Friday deals: Golf and luxury at the Ritz-Carlton Naples

Looking to get down to Naples for a top-rated golf experience? That doesn’t have to mean top dollar.

The highly acclaimed Ritz-Carlton Golf Resort in Naples has a “Golf FORE You” special running through the end of the year, featuring the world-class hotel and on-site Tiburon Golf Club, designed by Greg Norman.

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 club rental.

Some avid golfers might shun the thought of rental clubs, but for more casual players or just those that want to avoid the hassle of lugging their bag (and paying for it on a flight), renting is a good option. Actually, make that a great option at Tiburon, where the clubs are new-model TaylorMades and rentals include Adidas shoes, two sleeves of balls and a glove.

Given the rack rate for golf at Tiburon ($75 this month, $95 in October, $150 from Nov 1-Dec. 25) and the room rates at the Ritz-Carlton ($199-$299, sometimes more), this deal is plenty worthwhile. Not to mention readers of Travel and Leisure and U.S. News voted the resort No. 9 on a list of the top 50 resorts of the U.S. and Canada.

For questions, call the Ritz-Carlton’s golf department at 239-254-3340.

More deals

World Woods Golf Club, some 60 miles north of Tampa in Brooksville, has deals on villas in September and 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."

Turnberry Isle Miami has a package for a full weekend of game-sharpening, led by PGA Teacher of the Year Gary Knapp, running every weekend through Sept. 30. Priced at $880 for two guests, the deal includes eight hours of instruction over two days and two rounds of golf on the resort's two 18-hole courses. Accommodations are available with nightly rates starting at $119. For more information, call 305-933-6929 or visit their website.

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.

What's your next golf getaway? Tell us on our Facebook page or drop a line on Twitter.

Continue reading Friday deals: Golf and luxury at the Ritz-Carlton Naples »

Get a look at a refreshed PGA National with a 72-hour Flash sale deal

If you haven’t visited PGA National Resort & Spa yet, or if it’s been a while since your last stop in Palm Beach Gardens, consider this a prime time to go.

The Resort, home to five golf courses including the Champion Course (annual host of the PGA Tour’s Honda Classic) is fresh off a $100 million revitalization. That’s not a misprint – $100 million.

Virtually every corner of the resort was improved, from guest rooms to the clubhouse to the spa and the health and racquet club. Among the additions with contemporary touches are a zero-entry pool, trendy iBAR and a new signature restaurant, Ironwood Steak and Seafood.

Golf also enjoyed a refurbishing, as the redesigned Fazio Course opens Nov. 1. That’s the Haig Course to those who have visited before, a Tom and George Fazio design that was the first course to open at the resort.

PGA National invites you to check it all out with a very inviting deal. For 72 hours from 7 a.m. Wednesday, Sept. 12, to Friday, Sept. 14, rooms are available for 25 percent off in a special "Flash" sale.

The deal applies to stays from now through Jan. 17, 2013.

 “Our three-day flash sale is a perfect opportunity to book a dream vacation and enjoy the stunning reveal of our multi-million dollar renovation,” said Joel Paige, vice president and managing director. “The exciting changes we’ve made position PGA National ahead of the pack and create one of the world’s truly exceptional resort experiences.”

The offer can’t be combined with packages and other offers and is valid for new reservations only. To book, call 855-692-8771 in that 72-hour window. For more information visit the resort's website.

Heading down there to check it out? Share your thoughts on our Facebook page or drop a line on Twitter

Continue reading Get a look at a refreshed PGA National with a 72-hour Flash sale deal »

Mixing golf with your favorite Florida football team

How great is it to have football back? OK, so football weather hasn’t quite returned yet, but for all fans of the Gators, Seminoles, Hurricanes, et al, early September is one of the best times of the year.

If your fan routine includes going to the games and tailgating, are you making an entire weekend out of it? Bringing the clubs? Here’s some options for game-weekend football, listed by team.

Central Florida Knights: One of the closest courses to Bright House Networks Stadium is Twin Rivers in Oviedo, a semi-private course designed by Oviedo native Joe Lee.

Florida Gators: If you don’t have a connection to the Mark Bostick Golf Course on campus, Ironwood is the next closest option. The Gainesville municipal course had $1.3 million in renovations in 2010 and is just northeast of Ben Hill Griffin Stadium.

Florida State Seminoles/FAMU Rattlers: Any trip to Tallahassee is enhanced by a run to Southwood Golf Club, No. 25 on Golf Magazine’s recent list of Florida’s best public courses.

Jacksonville Jaguars: Windsor Parke Golf Club is an easy dash to or from EverBank Field, an Arthur Hills design midway between Jacksonville and the beaches.

Miami Dolphins/Miami Hurricanes: Legendary coach Don Shula’s name graces a hotel and golf club in Miami Lakes near Sun Life Stadium. The Senator Golf Course opened in 1962, eight years before Shula's tenure began with the Dolphins.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers/South Florida Bulls: Take the Veterans’ Expressway north of Raymond James Stadium to find plenty of golf options. Picturesque Westchase Golf Club is one of the better courses and priced right.
 

Continue reading Mixing golf with your favorite Florida football team »

Friday deals: A virtual free-room deal at World Woods

Anyone who has ever visited World Woods Golf Club can tell you it’s a bit remote, some 60 miles north of Tampa.

That's blissful from a golf standpoint, but from an overnight standpoint it can be a little arduous. There are no hotels on the property (amen) and the nearest ones are a ways away in Homosassa Springs or Brooksville.

World Woods has recognized that in recent years by offering villas six miles from the club’s front door and putting together some great packages.

There’s one right now for September and 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.

How good a deal is this? Weekday rounds this time of year at World Woods are $40, so you’re basically getting a free room and lunch.

Call Susan Burkel at 352-796-5500 ext. 22 to make reservations.

More deals

Atlantis Country Club in Atlantis (south of West Palm Beach) has reopened after a close for renovations and is offering a $29 rate every day through Sept. 16. The rate is $25 after 2 p.m. Call the club at 561-968-1300.

The Renaissance World Golf Village Resort and Beach Club 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."

Turnberry Isle Miami has a package for a full weekend of game-sharpening, led by PGA Teacher of the Year Gary Knapp, running every weekend through Sept. 30. Priced at $880 for two guests, the deal includes eight hours of instruction over two days and two rounds of golf on the resort's two 18-hole courses. Accommodations are available with nightly rates starting at $119. For more information, call 305-933-6929 or visit their website.

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.

Perdido Key is offering up to $200 in American Express gift cards for visitors through Sept. 30, register at its “You Play” website before Sept. 10. Lost Key Golf Club and Perdido Bay Golf Club are ready and waiting for you.

Continue reading Friday deals: A virtual free-room deal at World Woods »

Grande Pines Golf Club a welcome stop off Orlando’s International Drive

There’s nothing quite like International Drive in Orlando. With the countless restaurants, hotels, gift shops and mini-golf palaces, it’s basically the Vegas Strip for the family vacation crowd.

I have traversed I-Drive for years and it’s still a little much for me, whether I’m alone or with fellow Schwarbs. If I have to be there, it’s a huge plus to find an oasis just off of it.

Grande Pines Golf Club
is one of those spots.

Located off I-Drive just south of Sea World, the Marriott Golf property is very much in the heart of the hardcore vacation area, yet doesn’t feel like it when you’re standing on the tee picking a target.

Designed by Steve Smyers and Nick Faldo, Grande Pines is an agreeable resort course from the 6,070-yard gold tees and a solid test from the 7,012-yard tips—perfect for families or groups of varying abilities.

Marriott Golf—which also manages Orlando's Hawk’s Landing and MetroWest and Kissimmee’s Falcon’s Fire, among other Florida properties—offers smart pricing options for visitors including three- and seven-day memberships. Kids play free after 3 p.m. any day of the year with a paid adult.

Three cool holes

  • No. 6, 429-yard par 4: Stay right the whole way to the green protected by water on the left. Don’t give patrons on the patio across the lake a reason to laugh at any water balls.
  • No. 10, 385-yard par 4: Don’t need a long tee shot but the second shot must be Faldo-like precise to an elevated green guarded by bunkers.
  • No. 17, 186-yard par 3: Sea World’s Sky Tower rises from the trees behind the green; don’t go right of the far-right hole location if it’s there. Trust me.

Continue reading Grande Pines Golf Club a welcome stop off Orlando’s International Drive »

PGA Tour pro Erik Compton offers his Miami hotspots

In a recent issue of Golf World magazine, PGA Tour professional Erik Compton walked readers through his hometown of Miami.

Compton was born in Miami in 1979 and is a true South Florida guy, a lifelong Miami Dolphins fan now living in Coral Gables. He worked his way up to golf’s highest level in large part while honing his game around Miami courses, and offered a few suggestions to visitors.

Melreese Country Club/International Links Miami—Adjacent to Miami International Airport, Compton touted this course as a spot to hit a few balls during a layoff. 

Biltmore Hotel—The course at this iconic Coral Gables property is a 1925 original Donald Ross design; Walter Hagen, Gene Sarazen and Babe Ruth played there.

Miami Beach Golf Club
—Built in 1923, the property got a complete renovation a decade ago and now holds its own among the best in this crowded golf market.

Crandon Park Golf Course—Compton puts the Key Biscayne course in his all-time top 5, thanks in part to its longtime pedigree as host of the Champions Tour.
 

Continue reading PGA Tour pro Erik Compton offers his Miami hotspots »

Friday Deals: Honoring our military over Labor Day Weekend

Going against the grain a little today in the Friday Deals, but this twist is worth your time—not to mention a great way to spend Labor Day weekend.

If you’re looking to play golf, do it in conjunction with the sixth annual Patriot Golf Day. It’s actually an entire weekend, from today through Labor Day, with golfers nationwide asked donate a minimum of $1 for the Folds of Honor Foundation, a terrific outfit that provides scholarships for children and spouses of military killed or disabled while serving.

In other words, a deal for our heroes.

More than 400 Florida golf courses and off-course golf stores are recognizing Patriot Golf Day in a variety of ways, check this list for a facility near you—or one down the road that you’ve been wanting to play.

Call ahead and ask what Patriot Golf Day specials are available. A quick search of my social media channels this morning turned up a 100 percent match of donations at the World Golf Hall of Fame box office in St. Augustine. Valencia Golf and Country Club in Naples is also matching 100 percent of donations, plus free greens fees for all active and retired military. And that’s just two places out of hundreds.

PGA Professional Dan Rooney, a former F-16 fighter pilot in the Oklahoma Air National Guard, is the founder of the Folds of Honor Foundation. Major Rooney has served three tours in Iraq.

“We have lost so many soldiers who have given the ultimate sacrifice. America can come together in the spirit of golf and have a dramatic impact,” Rooney said. “We have an opportunity to make a difference for the families who have made the ultimate sacrifice.”

More deals

Turnberry Isle Miami has a package for a full weekend of game-sharpening, led by PGA Teacher of the Year Gary Knapp, running every weekend through Sept. 30. Priced at $880 for two guests, the deal includes eight hours of instruction over two days and two rounds of golf on the resort's two 18-hole courses. Accommodations are available with nightly rates starting at $119. For more information, call 305-933-6929 or visit their website.

Sandestin Golf and Beach Resort: Free night with purchase of two consecutive nights. Call 866-657-7271 and mention code "FREE3."

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.

Through the end of the year, the Renaissance World Golf Village Resort and Beach Club is offering a Stay and Play package including a round of golf and privileges at the private Serenata Beach Club in Ponte Vedra Beach, with complimentary shuttle transportation. Free shuttles are also available to and from historic downtown St. Augustine. The package starts at $184 per room, per night for one golfer and $259 per room, per night for two golfers. Call 888-740-7020 or visit the resort’s website.

Perdido Key is offering up to $200 in American Express gift cards for visitors through Sept. 30, register at its “You Play” website before Sept. 10. Lost Key Golf Club and Perdido Bay Golf Club are ready and waiting for you.

Continue reading Friday Deals: Honoring our military over Labor Day Weekend »

The Ocean Course at Hammock Beach, a Florida ‘bucket list’ destination

A golf friend of mine from the office rarely comments on my social media posts but couldn’t resist the other day.

“The rest of us are working and you’re playing a bucket list course,” he tweeted.

Yeah, that pretty much sums up The Ocean Course at Hammock Beach Resort.

Jack Nicklaus’ course at the Palm Coast hideaway – No. 75 in Golf Magazine’s most recent top 100 U.S. public course list – has six holes on the Atlantic Ocean, more than any other track in Florida, and playing them is a sublime experience that every golfer should experience twice.

(Yes, twice. If you’re like me you’ll be shooting pictures and being mesmerized by the crashing waves on your first tour of The Ocean Course; a second round is required to try to post a score.)

The course has all the great design touches you’d want – undulating greens, strategically placed bunkers (three holes on the back side have bunkers in the middle of the fairways), some risk/reward options. But The Ocean Course’s genius is in the routing.

While warming up on the range the ocean beckons close behind you, then the first seven holes play through developed areas. A long cart ride from the seventh green gets the heart racing and on the par-3 eighth tee you have arrived at the first of the six ocean holes. Take it all in.

The back nine is similar, going away from the ocean on the first several holes before building to a flourish at “The Bear Claw,” a finishing foursome of oceanfront holes. That’s two nines that build drama to a close on the Atlantic. Perfect.

Three cool holes

No. 9, 468-yard par 4: One of two ocean holes to play parallel to the Atlantic the entire way, and the No. 1 handicap hole. Tough uphill approach especially with a strong wind.

No. 15, 450-yard par-4: The opener to “The Bear Claw” demands a good tee shot and then, on the uphill second, you feel like your target is at the edge of the Earth. Which it is, in a sense.

No. 18, 466-yard par-4: The mirror-image to the ninth is the No. 2 handicap hole but can play completely different depending on how the wind switches in the two hours since you played the ninth.

Continue reading The Ocean Course at Hammock Beach, a Florida ‘bucket list’ destination »

Enhancements announced for acclaimed Black Diamond Ranch

Twenty-five years ago, golf course architecture reached a new frontier at Black Diamond Ranch in Lecanto, where Tom Fazio routed a layout through an abandoned limestone quarry.

Even if you haven’t played the Quarry Course – one of three on the property along with the Ranch Course and nine-hole Highlands Course – you have likely seen the pictures of the dramatic holes on the back nine that play in and out of the limestone hollows. If you have played it, you'll never forget the experience.

Golf Digest has ranked the Quarry Course as one of America’s top 100 for the last 20 years and Golfweek deemed it as Florida’s best residential course and sixth-best in the nation.

Now, Black Diamond is taking steps to ensure its next 25 years are just as memorable.

Escalante Golf, Black Diamond’s owner and operator, has unveiled a multi-million dollar masterplan for the Citrus County golf community located some 75 miles north of Tampa. (The club is private but limited stay-and-play packages are available to the public.)

The masterplan includes a clubhouse redesign, numerous golf course enhancements including lengthening the tracks and reconstructing all 208 bunkers, and new residential products and memberships.

“Our goal is to build on Black Diamond’s world-class reputation to ensure the club’s long-term sustainability and exclusivity,” Escalante Golf president David McDonald said. “The comprehensive masterplan demonstrates a continuing commitment to our existing members, and is a point of pride and emphasis in attracting new members and residents who share our vision and values.”

Continue reading Enhancements announced for acclaimed Black Diamond Ranch »

Friday deals: A weekend golf tuneup at Turnberry Isle Miami

If you’re in the market for a full weekend of game-sharpening, Turnberry Isle Miami has an exclusive experience celebrating August's National Golf Month.

Led by PGA Teacher of the Year and Gary Knapp, weekend golf schools are available every Saturday and Sunday through September 30.

"Each clinic begins with an evaluation of each player's drive, short game, sand play, putting and swing sequence, which enables me to create a customized weekend golf program," Knapp said. "Players will also be videotaped during instruction and receive an opportunity to review their form and fine tune specific game techniques."

Priced at $880 for two guests, the Golf Month promotion includes eight hours of instruction over two days and two rounds of golf on the resort's two 18-hole courses, the Miller Course and the Soffer Course. Don’t be intimidated by that sticker price—if you haven’t taken lessons before, that’s a great rate for an acclaimed PGA teacher. And as mentioned, there’s two rounds of golf on top of that.

Accommodations at Turnberry Isle’s fantastic resort are available with nightly rates starting at $119. For more information or to book, call 305-933-6929 or visit their website.

More deals

For the rest of August, PGA National Resort and Spa in Palm Beach Gardens resort has great deals for active and retired military, police and firefighters, including a fantastic $40 (plus tax) golf offer for any of its courses including the Champion, home to the PGA Tour’s Honda Classic. Call 800-863-2819.

Sandestin Golf and Beach Resort: Free night with purchase of two consecutive nights. Call 866-657-7271 and mention code "FREE3."

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.

Through the end of the year, the Renaissance World Golf Village Resort and Beach Club is offering a Stay and Play package including a round of golf and privileges at the private Serenata Beach Club in Ponte Vedra Beach, with complimentary shuttle transportation. Free shuttles are also available to and from historic downtown St. Augustine. The package starts at $184 per room, per night for one golfer and $259 per room, per night for two golfers. Call 888-740-7020 or visit the resort’s website.

Perdido Key is offering up to $200 in American Express gift cards for visitors through Sept. 30, register at its “You Play” website before Sept. 10. Lost Key Golf Club and Perdido Bay Golf Club are ready and waiting for you.

Continue reading Friday deals: A weekend golf tuneup at Turnberry Isle Miami »