creek Golf Club in the Canadian Rockies.
What exotic, or simply out of place animals have you seen on the course? Share your experience with us on Facebook!
April 26th, 2016
We pose the same question to our community from time to time—”Where’s the best place you’ve ever golfed?”. The answers typically vary so wildly, but this month was like a who’s who of Michigan golf courses. We chose a couple outside of those to mix it up a bit… but one thing is clear, we need to be golfing in Michigan more often!
We hope you enjoy dreaming with us, and perhaps you’ll find a new best place of your own!
Mountain Falls in Pahrump, NV
Mountain Falls Golf Club
Managed by Par-4, the Mountain Falls Golf Club boasts a par-74, 18 hole course located 45 minutes from Las Vegas. This superior course is surrounded by picturesque mountain ranges, wide open spaces and lush rolling hills. They offer golf outings, golf packages, special events, and tournaments.
The practice facilities at Mountain Falls Golf Club are perfectly appointed for players to work on all aspects of their game. A variety of lesson packages and formats are available from the PGA professionals in the Golf Shop.
St. Ives at Tullymore Golf Club Stanwood, MI
St. Ives Golf Course
Discover a course that has been crafted from the dramatic glacier-carved landscape of Michigan. Flawlessly combining mystic woodlands, sprawling wetlands, and rugged highlands, spectacular distractions are just par for the course at St. Ives.
Designed by the legendary Michigan golf course architect Jerry Matthews, many consider St. Ives to be his best work. Since opening in 1995, St. Ives has received many awards and accolades including being named among the Top 10 courses in America for women by Golf for Women magazine. Golf Digest has also awarded St. Ives with a prestigious 5-star rating.
The most exciting hole of this par-72 course is arguably the par 4, 14th hole. A straight and accurate tee shot is essential to hit the narrow landing pad. Then to get to the green, a lengthy carry over wetlands is the key to even coming close to par.
The dynamic nature of this course ensures you’ll discover something new each and every time you play it.
Treetops Golf Course Gaylord, MI
Choose from one of Treetops Resort’s five expert-designed courses:
Treetops Golf Resort
Robert Trent Jones, Sr.’s final design in Michigan is truly a masterpiece. In his own words, Jones claimed it as his crowning glory. The course is located at the headwaters of the Pigeon River and takes full advantage of natural valleys, ravines and broad plains. The signature sixth hole features a 120′ vertical drop and a panoramic view of the Pigeon River Valley.
Premier is the only course in Michigan designed by famed architect, Tom Fazio. The course makes the most of the rolling terrain, striking the perfect balance between challenge and forgiveness. When asked to name a signature hole, Fazio replied, “all of them.” Play a round on the Premier and we think you’ll agree.
The bar was certainly set high with Signature; the course unfolds into a high upland area and features undulating greens and wide, forgiving fairways. Undisturbed natural areas are prominent on holes four and eleven. Signature has been rated a Top 50 Course for Women.
Tradition is their walking course which pays homage to golf’s origin. The course is well named as it features “traditional” wooden pins and pennant flags. The links-style layout takes advantage of high ridges and hilltops, providing some sloping while still being walkable. Holes one through nine wrap back around to the starter house, allowing for nine-hole play.
This par three-designed course, has been receiving national recognition since it opened in 1992. It consistently ranks as the #1 par three course in America by Golf Magazine, Golfweek, Golf & Travel and several others and is perhaps the most recognized par three course in America. For a number of years, Threetops hosted the ESPN Par 3 Shootout. Lee Trevino recorded an ace on #7 during the Shootout in 2001. The course itself features elevated greens and tees with noticeable slopes.
Shepherds Hollow Clarkston, MI
Shepherd’s Hollow Golf Course
Spend a day at Shepherd’s Hollow and you’ll swear you’re in Northern Michigan, surrounded by mile after mile of forest and field, untouched by man. The course features 27 holes, built on a piece of property with acreage that easily could provide twice the number of holes. A minimalist design was utilized to maintain and take advantage of what many consider a perfect piece of property for a golf course.
Shepherd’s Hollow is a challenging golf course that requires a variety of shots from the player. It is often commented that when playing Shepherd’s Hollow the first demand of a player is an imagination.
Wide natural fairways and large flowing greens require a variety of shots most golfers don’t often experience. The golfer that embraces this challenge will often experience golf as it was originally played.
Butler National Golf Course Oak Brook, IL
Butler National Golf Course
Butler National Golf Club is an exclusive private golf club, located in the Western suburb of Oak Brook, Ill. The club has a traditional 18 hole golf course, previously hosting the Western Open tournament. Butler National is a private, members only club with membership by invitation only.
The club hosted the Western Open from 1974 to 1990. The tournament featured some of the games best, including Jack Nicklaus, Tom Watson (Champion in 1974, 1977, and 1984), Hale Irwin (Champion in 1975) and Tom Kite (Champion in 1986). In 1985, an amateur named Scott Verplank was able to hold off the field and claim victory. He is the 2nd amateur to win the Western Open, with the 1st being Chick Evans in 1910.
Golf Digest consistently ranks Butler National among the “Top 100” golf courses in America. In 2012, Golf Digest rated Butler National the nation’s 11th-toughest course and No. 1 in Illinois. The member’s course rating is 73.9 with a slope of 144, measured at 6,720 yards. The back tees stretch the course to 7,523 yards with a course rating of 78.1 and a slope of 152.
March 31st, 2016
We’ve covered pro tips on how to reduce your putting average, but before you concern yourself with getting your ball into the hole in the fewest strokes possible, let’s focus on how best to get the ball TO the green. We are going back to basics here to give you the most effective ways to get some distance off the tee.
Making sure your posture is correct, with your weight over your thighs, and your belt buckle facing the ball. Your weight goes to the inside of your right heel, through to the ball and onto your left foot, just as if you were throwing a ball. One drill you can use to encourage proper transfer of weight is to actually shift your feet as you swing. On the downswing step left, swing through, and bring your right foot to your left. This will give more power to your swing, and allow the ball to travel even further distances. Watch the video
One way to make sure you’re the correct distance from the tee is to set up to the ball, then attempt to lift your heels and wiggle your toes. If you can’t lift your heels, you’re most likely too far away from the ball. If you can’t wiggle your toes, you’re too close. Next, let go of the club with your right hand and make sure you can pass it through between the butt end of the club and your body. Watch the video
Want longer and straighter shots off the tee? If barely hanging on is a zero and gripping as tightly as you can is a 10, you want to be at a 4. A loose grip causes you re-grip the club on the downswing, resulting in decreased swing speed. Watch the video
Starting in golf-proper position, reverse the direction of the club, holding it just below the club head. Using a nice, relaxed motion, swing the club through, making sure that the “woosh” noise happens near the ball rather than behind it. Watch the video
Make sure your shoulder is turned over your right thigh on the backswing, allowing for more upper body torque and a more powerful, explosive swing. Watch the video
Imagining that the ball is a globe, and the midline of the ball the equator, the top half of the ball should be above the top of the driver. Teeing the ball too high will make the ball fly straight up in the air, teeing the ball too low will drive the ball into the ground—but teeing the ball so that the imaginary line of the equator falls just above the top of the driver will encourage the ball to travel farther and straighter. Watch the video
Reversing the backswing to “out to under” instead of “under to over”. Get the club head to stay outside your hands on the backswing and drop it inside on the downswing. Watch the video
Using a driving range basket held between your elbows, this drill will help you keep your elbows and torso aligned and tighter, promoting a better backswing and simplifying your downswing. Watch the video
Use the wide variety of golf ball technology to your advantage, using different balls in different situations. Most amateur, high-handicap golfers should be playing with a high-spin long shot ball, low-spin short shot ball. On a firm, dry course, for example, you can play the Titleist Pro V1 for more spin, while on a softer course, you could play a ball like the Titleist Pro V1x. Watch the video
We hope you found something useful here. Let us know if you find any of these successful in improving your distance off of the tee! Follow us on Facebook to stay up to date on our latest Golf Tips articles.
March 21st, 2016
Every golfer has that one place. Maybe it wasn’t your first choice, or maybe it’s a course you’ve dreamt of playing since the very beginning… but this was it. The best place you’ve ever golfed. You threw your clubs in the trunk and left there, vowing to be back, no matter what it took.
We posed the question to our loyal Facebook followers, and they responded in astounding numbers… places in their own town, to courses clear around the world. We have sorted through them, have done our research, and are bringing them to you five at a time.
We hope you enjoy dreaming with us, and perhaps you’ll find a new best place of your own!
First up this month is Cypress Point, located in Pebble Beach, CA
Cypress Point Club was designed by Alister MacKenzie and opened in 1928. It was once a co-host for the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am, formerly The Bing Crosby Tournament, last doing so in 1991. Cypress Point also hosted the only Walker Cup on California soil in 1981. Cypress is ranked #2 in Golf Magazine’s list of “Top 100 Golf Courses in the World,” behind Mackenzie’s other masterpiece, Augusta. Cypress Point will always have its place in the upper echelon of golf history.
Regarded as the most exclusive course in the world, it is virtually impossible to play a round unless you are invited by a member. The club decides the cost of yearly membership fees by equally dividing the total operating expenses amongst all members. Each member of the club is required to pay the same amount in dues, regardless of the amount of play or the number of visits to the club.
Torrey Pines, La Jolla, CA
Located in La Jolla (pronounced “la hoya”), California, Torrey Pines Golf Course sits on the coastal cliffs overlooking the Pacific Ocean and is recognized as the premier municipal golf course owned and operated by a city. It is named after the Torrey Pine, a rare tree that grows in the wild only along this local stretch of the coastline in San Diego County and on Santa Rosa Island.
It offers two picturesque and, due to its yearly hosting of the PGA TOUR’s Farmers Insurance Open event, widely recognizable championship 18-hole golf courses. It is surely the most accessible public facility for the die-hard enthusiast wishing to play at a world-renown facility that nearly all golfers know by name.
Torrey Pines was the site of perhaps the most memorable modern day U.S. Open Championship, when in 2008, under the typically brutal conditions of this major tournament, injured and hobbling Tiger Woods defeated Rocco Mediate during their sudden death playoff after 90 grueling holes of exciting golf.
Spyglass Hill, Pebble Beach, CA
Spyglass Hill Golf Course takes its theme from Robert Louis Stevenson’s classic novel, Treasure Island, published in 1883. Local legend maintains that Stevenson once wandered the Spyglass area gathering ideas for his novels. With this in mind, Robert Trent Jones Sr. set about creating a treasure of his own.
Opened in 1966, Spyglass Hill Golf Course features two distinctly different kinds of terrain that influence the way the holes look and play. The first five holes roll through sandy seaside dunes challenging you to carefully pick the safest path. The following 13 holes are cut through majestic pines with elevated greens and strategically placed bunkers and lakes to grab the errant shot. Hole names such as “Black Dog” and “Billy Bones” are hints for the unwary.
Spyglass Hill Golf Course is rated one of the toughest courses in the world from the Championship tees, boasting a course rating of 75.5 and a slope rating of 144. The PGA TOUR consistently lists Spyglass Hill holes 6, 8 and 16 among the toughest on the TOUR, and during the 1999 United States Amateur, the stroke average of the field during medal play was in excess of 79.
Westmoreland Golf Course, Barbados
Improve your golf game at Royal Westmoreland. Reduce your handicap as you test yourself on our par 72, 7,045-yard course designed by acclaimed course designer, Robert Trent Jones, Jr. Work on your stroke play on the superbly maintained, perfectly considered fairways and greens that surround the estate.
Enjoy the Caribbean sunshine and clear blue skies. Take in the breathtaking views, thriving greenery and flourishing tropical landscape. Line up your putt as the ocean washes up on the not-so-distant shoreline. Perfect.
The golf course is as enjoyable as it is demanding. You’ll find a mixture of short holes, with a challenging back nine preceded by tricky greens on the front.
Royal Westmoreland is a private estate with golfing access only available to villa owners or rental guests, unless special access is granted by appointment.
Pine Dunes Resort and Golf Club, Frankston, TX
Carved through majestic, century old pine trees with contoured fairways & rolling terrain, Pine Dunes provides the most peaceful setting you’ll find for a world-class round of golf. The Championship, Par 72 Layout is tucked away in the Piney Woods of East Texas, heralded as one of the best courses in America.
With the determination of Owners Jodi Lutz and Scott Miller, and World-Renowned Golf Course Architects Jay & Carter Morrish, Pine Dunes was crafted into a golfer’s dream getaway, inviting golfers to experience top quality golf & conditions for as little as $59/round.
Pine Dunes is a spectacular, 4.5 Star Rated Championship Golf Course open year-round, designed by legendary & world renowned architects Jay & Carter Morrish. You’ll quickly understand why respected golf magazines & critics have presented Pine Dunes with dozens of Awards, and we invite you to experience a golf getaway deep in the heart of Texas.
A variety of packages are available to each player including daily-fee play, stay-n-play weekend getaways and large group outings. Spacious, comfortable overnight accommodations in guest condominiums can be reserved for your foursome or a group as large as 40 players.
Where was the best place YOU’VE played? Stop by our Facebook page and let us know… you may find it here next month!
Read Part 1 of the series
February 27th, 2016
The Best Place I’ve Ever Golfed
If you’ve ever watched The Food Network, you may be familiar with one of their highest rated series: “The Best Thing I Ever Ate”. Famous chefs describe, in detail, their favorite menu item from relatively unknown establishments around the world. We went to our Budget Golf community and posed a similar question: “What is the best place you’ve ever golfed?” Responses have been flooding in, and we will be sharing them with you over the next few months… stay tuned!
Submitted by Budget Golf community member Steven Hutchison
“My favorite golf course is Green Valley Golf Course in Zanesville, Ohio. It is definitely not one of the premier golf courses around my area but it has something a lot of the others don’t. A place where anyone is welcome, Especially families. It is a par 59 course where kids can learn the game and everyone can have fun without being pushed along. Our kids are the future of golf and places like this are necessary to help make that happen.”
4420 Dresden Rd. Zanesville, OH 43701
Green Valley Golf Club is Southeastern Ohio’s premiere executive golf course. GVGC features two sets of tees on our Par 59 course with a USGA slope rating of 53.7 from the men’s tees and 54.8 from the women’s tees. Green Valley Golf Club is the only executive short course recognized in the state of Ohio by the United States Golf Association.
Family friendly, GVGC is located at 4420 Dresden Road, just a few minutes from downtown Zanesville. Green Valley Golf Club provides an exceptional opportunity for those golfers just learning the game, women, seniors, and juniors.
Submitted by Budget Golf community member Cale Thompson
“The best place that I have ever golfed is Erin Hills in Wisconsin! It’s home to the 2017 US Open and it’s going to be EPIC. Three of my buddies and I made the 4 1/2 hour drive from Indiana last summer for my buddy’s 40th birthday. From the minute you pull into the property you feel like you have warped to a beautiful ranch in the hills of Ireland. The entire property is elegant and well manicured. We were treated like royalty by the staff and had the best caddies you could ask for. Aside from the tall blowing fescue grass lined fairways my favorite part of the round was learning the history of the course from our caddies. I was struggling a bit in the round and my caddie stopped me and pointed out an old bell that was on the course. He explained to me that the clover shaped side mounts of the bell were the inspiration for the course logo. Little did I know he was schooling me on patience as well as course history. I went par, par, birdie, par after his lesson. All and all I would love to go back and face this extremely challenging masterpiece again.”
Erin Hills is one of only 6 public courses ever awarded the prestige of hosting the U.S. Open!
It has both old-fashioned and modern elements, and was built both to test the very best players in the world and to accommodate comfortably the thousands and thousands of people who will watch them. It was built on topography ideally suited for golf but on soil that is not always ideal for golf. The bunkering includes small, traditional pots and the more fashionable free-form bunkers. It could be the course of the future – a course that borrows the traditional aspects it likes and respects—e.g., the movement of so little earth in its design, and one that was built with many years of championship golf, in terms of both the challenges it presents to the players and its infrastructure, in mind.
Submitted by Budget Golf Community Member Chris Ray
Wolf Creek Golf Course
“Best place ever golfed…..Wolf Creek in Mesquite, NV for sure. Played in Pro-Am with LDA guys. They were awesome and the course, scenery and conditions of fairways and greens were absolutely majestic! Plus I drove the green on the long drive guys on one hole and have pic to prove it! Will for sure go back some day!”
Wolf Creek Golf Club strives to deliver the ultimate golf experience to each and every guest. As you are called to the first tee and look down towards the green, you notice a one of a kind canvas. The detail of the striped emerald green fairway below, lined with brilliant white sand bunkers, you instantly know that Wolf Creek is a special place. After finishing all eighteen holes, you are hard pressed to come up with just one signature hole and more often than not amazed with the picturesque beauty of the course rather than the score you shot.
Since opening in 2000, golfers from all over the world have travelled to Wolf Creek Golf Club in Mesquite, Nevada to experience a one of a kind golf adventure. Wolf Creek is often mentioned as a bucket list course with other courses such as Pebble Beach, Black Wolf Run, and Bandon Dunes. Many major golf publications have ranked Wolf Creek as one of the top public courses in the country. From 2008-2015, Wolf Creek has been a feature course on EA Sports Tiger Woods and the new Rory McIlroy PGA Tour video game. In 2011, Wolf Creek won the prestigious Fan Choice Award naming Wolf Creek the favorite golf course to play by golf fans worldwide.
Submitted by Budget Golf Community Member Tony Filippelli
Ko Olina Golf Course
“Best place I ever golfed? Ko Olina in Oahu. Most beautiful course I’ve ever seen!”
A challenging, 18-hole championship golf course on Hawaii’s beautiful island of Oahu.
Ko Olina Golf Club, one of Golf Digest’s “Top 75 Resort Courses in the U.S.” is a challenging 18-hole Oahu golf course built in 1990 by renowned course architect Ted Robinson. Typical of his designs, Ko Olina Golf Club features exceptional water features, multi-tiered greens, large landing areas, and a moderate length which makes it perfect for beginners and experts alike. Located on the sunny West Coast of Oahu, just a short drive from Honolulu and Waikiki, Ko Olina Golf Club is also home to the 2012–2016 LOTTE Hershey Championship.
Submitted by Budget Golf Community Member Steven Pollan
“Ballybunion Old Course in Ireland. Just an incredible experience all around. Playing along the ocean, the dunes, the history. We went on a trip for my 40th birthday, and I would love to go back.”
Located on the north west coast of County Kerry, on a beautiful stretch of sand dunes overlooking the Atlantic Ocean, you’ll find a wonderfully challenging 72 par and unique links golf course at Ballybunion – the Old Course, designed by Robert Trent Jones, Sr.
Want to share the best place you’ve ever golfed? Visit us on Facebook, send us a private message detailing why, and share a picture or two if you have them!