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  • GolfandTravels


TPC Sawgrass - Stadium Course - June 2011

The Stadium Course demands your respect, especially because of The Players Championship, it's beauty, challenge and of course the Island Green! It's a good "once ina lifetime" if you are on a budget, as the greens fee was $375.00 per person. Are we glad we played it? Most definitely! It was amazing to walk in the footsteps of the greatest golfers and to play 17! The anticipation as we got closer to 17 was exhilarating! Did we make the Island Green? Yes and No! Liz’s Wilson Staff hit on the green…and proceeded to pop right off. Jeff on the other hand, missed with both shots! But when he dropped on the green for a 50 foot putt - he made that. We only wished there was a standard norm to circle back and play 17 twice!

If it’s your first time - go for a caddie - what’s another Benjamin for the guidance they provide?! Ours was Marc, who just happened to grow up a town away from Jeff on Long Island (although 10 years apart) and regaled us with many of his high school sporting stories.

The rough is rough, so try and stay out of it - enough said. The staff was very friendly. The clubhouse is spectacular and the paintings of memorable moments were quite beautiful.

The Sawgrass Marriott Resort and Spa’s lobby is open and spacious with a view of the lagoon and a slight view of the 13th hole of the Stadium Course. We met a lovely front desk associate, Traci, who accommodated us in a nice room with a view of the lagoon. The rooms were standard Marriott, clean and comfortable, although it would be nicer if the “Juliet balcony” was a full size that can be enjoyed. They surround the center atrium of the lobby providing a safe and open feeling. If you prefer to feel more “at home” you can consider a Villa Suite that includes a full kitchen. These are separate from the main building but there are bridges to walk through to access the facilities. There are two pools; one is adult only, along with Jacuzzis. Great shuttle service to the Golf Course (5 minutes away) and to their private beach called the Cabana Club (about 10 minutes away). It was a wonderful stay - definitely a great golf resort getaway!

World Golf Village - St. Augustine Renaissance, Florida - June 2011

“Disneyland” for the golf enthusiast! The grounds include the Golf Hall of Fame that is abundant with the most amazing memorabilia, documenting the beginnings of the game of golf through the new technology we all enjoy today. Be sure to give yourself at least 2 hours to enjoy the museum. Included are interactive areas where you can putt like you were back in the 1880s, simulate playing a Par-3, and a modern putting challenge. Head to the top of the building for a great view of the complex, as well as seeing up close the golf trophies from many of the championships - including the US Open and the Claret Jug. Included in your Golf Hall of Fame ticket price is a “round” of putting at the 18-hole Putting Challenge and one shot at the TPC Sawgrass Stadium #17 replica hole that is the center of the complex. Get a hole-in-one and win a fabulous prize. We were told they see about two a year! Get on twice and win a consolation prize. Don’t get on at all - get - the joy of trying … without paying $375.00.

Leave time for shopping at the PGA Tour Stop. Two-floors filled with golf apparel and equipment. Also be sure to take in lunch or dinner at The Murray Brothers’ Caddy Shack - a fun restaurant with memorabilia from the fantastic movie that Bill Murray made historic. We learned that there are actually six Murray brothers, one of which runs the restaurant.

The Renaissance hotel is a fabulous place to stay located within the Golf World Village. The lobby is modern, open and comfortable with free Wi-Fi and enough flat-screen monitors to watch every sport event on the air! The staff was very friendly and helpful.

King and Bear - World Golf Village

The only golf course designed by Arnold Palmer (the King) and Jack Nicklaus (the Bear). This course is located about 2 miles from World Golf Village. It is nothing less than expected; the course was beautiful, creative, fun and challenging.The staff was very friendly and the Starter provided great guidance.

The carts had GPS and yardage - including an on-line scorecard. A barrel of crisp and cold apples await you on 1 and 10.And, ice cold and mango-scented towels are available to keep you cool in the hotter months of Florida. Just the right amount of water to not remind you of TPC Sawgrass!

Stonework, sand and shrubbery are spectacularly placed, so that the views are enjoyable the entire round. Arnold’s favorite hole is 15, Jack’s 16 - make sure you take a read of the sign that explains it all. The GPS system in the golf cart was one of the finest we have encountered so far. The distances provided were not only to the Pin, but also to the Front, Back and to the Hazards. Pro-Tips were provided along with Jack and Arnie's scores the first time they played the course.

King and Bear Clubhouse is filled with amazing photos of both gentleman’s life and career. Make sure to take some time to enjoy the memories. Thank you Jack and Arnold!

Slammer & Squire - World Golf Village

Designed by Sam Snead (the Slammer) and Gene Sarazen (the Squire). Forward friendly this course was - especially 18!The ladies playing out-numbered the men!

Located directly within the World Golf Village, you have several views of the Golf Hall of Fame. Another lovely course - short, sweet and not as challenging. You can also enjoy the apples and cold towels at this course as well. June was “Woman’s Golf Month” so Liz enjoyed a nice discount on the price - only $39.00 ($49.00 at King and Bear).

Orlando World Center - Hawk's Landing

One of the largest Marriott hotels, Orlando World Center houses Hawk's Landing - a wonderful Golf Course that is beautiful, charming and at times challenging. We were greeted by another of the friendliest Starters we have met over our 50-state Journey (with Helen from Anchorage Alaska being the other!). Bill, our Starter was a very happy fellow who most definitely shared in our enthusiasm for the game of golf! We had a great round, playing with the Golf Pro's 15-year old son Michael, who we'll probably see on the Pro Tour one day!

Tiburon Golf Club Naples Florida (The Ritz Carlton Golf Resort, Naples)

Located on the Ritz Carlton Hotel, Naples complex, Tiburon is the home of the Shark Shootout. Tiburon has two 18-hole courses, Gold and Black. Gold was closed for maintenance, so we played the Black. We were told the Gold is “easier” and the one that the Shark Shootout is held on - oh well! The tee-markers were excellent. This was the first course we played on that had stone markers (“shark-fin” shaped - of course) with the words Back, Middle, Forward to clearly identify which tee-box was which. The course also had a “blended” method to provide just the right amount of challenge for a mid-handicapper (like Jeff!) which was called Tiburon and identified by an extra Marker (a black wooden peg). The course was beautifully landscaped with an abundance of yellow daisy plants. The golf cart GPS had some great features like CBS Sports streaming the weekend Golf scores and a 3-D “flyover” image of the hole as you approached. Only 30 minutes from Marco Island, if you are headed down that way, it’s worth planning to play a round for sure!

Marco Island Marriott's The Rookery

The last round on our June 2011 Florida Golf Tour, we played The Rookery. Marco Island Marriott’s golf course is located in the Fiddler’s Creek complex which was about 7 miles from the hotel. We met up with a Marriott colleague, Kathleen Quinn, who transferred from Long Island, NY to Marco Island over 10 years ago and has been enjoying Florida life and improving her golf game. Thankfully, the course is forward friendly for those of us who are not “big hitters”! Lots and lots of water and tall grassy bushes; our best round of this “tour” if was not. Jeff lost a number of golf balls to the waters and grass, and Liz had her ups and downs - Kathleen’s game was fantastic! The course is a real beauty with several "island-ish" greens and nice stonework.

The Marco Island Marriott Hotel is a beautiful hotel located right on the ocean with an amazing pool and wonderful restaurants. It's a must visit location for those that like the sun, sand - and golf!

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