Sunday, March 23, 2008

Florida Golf Vacation on the Horizon?

As previously stated, I opened my big trap too soon and the one good day of weather in March that I deemed worthy of a blog post was followed pretty much by the worst three-week stretch of weather of the season.

We're a couple days into spring and there is still quite a bit of snow on the ground and the temperatures have barely crept above freezing lately. At best, we'll be on the course by mid-April, likely one of the latest openings in the past ten years.

Over breakfast Saturday morning, Harry commented that he's jonesing for a three or four day golf vacation to make up for our poor start to the spring. He has no interest in battling any type of inclimate weather so my desire to go somewhere like Bandon Dunes in Oregon is out.

Florida is more his speed.

I'd love to get away as well and will have to consult my trusty daytimer tomorrow at work to see if I can find a four or five day window to get away. I know my old man is going away shortly and there are a couple other things that might keep me here work-wise. However, I'm PRETTY sure either the third weekend or fourth weekend of April will work. Actually, the fourth weekend might be perfect, assuming we get back in town by the Sunday night - Harry and I have our Ontario Better Ball qualifier at Brantford G&CC on Monday the 28th.


The last time I was in Florida was with Harry, his pal Preston and a family friend of mine, Vito. We stayed at PGA Village in Port St. Lucie for four nights in late April of 2006. I documented a portion of the experience in this blog post but for some reason never got around to completing it. Maybe because I didn't want to relive the experience of losing 8&6 in match play to Harry at the Dye Course, I don't know.

Regardless, I'm a bit bummed at the fact that almost all of the pictures I took during the vacation have been misplaced. You can see that I have currently updated the header with a photo of the great villa we stayed in on our trip. The photo above was one of only two course photos I still have left.

I would imagine that if we went away, PGA Village would be a great possibility as far as a destination goes once again. It is well-regarded, having recently been named the 57th best resort in the USA by Golf Digest magazine, has three solid courses, fantastic accomodations and most importantly, won't break the bank.

I've done a bit of research on some other possible destinations:

PGA National Resort & Spa, Palm Beach Gardens, FL


PGA National has five courses on site, the most famous of which is the Tom Fazio-designed Champion Course, recently renovated by Jack Nicklaus. The course annually hosts the Honda Classic and is one of the toughest venues on Tour. It has hosted a couple of major tournaments as well - the 1982 PGA Championship and the 1983 Ryder Cup.

It looks a bit pricey and I think that you'd want to look at a golf vacation specialist to see if there are any deals available, as the stock rates on the website look a bit on the expensive side, especially if you want to include a round or two on the Champion Course.

World Woods Golf Resort, Brooksville, FL


Now, this one is kind of interesting just for the quality of one of the two courses on site, the Pine Barrens course. It's ranked as the 39th best public course in the US by Golf Digest and Golf Magazine thinks even better of it, ranking it 80th in the entire US (public or private).

Top-100's are always fun to play and one of the great things is that the golf is very inexpensive (about $70 per round and only $105 to play 36 a day!). However, there are a couple of things that bring it down a notch. First of all, it's in Central Florida (50 minutes outside Tampa) so that might not appeal to us and most importantly, there isn't a hotel onsite. However, accomodations are close by and likely inexpensive as well.

If anything, it's an interesting option...

Other possibilities include:

- Bay Hill in Orlando, site of the Arnold Palmer Invitational and winter home of the King himself. The conditioning was AWFUL for last week's PGA event there though and I can only assume that costs will be ridiculous out there.

- Ginn Hammock Beach Resort is in Palm Coast, Florida and has two courses, with the Nicklaus Ocean Course hosting a Champions Tour event every year. In fact, the tournament is this coming weekend so I'm going to have to check out the TV coverage. The PGA Tour is holding the Ginn sur Mer Classic at the Tom Watson-designed course in September.


This place actually looks pretty darned good and it has unlimited golf packages. Harry should check this one out for pricing, as it looks pretty damn solid (two bedroom villas or condos - look incredible, four nights, unlimited golf, about $800 US total, including taxes). It is 90 minutes from Orlando though and might require a flight into Daytona instead. This might be my top choice right now!

Those are just a few of the options available to us. Have any of my readers ever played any of these courses or stayed at the resorts? Are there any courses or resorts that AREN'T listed here that we should check out?

4 comments:

  1. You might want to check out the TPC @ Huron Bay in Coral Gables - has the added advantage of being very close to a couple of good poker venues.

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  2. Thanks Vandy. I did check it out and it looks pretty solid. Might be a bit on the pricey side, comparitively speaking.

    We're getting close to making our decision I think...

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  3. Since you won't drop the weather thing even though I said I would deal with it, I think it's only fair to mention the real reason I won't go to Bandon Dunes. Room for 4 nights is 1375 a person. Plus 36-18-36 is $830 for golf. flight is another 815 if you don't want to fly overnight and sit in an airport for 12 hours. Add in caddy fees, food, and whatever else, this trip will be very expensive. Plus for how amazing the place looks, i wouldn't want to try and cheap out and play it all in 2 days.

    Plus the weather every where is shit this year. Another year, when we can afford it, and the spring in nice like last year, then it would be a good idea to go to Bandon Dunes.

    Stop trying to make me look like a wimp.

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  4. Also, Lets go Ginn, going to be sweet.

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