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Daytona Beach: Golf’s fastest destination

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Speed is the topic of conversation in Daytona Beach from late January through February as the sports world turns its attention to the Great American Race, aka the Daytona 500. Golfers, of course, are always in search of their own version of speed: courses with great pace of play.

With that in mind, Daytona Beach might be the game’s fastest destination.

As surely as Daytona Beach is a mecca for auto racing enthusiasts, the area is equally appealing for golfers in search of a sub-4.5-hour round. How can we be so sure? Because Daytona Beach is home to courses that were designed to provide a complete golf experience at a pace that would make a NASCAR driver jealous. And even though they get you around fast, these tracks offer all the beauty and challenge you’d expect from Florida golf.

So, if playing in four hours or less sounds like a winning proposition, here are three Daytona Beach golf courses where the caution flag is never waved.

Hidden Lakes Golf Club

Hidden Lakes GC

As a  par-69, Hidden Lakes is an ideal course to play on the first day of a trip, as it provides everyone a chance to score. The layout is 5,454 yards from the tips and doesn’t have a par-4 that plays 400 yards, so players should almost always have a comfortable club in hand. A round at Hidden Lakes gives skilled players and beginners to make some birdies and have some fun. Try to arrive early and take advantage of the area’s best practice facilities.

Crane Lakes Golf Club

Crane Lakes CC

Crane Lakes, a par-66 that plays 5,186 yards from the tips, has eight par-3s and a pair of par-5s, but it isn’t a short course. A 435-yard par 4 and a 495-yard par-5 ensure the need for a good day with the driver, and the par 3s range in length from 156 to 200 yards (back tees). Always among the area’s best conditioned courses, Crane Lakes will test every part of a player’s game and do so in a timely manner.

Riviera Country Club

Riviera Country Club

Despite its intimidating name, Riviera Country Club is a public course that welcomes everyone.  It is the longest layout on the list at 6,250 yards from the tips, but it’s an old-school course designed with pace of play in mind (local legend has it that the course design was influenced by Robert Trent Jones Sr. when the Rockefellers owned most of the land in the area, including the land where Riviera now sits).

There is ample room to hit the ball front to back, but the fairways, greens and tee boxes are in close proximity so keep your head on a swivel and don’t forget to yell “Fore!” if you hit a shot offline. The course is maintained in a way that guarantees golfers won’t spend all day looking for balls, i.e., low-rough and puttable green speeds. The holes are straight forward but the greens are sneaky. The course is nicknamed “the friendliest club in the world”, and you’ll see why as the staff and patrons greet first-timers like old-timers. Be sure to check out the “Wall of Fame”, where you’ll see golf legends like Jim Dent, Bob Goalby and Slugger White memorialized as past event winners at RCC events.

Daytona Beach is home to nearly 30 courses including the Jones and Hills courses at LPGA headquarters, and all of them emphasize pace of play, but for overall enjoyment Crane Lakes, Hidden Lakes and Riviera are definitely on the front row of golf in Daytona Beach.

For more information, go to DaytonaBeach.com/things-to-do/golf

 

 

 

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Williams has a reputation as a savvy broadcaster, and as an incisive interviewer and writer. An avid golfer himself, Williams has covered the game of golf and the golf lifestyle including courses, restaurants, travel and sports marketing for publications all over the world. He is currently working with a wide range of outlets in traditional and electronic media, and has produced and hosted “Sticks and Stones” on the Fox Radio network, a critically acclaimed show that combined coverage of the golf world with interviews of the Washington power elite. His work on Newschannel8’s “Capital Golf Weekly” and “SportsTalk” have established him as one of the area’s most trusted sources for golf reporting. Williams has also made numerous radio appearances on “The John Thompson Show,” and a host of other local productions. He is a sought-after speaker and panel moderator, he has recently launched a new partnership with The O Team to create original golf-themed programming and events. Williams is a member of the United States Golf Association and the Golf Writers Association of America.

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19th Hole

Exploring Ireland: Where to golf, drink and stay on the Emerald Isle. Pt. 6. Old Head Golf Links, Kinsale, Cork

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In these series of articles, I will be taking you around the Emerald Isle providing you with great golf courses to visit in some of the loveliest spots in Ireland. I’ll also be highlighting the best and most authentic Irish bars in these spots, as well as places to stay, eat and how to get there. Whether you’re taking a golfing holiday to Ireland in 2019 or are interested in doing so sometime in the future, I’ll make sure to let you in on the best places to spend your time.

In Part Five of our Exploring Ireland Series, we travelled to Parknasilla Golf Club in Kerry. For Part Six, we’re staying down South and heading into County Cork.

Known as “The Rebel County” dating back to the days of Henry VII and also for its role in the Irish War of Independence, Cork is one of the biggest cities in Ireland, and its locals will tell you that it is indeed Cork and not Dublin which is the real capital of Ireland. Cork caters to everyone, full of history, natural beauty and ruggedness, and it also possesses one of the nicest city centers in Ireland, full of top restaurants and bars

Old Head Golf Links, Kinsale, Cork

@FairwaysFundays

While for the most part in this series we’ve been focusing on slightly lesser known courses in Ireland and keeping the purse strings a little tight, when you get to County Cork there’s one golf course that you just cannot ignore, no matter the price. Old Head Golf Links is the course in question, and in all honesty, if you haven’t heard of the course yet, then the photos will likely be enough for you to put this course on the bucket list.

Set upon 220-acres of sprawling land above the Atlantic Ocean, Old Head Golf Links offers unrivalled views of the south coast of Ireland. The rush you will feel when walking this golf course is like nothing else, and even the quickest of golfers will find themselves more than likely playing more deliberately in order to soak up every moment of their experience here! The famous Lighthouse watches over you as you make your away around the iconic grounds.

@wunderlan

You’ll hear the Atlantic Ocean crashing into the giant cliffs as you play, and you’ll smell the salt in the air on every shot. While that sounds fantastic, you can also expect some brutal winds from time to time, so pack the appropriate clothes and also stock up on some golf balls, as even the straightest of hitters are bound to lose a few to the deep blue sea.

The course itself features six tees, which is not just great since it caters to golfers of different standards, but it also allows for adjustments should you find yourself here on a particularly rough weather day. Those tees range from 5,413 yards to over 7,100 yards, and the course plays as a par-72 with five par-5s, eight par-4s and five par-3’s. The inconsistent wind makes matters very tricky around here, but the club does attempt to help their visitors out as much as possible by setting up the course differently daily depending on the weather forecast.

@EIGtravel

Relatively new, work began on creating this special links course in 1993 when visionary John O’Connor together with his brother Patrick set their sights on building one of the most beautiful golf courses in Ireland. The course opened for play in 1997, and while some controversy lingers over a private golf course being situated on The Old Head of Kinsale, the links course continues to provide its visitors with a breathtaking experience.

@fariwaysfundays

A visit to Old Head Golf Links does however come at a price. The course closes in Winter, and during the off-peak period (April-May, October) the green fee is around $200, while during the summer months the rate rises to $350. The course also features a top-class restaurant and a spa. It may cost an arm and a leg, but for the golfing purists out there, it will undoubtedly be worth the money.

Food & Drink – The Spaniard/The White House

@johnspillane09

Despite going top-heavy on the golfing experience in this trip to Cork, there are some excellent bars in the village to enjoy a well-earned pint and chat about what you’ve just experienced on the course. Staying in the village of Kinsale, you have both The Spaniard Inn and The White House which provide two different, yet two equally excellent options for a fun night.

@Lordted2011

The Spaniard Inn looks more like a little house than a pub. The thatched-roofed cottage is an old-school atmospheric pub that puts an emphasis on conversation, music and good homely meals. The pub also has a restaurant if you want to dine more formally, but the pub grub is just as tasty, and being so close to the coast makes their fish dishes a must try.

@KCSPA_FundRaise

The White House is a little different in that with its brighter look it doesn’t quite capture that homey feel, but it makes a big deal over its food, and it also provides live music. Should you visit here, then it’s well worth booking a table at their restaurant where they offer the freshest Lobsters, Oysters, Scallops etc. You name the fish, and they more than likely have it!

Where To Stay

From $275-375 a night, you can stay on-site at Old Head Golf Links in one of their suites. The price doesn’t just include the convenience of being able to sleep in before your tee-time, the suites offer impressive views of both the Ocean as well as the courses 18th green.

For a cheaper option, The White House provides rooms for around $140, and from there it’s just a 20-minute drive down to the spectacular Old Head Golf Links.

@gotoirelandus

Blarney Castle and Stone is one the most popular tourist attractions in Cork. According to folklore, those who kiss the Blarney Stone are said to receive “the gift of the gab” (translated in English: Ability to chat well about all sorts of topics!).

@kal__1211

I’d also highly recommend a visit to Cork City Gaol, which was open from 1824 until 1923. The prison was all-female from 1878 to 1920, and it’s well worth a trip if you find yourself in the Rebel County.

For history buffs, a visit to a Michael Collins attraction is a must while in Cork too. A museum for the Irish revolutionary soldier and politician who was instrumental in creating an independent Ireland lies in Clonakilty, which is a 40-minute drive west of Kinsale.

How To Get There

Kinsale is a 25-minute drive from Cork airport, and if you’re making your way here from Dublin City Center, then you can expect it to take at least three hours to get to the southern village.

 

 

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Hidden Gem of the Day: Sharp Park in Pacifica, California

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These aren’t the traditional “top-100” golf courses in America, or the ultra-private golf clubs you can’t get onto. These are the hidden gems; they’re accessible to the public, they cost less than $50, but they’re unique, beautiful and fun to play in their own right. We recently asked our GolfWRX Members to help us find these “hidden gems.” We’re treating this as a bucket list of golf courses to play across the country, and the world. If you have a personal favorite hidden gem, submit it here!

Today’s Hidden Gem of the Day was submitted by GolfWRX member Zach Heusser who takes us to Sharp Park in Pacifica, California. The course has been around since 1932, and according to Zach Heusser, the supreme layout of the track justifies a visit, while cautioning that the maintenance budget appears to be minimal.

“Seaside MacKenzie track. Unbelievable layout.”

Fellow GolfWRX member pt73 is also one who champions the course as a hidden gem, stating

“I played there a few times when I lived in the Bay Area (San Mateo) back in the late 1990s and loved the course layout.”

According to Sharp Park’s website, 18 holes around the Californian course will cost you $49.

@jemsekgolf

@gfordgolf

@findagame

Check out the full forum thread here, and submit your Hidden Gem.

 

 

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Hidden Gem of the Day: Sycamore Ridge Golf Club in Spring Hill, Kansas

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These aren’t the traditional “top-100” golf courses in America, or the ultra-private golf clubs you can’t get onto. These are the hidden gems; they’re accessible to the public, they cost less than $50, but they’re unique, beautiful and fun to play in their own right. We recently asked our GolfWRX Members to help us find these “hidden gems.” We’re treating this as a bucket list of golf courses to play across the country, and the world. If you have a personal favorite hidden gem, submit it here!

Today’s Hidden Gem of the Day was submitted by GolfWRX member TK3, who takes us to Sycamore Ridge Golf Club in Spring Hill, Kansas. TK3 gives us an excellent description of the course, and plenty of reasons why you should visit if you find yourself in the area.

“In the very, very small town of Spring Hill, KS lies Sycamore Ridge Golf Club, another hidden gem in the Kansas landscape.  Playing at almost 7100 yards from the tips, this is a fantastic course, with a great variety of holes that costs around $45.

Long  Par 5s and short, demanding Par 4s.  Elevated T-boxes for the Par 3s.  Very lush, very wooded with plenty of dunes, elevation changes and chasms make this course one of my favorites whenever I am in the area (which, unfortunately, is only once a year). Definitely worth checking out if you get a chance.”

According to Sycamore Ridge Golf Club’s website, 18 holes during the week will cost you $40, while the rate rises to $45 should you want to play on the weekend.

@skycaddiemike

@skycaddiemike

@justinfeuerborn

Check out the full forum thread here, and submit your Hidden Gem.

 

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19th Hole

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