Friday, December 26, 2008

Golf Package - Money Saving Tips

Times are tough, no doubt. I want to offer some tips on putting together a very good golf package, at a reasonable price. A couple things you can count on - if you head to Florida during the winter, it's peak season. Golf course greens fees can range from $70 up to $170. Lodging for your package can be all over the board. One thing that can get costly for groups, is individual hotel rooms - try and double up when choosing hotel rooms (two double beds in room). The main areas for golf packages in Florida are: Orlando, Tampa, Jacksonville, W. Palm Beach and South Florida (Ft. Lauderdale and Miami). I consider Orlando to be the best deal in the state. South Florida may be a little warmer if it gets cold, but the golf quality is apples to oranges - plus it's more expensive. The lodging choices in Orlando are plenty. The best deal is either villa's or homes. This type of lodging gives guys more options and everyone can end up with their own bedroom.

When it comes to courses, there are so many choices. There are a lot of nice public courses that may not have the name as some to the well know ones, but they give you a big bang for your buck. Courses that are located a little off the beaten path (45 - 60 minutes) from your lodging, usually have lower rates than the ones in close. These courses can be very good and definitely worth the travel time. Usually try and schedule these courses on weekends, to have less traffic. Also, a lot of courses have weekday and weekend (higher) rates - if you can come during the week, this may also save some money. Some courses also have lower rates after 11 am and later. Be careful when you're quoted a twilight rate - these times usually make it difficult to finish your round, due to lack of daylight in the winter.

When planning a golf package, it's a good idea to have a budget in mind for lodging and golf. Knowing this information can be very good for your golf package planner. We are very knowledgeable about the courses in the area and their rates. Always remember there is a great package to meet every ones needs and budget. Don't rely on the first quote you get. Please contact the representative on your quote and explain what your group needs. If the website ask for your phone number and email address - put it in there. This gives your golf vacation specialist the opportunity to offer you advice to suit your needs.

I guess in a nutshell - be flexible when trying to put a golf package together and don't be afraid to contact your golf vacation specialist and ask for advice. We know our areas very well and can make you package special, no matter what you want to spend. Please feel free to contact me with any questions at 888.333.6103, or email me at glen@golfzoo.com.

Remember; stay positive in these tough economic times, and a nice golf package can go a long way in reducing your everyday stress.

Monday, December 22, 2008

The Greatest Show on Grass

Believe it or not, it's that time of year for Scottsdale's most premiere golf event. Here's the 2009 schedule of events which may be subject to change.

Sunday, January 25

10 am Xerox Ladies Invitational at OrangeTree Golf Resort

Monday, January 26
Practice Rounds for PGA TOUR pros only
10 am MidFirst Bank Pro-Am, TPC Stadium Course
10:30 am R.S. Hoyt Jr. Family Foundation Dream Day activities
Junior Golf Clinic Presented By PING on TPC Practice Range

Tuesday, January 27
Practice Rounds for PGA TOUR pros only
10 am Scottsdale Celebrity-Am, Grayhawk Golf Club (Talon)
11 am CBS Outdoor Special Olympics Open
Located at the TPC Scottsdale Putting Green, the Special Olympics Open features 12 Special Olympian athletes, 12 celebrities or sports stars and 12 business leaders from our community. The event is open to all ticket holders and media and lasts about an hour.
6 pm FBR Opening Dinner (by invitation only)

Wednesday, January 28
8:30 am FBR/Xerox Silver Pro-Am, TPC Stadium Course
11 am Honeywell Pro-Am, Grayhawk Golf Club (Raptor)

4 pm Coors Light Birds Nest entertainment tent opens

Thursday, January 29

7:40 am FBR Open 1st round
4 pm Coors Light Birds Nest entertainment tent opens

Friday, January 30
7:40 am FBR Open 2nd round
4 pm Coors Light Birds Nest entertainment tent opens

Saturday, January 31
Tee Times TBA: FBR Open 3rd round
4 pm Coors Light Birds Nest entertainment tent opens

  • Buick Hole-in-One contest, 16th hole, first ace on Saturday or Sunday wins a new Buick

Sunday, February 1
Tee Times TBA: FBR Open 4th round

  • Buick Hole-in-One contest, 16th hole, first ace on Saturday or Sunday wins a new Buick


I've also listed a link for ticket packages, so check it out and we'll see you here in January.
http://www.phoenixopen.com/TicketPackages.asp

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Course Review: Founders Club on Pawleys Island

Last weekend I was able to slip out and play one of the newest courses in Myrtle Beach- The Founders Club on Pawleys Island. Architect Thomas Walker was hired to renovate the former Sea Gull course, and I must say he did a great job.

The course was perfectly manicured and in fantastic shape for a new track. Many of the holes have a True Blue flair with high faced waste bunkers lining the fairways. This is a perfect complement to the great golf that already exists in Pawleys Island. If you are looking for a great 36 hole day
Pawleys Plantation, True Blue, Caledonia, and Heritage Plantation are all with in a few minutes drive.

The clubhouse is very nicely done and the rear veranda makes for a nice spot to enjoy a beverage with your playing partners. I was a little disappointed to find no driving range but the putting green and short game area were more then adequate.

There are five sets of tee boxes, ranging from 4,800-7,007 yards which makes the course very playable for any level golfer. Water comes into play on many of the holes, but aside from the carry on the 12th, can be avoided by most.

If you are interested in playing The Founders Club or any other course along the Grand Strand give myself or any one of our other golf vacation specialists a call at 800.929.7300.

Monday, October 27, 2008

CP's "Top Ten" Golf Courses in Scottsdale

Planning a trip to Scottsdale this winter? Here is my opinion on the best 10 choices when it comes to golf here in the Valley of the Sun. I chose my Top Ten based on these (what I consider to be the most important) factors:
  • Layout
  • Playability
  • Scenery
  • Service

Remember when reading this that I'm pretty much a hack. I'm about a 14 handicapper, so I'm not what you would call a golf "purist" when it comes to course design, etc. You'll never see me on the practice range hitting 3 irons. (Do I own a three iron?)

I tee it up to have fun, take in the scenery, and hopefully take some of my buddies' pocket change. If you're of the same persuasion, this Top Ten list is for you.

Here we go:

  1. Gold Canyon - Dinosaur Mountain - still my all-time favorite. It's about a 40-minute drive from Old Town Scottsdale, but well worth it. The dramatic elevation changes, fantastic scenery, and interesting layout make this the best spot in Arizona.
  2. The Golf Club at Eagle Mountain - Probably the best staff and friendliest environment in all of Scottsdale - I'm also a Scott Miller fan - lots of elevation changes, and bowl-shaped fairways where a hack like me will get a few forgiving bounces now and then.
  3. SunRidge Canyon Golf Club - Somewhat brutal at times, but one of the more interesting hole-by-hole tracks. Also has the best 3 finishing holes in Arizona - three-shot par 5, then a ridiculous par 3 over the canyon shot of 220 that you're supposed to STOP on a dime. Yeah right. #18 is a wicked dog leg left par 4 up the hill to finish out one of the tougher back nines in Arizona. "We made it! I need a cocktail stat!"
  4. We-Ko-Pa Golf Club - Cholla Course - Another Scott Miller gem. You definitely have to think your way around this course, and Cholla (and Saguro) are very unique in that they're built on an Indian reservation, so there are ZERO HOMES anywhere on the golf course. Makes for scenery that's tough to beat. Only drawback is that it is typically cart path only, so be prepared to do some walking. It's worth it.
  5. Grayhawk Golf Club - Talon Course - The Raptor course is where they host the PGA Tour's Frys.com Open, but I have always preferred the tamer sister course, Talon. It's a little more forgiving off the tee, and #17 is an island par 3 - kind of a "Mini 17th at Sawgrass" - great hole for gambling. (It's only a 9 iron, or a big wedge...) Also, Phil's Grill is one of my all time favorite places to enjoy a couple dozen cocktails after Grayhawk whips me into submission.
  6. TPC Stadium Course - Home to the PGA Tour's FBR Open. Yeah sure, I agree that by itself the golf course is a little overrated, but what can I say - it's fun to play where the pros play, and after watching the tournament on TV, you'll want to get it in. The last 4 holes are the reason you pay what you do, ($250+ in peak season) and they are as fun to play as they are to watch. Service in all aspects is exceptional, and the restaurant is one of the best in Arizona to have a nice breakfast.
  7. Troon North - Pinnacle Course - The atmosphere in the clubhouse is a little stuffy, but I play this one at least once a year for one reason - the greens are the best in Arizona. Both Troon courses (Pinnacle and Monument) are extremely difficult for me, but the putting surfaces are simply perfect in the winter - fast and brutal. Lots of fun, and a few 3 or 4 puts along the way...
  8. Rancho Manana Golf Club - This one is more my speed. I can play Rancho from the tips, and rarely have anything more than a 7 iron in on the par 4s. But don't be fooled by the relatively short length. This one is tricky. Rancho is just north of Scottsdale, in Cave Creek, where it's very mountainous, and I'm simply an elevation change junkie. One of the more scenic courses, and the Tonto grill would be in my all time Top 5 restaurants. Great staff - very laid back.
  9. The Raven at South Mountain - The Raven is unique. It's one of the more traditional layouts and has Georgia Pine lined fairways, which you NEVER see here. Has some water, a lot of beautiful lancscaping, and a great bar. Go for lunch and get the chicken wrap - the best in Arizona.
  10. The Arizona Grand Golf Club - Formerly known as "Phantom Horse," Arizona Grand gives you a little of everything. Some traditional holes, and some great target golf as well. It's been under renovation all summer and promises to be one of the valley's newest "up and comers." Have dinner and drinks at Rustler's Rooste just up the hill after your round. The finishing hole is a par 3 which you don't see often, and what a par 3 it is. 180 yards from the middle tees, but only requires an 8 iron for me because of the dramatic elevation drop. This is also good for day in / day out golf, as it's a quick 10 minutes from the airport.

O.K. gang - there it is - "CP's Top Ten" - If you're planning a trip to Arizona this year, you can't go wrong with any of these great venues. Stay tuned for my "Top Ten VALUE Courses" next.

Hit em straight!

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

A (New) and Improved Troon North for Your Scottsdale Golf Vacations

Troon North Golf Club, one of the 36-hole facilities that has become a staple of Scottsdale golf vacations, has been touting its "two new golf courses" lately. Intrigued as to why the golf club would monkey with its acclaimed Monument Course, a Jay Moorish/Tom Weiskopf creation, and its Pinnacle Course (1996), a solo Weiskopf effort, we made one of our usual anonymous site inspections to find out.
Specifically, the Troon North Golf Club website declares that Tom Weiskopf recently returned to create, "two new layouts" and a "completely new playing experience." The truth is, while Weiskopf modified some bunkers, re-worked a few holes, and added a superior strain of bentgrass to the putting surfaces, his main change was transferring nines between the courses to create more cohesive routings. Continued...


By: Craig Better of golfvacationinsider.com

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Are You Ready for Some Football in Arizona?

Here's the 2008 schedule for our Arizona Cardinals, Sun Devils and Wild Cats. Come on out and support your college or professional teams and get in a few rounds of golf while you're here!

2008 Arizona Cardinal Home Game Schedule:

10/5 Buffalo Bills 1:15 PM
10/12 Dallas Cowboys 1:15 PM
11/10 San Francisco 6:30 PM
11/23 New York Giants 2:15 PM
12/7 St. Louis Rams 2:15 PM
12/14 Minnesota Vikings 2:05 PM
12/28 Seattle Seahawks 2:15 PM

2008 Arizona State Sun Devils Home Game Schedule:

10/25 Oregon
11/15 Washington State
11/28 UCLA

2008 University of Arizona Wildcats Home Game Schedule:

10/4 Washington
10/18 California
10/25 USC
11/22 Oregon State
12/6 Arizona State



Thursday, August 28, 2008

Visiting Downtown Austin a Must on a Barton Creek Golf Vacation

The Barton Creek Resort in Austin, Texas might not be on your short list of "golf vacations to take", but perhaps it should be. It has four worthy golf courses, golf-friendly and dependable weather, and it's nearby; Texas (by air) is about four hours or less from just about everywhere else in the United States. Another major draw is its proximity to downtown Austin.

Many folks from the metro area go to the four-course Barton Creek Resort to escape the city, but that’s not the mindset you should have on your Barton Creek golf vacation.

Texas’ capital city of Austin, just 20 minutes east of Barton Creek Resort, is a veritable cornucopia of culture for out-of-state travelers. continued...

By: Shawn Skipper of GolfVacationInsider.com

Monday, August 18, 2008

Rio Secco to Host Wendy's 3 Tour Challenge

Officials from the Wendy’s 3-Tour Challenge today announced a new two-year agreement with Harrah’s Entertainment to host the made-for-television event in 2008 and 2009. For 2008, Rio Secco Golf Club, located in Henderson, Nevada, will host the official pro-am on November 10 and the Wendy’s 3-Tour Challenge professional competition on November 11.

The Wendy’s 3-Tour Challenge is the only professional golf tournament that pits three players from the PGA, LPGA and Champions Tours against each other in competitive, head-to-head threesomes for Tour bragging rights. Each threesome consists of one player from each Tour competing in two separate, nine-hole stroke play matches. The one-of-a-kind contest is scheduled to air on ABC Television December 13 and 14, 2008.
“We are thrilled to announce our new partnership with Harrah’s,” said Denny Lynch, Wendy’s Senior VP, Communications. “Harrah’s and the Wendy’s 3-Tour Challenge have the same commitment to providing the ultimate golf experience. I know our guests and the Tour professionals will enjoy playing Rio Secco and we look forward to working in partnership with their team to provide a world-class setting for our Event and to generate funding and awareness for the Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption.”

“We look forward to serving as host for the Wendy’s 3-Tour Challenge,” said Eric Dutt, Vice President – Las Vegas Golf Operations at Harrah’s Entertainment. “The event will allow us to showcase Rio Secco Golf Club to a national audience. Equally important, we are pleased to align our company with the tremendous work being done by the Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption.”

Home to the Butch Harmon School of Golf, Rio Secco Golf Club was designed by renowned architect Rees Jones. The golf course lies at the foothills of the Black Mountain Range, and features six holes through steep canyons, six holes on a plateau overlooking The Strip, and six holes in a broad desert plain.

About the Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption
The Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption is a nonprofit 501(c)3 public charity dedicated to dramatically increasing the adoptions of the more than 150,000 children in North America’s foster care systems waiting to be adopted. Created by Wendy’s® founder, Dave Thomas, who was adopted as a child, the Foundation leads programs such as Wendy’s Wonderful Kids, placing adoption recruiters throughout the U.S. and Canada to find permanent, loving families for children in the foster care system, and Adoption-Friendly Workplace, encouraging employers to offer adoption benefits to their employees. The Foundation also works with adoption advocates and officials to streamline the adoption process and make adoption more affordable for families. As the only foundation dedicated exclusively to foster care adoption, we are driven by Dave’s simple value: Do what’s best for the child. To learn more about the Foundation’s work, please visit http://www.davethomasfoundationforadoption.org/.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

How to Avoid Fees When Traveling with Golf Travel Cases Overseas

In our last tip, we told you about a helpful website that lists nearly every airline's policies and fees with respect to transporting golf travel cases. Today, we're going to tell you how to avoid the extra fees that many people pay — unnecessarily — when taking golf travel cases overseas.

The problem can arise because different countries have different weight limits for what they'll accept as "free" checked luggage. U.S.-based airlines, for example, usually allow heavier bags than say, European airlines, before the "excess weight" fees kick in.

It's usually not an issue if, for example, you're flying from the USA to a single overseas golf vacation destination. But if you then need to take flights while you're there, it's common to be charged hefty, additional fees if your golf travel cases are heavier than the local limit. continued...

By: Craig Better of GolfVacationInsider.com

Still Not Sold on Golf Club Shipping? This Website's for You

In our previous tip about golf bag shipping , we explained the various options and costs involved in shipping golf clubs instead of traveling with them.

Despite the convenience and relative low cost of golf club shipping (especially if you plan ahead), we know some of you simply prefer the idea that your golf clubs are traveling on same airplane, at the same time, that you are.

Well, for those that aren't yet sold on golf club shipping, there's a website that will prove extremely useful. Golftravelguide.com, out of the Netherlands, has compiled a list of the rules, regulations, limitations, and prices (if any) you'll encounter when flying with your golf travel case on nearly any airline in the world. continued...

By: Craig Better of GolfVacationInsider.com


Thursday, August 07, 2008

The “Other” Course to Play on a Mesquite Golf Vacation


Most people who are even vaguely familiar with the Mesquite, Nevada golf scene have heard of the beautiful Wolf Creek Golf Course, which offers target golf at its most extreme.
But while Wolf Creek Golf Course remains the “must-play” course in the Mesquite area, it’s not the only game in this dusty town about an hour northeast of Las Vegas. Next time you’re in the area, we recommend setting your sights on the Palmer Course at the Oasis Golf Club.
Originally known as the Oasis Course, it was designed by its new namesake, Arnold Palmer, and it is one of the most exhilarating “Arnies” that we’ve ever played. It has incredible elevation changes, infinite views of the nearby valley, and wonderful holes set between desert ridges. continued...
By: Shawn Skipper of GolfVacationInsider.com


Friday, August 01, 2008

New Golf Zoo Currency Converter and Language Translator

Golf Zoo is proud to introduce two new site features to aid in your golf vacation planning. With the new currency converter, you can instantly find the equivalent of your currency with ones from other countries. Just enter the amount you wish to have converted and find the currency you want it to be converted to from the drop down box. That's it! You will instantly receive the converted amount.

Also new to the site is the Golf Zoo site translator. It has never been easier to translate GolfZoo.com into your native language. By visiting the translation page and clicking on the flag of your native country, you can have GolfZoo.com translated instantly into French, Italian, Spanish, German, Japanese, Chinese, Greek, Dutch, or English, if preferred.

With these new features, Golf Zoo is providing you with the best and easiest way to plan for your golf vacation, whether you're from the United States or from a foreign country. We hope you enjoy these features and will plan your next golf vacation with Golf Zoo!

Thursday, July 31, 2008

Tiger Woods Slow Motion - "Swing Vision"

Wow, watching Tiger Wood's hit a driver in slow motion is really something... I only wish I could hit a ball anywhere close to what he can...


Thursday, July 17, 2008

Kid Brothers Hit Back-to-Back Holes-in-1 at TPC Sawgrass

There are times when something amazing happens at a golf course, something that seems almost unbelievable. Last week, one of these moments occurred in which two brothers, Davis and Hanks Massey, aged 9 and 11, respectively, hit holes-in-one in succession at the Par-3 third at TPC Sawgrass.

This occurrence is nothing short of amazing. The odds of two players in the same group making a hole-in-one is estimated at around 17-million-to-1. I bet the parents of these children are proud, especially their father Scott Massey, who just so happens to be PGA Tour Marketing Vice President. For more information on this event, visit Yahoo!Sports.

For your next golf vacation, see if you can get a hole-in-1 like these kids did and book a trip to TPC Sawgrass today!

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Torrey Pines Golf Course - North; One of the San Diego Golf Courses Most Loved by Locals

After watching that gripping U.S. Open finale, I suspect many of you are planning, or at least longing for, a San Diego golf vacation and the opportunity to play the South layout Torrey Pines Golf Course.

Well, here's a little secret if you make it out there. While the trophy hunters, chest thumpers, and low handicappers prefer to do battle only on the South Course, one of the most beloved San Diego golf courses among locals is the North Course.

Why? Well, Torrey Pines Golf Course - North is a classic player's course rather than a championship test. It offers good sport, with a good chance to score well, and picturesque scenery. In fact, whereas parts of the South Course pass by hotels and a hospital, the North Course is more fully enveloped by nature. continued...

By: Craig Better of GolfVacationInsider.com

Friday, June 13, 2008

Secrets to Finding the Best Airline Seats for Your Next Golf Vacation

In my previous tip, I shared my secrets for finding the best airline fares and flights for your next golf vacation. Today, I'm letting you in on one of my secrets for finding the best airline seats.

In fact, I am writing this while stretching out in seat 14F on a Continental Airlines Boeing 737-500. As far as coach flying goes, this is one of the best airline seats around. If you don't believe me, check out this 25-second video.

You see, there is no seat 13F (or 13A) on a Continental Airlines 737-500. So, by booking seat 14F (or 14A), you get a window seat that reclines fully and has enough leg room (and, in all likelihood, width) to keep a seven-foot NBA superstar fully outstretched.

You don't fly Continental? No problem. Here's how you can score the best airline seats for your next golf vacation, no matter what airline you use. continued...

By: David Baum of GolfVacationInsider.com

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Secrets to Finding the Best Airline Fares for Your Next Golf Vacation

Except for when commercial air travel first, ahem, got off the ground, it has never been a particularly pleasant experience. And, given the turmoil in the airline industry today, it has gone from bad to worse. Not only are delays at an all-time high, published fares are up and restrictions are commonplace, from surcharges for even one piece of checked baggage, to the return of the requisite Saturday night stay-over.

As you might expect, I travel quite frequently, and there are a few tricks of the trade that can help make your golf vacations a little better. Today, I am going to share with you one of my secrets for finding not only the best airline fares, but the best flights for your golf vacations.

I always start with the website Kayak.com. Unlike other sites, such as Orbitz or Expedia, that only show airlines that pay them commissions, Kayak shows flights (and fares) from every single airline — yes, even the discount carriers like Southwest and JetBlue. continued...

By: David Baum of GolfVacationInsider.com

Friday, May 23, 2008

Daufuskie Island Resort a Good Choice for Pet-Friendly Golf Vacations

Family golf vacations are nothing new, but the trend of taking the whole family along, four-legged members included, seems to be on the rise. In 2002, the Travel Industry Association found that 14 percent of U.S. adults have traveled with a pet. In 2007, Tripadvisor pegged it at upwards of 50 percent.

Still, as you might imagine, taking pets (dogs especially) on golf vacations isn't easy. While there are plenty of stand-alone hotels and motels that allow them, finding a golf resort that accommodates pets is a lot harder. Even tougher is finding one that is truly "pet friendly." There are plenty of places that will allow pets, but they really just use it as an opportunity to gouge you with all sorts of extra fees.

Not so at Daufuskie Island Resort & Breathe Spa, a two-course property located on a very small and remote-feeling land mass off of Hilton Head Island, S.C. While it does impose a modest, $35 per night pet fee, during our recent visit, we felt like our dog was truly welcome. We even tested the staff by letting her run leashless around the property, including in the lobby, and nobody ever scolded her...or us. continued...

By: Craig Better of GolfVacationInsider.com

Friday, May 09, 2008

Myrtle Beach Restaurants: The Best 1-2 Combo on a Myrtle Beach Golf Vacation

Whenever I take a Myrtle Beach golf vacation, I make sure to get down to Pawleys Island, which not only has some of my favorite courses along the Grand Strand (Caledonia, True Blue, the Heritage Club) but also some of my favorite Myrtle Beach restaurants.

The best one-two dining combination I've found is at Louis's at Pawleys (louisatpawleys.com) and the adjoining Fish Camp Bar, located on Highway 17 in the Hammock Shops specialty shopping/dining village.

Both feature the Lowcountry cooking of chef/owner Louis Osteen, one of the leaders of New Southern cuisine and named best chef in the Southeast in 2004 by the James Beard Foundation.

Osteen put himself on the map with restaurants in Charleston, but I'm glad he came back to Pawleys Island, where, in 1980, he began his efforts to popularize the indigenous food of the region. continued...

By: Craig Better of GolfVacationInsider.com

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

Orlando's Newest Golf Course - Sugarloaf Mountain

Orlando has done it again! Another fantastic golf course has been added to the area - Sugarloaf Mountain. This is Bill Coore and Ben Creshaw's first design in Florida. It's located 25 miles from downtown Orlando, in Minneola, Florida.

This 7057 yd. private course is open for some resort play. The course is typified by large sandy areas and native grasses. The layout is challenging but very fair. The dramatic elevation changes up to 160 feet are not your typical Florida golf course. The design is very old school and the use of the terrain is fantastic!

This is definitely a solid contender for top - 100 Modern status. The course is arrayed in two returning nines - front nine is a huge clockwise loop, back nine forms a looser counter clockwise routing that actually folds back twice to the clubhouse. Lee Janzen, a two time US Open champ says "there is not a bad hole out there, I look forward to playing here again in the future".

Once this course fills up its membership, public play will cease to exist. When planning you next golf package to Orlando, please include this golf course in your choices - you won't be dissapointed! If you have interest in playing this golf course - please go to http://www.golfzoo or call 888.333.6103 to book you next tee time.

Friday, May 02, 2008

The Best Courses to Play on a Pinehurst Golf Resort Vacation

With eight courses to choose from, deciding where to tee it up at Pinehurst Golf Resort can seem like a daunting task, but it's really quite simple. While most all of the Pinehurst golf courses are worthwhile (they don't call it "the American St. Andrews" for nothing), the even-numbered courses, taken as a group, are the best bets.

After No. 2, the Donald Ross masterpiece that hosted the U.S. Open in 1999 and 2005, our first choice would be No. 4, a Tom Fazio design whose every hole offers unique variety, beauty...and challenge. It's dotted with 180 sand traps, most of which are small pot bunkers clustered near fairway landing areas, at the bends of doglegs, and around the greens.

Nipping close at its heels is No. 8, a slightly more mounded and rolling Fazio design built in 1996 to celebrate Pinehurst's centennial anniversary. Its greens lack the severity of No. 2, yet their subtle crowns honor Ross' memory and roll fast and true. continued...

By: Craig Better of GolfVacationInsider.com

Thursday, May 01, 2008

A Transition to Luxury

I have stayed in hotels from Paris to Alaska and I find myself being very picky when it comes to accommodations. In the last year, the AmeriSuites Hotel has converted to the new and improved Hyatt Place Hotel. Using the word improved is a severe understatement. The hotels in Orlando and Tampa Airport are now a traveler's haven.
They have completely gutted the lobbies and remodeled them into a fun gathering place for their customers. One thing that has always made great sense to me is to have a bar and restaurant in the lobby of the hotel. It not only acts as a gathering place for fellow travelers, but also a melting pot for everyone. As you can see in the pictures, the Hyatt Place Tampa Airport has far exceeded that requirement.
If the rooms are your benchmark in a hotel, than they have exceeded that requirement as well. All the rooms are completely remodeled with very comfortable beds and large Plasma TVs and "I mean large." Unlike some hotels that claim a total remodel and have fallen short, Hyatt Place actually did it. If location is your benchmark, they have snatched the brass ring there also. Located just minutes from down town and just three minutes to the Airport, it is centrally located to everything. In addition, a Ruth Chris Steak House is in the front yard of the hotel and a huge mall is just down the street.When planning your next trip to Tampa, make sure you look into the new and very improved Hyatt Place.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Birmingham-to-the-Bay Stops on a Robert Trent Jones Golf Trail Vacation

I'm starting my Robert Trent Jones Golf Trail vacation in Birmingham at Ross Bridge Resort, then heading south to Lakewood Golf Club on Mobile Bay. Is it worth the price to play both courses at Lakewood or should I go to nearby Magnolia Grove to play its Crossings and Falls courses?

Yes, we would recommend playing one of the courses at Magnolia Grove in lieu of playing both at Lakewood. Here's why:

First, you'll get a nice change of scenery and topography. Second, you're going to Alabama to play the Robert Trent Jones Golf Trail, right? Well, neither Robert Trent Jones nor any of his design associates did any of the work at Lakewood, as it wasn't originally part of the Robert Trent Jones Golf Trail.

Yes, the original layout there, called the Old Course, was designed in 1947 by the great Perry Maxwell (who did Oklahoma's Southern Hills, site of three US Opens and Four PGA Championships), but rather than keeping the grand Old Course intact, Lakewood mixed and matched it with two additional nines, by Joe Lee in 1966 (to form the Dogwood Course) and Ron Garl in 1986 (to form the Azalea Course). continued...


By: Craig Better of GolfVacationInsider.com

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

The Benefits of North Myrtle Beach Golf Vacations

If you're planning on taking a Myrtle Beach golf vacation this year, don't slight the northern reaches of America's most popular golf mecca. This area of the Grand Strand (just over the border in North Carolina) offers a variety of excellent Myrtle Beach golf courses.

Most Myrtle Beach regulars might play one or two courses in the north before moving on to the more publicized links in the center and south, but we think there is enough good golf here and enough good reasons to warrant multi-day North Myrtle Beach golf vacations.

First, golfers coming from cold weather climates can shorten their drive time considerably by taking North Myrtle Beach golf vacations — it's not uncommon for traffic on Route 17 (the main north/south artery along the coast) to slow to a crawl after crossing the border into South Carolina. continued...

By: Craig Better of GolfVacationInsider.com

Friday, March 14, 2008

GHIN Great for Calculating Golf Handicaps While on a Golf Vacation

One of the greatest things about golf is that, thanks to the handicap system, players of widely differing skill levels can engage in competitive matches with one another. By allowing less accomplished players to subtract a certain amount of strokes from their score (thus eliminating the better player's advantage) a 26 handicap, for instance, can play against a five-handicap and have an equal chance of winning.

At your home course, it's pretty easy to determine how many strokes you are either giving to, or receiving from, your playing partners if everyone actively tracks their golf handicap. All you need to do is check the golf handicap printouts in the clubhouse or use the standard golf handicap formula (a quick-reference conversion chart usually hanging somewhere in the locker room makes this easier).

Everything changes, however, when you're on a golf vacation, because a person's golf handicap is based on the slope rating, or difficulty, of the course being played. So, more accurately, what's important is everyone's "course handicap," and the opportunity to pick up a stroke here or there isn't lost on anyone, especially during competitive buddy trips. In fact, the haggling over who gets how many strokes becomes a full contact sport that often starts at dinner the night before the group steps onto the opening tee. continued...


By: David Baum of GolfVacationInsider.com

Thursday, February 28, 2008

The Crossings at Carlsbad - 'One of the Top 10 New Courses You Can Play'

The Crossings At Carlsbad has just been named 'One of the top 10 courses you can play in the USA' by Golf Magazine and Golf.com. With the sparkling blue Pacific Ocean to the west and the Southern California Peninsular Mountain Ranges in the distance to the east, this state-of-the-art, 18-hole championship municipal golf course and event facility offers visitors magnificent views and a relaxing natural environment. Developed and owned by the City of Carlsbad, this public course is nestled among more than 1,000 acres of Carlsbad's coastal terrain and natural habitat. It's home to wetlands, sage brush and other plant, animal and bird life. On your next visit to beautiful San Diego, be sure to include it in your itinerary.

Florida Golf Limo Bus

If you have a group of 8 - 16 guys coming into Orlando for a golf package, have I got a great value added service. Florida Golf Limo Bus is a state of the art vehicle for any group. This Limo will pick up your group at the airport and drop you off at you destination. It will also pick you up each day and take you to your chosen course and bring you back home after the round.

They will also set you up with beverages of your choice - you can even use them for a night out on the town. The company will also keep all the records - games played, scores, handicaps and courses you have played. You will have this put onto a disc for you to take home along with the pictures you have taken along the way with the cameras they provide.


The Limo Bus is equipped to handle up to 16 golfers, their golf bags and luggage. The Limo Bus is equipped with two flat screen TV's with Direct TV, XM Radio, Wireless Internet and Wet Bar. Monday - Thursday, they have a 3 hour minimum requirement. Friday - Sunday, they have a 4 hour minimum requirement.So, if you want to take you golf trip to Orlando up a notch - you owe it to yourself to check out Florida Golf Limo Bus. Please mention Golf Zoo when you call them. You can also contact Glen, at 888.333.6103 to set something up.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

How to Deal with Cart-Path-Only Policies on Your Next Golf Vacation


Many people think the worst three words in golf are, "You're still away." This past weekend, on my Scottsdale golf vacation, I was reminded of three words that are even worse, "Cart Path Only."
In town to evaluate recent changes to some of Scottsdale's best golf courses, I had to weather cart-path-only restrictions at Grayhawk Golf Club and during one of two rounds at Troon North Golf Club.
While cart-path-only golf is better than no golf at all, it's kinda like driving on the shoulder of the autobahn. Takes a lot of the fun out of it, ya know? Anyway, here are some tips for dealing with the situation if you're confronted with it:
If possible, ditch the cart altogether and walk. The cart path may be the only place you're allowed to drive the cart, but that doesn't necessarily mean you're forced to use one in the first place. Ideally, a golf course will also have pull carts or caddies available. If not, lighten up your golf bag and put it on your back. Unfortunately, walking isn't an option at many courses, particularly the sprawling ones designed to sell real estate. But I don't know which is worse, courses where walking isn't an option, or ones where it is, but they have the audacity to charge you the cart fee anyway. continued...
by David Baum of GolfVacationInsider.com

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Introducing My Golf Zoo!

Ever wanted to join your very own golf community? Now you can! Golf Zoo has created a social network targeted towards you - Golfers! There are a number of things that you can do - from creating your own member page, have your own blog, upload your golf pictures and videos, participate in forums and create your very own group that you and your golf buddies can all be a part of. It can also be a place where you can post your pictures and videos of your golf trip once you get back - and feel free to comment on other members' pages!

So what are you waiting for? Go to My.GolfZoo.com now and create your very own member page - it's fast and it's FREE!

Friday, February 08, 2008

Golf Zoo Survey Winner for January!

As anyone who has traveled with us know, our clients receive a survey from us via email shortly after their trip with us asking how was the golf vacation, from booking the trip to the trip itself. The purpose of the survey is to help give us insight as to how we are doing as a company and to help improve upon future trips. For a few minutes of your time you get entered in our monthly drawing to win a $100 Travel Certificate that can be used on any golf vacation booked through Golf Zoo over the next 12 months to any of our many golf destinations. We will announce the winners at the beginning of each month here at our blog.

We would like to congratulate Keith S. for being chosen as the winner of our survey drawing for the month of January!

So be sure to fill out our survey when you receive it for a chance to win! Also, don't forget you can send us your pictures from your golf vacation and we will also put them up on our website as well! Even if you have traveled with us a long time ago, you can still send us your pictures for review!

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Golf Bag Shipping Options for Your Next Golf Vacation

Of all the questions we get about golf vacations, the one that we're hearing most frequently concerns golf bag shipping. With airport security requiring that golf travel cases be unlocked (or locked only with TSA-approved locks) and airlines imposing stricter baggage allowances and weight limits, it's really no surprise.

Here's the lowdown on golf bag shipping: if you don't need someone to help pack your clubs and delivery speed is not a major concern, the least expensive method for shipping golf clubs is by using one of the large package delivery companies: FedEx, UPS or DHL. This is what the specialized luggage and golf bag shipping companies ultimately use, anyway.

No special box is necessary — just pack your clubs in your golf travel case the way you would if you were taking them on the airplane and affix the shipping label that the carrier will provide. If possible, plan ahead as expedited delivery is much more expensive.

The least expensive service level is ground service. Unlike FedEx, UPS and DHL offer ground service pickups from residential and business addresses without requiring you to open a special account that hits you with weekly charges. (You can, however, use FedEx Ground without incurring any additional charges by dropping your bag off at a FedEx-Kinkos location.)

We called all three carriers (online shipping is also available) to find out what it would cost to ship a standard golf bag one way from New Jersey to California via ground service. A "standard" bag is usually defined as approximately 50"x12"x11" and weighing no more than 35-40 pounds. Each carrier said it would take about four business days, but FedEx and DHL were the least expensive, at around $35. UPS was about $10 more. continued...

by Craig Better, GolfVacationInsider.com

Friday, January 25, 2008

Experience Torrey Pines Golf Course like the Pros on Your San Diego Golf Vacation

Want to play this week's PGA Tour venue exactly the way the world's best players will experience it on Sunday? If so, plan your next San Diego golf vacation so you're at Torrey Pines Golf Course on the Monday following its annual Buick Invitational.

Few people outside of San Diego know that, immediately after the conclusion of the tournament, Torrey Pines Golf Course holds a lottery for the next day's tee times. The lucky golfers selected not only get to play the South Course under championship conditions, they can play from the Championship tees and with Sunday pin placements. If there was ever a way to truly know the challenging set-ups that tour players contend with, this is it. continued

By Craig Better of GolfVacationInsider.com

Monday, January 21, 2008

Golf Zoo's New Website Design!

We have officially launched our new website design on GolfZoo.com and have added site search! Please take it for a test drive and be sure to let us now what you think about it in the comments below.

We've given the site a fresh new look for 2008 while also adding site search, which will help you navigate the site that much easier - you can find the new search box at the top of every page at GolfZoo.com. We have also made it easier for you to join our email list to receive out Hot Deals directly to your inbox (we typically send our hot deals out once or twice a month so don't worry about getting bombarded with unwanted email - we also do NOT sell our lists - we respect your privacy!).

We certainly hope we have made your visit to Golf Zoo a more pleasant experience with our new menu and new pages, but as always, we welcome any feedback. Thanks for visiting and enjoy your stay!

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Golf Zoo - San Diego Union Tribune Golf Package Prize

Golf Zoo has provided a golf package to both its readers of the San Diego Union-Tribune and online visitors to offer a fabulous golf package, courtesy of Desert Willow Golf Resort and Miramonte Resort and Spa. The lucky winner will receive a 2 night, 2 room stay at the luxurious Miramonte Resort and Spa in Indian Wells, a gorgeous Mediterranean themed hotel and spa with superb dining and warm hospitality. Courtesy of Desert Willow Golf Resort in Palm Desert, the same lucky foursome will be playing three days of golf at Desert Willow, the '#1 Rated Public Access Course in all of Palm Springs' at their exceptional 36 hole facility feauring the Firecliff and Mountain View courses. Contestants may enter online at http://www.signonsandiego.com/ or at the San Diego Union-Tribune kiosk at the PGA TOUR's Buick Invitational at Torrey Pines this week.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Arizona Golf Events During the Month of January

Some of the best golf is being played in Arizona during this time of the year. Here are some events that are taking place during the month of January. Enjoy these spectator events and the Arizona weather during these winter months.
Entries are being accepted for the FBR Open Charity Classic to be played February 4th at the TPC Scottsdale Stadium course. The cost is $5000 per foursome with all proceeds benefiting Desert Voices Oral Learning Center and the Foundation for Blind Children. To register, contact Chris Paty at 602.224.0598 or cpaty@desertvoices.phxcoxmail.com

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

The Most Dramatic Golf Course to Play in Mesquite, Nevada


Have you ever seen Loyal H. Chapman’s famous paintings of ultra-extreme golf holes, ones where a tiny green dangles hundreds of feet in the air on the edge of vertical cliff wall or across an unfathomable chasm amid the crashing water of a massive waterfall?

Well, if you want to see the closest, real-life representation of Chapman's outlandish work, make a point of playing the Wolf Creek golf course on your next Las Vegas golf vacation. It's located in Mesquite, Nevada, about 90 minutes northeast of Las Vegas near the Arizona border, but you could easily mistake it for Mars...

By: Craig Better of GolfVacatonInsider.com

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

Rough Recovery

Here are a few tips from Tim Rafferty, Head Golf Pro at Troon Country Club, Scottsdale, Arizona.

* When the ball lies deep in the rough, the biggest problem often is overcoming the amount of grass that gets between the ball and the clubface. The key to executing this shot is to minimize the amount of grass and make the allowances for its effect.

* A steeper angle of approach will reduce the tendency to catch the grass too early in the forward swing. A large amount of grass cushions the blow. It also reduces clubhead speed and takes backspin off the ball.

* Aiming the body left, opening the clubface and playing the ball a bit forward in the stance will help create the loft and steeper approach angle needed to escape the grass.
Finally, if there is a great deal of rough or other trouble to carry before reaching the target, it might be wise to just play out into the fairway and avoid possibly having to hit the ball out of the rough again.

Keep these tips in mind and hopefully your next trip to the rough will go a little smoother.