Archive for July, 2012

PGA National combines golf and fantasy football in one weekend

We’re in the heart of the summer golf season. But are your conversations on the tee box starting to drift to the fall and football season, specifically fantasy football?

If so, PGA National Resort and Spa has a weekend to marry both passions.

The acclaimed resort in Palm Beach Gardens resort is hosting a “Fantasy Draft Weekend” on Aug. 24-25, an ingenious idea for fantasy football and golf lovers.

If you usually gather your fantasy friends at a sports bar or, gasp, do your entire draft via computer, consider PGA National’s setup for the weekend. For $299 per person, double occupancy, you get two nights’ accommodations, access to live draft “war rooms” stocked with beer, chicken wings and pizza, and Q&A sessions with fantasy football experts.

“It’s our hope that you could come with your entire league and make your picks here,” said Karen Cantor, PGA National’s manager of public relations.

The hotel’s wireless internet will accommodate online draft boards and any players who can’t join their friends on the weekend. Experts are still being gathered for the weekend; one on board is Mike Dempsey, a sports radio host on SiriusXM and in Northeast Florida (that’s my neck of the woods; he knows his stuff when it comes to fantasy).

And, oh yeah, the golf – the weekend includes a scramble at one of PGA National’s five courses, with a complimentary lunch. If you want to extend your visit and play more golf, the resort will gladly accommodate.

For more information call 877-410-4843 or visit www.fantasydraftweekend.com .

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Who should be next in the World Golf Hall of Fame in St. Augustine?

The World Golf Hall of Fame and Museum in St. Augustine is one of the game’s great treasures, with artifacts and mementos from the game’s great players, builders and ambassadors.

If you haven’t been yet and you love golf, as the old commercials with Gary Player say, “you have to get here.”

The Class of 2012 included Peter Alliss, Dan Jenkins, Sandy Lyle, Phil Mickelson and Hollis Stacy; their displays are prominently featured now in the Hall.

If you’re planning a visit for 2013, you may get to see the Hall’s next class.

The WGHOF sent its 2013 ballot to voters in late June, with the voting window closing on July 27. The class will be announced later this year and inducted next May during the week of THE PLAYERS Championship at TPC Sawgrass.

Fifteen players are on the PGA TOUR ballot, including active players David Duval, Jim Furyk (of Ponte Vedra Beach), Davis Love III and Steve Stricker. Champions Tour players and Masters champions Fred Couples and Fuzzy Zoeller are also on the ballot.

The International ballot features Darren Clarke, Retief Goosen, Padraig Harrington and Ian Woosnam, all major champions, and longtime Ryder Cup stalwart Colin Montgomerie.

Here's the full list of candidates.

Who do you think should be in the Class of 2013? Tell us on the VISIT FLORIDA Facebook page.

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Florida well-represented in Golf Digest’s list of top women teachers

The July issue of Golf Digest features a list of the top 50 women teachers in the United States, as voted on by their peers.

Not surprisingly, Florida is well-represented.

Here are the nine Florida-based teachers who cracked the list:

  • Cheryl Anderson, Mike Bender Golf Academy, Lake Mary
  • Patti Benson, Palm Beach Country Club
  • Annette Thompson, BallenIsles Country Club, Palm Beach Gardens
  • Donna White, Golf Professional Services Inc./Okeeheelee Golf Course, West Palm Beach
  • Kellie Stenzel, Kellie Stenzel Golf Academy, Palm Beach
  • Patti McGowan, Knack 4 Golf, Orlando
  • Debbie O’Connell, Ladies Links Fore Golf, Palm City
  • Teresa Zamboni, Ladies Links Fore Golf, Daytona Beach
  • Jennifer Cully, Apollo Beach Golf Club

Check back here on the blog next week as we check in with one of the top teachers.

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Florida’s Oldest Mini-Golf in the Nation’s Oldest City

The fate of Florida’s oldest mini-golf course is up in the air. If you’ll be in the vicinity of St. Augustine soon, get to Bayfront Mini Golf in the heart of the nation’s oldest city.
 
You won’t find better views or a more relaxing round for a $4.50 green fee ($3.50 for kids).
 
Bayfront, built in 1949 and owned by Ripley’s, operators of the city’s red tourist trolleys and the Believe It Or Not Museum just up State Road A1A from the course, sits on a fantastic piece of property on St. Augustine’s harbor next to the iconic Bridge of Lions. The property is so good that city commissioners are exploring different ways to use it, perhaps as a green space for weddings.
 
Let’s hope the green of mini golf carpet remains. Bayfront is a breeze to play, a par-46 with 11 holes that are legit hole-in-one possibilities – because isn’t mini golf all about making an ace?
 
Last summer, I hosted my northern friends for a long weekend of golf at TPC Sawgrass and World Golf Village, and to relax one evening, we played a round at Bayfront. The skins game was fierce and it was just as fun as any big course.
 
Hopefully it will be around the next time they visit.
 
Three cool holes:

  • No. 6: Gotta play two bank shots off the concrete walls to get to the end of this long one.
  • No. 7: The only par 4, uphill to a tunnel that spits the ball out to another green.
  • No. 12: U-shaped, the hole is only a few feet to the right of the teeing ground.

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TPC Sawgrass Dye’s Valley Course: Worthy on Its Own

When golfers think of TPC Sawgrass, you can bet they’re thinking of the famous island-green 17th hole and the rest of the Stadium Course, Pete Dye’s masterpiece that torments PGA Tour pros every year at THE PLAYERS Championship.
 
But what many discover upon visiting the Ponte Vedra Beach golf mecca is that there’s another Dye course that’s challenging in its own right.
 
Dye’s Valley, celebrating its 25th year of operation, melds the work of Dye, fellow architect Bobby Weed and player consultant Jerry Pate (the first PLAYERS Championship winner at the Stadium Course, in 1982) into a course that can rival the Stadium for difficulty. Golfweek ranked it the 24th-best public-access course in Florida in 2011.
 
The green complexes are tamer than the Stadium, but there are just as many ways to make big numbers. There is water to be found on every hole – though perhaps only 14 holes where water is an imminent danger. Yeah, "only 14." The par-3 fifth and par-3 11th holes have peninsula greens and ball-swallowing lakes; the latter is a 227-yard shot from the back tees and (for my money) is the toughest par-3 on either TPC Sawgrass course.
 
Dye’s Valley hosts the Nationwide Tour’s Winn-Dixie Jacksonville Open in October, and the pros are quick to say Dye’s Valley Course is one of the hardest they see all year.
 
Guests who book packages at the Sawgrass Marriott can get a deal on both the Stadium and Dye’s Valley.
 
Here are a few other excellent "secondary" resort courses:
 
Innisbrook’s Island course: Like the Stadium Course, Innisbrook’s Copperhead has the PGA Tour pedigree, but the Island has hosted pro events and is another watery test.
 
World WoodsRolling Oaks course: The Pine Barrens course shows up everywhere on "best" lists, with its Pine Valley-like, scrubby-duned layout, but the tree-lined Rolling Oaks is a more relaxing stroll.
 
Doral’s Jim McLean Signature course: The TPC Blue Monster is the feature course and another longtime PGA Tour mainstay, but the famed instructor’s course has terrific par 3s including its own island-green knee-knocker.

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