Jan 13, 2024

2023 Highlight - Front Row Seat To Rideau View's Billy Bunkers

The highlight for 2023 was that I had a front-row seat to Rideau View Golf Course's bunker renovations, from the vision of consulting architect Ian Andrew to the actual implementation by NMP Golf Construction. Seeing the transition daily was amazing as I changed holes for my 10th season at Rideau View. The hard work from Gord and Greg's staff in maintaining them through the Summer months was amazing to see.

For those who want to get a perspective of what Billy Bunkers looks like and what they play like, go no further than down the road to the Royal Montreal Golf Club, where the Blue Course has hosted 5 RBC Canadian Opens and its second Presidents Cup in September 2024.

Enjoy my videos from the months I spend observing.

Rideau View Golf Course Uses Billy Bunkers For Better Player Experience

Billy Bunkers is a type of golf course bunker design and construction method developed by golf course architect Billy Fuller. These bunkers are known for their innovative design and construction techniques, which aim to improve the playability, maintenance, and durability of bunkers on golf courses. Here are some key features and characteristics of Billy Bunkers:

  1. Better Drainage: Billy Bunkers are designed with a particular liner system that includes porous material, gravel, and a high-quality sand cap. This design allows for efficient drainage from the bunker, reducing the likelihood of standing water and ensuring consistent playing conditions even after heavy rain.
  2. Reduced Contamination: The liner system also helps prevent contamination of the bunker sand by soil and organic matter, making bunkers more challenging to maintain and negatively impacting play. This separation between the sand and the underlying mud contributes to the longevity of the bunker's sand quality.

  3. Consistent Sand Depth: The liner system helps maintain a constant depth of sand throughout the bunker, which is essential for golfers as it provides a predictable playing experience. Traditional bunkers often need help with sand erosion and inconsistent depths.

  4. Minimal Maintenance: Billy Bunkers are designed to be easier to maintain than traditional bunkers. The specialized liner system helps prevent sand from contaminating the surrounding turf, reducing the need for frequent sand replacement and allowing for easier bunker raking and shaping.

  5. Longevity: Due to their improved drainage and maintenance characteristics, Billy Bunkers are known for longevity. Properly constructed bunkers can retain their playability and aesthetic appeal for an extended period, reducing the need for frequent renovations.

  6. Environmental Benefits: The design of Billy Bunkers can also have environmental benefits by reducing water usage and the need for chemical treatments, as they help maintain sand quality and drainage naturally.

    Overall, Billy Bunkers have gained popularity among golf course architects and superintendents for their ability to enhance the quality and playability of bunkers while reducing maintenance demands. Many golf courses worldwide have adopted this innovative bunker construction method to improve the overall golfing experience for players of all skill levels.

Aug 23, 2023

Big Week for the CPKC Women’s Open at Shaugnessy Golf and Country Club

Sporting a new look, Brooke Henderson is poised to play her home open on the West Coast this week at Shaughnessy Golf and Country Club. Never one to waver to pressure, all eyes will be on her and the rest of the Canadian contingent this week. Always a great event on LPGA Tour the CPC put on a great event. The ladies are always very accommodating and gracious, as I witnessed a few years back in Ottawa when the event was hosted here at Ottawa Hunt Club. I know I even got to chat with Micheele Wie and others.

“Yeah, this week is a big deal. It's the highlight of my year pretty much every year.  It's exciting to get to be so close to so many fans, and regardless of where we are in the country, the fans and the crowds come out to watch. Just to feel that kind of love and support, it's really special. I try to do my best and try to sign a bunch of autographs and take pictures, but also trying to make sure that I give the right amount of time for myself to really prepare and get the right amount of rest so I can go out and perform on Thursday through Sunday. Winning this championship back in 2018 is definitely the highlight of my career, so I would love to be able to do that again someday.”
For the full transcript of Brooke Henderson’s media availability on Tuesday, please click here.
“It was such a dream for me to win. Every tournament I go into I'm thinking about that moment, all the good stuff that happened and everything that worked out. We strive for that and I still strive for that every day.  But just knowing I can do it and able to do it here in Canada was amazing. And then I know it's probably the hardest thing to defend your title, but I'm enjoying everybody here, the atmosphere, and just that stuff makes me a little bit more calmer, a little bit more easy and having to play. But such great vibes, and I'm so lucky to have won and I really want to do it again.
For the full transcript of Paula Reto’s media availability on Tuesday, please click here.
Reto is trying to become the third player in tournament history to successfully defend the championship and would join Lydia Ko (2012 & 2013) and Pat Bradley (1985 & 1986).
I don't know if I'll ever feel like I deserve that, but I know I've put in a lot of work, and I found that my game works best when I'm having fun and just doing my thing and not thinking too much about it. Just playing one shot at a time and knowing that I can win.”
For the full transcript of Lilia Vu’s media availability on Tuesday, please click here.
Transcripts, audio and video from Tuesday at the CPKC Women’s Open include Brooke Henderson, Lilia Vu and Paula Reto.
Broadcast quality audio and interview transcripts can be downloaded here.
Broadcast quality video can be downloaded here.
Transcripts from Maddie Szeryk and Ellie Szeryk can be found here.
Click here for pairings and tee times for the opening round of the CPKC Women’s Open on Thursday, August 24.
The following player interviews are scheduled in the media centre at Shaughnessy Golf & Country Club. All times listed are Pacific Time and are subject to change.
Wednesday, August 23
11:00 a.m. – Stacey Lewis
11:30 a.m. – Gabriela Ruffels
2:00 p.m. – Lydia Ko
2:30 p.m. – Rose Zhang
Other players for media availability at Shaughnessy Golf & Country Club can be requested through the LPGA Tour and Golf Canada.
CPKC and Golf Canada are proud to support the BC Children’s Hospital Foundation as the primary charitable beneficiary for the 2023 CPKC Women’s Open. Among the charitable engagements tournament week will be the Birdies for Heart hole on no. 16 at Shaughnessy with a $5,000 donation made for every birdie made on the hole during the four rounds of the competition. In addition, CPKC is also proud to support a community beneficiary in Royal Inland Hospital Foundation in support of cardiac care. In nine years of title sponsorship of the CPKC Women’s Open, more than $16 million has been raised to support children’s heart health in the event’s host communities.
Below are links to the CPKC Women’s Open Media Guide as well as the all-time Player Performance Guide:
2023 CPKC Women’s Open Media Guide 
CPKC Women’s Open – All-Time Player Performance Guide
Experience the CPKC Women’s Open like never before by downloading the Golf Canada Mobile App on your iOS or Android device. Essential features include a live map, leaderboard & pairings, tickets, breaking news, and special events. Plus, use the Golf Canada Mobile App to enhance your experience while playing! Find golf courses, track your game, set up matches against friends, access GPS yardages and more. Click here to download.
Click here for the full current list of competitors competing in the 2023 CPKC Women’s Open, August 22-27 at Shaughnessy Golf & Country Club in Vancouver.
Tickets for the 2023 CPKC Women’s Open are available here. Children aged 12-and-under get free admission with a ticketed adult.
The stars of the LPGA Tour will challenge for the CPKC Women’s Open from August 22-27, 2023, at the Shaughnessy Golf & Country Club in Vancouver, B.C. Through its CPKC Has Heart program, title sponsor CPKC will once again make a substantial donation to the host community of Canada’s National Open Golf Championship by supporting the B.C. Children’s Hospital Foundation. The 2023 CPKC Women’s Open is proudly sponsored by CPKC, BDO, Audi, RBC, theScore, Levelwear, Transitions, Titleist, FootJoy, Journie Rewards, Hilton, Sleeman Clear 2.0, Think Turkey, The Keg, Johnsonville, Cayman Islands, Masi, Celebrity Cruises, STALK&BARREL, Matt & Steve’s, Coca-Cola, Rolex and is supported by Sport Hosting Vancouver, the Province of British Columbia, and the Government of Canada.
For information visit www.cpkcwomensopen.com.

Jun 11, 2023

Wow, Nick Taylor Sinks 72 Foot Putt To Win RBC Canadian Open

 Just the year I don't attend the RBC Canadian Open in some capacity Canadian Nick Taylor puts on an amazing weekend and captures the 2023 RBC Canadian Open, First Canadian since Pat Fletcher won at Point Grey in 1954.

Nick Taylor shot the composite-course record after firing a 9-under 63 to lead the Canadian contingent on Saturday. He didn't disappoint Sunday. 

Apr 3, 2023

Finding That Inspiration - My Golf Writing Journey

It's amazing how time can just get away from you. My posts on this golf blog have been few and far between over the last few years. Health issues both physical and mental definitely have played a part as well as family loss. But that can't explain everything thing. The fracturing of professional golf with the offshoot of LIV Golf definitely left me feeling empty and angry. I've even got to where my theme that I use for this blog doesn't work anymore (Oh! the neglect). 

I vow to find what use to inspire me and to return here and write about my golf shenanigans. Whether it's local golf course reviews or those ones that take place a little further from home. Golf book reviews or golf club reviews there's so much I use to enjoy writing about. 

This year also marks me returning to the Rideau View Golf Course for a 10th season as part of their Turf Team. Changing holes and documenting my mornings both here and on Instagram. My son Gus will also be back for a 2nd season at Rideau View.

Here's to Spring which is hopefully around the corner and we can all get out there and enjoy our local golf course and get inspired. For right now it's Masters Week. Enjoy.

Oct 11, 2022

How Are Golf Trips Different After the Coronavirus Pandemic?

Ever since the spring of 2020, when the outbreak of coronavirus began, the pandemic has brought about numerous changes in our lives, including traveling restrictions. Golf trips were no exception. When the PGA Tour canceled The Players Championship, the world of golf changed forever. As a consequence, golf players across the world had to adapt to these new changes and find ways to tackle the challenges of going on vacation. 

The perpetual state of chaos specific to the coronavirus pandemic remains in many ways, but golf was one of the industries to not only survive but thrive during the pandemic. Although some things have changed dramatically, golf players are still able to relax and unwind on their favorite courses across the country. They might encounter difficulties when it comes to lodging and the cost of tee time, which is higher now, but otherwise, golf aficionados can still relish a round or two.

Major Changes in the Booking Cycle

One of the main components of golf trips that is very different now compared to the pre-coronavirus era is the booking cycle. Before the pandemic, golf players would book vacations for destinations such as the Kiawah Island Golf Resort and the Pinehurst Resort for the busy months of September and October, in August or September, without any difficulty. However, today, it is nearly impossible to book a tee time at the top courses for those months, as they had already been booked since December 2021 or even earlier.

Furthermore, before the pandemic, golf vacations in popular destinations, such as Scottsdale, Arizona, were usually booked from November to February by players who wanted to enjoy some rounds between January and April. Golf players who wanted to play in April could even book a tee time in March in some cases. Today, if people want to book a golf vacation for the first months of the year, they will most likely be late to the game. Still, because most golf courses stick with their 90 days or 120-day booking window, some players may be able to book tee time conveniently.

What to Avoid to Have a Memorable Golf Trip

To make sure you and your friends or family can play exactly when it is convenient to you, the key in the post-coronavirus world that we live in nowadays is to plan early and book your vacation as soon as possible. For instance, at the Pebble Beach Golf Links, people could usually book a trip for groups 6 months in advance easily. Now, if you plan to play on the exquisite links in May or June 2023, you may face difficulties. So, you may want to plan a later vacation for this destination.

Another essential aspect for groups is to book your tee time not after every person confirms they can go, but when you have just half or a little more of your buddies confirm they are available for the trip. Waiting for two or four players to commit to the trip – over a two-week period, for instance – could be the difference between going all together or not going at all since tee times and lodging get booked very rapidly. 

Lastly, what groups should avoid is making a rigid schedule of the golf courses they want to play on specific days of their vacation. The longer groups wait to discuss how they want their trip to unfold, the more likely it is that other groups of players will come in, moving quickly and scooping up the ideal tee times. So, it is best to allow your trip to be on the flexible side and also allow it to be a little spontaneous, which will guarantee you will not get bored.

Keep in Mind the Higher Cost of Tee Times

Since the coronavirus pandemic started, especially since May 2020, when travel began to open up, with the exception of air travel, golf vacations have hit a major high compared to the previous years. Therefore, once a $1,000 per golf player trip in Scottsdale, for example, before the pandemic, is now $1,500 or higher per golf player, with similar lodging and for the same courses. 

Along with the inflation, resorts are cashing in by increasing their rates and taking advantage of the situation while they can, so it should not shock or surprise you that what was once cheaper is quite expensive now. The good news is that, at some point, the costs will level off, most likely not getting as low as they were during the pre-coronavirus era, but they will decrease at least a bit.

The Takeaway

As a golf player, you may find it hard to adapt to the changes brought about by the coronavirus pandemic, but if you have a keen interest in the game, the higher prices are definitely worth it. Perhaps the most important thing is that you and your buddies can still enjoy a round of golf at your favorite vacation destinations and take advantage of the luxurious amenities of the resorts throughout the United States and, now, even abroad, since there are no air travel restrictions. 

About the Author

Sean Petersen is the owner of Golf Trip Junkie, a golf trip tour operator that offers memorable, customized vacations for all group sizes. His ultimate goal is to provide his customers with top experiences that will exceed their expectations.

Apr 30, 2021

Destination: Hilton Head Island

When it comes to golf getaways, Hilton Head still holds its own with any golf destination in North America. More than $200 million has been invested in upgrading “Golf Island’s” hotels, resorts and golf courses over the past decade. 

There are more than 30 courses clustered within the island’s 70 square-miles and sprinkled around neighboring Bluffton and Beaufort, so the next round of golf is never more than a few minutes away. And with the spring forward to daylight savings time, the Hilton Head area sets up perfectly for a 36-hole-a-day golf binge.

Here’s a lineup of premier on- and off-island courses, as well as the inside scoop on accommodations, dining and transportation.

Top Tier

Harbour Town Golf Links at The Sea Pines Resort is the long-time home of the PGA Tour’s RBC Heritage, a fan and player favorite. This Pete Dye/ Jack Nicklaus collaboration epitomizes Lowcountry course design replete with live oak-lined corridors, diminutive greens and Dye’s trademark bulkheads lining languid lagoons.

Walking off the 16th green and toward the tee box on the par-3 17th, the Calibogue Sound comes into view with shrimp and sailboats passing by. Harbour Town concludes with one of America’s most famous finishing holes, the par-4 18th playing into the iconic Harbour Town Lighthouse.

Just a smooth 3-wood away from Harbour Town, Sea Pines Resort’s Atlantic Dunes by Davis Love III is a masterful overhaul of the resort’s historic Ocean Course, the island’s first course. Completely reinvented by Love Golf Design, native seaside grasses and coquina shells meld with pines and oaks to create a calming coastal ambiance that puts golfers at ease.  

The Robert Trent Jones Course at Palmetto Dunes Oceanfront Resort is widely considered one of the most scenic and challenging courses in the state. Having opened in 1967 just two years before Harbour Town, the two courses’ histories are forever linked by two World Golf Hall of Fame architects. 

Jones’ former protégé Roger Rulewich updated the course in 2002, elevating the fairway on the signature par-5 10th hole for even better views of the Atlantic Ocean. Credited with designing the majority of the Robert Trent Jones Golf Trail, Rulewich spent considerable time reworking every tee box and green. 

Solid Seconds

While it’s technically in Bluffton just off the island, Old South Golf Links is the area’s most underrated layout. Designed by local golf course architect Clyde Johnston, Old South is the only area public course playing along the Intracoastal Waterway. 

The front and back nine views, with MacKay Creek and the Calibogue Sound in the distance, are among the best in the region and are a great way to welcome your golf group to the Lowcountry. The variety of indigenous terrain is also surreal – oak forest, pastures and tidal marshes are all on display, and in play.

Back at The Sea Pines Resort, Heron Point by Pete Dye (formerly the Sea Marsh course) was a labor of love for the renowned golf course architect, who returned several times to tweak its putting surfaces and greens surrounds. From its 7,035-yard tips and with a slope of 140, it gives Harbour Town a run for its money as the resort’s toughest track. 

Playing to more than 7,000 yards with a 139-slope rating from the tips on the island’s north end, Oyster Reef continues to challenge low handicap golfers while appealing to players of all skill levels with its spectacular setting. Jones returned in 2018 to lead a full-scale bunker renovation project, restoring the course to its circa 1982 splendor.

At Palmetto Dunes, George Fazio Course is Hilton Head Island’s only par-70, and with a slope of 144 from the 6,873-yard back tees, it’s considered by many to be the most difficult resort course on the island. With just two par 5s and a series of meaty par 4s, proper tee selection is paramount. 

Preferred Private

It’s a well-established pattern: a week-long visit to Hilton Head Island one year turns into a month-long stay the following year. Eventually golfers fall in love with Golf Island and relocate to enjoy its laid-back lifestyle year-round. And when they do, Sea Pines Country Club is often the private golf venue of choice.

The only private club located inside the gates of the Sea Pines community – a 5,000-acre masterplan including the resort, Beach Club, shops, dining and more – Sea Pines Country Club’s Arnold Palmer-Clyde Johnston-designed layout is a pure Lowcountry offering replete with live oaks draped in Spanish moss, languid lagoons and native grasses. 

While not as widely known as the 18th hole on Harbor Town, the finishing hole at the club, set along one of the island’s largest tidal marshes, is an absolute stunner. Post round, members enjoy their favorite beverages and a variety of eats at the Blue Heron Pub and Grille or relax by the club’s expansive resort-style pool.

Where to Stay

For sheer convenience during a multi-day golf trip, it’s hard to top a rental home or villa at The Sea Pines Resort or Palmetto Dunes Oceanfront Resort. These vacation residences are fully-appointed with all the amenities of home, including flat screen TVs, washers and dryers, wireless internet and fully-equipped kitchens. 

Dining and Nightlife

There are more than 250 restaurants on Hilton Head Island ranging from celebrity chef-driven restaurants to locally owned seafood joints. For a true taste of Lowcountry waterfront dining, check out Skull Creek Boathouse or Skull Creek Dockside. 

Replenish calories burned from a long day on the links with a full Italian meal at Frankie Bones or a dry aged steak from WiseGuys. And whether it’s breakfast, lunch or dinner, do not miss the chance to visit Java Burrito for the region’s best “Fresh Mex” and espresso. 

For those who prefer to grab a bite at or near the golf course, options abound. At Palmetto Dunes, Big Jim’s BBQ, Burgers, Pizza at the Robert Trent Jones Course clubhouse is open seven days a week serving three meals a day. Links, an American Grill, in the stunning new Harbour Town Clubhouse, serves up signature filet, strip and porterhouse steaks. The LagerHead Tavern at Oyster Reef showcases Southern comfort food with a twist. 

Getting Here

Hilton Head Island Airport (HHH) on the island’s north end offers non-stop and one-stop service from multiple hub cities and connections via American Airlines. Seasonal Saturday flights to/from Boston Logan International Airport (BOS) are offered as of April 10, 2021

The new route complements year-round service from Charlotte Douglas International Airport (CLT) and seasonal service from Washington Reagan Airport (DCA), Chicago (ORD), Dallas/Ft. Worth (DFW) and Philadelphia (PHL).  Book your flight to Hilton Head Island at www.AA.com.

Delta Air Lines Airlines also offers nonstop and one-stop service to HHI via its Atlanta (ATL) hub with connections from 200+ cities worldwide. 

Golfers can also utilize Savannah/Hilton Head International Airport (SAV), with direct flights from numerous East Coast, Midwest and Texas airports. Southwest Airlines service began in March with six flights from five markets. 

Hilton Head Golf Island expert golf vacation planners are available to help you design your ideal Hilton Head Golf Island golf trip. Click here to complete a brief form and to receive a custom quote.

By Shane Sharp