Archive for October, 2012

World Golf Hall of Fame in St. Augustine to Welcome Ken Venturi

To golf fans of a certain age, Ken Venturi was the voice of weekend afternoons, broadcasting the Masters and other PGA Tour events on CBS for decades.

To older fans, he was a tenacious competitor and 14-time champion on Tour, with no win bigger than the sweltering 1964 U.S. Open at Congressional.

For all of those contributions to the game, Venturi will enter the World Golf Hall of Fame in St. Augustine as part of the Class of 2013. Fred Couples was announced last month as another member of the class.

“The last time I had tears in my eyes was when I won the U.S. Open,” Venturi said Monday during a teleconference announcing his induction. “This has been a special day.

“The greatest reward in life is to be remembered and I thank the World Golf Hall of Fame for remembering me.”

Venturi was born in San Francisco and developed his game on the Bay Area’s great public courses. He finished second to Jackie Burke in the 1956 Masters as an amateur, and nearly won at Augusta in 1958 and 1960 (Arnold Palmer won both).

His 1964 U.S. Open win was the stuff of legend. At that time, 36 holes were played on Sunday, and that Sunday outside Washington, D.C., saw temperatures well above 100 degrees with 90 percent-plus humidity. Venturi was suffering after the morning round and a doctor told him he risked death by playing in the afternoon. Venturi defied the doctor, played and won. He was named Sportsman of the Year by Sports Illustrated.

That was the last year the U.S. Open played 36 holes on Sunday.

Tickets and travel packages to the 2013 Induction Ceremony will be available on Nov. 1. For more information on the Induction Ceremony and the World Golf Hall of Fame, visit the Hall's website.

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Friday deals: Save on weekday rounds at Orlando’s MetroWest Golf Club

We’re a little biased in saying anytime is a good time for golf in Florida, but October is particularly notable.

Summer’s bite is starting to fade, making golf less of a survival test. Most courses have completed their hot-weather maintenance duties such as aerating greens, so the playing surfaces are in fine shape. Best of all, the peak-season crowds haven’t arrived yet—so, consequently, neither have peak prices.

And in order to fill the October tee sheets, many courses are fast with a deal off those shoulder-season prices. Like MetroWest Golf Club in Orlando.

I played the Robert Trent Jones Sr.-designed course in July and wrote about its friendly fairways and location in the heart of town, plus how many visitors play it as a kickoff to an Orlando golf trip. This month it’s an especially good play, with a $35 weekday rate including cart. That rate is a cool $20 off the regular October price.

I learned about the rate through an email blast but also found it by clicking through MetroWest’s website. If you haven’t already, be sure you’re on all your favorite courses’ email lists and like/follow their social media portals—most courses today announce their best deals through those paths.

More deals

The Naples Beach Hotel & Golf Club, featuring Naples' first 18-hole golf course and the only resort in town with the golf course on-site, on the beach, has a buy two nights, get one free special from Oct. 21-31. For more information or for reservations, call 800-237-7600 or 239-261-2222 and ask for the “3rd Night Free Promotion.”

The Ritz-Carlton Golf Resort in Naples has a special running through the end of the year at the hotel and on-site Greg Norman-designed Tiburon Golf Club. Packages start at $239 per night and include accommodations, one round at Tiburon including cart, club storage and tax, unlimited same-day golf (through Oct. 31) and complimentary TaylorMade club rental. For questions, call the Ritz-Carlton’s golf department at 239-254-3340.

World Woods Golf Club, some 60 miles north of Tampa in Brooksville, has deals on villas in October starting at $79 per person, based on quad occupancy between Sunday and Wednesday nights. The two-day, one-night golf package includes two rounds, range balls and a package lunch. A full non-refundable payment is due at the time of booking. Call Susan Burkel at 352-796-5500 ext. 22 to make reservations.

The Renaissance World Golf Village Resort and Beach Club in St. Augustine is offering a coupon book with $500 in savings for visitors through Dec. 30. Discounts can be used at the World Golf Hall of Fame, PGA Tour Golf Academy and Tour Stop store, plus on food, merchandise and club rentals at the King & Bear and Slammer & Squire golf courses. Call 888-740-7020 or visit the resort’s website for more information and special hotel rates for October and November.

Sandestin Golf and Beach Resort is offering "The Raven Experience" featuring two rounds of golf including one on its acclaimed Raven course. Among the extras in the package are free day-of-play replay rounds. Packages start at $165 per person, per night, through Oct. 31. Call 855-240-3515 and mention code "DM4GLF."

Doral Golf Resort and Spa in Miami has a package starting at $119 per person (double occupancy) that includes rounds on the Red, Gold or Jim McLean Signature Course plus unlimited replay rounds (with cart fees), an introductory golf clinic from the Jim McLean Golf School and more. Deal runs through Oct. 7, then goes to $219 from Oct. 8 to Dec. 21. Course upgrades to the TPC Blue Monster or Great White Course are available for a surcharge. For more information or to book, call 800-71-DORAL or visit their website.

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PGA National opens ‘Institute of Performance’ training facility

There can be so much more to finding one’s best golf than by just “digging it out of the dirt,” as the old-school players say.

Today, the training you do without a golf club in your hand is just as important, and golf facilities are learning to cater to customers seeking that kind of help.

PGA National Resort and Spa in Palm Beach Gardens has opened a comprehensive "Institute of Performance” training facility to offer advanced methods of sport-specific training, nutritional counseling and education to help athletes achieve full potential.

The Institute will focus on national and collegiate team training, elite players, onsite educational conferences and recreational player improvement. In other words, anyone looking to be a better golfer is welcome.

Davd Donatucci, former director of fitness and performance for the PGA of America, is heading up the Institute. He works with 2010 U.S. Amateur champion Peter Uihlein, LPGA champion Stacy Lewis and top Florida high school players.

 “Our goal for the new facility is to not only help the best players in the world reach their highest potential, but anyone who plays the game and wants to improve,” Donatucci said. “Whether training to win the Masters, U.S. Open, LPGA money title or a club championship, we’ll design an ideal regimen for peak performance and success.”

PGA National also hosts a David Leadbetter Academy, Dave Pelz Scoring Game School and a state-of-the-art clubfitting lab. One might say the Institute of Performance is the final piece in building a better player.

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