Connect with us

Travel

Vegas, baby: A first look at the new Wynn Golf Course

Published

on

Last week, golf returned to the Las Vegas Strip as the Wynn Golf Course made its debut. In fact, it was a grand re-opening of a course that had hosted top pros and celebrities for years before closing in 2017, with the land earmarked for development. Other land was found, and now the track is back and better than ever.

Tom Fazio was chosen as the architect for the re-imaging of the course. It now plays as a par-70 with three par 3s and two par 5s on each nine (that’s two Full Houses, if you are a poker type) and a total yardage that stretches from 4,810 to 6,722 with a choice of four tees. The course plays a lot longer than the number, so wisdom dictates that you choose one tee box forward if you want to score.

Those that have played the old design will see that the changes begin on the first hole, which has been rerouted from its original design to dogleg right instead of left. All told, there are eight brand new holes and ten that have been re-worked. Highlights include a 486-yard par 4 (no. 16) and a par 5 (no. 11) that tops out at nearly 600 yards. The signature 18th hole has been transformed from a par 4 to a par 3, which can be stretched to 249 yards, culminating on a green framed by a 35-foot-tall by 100-foot-wide waterfall for a truly Las Vegas-style finish.

More than 400,000 cubic yards of earth and 300 trees were relocated to accommodate wider landing areas, contours, and elevation changes to fairways throughout, as well as bunker alterations that make for easier access and egress. Each hole received an approximate 300-square-foot green expansion as well as a redesign and recontour to create new hole locations, while resort golfers will appreciate that green surrounds were made more receptive with the addition of collection areas shaped to feed balls toward putting surfaces instead of away from them. That’ll also get you around the course and back to the tables in a reasonable amount of time.

#18 at Wynn Golf Course

Visually, the course is a knockout. As you would expect for opening day, the conditions were immaculate, but the management is committed to daily perfection. There is a kind of surreal feeling as you play in a combination of lush greenery while you use the Wynn Tower and other landmarks as your aimpoint on the horizon. Full disclosure; I love Fazio designs and this one was the man at his best. Generous fairways to get the hole started, and approaches that are challenging without being absurdly difficult.

“We are so excited about the return of the Wynn Golf Club,” said Fazio. “The quality of the Wynn golf experience matches the ultra-high level that everyone expects from a Wynn resort. The playability of the course is second to none and the challenge of play for all golfers is exceptional.”

Fazio is right; as a hotel, the Wynn is, like, a 7-star experience, and they did their best to extend that to the golf course. You’ll find a top-notch caddie program featuring several PGA members, new on-course culinary program, lithium-powered golf carts (with lights and a horn!), expansive pro shop, and a luxury clubhouse.

The Wynn Golf experience does not come cheap; green fees are $550 in-season not including caddy. But in the context of a city where you can lose $600 in less time than it takes to say, “Six hundred dollars,” it might be the best value proposition that many visitors get during their stay. And by the way, if you ace 18, you can win up to $25K.

Golfers with a room reservation at Wynn Las Vegas or Encore can secure tee times 90 days in advance. Non-resort guests can reserve tee times 30 days in advance.

Your Reaction?
  • 32
  • LEGIT5
  • WOW8
  • LOL2
  • IDHT0
  • FLOP1
  • OB1
  • SHANK12

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.

17 Comments

17 Comments

  1. Michael

    Oct 23, 2019 at 1:11 am

    Full disclosure: Fazio courses are notorious for being uneconomical to maintain and built on an undisciplined budget. A black eye on the golf design profession. This is lollypop and unicorn golf.

    • John

      Oct 23, 2019 at 12:04 pm

      Wynn golf club has its own well and can water day and night. Other costs don’t matter as its casino funded. It’s a money no object course. Brian Hawthorne runs it and I don’t think he is budget restricted.
      When Steve Wynn was still with the company, he lived at the resort with his villa facing that big waterfall on 18. They’d keep it on long after sundown. The Country Club Restairant has an outdoor seating area also facing that big waterfall. It’s a beautiful course designed with privacy in mind. They have raised hills along the roughs so you don’t even see other golfers.

  2. Speedy

    Oct 22, 2019 at 7:24 pm

    No to Vegas. Bandon Dunes, Pebble Beach, here I come.

  3. Jim Duncan

    Oct 21, 2019 at 5:27 pm

    Who goes to Vegas to play golf?

    • D

      Oct 22, 2019 at 12:34 pm

      All the rest of us, apparently. You won’t be invited

  4. HDTVMAN

    Oct 21, 2019 at 5:19 pm

    I’d pay $100 TOPS! One of the most beautiful and perfectly manicured courses in the area is the Jack Nicklaus Signature Coyote Springs, 90 minutes north of Las Vegas. I’ve played it three times and absolutely LOVE IT!

    • Jose Pinatas

      Oct 22, 2019 at 9:50 am

      Agree. And usually less than 1/5th the cost. It is however over an hour from the Strip.

  5. Jose Pinatas

    Oct 21, 2019 at 4:35 pm

    The play will be predominantly Asian males. This fee is crumbs compared to what the high rolling Asian culture drops on golf in their overseas market.

    • John

      Oct 22, 2019 at 12:01 pm

      Completely incorrect. As a former employee, that course does over a million dollars each month between casino guests and paying guests. And it’s a mix of EVERYBODY that plays it. While green fees have gone up $50 as according to the article, it’s $350 for locals with ID. And for that you get a golfing experience. It’s really a red carpet golf day. Even both coolers on the cart are stocked full of sodas, water, and gatorades which are complimentary. The hot dog from the shack at the turn is the best I’ve ever had.

      Everybody from every ethnicity plays the course. You’re narrow minded and probably wouldn’t play it, but it’s one of my favorite courses to play. And I play it 1 or 2 times each year. I’m happy it’s back!

      • Jose Pinatas

        Oct 22, 2019 at 4:10 pm

        Your right I’m too narrow minded and too cheap to play it. I’ll play elsewhere when I’m in Vegas for the week. Boulder Creek, Coyote Springs, Mountain Falls, Wolf Creek, and Primm. I’d rather play golf for a week athe the same cost on other nice area courses. You stick to your 1 round and have a free pop every hole.

        • John

          Oct 23, 2019 at 12:24 am

          Yup. You are not the type of guest they are looking for.
          You would probably be more comfortable at Black Mountain, Desert Willow, or Stallion Mountain.

      • Dangers my middle name

        Oct 22, 2019 at 4:12 pm

        Casino Royale has good ft. long hot dogs for $2.

  6. JasonHolmes

    Oct 21, 2019 at 1:40 pm

    So its now more expensive than Shadow Creek?

    Thats just silly.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Travel

King-Collins Golf adds 18-hole design to portfolio with Landmand GC

Published

on

Master plan for Landmand Golf Club. Credit: King Collins Golf Course Design

King-Collins Golf’s first design, Sweetens Cove, has received a seemingly endless amount of praise over the last several years. Both the course and the design team have been the darlings of golf social media since the community discovered Sweetens Cove. And yet, it has taken Rob Collins and Tad King a while to add a full 18-hole course to their design portfolio. All of that is about to change.

King-Collins Golf has certainly received many inquiries in the past few years, but the cold hard truth of the golf course design business is few of them ever really get legs. Then, Will Andersen reached out to King-Collins in April of 2019 through the contact form on their website and things changed rather quickly.

According to Rob

“I could just tell by the way he was talking that it was the real deal. He said that he had had some other big name architects out there, but none of them really clicked and some of them didn’t even take the project seriously. It sounded like he had a little chip on his shoulder and, to be honest, that really resonated with me because Tad and I have dealt with very similar issues after Sweetens Cove. You know, we’ve been fighting so hard for our big break and it’s like every time a good piece of land comes up, you hear the same four names and just irritates the heck out of me. Anyway, I called Tad and said, ‘Hey, we got a real one here.’”

Rob Collins and shaper Gus Grantham discussing their plan. Credit: Rob Collins

Will showed Rob and Tad around their family’s land in Homer, Nebraska, which lies on the Missouri River near the Iowa and South Dakota borders. The land had been farmed by their family for several years (Landmand is Danish for farmer, by the way) until it wound up in the government’s Conservation Reserve Program.

Will tells the story of how they decided to turn it into a golf course

“I had been working at Conway Farms near Chicago and was going to be a golf professional when I decided to move back to Nebraska in 2008.  At that point, I said something to my dad about building a golf course, and he was like, ‘Well, we’re not going to do anything else with the land. We’ll probably leave it in the CRP program or at some point we might sell it.’ That was obviously not a great time to be building a golf course, so we signed another 10-year contract with the CRP program.”

“Then, I looked at him this year [in 2019] as they were about to renew the CRP contract and I said, ‘Either we’re going to do something now while the economy’s pretty good or we just don’t ever do it.’ And he said, ‘Alright. Let’s just do this golf course.’ I know that sounds simple, but that was it. What’s funny is my dad’s never once played golf in his life. The only person that played golf in my family was my mom’s dad. He’s the one that got me into it.”

Upon seeing the land, it’s safe to say Rob, Tad, and Will saw eye-to-eye rather quickly.

From Rob’s perspective

“They have some spots down by the Missouri River that were really pretty, but they were prone to flooding and then he took us up to another site up in the hills and it was like, ‘Okay wow. This is the one right here.’  The site we’re working on was actually clear cut by Will’s grandfather, so there’s only one tree on the whole property (near the 11th fairway). It’s really an extraordinary piece of land.  Tad and I talked about what we wanted to do to the site and the type of golf course we wanted to build (lots of options, emphasizing the ground game, and using as many natural contours as we can). We also talked about our design-build method where we do the vast majority of everything in-house, which keeps our cost very low compared to a lot of other folks. I think all of that seemed to be music to their ears.”

The site of Landmand Golf Club. Photo credit: Rob Collins

Will echoed that sentiment

“Rob and Tad were basically giddy when they saw the property and that was a good sign for me. According to Tad, all they really had to do was ‘massage the land’ and it’d make a great golf course. That’s exactly what my dad needed to hear too because he didn’t want them to completely dismantle the whole property. It wasn’t until after we hired them for the job that we found out they hadn’t built an 18-hole golf course from scratch yet.”

As for design features, Rob shared some thoughts on the course itself

“There’s going to be a giant Sitwell green [a nod to Alister Mackenzie’s original design of the 12th hole at Sitwell Park] as well as some smaller greens here and there. Some holes will play along the ridges, some more in the valleys. The golf course just has a real nice rhythm to it, and I don’t think it ever really gets stagnant anywhere. There’s one particular stretch of the course where there’s a 575-yard par 5 followed by a short 310-yard par 4, and then a 110-yard par 3 and a longer 420-yard par 4. There are parts of the golf course where you can see 14 or 15 holes meandering across this super bold terrain. Ultimately, it’s a great piece of property for a great client and you can’t ask for much more than that.”

They signed contracts in the summer of 2019 and construction began around Labor Day. The course will be grassed in 2020 (bentgrass greens and a drought-tolerant bluegrass/rye mix in the fairways) and open for play in 2021. The plan is for a par-73, 7,075-yard course with wide fairways, firm and fast conditions, and a heavy emphasis on variety. Landmand will be a public facility with a small number of season-pass holder-style memberships.

Stay tuned for more information as the project develops.

Your Reaction?
  • 43
  • LEGIT4
  • WOW8
  • LOL1
  • IDHT0
  • FLOP0
  • OB0
  • SHANK1

Continue Reading

Travel

The New Orleans Golf Experience

Published

on

I love New Orleans. I first visited the Crescent City in 2010 and for the past decade, the place has seeped into my soul. It’s my home away from home. My family and I make a habit of visiting as often as we can, and it has become a bit of a tradition to take a weekend trip to NOLA in December just before Christmas. My 18-month-old son has already been twice, and this last trip he discovered the wonder that is creole gumbo.

But in all my visits to the Big Easy, I had never once played golf. Typically, one of our trips only lasts a weekend and, quite honestly, it’s hard to pull myself away from the city for half a day to play 18. This time, I finally did it. Twice.

The first day of our weekend excursion, I crossed the Mississippi River and headed out to TPC Louisiana, home of the PGA Tour’s Zurich Classic. The next day, I enjoyed an early morning walk around Audubon Park Golf Course, a city run and operated par-62 deep in the heart of Uptown. Two very different experiences…

But First, Let’s Talk about Nawlins

For the past three years, my family has stayed at the Omni Royal Orleans Hotel in the middle of the French Quarter. I’ve actually stayed here many more times than that, including for my bachelor party, because I think its the best combination of location and comfort that you can find in the quarter. There are, of course, countless other options nearby, but the Omni really just does it right. It’s going to be tough for us to pick a different hotel from now on.

Hotel Room Balcony at Omni Royal Orleans

The hotel’s entrance is a wonderfully classic southern lobby with marbling throughout. Our room was spacious and included a balcony overlooking Royal Street, the most charming of the French Quarter roadways. Jam-packed with antique stores, boutiques and bistros, Royal is where we spend most of our time…as opposed to the long days and longer nights on the Bourbon Street of my younger years. But if some time on Bourbon is what you are looking for between golf rounds, the Royal Omni is still only one block away.

When we go to New Orleans, the primary purpose is food. The city is known for its food and some of the best restaurants in the world are located right here in NOLA. Typically, we eat a big meal at Antoine’s, Irene’s, Mr. B’s Bistro or Mother’s Restaurant, and then we walk around town and window shop until it’s time to eat the next big meal.

I made sure both of my rounds of golf were early in the morning so I could get back to town for both lunch and dinner. It’s tough to miss an opportunity for a good meal in New Orleans.

TPC Louisiana

TPC Louisiana is a 20-minute car ride across the river from the quarter, in a town called Avondale. The clubhouse is a true-to-form southern structure adorned with columns and ferns. Typical for the area and exactly what I was hoping for. Bayou through and through.

The pro shop and the rest of the clubhouse are well decorated and outfitted. Not many major brands missing in the shop but it is typically merchandised for a TPC course. Athletic brands like Under Armour and Adidas rule the roost here. And the TPC Louisiana logo leaves much to be desired, just like its sister courses. The Zurich Classic apparel is sprinkled throughout as well. And photos from past champions line the entrance, which always legitimizes a clubhouse a bit, I think. It’s fun to play a course that Justin Rose has won on.

It was a foggy day in Avondale, which suited me just fine. Out from the city and into the swamp, TPC Louisiana should feel a bit spooky the first time you play. There is water on a great many of the holes, which means alligators are also sure to be near. My dad and I put on some Creedence Clearwater and attacked the course, trying to hit each shot far enough into the fog to make the ball disappear.

TPC Louisiana is a Pete Dye design, and true to form, some of the holes are most certainly “Dye-abolical.” For the PGA event, the par 72 course can stretch out to 7,425 yards. In damp conditions, this place can be a real beast. Just the way Dye likes it.

     

The trees are typical for the region. Large and covered in moss, a signature natural feature for golf in the south. And to me, it might be the most important feature of golf in New Orleans. One of the reasons I love the French Quarter is the feeling you get just being there. The Spanish influence of the architecture. The rod iron balconies with hanging ferns as big as a Volkswagen. Live music on every other corner. The feeling of age. This place has been here for a long time, throughout hurricanes and depressions, and it came out vibrant on the other side. And it isn’t going anywhere.

Golf in the deep south can give those same feelings. Floods can come and take some of the course with them, but the tall, strong, century-old cypress and oak trees remain, decorated with moss. TPC Louisiana was built in 2004, so it’s a relatively new course. But the feeling is still old here. The land allows for that feeling. You’re in the bayou here and everything feels mature. A great place for golf.

It wouldn’t be a Pete Dye track without some phenomenally punitive bunkering. Gorgeous to look at but hell to get out of. Most greens are surrounded by coffin bunkers and awkward lies. The wet weather does give these greens lush conditions, too. The mini verde bermuda grass was in perfect shape for our round and each putt rolled true. But we did learn the greens don’t break as much as they look.

       

For the tour quality layout and conditions, the price for golf isn’t bad at all. The course offers dynamic pricing, meaning the cost will change depending on the month, day and even time of day. But in December, a round can run anywhere from $70 to $150 depending on when you want to tee off. That’s not unreasonable.

The ninth hole is one of my favorite holes on the course. A delightful little par 3 with water on the left and a green structure held up by railroad ties. It’s just quintessential Louisiana. The clubhouse watches gracefully behind the flag and it just feels like a good shot will be rewarded with a mason jar of sweet tea at the turn.

9th Green

Large waste bunker hazard

  

The signature hole is undoubtedly the closing par-5 18th. Water all along the right side is beached with a bunker structure that has to be 200 yards long. On warm days, this is a popular sunbathing spot for all the mamma gators.

The hole only plays 565 yards from the Dye Tees, which makes getting home in two a possible task for the longer hitters. A definite birdie hole with a well-placed drive, it’s a great finishing hole for the tour players and spectators alike. But with all that water looming along the right side, the tee shot can be a knee buckler.

  

We walked off the course with plenty of time to head back to the French Quarter and enjoy the rest of the day before dinner. Like I said, time in NOLA is best spent waiting on the next great meal.

Dinner for us was at The Rib Room, a favorite spot of mine that is conveniently located in the Omni Royal Orleans hotel. In 2017, a group of my best friends toasted to my upcoming nuptials here at the Rib Room at the ultimate bachelor party dinner. So this will always be a special place to me. It also just happens to cook up a first-class rib-eye steak, which I order every time. Also, make sure you get the New Orleans Style BBQ Shrimp to kick things off. So damn tasty.

Maybe the best thing about the Rib Room, however, is that after a long meal with lots of red meat and red wine, I can just stumble upstairs to my hotel room overlooking Royal Street. It’s certainly one of the perks for staying at the Omni. And it means my kiddo can get into his pajamas and play with his mardi gras beads for the rest of the night.

Spend Some Time in the French Quarter…

I think in order to truly appreciate golf in New Orleans, you need to appreciate New Orleans. TPC Louisiana is a great golf course in its own right, but if you have a certain affinity for the bayou culture and lifestyle, you’re going to love the golf in this town. So if you take a golf trip to New Orleans, I hope you still leave an empty day on your schedule for the city. Walk around the town, see the sites, enjoy the food.

It is tough to keep my dad away from the casino. If you’re a gambler, Harrah’s is a fine substitute for Vegas. It’s a large, beautiful structure at the end of Canal Street and backed up to the mighty Mississippi River. It houses every game and drink your heart might desire.

   

We have dear friends that live in Cleveland, Mississippi, named Matty and Suzette. They’ve made it a tradition to come into town this same weekend each year for a visit, too, and to share good food and stories. We always convene at Antoine’s for a “three-hour lunch” that typically culminates in too much buttery french white wine and still not enough time for all the shared memories and laughs. It’s my favorite meal of the year and always a great time to see Matty and Suzy. New Orleans is about community, after all. And I love my community of people.

The wonders of the Mississippi

Cafe Du Monde Beignets. A must for all tourists, young and old.

Audubon Park Golf Course

Not far from the quarter, just past Tulane University on a darling thoroughfare called Magazine Street, sits Audubon Park. Approximately 350 acres of actual park land in New Orlean’s Uptown neighborhood, the park is bordered on one side by the Mississippi River and on the other side by the stately St. Charles Ave and it’s wonderful streetcars.  The golf course proudly declares that they are the only course in America that you can get to by street car. Charming.

And the whole experience of golf at Audubon Park is charming. The course was built in 1898 and is completely circled by a jogging and walking trail, which is always well populated due to it being such an absolutely beautiful area for a walk. I hit several shots under the watchful eye of stroller pushing moms and leashed golden doodles. The presence of so many non-golfers around the course makes the place feels very European.

Audubon Park Clubhouse

 

The clubhouse is a perfect complement to the course. Small but classic, with a pro shop big enough for a couple of groups of four at a time. Pay your green fee, maybe buy an 1898 logo hat and then head to the first tee. This is true public golf. And it is fun as hell. I decided to walk this round in order to get the full experience.

     

Audubon Park Golf Course is a unique layout. The 18 hole design is only 4,220 yards and a par 62. This includes 12 par 3s (six on each side), four par 4s and two par 5s. It’s the perfect spot for a game. The surplus of par 3s make the course incredibly walk able and I didn’t see many carts on the course at all.

Because of the park presences and the short hole designs, you do see a lot of other people during your round. The whole place feels communal and everyone was quick to say hello and share a smile. That’s New Orleans. Friendship defines Audubon Park.

Despite the shortness of the course, the place didn’t feel small at all to me. There are some real deal par 3s out there. And the two par 5s play like real par 5s. I didn’t walk away from the course feeling like I had just played some par 3 mini-golf design. It still feels like real golf. And honestly, it’s the most fun I have had on a course in a long time.

  

The conditions were phenomenal for a city park course. The greens were pure. Having just played TPC Louisiana, a site for a PGA Tour tournament, I didn’t feel like there was much of a downgrade in quality at all. The course certainly lacks some design creativity that you get with more land to work with. But the par 3s often have carries over water and peninsula greens. I never once felt bored with the routing or design.

When I told people I was playing Audubon Park, the common reaction was always “oh you’re going to have so much fun out there. That course is a blast.” I think there is something to the fact that par is only 62 that adds to the enjoyment. The pressure of traditional scoring and trying to “break 80” or “break 90” goes away and you are just out there to enjoy the game. Also, there is just something really fun about playing three par 3s in a row.

When I checked into our hotel at the Omni, the man behind the counter asked me what I was doing in town. I told him I was here to play some golf and he said “A bunch of us always head out to Audubon Park after work once a week to play. It’s a blast and we can get in around in 2 hours before the sun goes down.”

Audubon Park Golf is good for the game. Accessible, communal, and honestly cheap enough for everyone to enjoy. The green fees are $28 for resident and $38 for non-resident walkers. Only $10 to walk 9 and $20 for a twilight round. For the fun, that is damn tough to beat.

 

After my round, I left my bag with the pro shop and took a walk through the park. It ended up being a beautiful day. I crossed Magazine Street and met my family at the neighboring Audubon Zoo. It amazes me that such a wonderful golf course can be a part of the same park family as a first-class city zoo. Combine the two with your family and I had a really amazing four hours in Audubon Park. New Orleans has a gem here and it feels like the soul of the city.

 

New Orleans Golf

It just doesn’t get a ton of talk in the golf community, but a weekend golf trip in New Orleans should be higher on people’s lists than it is. TPC Louisiana is first class and a real test of golf with a touch of Pete Dye’s diabolical influence. Audubon Park might be the exact opposite but it is the epitome of what fun golf should be. Just a delightful place to swing the club.

Add all that to the fact that you get to spend a weekend in one of the coolest cities in the world, surrounded by culture, music and phenomenal food. I’m not sure why golfers aren’t flocking to the Big Easy. In fact, I think maybe you should.

If you want help planning your next golf experience or just have any questions about some of mine, reach out to me on Twitter or Instagram and shoot me a message. And feel free to check out my other golf experience articles. I look forward to hearing from you!

Your Reaction?
  • 108
  • LEGIT41
  • WOW20
  • LOL1
  • IDHT0
  • FLOP0
  • OB0
  • SHANK0

Continue Reading

Travel

Follow the sun: 3 winter golf trips where the PGA Tour plays

Published

on

golf, beach, ocean, Puerto Rico

Winter hasn’t begun and you’re already more sick of it than hearing another opinion about Patrick Reed’s sand play. You’re not alone. Approximately 433 million North American residents live in four-season climates where winter and golf aren’t always compatible. You can beat the winter blues and scratch your golf itch by following the PGA Tour this winter. Here are three places to consider.

ocean, cliffs, sunshine, travel, hawaii

Hawaii hosts two PGA Tour stops in January, and it’s one of the best golf states in the U.S. (Pictured: Poipu Bay, Kauai)

Aloha Hawaii in January

It doesn’t get better than this Pacific Ocean oasis for winter golf. The PGA Tour plays here in the Sentry Tournament of Champions (Plantation Course, Jan. 2-5, Maui) and the Sony Open (Waialae CC, Jan. 9-12, Honolulu). Xander Schauffle and Matt Kuchar are defending champions, respectively. With five major islands and scores of courses to choose from, it’s hard to make a poor choice. Perhaps start by identifying what style place you prefer. Want nightlife and action on and off course? Honolulu fits the bill. More into the laid back vibe? Kauai is calling. The Garden Isle is lush and serene, with courses including Puakea, Poipu Bay, Wailua, and Hokuala.

Inside tip: expect omnipresent trade winds that invite shot imagination and wildly unusual club selection. It’s not atypical to need 3-4 clubs more than normal (or less).

cactus, Arizona, desert, golf, golf course

Arizona – the land of cactuses, deserts, great golf courses, and ideal winter golf weather

Waste Not Arizona

You know about the Waste Management Open (TPC Scottsdale, Jan. 30-Feb. 2), home to electric stadium golf and stands full of wasted minions who particularly worship defending champion Ricky Fowler. But you should also know that there are more great golf courses in Arizona and around Phoenix-Scottsdale than you can count. Many are owned by Native American Tribes that were designed by some of the game’s greatest architects, including Tom Doak and Bill Coore and Ben Crenshaw. They’re particularly compelling because they mix top-rated courses with Native American cultural influences. Talking Stick, We-Ko-Pa, Ak-Chin Southern Dunes, Wild Horse Pass. You get the desert picture.

Inside tip: Desert golf can be point-to-point golf. Keeping the ball on the green stuff is paramount, considering all of the sand, rocks, cactuses, and scorpions that lie outside of it.

ocean, golf course, Wyndham Grand Rio Mar, Tom Fazio

With 17 golf courses , beaches, 4,000+ restaurants, and more than 80 direct flights daily, Puerto Rico is as convenient and satisfying a winter golf getaway as they come. (Pictured: Tom and George Fazio-designed Ocean Course at Wyndham Grand Rio Mar Golf & Beach Resort) 

Puerto Rico Fore February

While Hawaii and Arizona are relatively convenient to many, it’s not so much for those living in the eastern part of the continent. Puerto Rico is particularly traveler friendly for them. Not only because there are more than 80 direct flights to the Caribbean Island daily, but no passport is required for U.S. citizens. While Martin Trainer is defending his Puerto Rico Open title (Feb. 20-23, The Resort at Coco Beach), you could be playing one of the Island’s 17 courses, including a worthy collection around capital San Juan. These include TPC Dorado Beach (36 holes) – which GOLF named one of the Top 5 Luxury category places in out 2019 Top 100 Golf Resorts compendium – Rio Mar Golf & Beach Resort (36), and St. Regis Bahia Beach (18). Playing Coco Beach is another Capital Region option. Home to two Tom Kite designed 18-hole courses (Championship and International), Coco Beach was formerly a Trump International golf licensed venue.

Inside tip: Puerto Rico is the most exotic of the three winter golf destinations listed. But it’s bilingual and welcoming, just like its courses, all of which offer public access.

Your Reaction?
  • 43
  • LEGIT2
  • WOW0
  • LOL0
  • IDHT0
  • FLOP0
  • OB0
  • SHANK0

Continue Reading

WITB

Facebook

Trending