Apr 24, 2018

Top 6 North American Golf Destinations

By Sean Crogie   Posted at  4/24/2018 07:21:00 PM   No comments
The vast wilderness across North America provides some of the most scenic golf courses in the world. If you’ve recently watched the epic Masters Tournament and finished your golf course at one of America’s leading golf schools, it may be time to pack your bags and set course for one of these excellent golf destinations:

1. Bandon Dunes, Oregon

Thousands of avid golf players descend on this pristine resort every year. It’s been described as a little bit of Scotland and a little bit of Ireland right here in America. Old Macdonald, the resort’s latest golf course, has had some stunning reviews in recent years. Staying a night is likely to cost you $250, but for enthusiasts and professional players it’s money well-spent.

2. Cabot Links Lodge, Inverness, Nova Scotia

Located on Canada’s prime golf destination - Cape Breton Island - Cabot Links is a phenomenal golf course for players who love playing with a fantastic view. Five of the holes on this golf course hug the beach tightly, while all the rest look out on the Gulf of St.Lawrence.

 16th Hole At Cabot Cliffs From My 2016 Trip

3. Fairmont Banff Springs Alberta

Banff in Alberta is a prime vacation destination even if you aren’t into golfing. Fairmont has two gorgeous properties here that are worth a visit - Jasper Park Lodge and Banff Springs. While Jasper is more rustic, Banff seems like a massive castle devoted to golfers. Even the drive up to the hotels across Icefields Parkway is breathtaking.

4. Pinehurst, North Carolina

Pinehurst is perhaps the oldest and most prominent golf resort in America. It’s been around since the late-19th century, and is now considered the birthplace of modern golf on the continent. There are pine trees and sandhills across the property which features nine separate golf courses. Special tennis courts and spas can keep the non-golfers busy while avid players make the most of these beautiful landscapes.

5. Pebble Beach, California

As with most other things in Cali, golf is an expensive endeavor. A round of golf with a cart on Pebble Beach is likely to cost more than $450. Meanwhile, the room rate per night is upwards of $615. Those jaw-dropping prices, however, give you access to a golf course that is widely considered to be the best public golf course in America. It’s a high-end experience for golf players who enjoy the lap of luxury. Alternatively, you could head out to the excellent yet affordable Bird Golf Academy not too far from the Santa Barbara coast.

6. American Club, Destination Kohler

The American Club is the perfect destination for golfers with a massive budget. The resort, golf courses, and amenities go beyond simple luxury, they’re widely considered to be ultra-high-end. In fact, the resort is such a sought after destination that the 2015 PGA Championship was hosted here.

If you plan a short golf getaway anywhere in North America, you’re probably spoiled for choice. The immense wilderness of Canada and the opulence of high-end golf resorts across America are worth the experience even if you’re not a passionate golfer.

Apr 21, 2018

Spring Golf at Rideau View Just Around The Corner

By Sean Crogie   Posted at  4/21/2018 09:31:00 AM   No comments
Things lately were looking bleak for golf in the Ottawa area, especially early in the week as wet snow blanketed the area. With most locals chomping at the bit to get out onto their local golf course, the weather looks like it might be looking up and courses can start to think about opening up.

Yesterday I stopped into Rideau View Golf Club to talk to my boss Course Superintendent Gord MacMillan. Gord was excited that they were finally getting out and cutting some greens for the first time. Considering he brought in staff the first week in March and had 11 greens cleared of straw, bubble wrap and tarps and it was looking like maybe an early April opening. Then mother nature took over with 30cm of snow and his staff got lots done "inside".

Gord has never seen anything like this before in his 30 years at Rideau View, "With some greens not being cleared until a month after the first ones were done".

Greens look great at Rideau View after the first cut considering our cold Spring here in the Ottawa area.

What is Gord looking forward to this season, well considering 2017 was the wettest in memory and 2016 was the driest. Gord would like, "Something in between and rain every 4th night".

Challenges for Gord and his staff, "Foresee what mother nature has around the corner".

Gord hopes from how the course is progressing and how others are looking in the Ottawa Valley. We'll be able to open, "Summer Rules" at Rideau View.

All great news for golfers at Rideau View and the Ottawa Valley.

Mar 28, 2018

Golf Course Review: The Bald Head Island Golf Club

By Sean Crogie   Posted at  3/28/2018 07:49:00 AM   No comments

Now that the dust has settle from another great March Break in North Carolina, I can finally sit down and pen my thoughts on one of the nicest golf courses I've had the privilege to play since I took up this silly game of golf.

The Bald Head Island Club stats:

Played from the White tees: Rating 70.3 Slope 131
Designed by George Cobb, 1974
Renovation Tom Cate, 2010
Date: March 13, 2018
Temperature on first tee: 6 degrees Celsius, gusty winds.

Bald Head Island Golf Club is one unique golf course located on the southernmost of North Carolina's barrier islands, the golf course is only accessible by passenger ferry or private boat. So right off the bat getting our ferry out to the Island to play golf was a unique and fun experience. Be sure to check the ferry schedule so you won't miss your tee time.

Trams take you from ferry to golf course.

Hole #1 327 yds.

Even though the starting hole at Bald Head is on the shorter side it's an intimidating tee shot with water down the left side, plus this dogleg has a waste area on right as well. On the day we played the wind was right into our faces.

Sam teeing off on #1 Bald Head Island Club

Hole #2 160 yds.

The first par 3 played into the wind for us and again had us thinking what club to hit. With the natural area all along the left side you don't want to be short as anything funnels into the sand.

Brian trying to make the green on #2 Bald Head Island.

Hole #3 330 yds.

A fun par 4 not overly long but with a narrow landing area and a lagoon on the left you have to be accurate. most will have a short iron into this heavily guarded green.  Have fun!

Hole #4 484 yds.

The first Par 5 , a long dog leg left that I managed to get close with two shots but the massive live oak gobbled up my third shot and had to settle for a bogey. A challenging and fun par 5.

Live Oak gobbled up my wedge shot to the green.

Hole #5 375 yds.

The number 1 handicap hole at Bald Head, I was happy to bogey this tough par 4. Green is guarded by natural areas to the left and back, which can poise a problem to get out of for most.

Sam finding the 5th hole difficult

Hole #6 355 yds.

A wide fairway on this par 4 can leave a short shot into the green depending on your shot shape. A beautiful hole.

Brian takes aim on #6 Bald Head Island Golf Club

Hole #7 480 yds.

A three shot par 5 for most can be risky if you go for it in two as there's a massive bunker which fronts the green. A lagoon runs the entire left side of this hole. The green is elevated and protected by a large dune ridge. Birdies can be had with smart shot selections.

Hole #8 141 yds.
A tough par 3 with winds impacting our shots. Hazards both left and right par is a great score here any day.

Brian trying to hit the green on this difficult par 3 (into the wind)

Hole #9 380 yds.

Can you say "lagoons".  A great intimidating par 4 especially with the wind on the day we played. Bogey felt like birdie for sure!

Hole #10 345 yds.

The large lagoon shouldn't come into play on this par 4. The fairway is wide but anything left or right will find hazards. A good hole to start on the back 9.

Brian finding the fairway. 

Hole #11 466 yds.

This hole reminded me of some of the golf I played at Kiawah Island. Can be a birdie hole for some who choose wisely. Love the backdrop of forest then the green guarded by the lagoon and bulkhead. Beautiful hole. Amazing green to putt on (once your on).

Hole #12 334 yds.

A slight dog leg right par 4. Bunkers guard the green so you want a good tee shot here to have a wedge into this tiered green.

Hole #13 166 yds.

An uphill par 3 that played very difficult the day we played due in large part to the wind. Lots of sand to think about when choosing your club.

Sam firing away on #13 at Bald Head Island Golf Club

Hole #14 365 yds.

An intimidating tee shot to a wide fairway. The hole dog legs to the right, play it smart and you won't shoot a high number. A tough hole.

Hole #15 340 yds.

Relatively short par 4. A tee shot anywhere in the center will leave the ideal approach to the green. This hole has a lagoon which must be crossed twice, and the green is protected by a natural area on the left that drops off sharply from the green.

Hole #16 160 yds.
An amazing par 3 from an elevated tee box this green is hard to hit regardless of the wind (which there was a lot of the day we played). Beautiful, fun and difficult.

Hole #17 450 yds.

These final two holes were some of the windiest we played all day and the most fun. Managed par on this par 5, the green was immaculate to putt on.

Hole #18 404 yds.

Sam teeing off at the final hole the par 4 #18.  Felt like a par 5.

Although it was an hour and half drive from North Topsail Beach to catch the ferry to Bald Head Island. It's was worth it in my opinion. Amazing golf course and island. The staff both at the pro shop and restaurant were amazing and helpful. The wings were tasty and got us through the back 9.

The day we golfed there were no crowds and at times we felt like the only ones golfing on this natural   piece of property. The salt marshes and maritime forest framed the golf course.

The new Miniverde greens at Bald Head Island Golf Club were a pleasure to putt on. From the first green on we loved the consistency and subtle nuances of the greens. Made lots of putts which kept my score reasonable.

Tom Cate did an amazing job transforming the 35 acres of rough into sandy areas with native grasses. Looks spectacular.

If you get a chance go experience golf on Bald Head Island you won't be disappointed.

Mar 25, 2018

Golf’s Signature Roar is Back

By Sean Crogie   Posted at  3/25/2018 02:55:00 PM   No comments

Since Tiger Woods’ last win in 2013, the world of golf hasn’t quite been the same. The 14-time major winner's injury woes have cast a dark cloud over the game. How could the greatest story in golf peter out like it had? The boy wonder, who turned into the best golfer in the world, was to fade out. The lack of closure led the interest in golf to wane. It meandered along with a few young stars trying to resuscitate it.

It wasn’t for a lack of skill on show. The likes of McIlroy, Spieth, and DJ did a fine job of being able to capture the public's imagination. There was just a feeling that something was missing. It certainly was. Woods was still the right age to compete against these young superstars. Only we were being robbed of watching it happen. Tiger's injuries looked long term. Many said Woods wouldn’t ever return to the player he once was.

It was only after Woods underwent fusion surgery on his back that the pain left him. Woods confirmed he was playing pain-free. That led many to ask the unthinkable. Could he make a comeback after all? A return to playing action at the Farmers Insurance showed Woods could complete 4 rounds of golf. Fans around the world would take anything they could.

A missed cut at the Genesis Open had the naysayers in full cry again. Their chorus was to be very short-lived. Since that missed cut, Woods has recorded consecutive finishes of 12th, 2nd and 5th.

The Big Cat wasn’t so much on the prowl as hunting those down in front of him. It is no longer speculative nonsense to say Tiger Woods is back. It is the absolute truth. Golf fans have got what they so desperately wished for. The telltale signs are there for all to see.

The difference in saying Tiger Woods is "playing again" and "back" are two very different things. Clutch putts at the Valspar Championship and Arnold Palmer Invitational proved he was back. There could be no mistake. Woods wasn't there to make up the numbers. Draining a 44-foot birdie putt at the Valspar on the 71st hole sent the golfing world into meltdown. It would be followed up by a 71-foot birdie putt at Bay Hill. It was official; Tiger Woods was again doing things only Tiger Woods can do.

The speed that it has taken Woods to get back into contention is staggering. Heading into the Masters, Woods is now one of the favorites to win it. This time last year, the four-time Masters' winner was unable to get out of bed due to back pain. It would be golf's most miraculous comeback if he was able to win another Green Jacket. Currently, the Big Cat is +1100 to claim the spoils at Augusta and punters who back Woods can access $150 of free bets from Neds
when at Champion Bets.

There are few golfers on the tour, if any, who know what it takes to get it done at Augusta better than Woods.

Over the last three PGA events, there has been a familiar roar in the galleries. It has echoed around the course and driven fear into the heart of the other golfers. It is an unmistakable sound that fellow competitors haven’t heard in a long time. One of the giants of the game is getting to his feet again.

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