Apr 30, 2021

Destination: Hilton Head Island

By Ottawa Golf Blog   Posted at  4/30/2021 01:51:00 PM   No comments

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

Apr 7, 2021

Masters 2021 - Who Will Don The Green Jacket Come Sunday

By Ottawa Golf Blog   Posted at  4/07/2021 08:30:00 PM   No comments

It’s that time of the year when tour pros head down Magnolia Lane to compete at the illustrious Augusta National and compete for a green jacket and become a major winner and champion at Augusta.

I know around here this is the time of the year that signals the start of the new golf season. As golf courses open up here in Ottawa and tee times get snatched up. I know our family has a tee time Saturday but the Masters will still be our focus. All golf fans will be glued to their TVs Thursday through Sunday this week to see who will figure out Augusta.

So who is going to win this week? Every year it always seems to be only a handful of players that can win as Augusta generally plays hard and fast during April. Last November Dustin Johnson won his first green jacket but the course played very soft. DJ was a machine knocking off a pile of scoring records including the following during these soft conditions, and he is as short as 10/1 to retain the green jacket.

72-hole scoring mark

Johnson’s 20-under-par 268 broke the previous 72-hole record held by Tiger Woods (1997) and Jordan Spieth (2015) at 270.

First to reach 20 under in Masters history

By setting the scoring record, Johnson also became the only golfer to ever reach 20 under in Masters history. (Spieth got to 19 under before a final-hole 

bogey in 2015).

Low 54-hole score

Johnson’s 65-70-65 start put him at 16-under 200 through three rounds, matching Spieth’s mark from 2015.

First player to have two rounds of 65 in one Masters

A number of golfers have had a 65 and a 66 in one Masters, but only Johnson can claim to have shot a pair of seven-under-par 65s in one tournament.

Most consecutive subpar rounds at the Masters 

DJ put together four subpar rounds at the 2020 Masters, which combined with four in 2019 and the final three rounds of 2018 gave him 11 straight, one better than Tiger Woods managed from 2000-2002.

Playing the par 3s, 4s and 5s all under par and winning

Johnson became the 15th champion to play the par 3s, par 4s and par 5s under par for the week in which he won. Johnson was four under on the par 3s, five under on the par 4s and 11 under par on the par 5s. The last champion to do so was Charl Schwartzel in 2011.

Lowest stroke average of players with 25 to 49 rounds 

With his 268 total, Johnson now has played his 38 career rounds in 2,699 strokes for a stroke average of 71.02, which now marks the lowest stroke average of any player in that group with that many rounds.

Wire-to-wire winners

Sleeping on the lead at the Masters is always difficult. Doing so for three nights and winning is another thing altogether. Johnson led or was tied for the lead each of the first three days and then finished the job on Sunday. That puts him in good company with 11 other champions who did the same.

Fewest bogeys by champion

Avoiding bogeys is always good in a major, but difficult to do. Johnson made just four bogeys over the 72 holes at the 2020 Masters, which was the fewest of any champion in tournament history. The all-time best by a champion prior to 2020 was five bogeys, held by five different players, Jimmy Demaret (1940); Jack Nicklaus (1965); Ben Crenshaw (1995); Phil Mickelson (2004) and Trevor Immelman (2008).

Although DJ will be a huge favourite come Thursday.  Here's a few others that might don the green jacket come Sunday. I’m not really looking at first timers or players with little to no experience at Augusta.

Although the new and improved Bryson DeChambeau had just a so so Masters this past November I’m intrigued just like VJ Singh was watching him hit driver this week. Can he overpower Augusta? I'm willing to bet he just might, especially using a 4.5-degree driver. DeChambeau, the 2020 U.S. Open champion is planning to use a 5.5-degree Cobra RadSpeed prototype driver this week at the Masters. However, the adjustable hosel mechanism will drop the loft down to 4.5 degrees. Pretty cool stuff from the “Scientist” of golf.

The best iron player in the world

Justin Thomas: When J.T. is on his game he’s a pleasure to watch from tee to green he can be downright perfect.He can grind with the best players in the world and I think thats what it will take this year. He's improved his final standing at the Masters each year over the last five years so it tracks that this week could be one of his best finishes.

Webb Simpson: Another elite iron player who has posted back-to-back top 10s in the last two years. and is a real threat to win here because of his elite iron play. He said last year that he started playing Augusta National more conservatively than when he first started playing Augusta. You can see the result in T5 in 2019 and T10 in 2020.

Spring Golf Awaits

By Ottawa Golf Blog   Posted at  4/07/2021 08:26:00 PM   No comments

You have to like this time of the year if you’re a golfer. Inundated with a plethora of email blasts with the latest and “greatest” golf clubs sure to improve your game. Plus there’s the various stay and play golf packages that you signed up for at a golf show. From Williamsburg, Virginia to Cobble Beach, Ontario. Everyone golf related is fighting for your golf dollar. With COVID 19 still not under control most golfers will be staying close to home although most normal years I’ve got various trips out of province and Country this won’t happen due to the epidemic again this season.

How do we disperse our golf dollars over the year. With so many taking up the game since the epidemic this might require a bit more thought than previous years. 

While most this week will be looking towards the Masters and the pristine fairways of Augusta National. Where many golfers love betting on their favourite golfer or looking for the perfect In-play betting tips. The Masters just seems like the start of Spring especially for the avid golfer but it will also be golfers scoping out there golf options.

For many golfers they’ll be trying to get that sacred tee time as the better weather arrives in Canada and more golf courses open up. Please note you might have to be a bit flexible as it’s going to be busy out there folks.

Trying out a few courses and maybe looking at getting a golf membership might be an option some golfers might be looking into. I know a few families looking at family memberships as a great way to get outside, have fun playing golf and socially distancing and being safe at the same time.

Wherever your golf dollar goes it’s only going to benefit golf long term and that’s great in my book. 

Feb 11, 2021

Winter Weary Golf Fans Set Sights on Pebble Beach Tournament This Week

By Ottawa Golf Blog   Posted at  2/11/2021 07:40:00 AM   No comments
It’s February and those of us who haven’t swung a club in a few months here in Canada are getting the itch. With all the new latest releases from Titleist, TaylorMade, and Ping. Most Canadian golfers are eager to hit the links. For most of us every week we’re tuning into the latest golf tournament coverage on T.V. just to get a taste. 

This week sees the Tour return to the West Coast for the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am Tournament. Wind swept skies with Ocean views for miles this is a tournament most of us yearning to hit the golf course look forward to watching. Although the tournament will only be using Pebble Beach and Spyglass(  Monterey Peninsula is out this year). We’ll be ok watching this week as a field of 156 will tee it up at Pebble Beach Golf Links. Unlike the previous editions there will not be 156 amateurs joining their professional partners due to the pandemic. Although we won’t see the likes of Bill Murray we will love to soak in the California coastline as we shiver at home in the cold of Canadian winter.
Last years winner Canadian Nick Taylor has a great chance to win again as he’s compiled great stats here last year and previous years to boot. It also helps to be able to putt on Poa greens which Taylor figured out last year going wire to wire for the win.
Others that might have a chance this week are the top ranked player in the field, Patrick Cantlay. He loves California, he's rested and his record is 4 for 4 at Pebble Beach.
Would love to see Jason Day finally win at Pebble Beach. He’s come close and has seven top-6 results in 11 starts. Maybe he can win like Koepka after some missed cuts. With a hot Putter anything is possible. 

Will Zalatoris is a kid destin to win soon. He has all the skills and confidence. Could this week be the week he puts 4 solid rounds together for his first W on the PGA Tour. I know golf fans up here in Canada will be tuned in to see who finishes first at Pebble Beach.

Dec 19, 2020

Cobra Radspeed Irons - Golf Iron Reviews

By Ottawa Golf Blog   Posted at  12/19/2020 12:32:00 PM   No comments

 This is the time of the year when your clubs are washed and put away for the season. When you reflect on your season and look forward to the next season. Of course the golf club manufacturers tease us with the latest tools of the trade. Which for me is fun and hopefully will lead to some reviews.

I bought my son some Cobra irons last year and he really enjoyed them. So this season Cobra has me hooked with their unveiling of the Radspeed irons. I'm 52 now and I definitely need some of that game improvement magic. Cobra looks like they have a winner here with many customized options for every type of golfer. Which is what I look for in a manufacturer. See below for some reviews that people have done that have already got their hands on the new Cobra Radspeed irons.

The COBRA RADSPEED irons will also be available in a black PVD finish, albeit with a unique twist: a silver sole.  

“We know PVD finishes tend to wear more than the DBM (Diamond Black Metal) that we use,” says Olsavsky. “But we’ve seen competitors with PVD finishes. Golfers want something different in their bags and people do love the look of these and how they make the irons look a little smaller.” 

Golfalot.com in the UK has a pretty review/insight into the Radspeed irons.


 Golf iron review Cobra RAD SPEED irons

Mark Crossfield Radspeed irons review. He's looking at the newest release from Cobra golf. The review is in both one length and standard length. Not bad pretty extensive.


Cobra Radspeed vs Speedzone vs One Length: Which irons came out on top? Hannah from National Club Golfer does a great review from the UK outside in some nasty UK weather. 

Nov 24, 2020

Rancho San Lucas Offering New Golf Villas

By Ottawa Golf Blog   Posted at  11/24/2020 01:00:00 PM   No comments

Having had my golf travel outside of Canada shut down since March due to Covid; I've had a nice little list of places started including the amazing Rancho San Lucas when travel outside of Canada will be safer (ex. vacinne).

Why Rancho San Lucas:

First Greg Norman design philosophy is grounded in a “least disturbance approach” that blends golf courses with their surrounding environment to enhance the properties’ natural features. The area looks amazing for playing golf in a spectacular setting.

The Call of Los Cabos

If you're looking into a location for a second home with golf in an amazing setting with pristine weather. Look no further then the new golf villa homes Rancho San Lucas has to offer below. 

The newest way to capture a slice of golf bliss is The Golf Villa homesideal for golf aficionados seeking a stress-free and seamless second home option in one of Los Cabos’ most privileged settings. The Golf Villa offering includes 34 beautifully designed single-story homes available for sale, with prices starting in the mid $400,500 USD and there is limited financing available on select villas. Located just steps away from the new 18-hole Greg Norman Signature Golf Course, each Golf Villa enjoys a generous 1,528 square feet with two en-suite bedrooms and spacious, open-concept indoor living. The large patio offers options for dining al fresco and watching the sunset. As Villa homeowners, residents can also purchase an annual golf membership and have access to resort amenities, based on availability. Rancho San Lucas residents also enjoy 1.2 miles of prime Pacific beachfront and expansive hiking and biking trails.


Rancho San Lucas has been designed by some of the most recognized names in land planning, architecture, landscaping, and golf design, including Greg Norman Golf Course Design, LandDesign Inc. and HKS Architects. The thoughtfully planned resort community embraces a timeless Mexican–Spanish architectural theme throughout. The Golf Villa homes are the latest addition to the real estate offering at “The Ranch”, which also includes The Villas at Rancho San Lucas and The Norman Estates. A key differentiator, Rancho San Lucas includes the RSL Design Studio that offers owners one-of-a kind interior design experiences to customize their dream homes and outdoor spaces. The RSL Design Studio also offers hand-selected furniture options from around the world.

Nov 18, 2020

Cabot Revelstoke: Cabot Branches Out To The B.C. Mountains - The Cabot Pacific Golf Course 2023

By Ottawa Golf Blog   Posted at  11/18/2020 11:36:00 AM   No comments

Really wasn't surprised to hear this week that Ben Cowan Dewar, CEO and Co-founder of Cabot were expanding their wings out West to the Revelstoke area of B.C. 

Creating a thing of beauty in B.C. seems perfect for the minds behind  Cabot Links and Cabot Cliffs in Nova Scotia.

By announcing Cabot's third resort with Cabot Revelstoke in British Columbia it seems a great way to showcase out west what they've been able to do magnificantly in Nova Scotia.

I've been lucky enough to stay and play at Cabot Links and play Cabot Cliffs. Two world class golf courses. Although not easy to get too that's part of the charm and intrigue and Cabot Revelstoke will surely be the same.

If you're like me and a bit of a golf architect geek then check out the public records submitted by Rod Whitman Golf Course Design Ltd., some great preliminary plans for “Cabot Revelstoke” (You have to scroll to the bottom). Thanks to the Hutch for this great find.

Cabot Golf Course Design

Press Release below:

"When we look for extraordinary golf sites throughout the world, we so rarely find the natural beauty that drew us to Cape Breton and Saint Lucia. I was immediately inspired by the grandeur of the mountains that surround Revelstoke and reminded why people have been drawn to the mountains for generations," said Ben Cowan-Dewar, CEO and Co-founder of Cabot. "We are excited to build upon the amazing foundation that exists and be part of the thoughtful Revelstoke Mountain Resort expansion."

Located in Central British Columbia, two hours north of Kelowna International Airport, Revelstoke Mountain Resort boasts one of the world's best mountain experiences and North America's greatest vertical drop at 5,620 feet. Winters bring record snowfall with an average of 34 feet of powder annually. The destination is beloved for its varied seasons, exquisite beauty and bountiful outdoor adventures, including water sports on the nearby Columbia River and some of the world's best hiking.

Surrounded by breathtaking mountain ranges, giant old-growth forests and glaciers, the pinnacle of the Cabot Revelstoke experience includes an 18-hole golf course designed by Rod Whitman and his new company—Whitman, Axland & Cutten. As an Alberta native with deep Canadian roots, and the designer of Cabot's first golf course, the award-winning Cabot Links, it was only fitting to have Whitman design Cabot's first mountain course, Cabot Pacific. The course will be routed overlooking the Columbia River with views of towering Monashee and Selkirk peaks in every direction. Set on a bench of land high above the river valley, it takes advantage of the diverse landscape and rolling natural topography. Golfers can expect great natural contours and play among and around cliffs, creeks and large rocky outcroppings set against the stunning vistas mountain golf is loved for.

"Having the opportunity to build a mountain course with the Cabot team in this spectacular destination is a true honor and lifetime achievement for me," said Rod Whitman. "This setting rivals the best in Canada—and across the world. Our main goal is to create inspiring golf that will bring people together and stand the test of time, and we hope that this will do both of those things."

The Lodge at Cabot Revelstoke, a 150-room hotel, is planned for the base of Mount Mackenzie, just steps away from the gondola and overlooking the first tee. Accommodations at Cabot Revelstoke will combine the tradition of ski culture with the highest quality modern-day comforts. The Lodge will offer a mix of rooms and suites, serving as a hub for year-round adventures to the delight of golfers and skiers alike. Amenities will include a ski concierge, a range of dining venues, a full-service pro shop, The Spa at Cabot Revelstoke, meeting facilities, an all-season outdoor pool and hot tub complex and more.

An exclusive real estate offering is being planned for those seeking a more permanent address with close proximity to world-class golf and skiing. The Residences at Cabot Revelstoke will feature mountain-style exteriors with sumptuous interiors that envelop homeowners in comfort and luxury. Residents and guests of Revelstoke enjoy the privacy, small-town charm, and shorter lift lines compared to other ski resorts of this caliber.

Clearing for Cabot Pacific will begin in December and the course is expected to be ready for play in 2023. For more information, please visit: www.cabotrevelstoke.com.

Exciting developments and enhancements continue throughout the rest of the Cabot portfolio. Cabot Cape Breton recently unveiled a new short course for preview play, as well as an events barn and a collection of new seaside residences, with three still available for purchase at just over $2 million USD. A new clubhouse, putting green with full-service bar and wellness center will round out the amenity offerings on the property. Real estate sales are currently underway at Cabot Saint Lucia with a limited number of Founder Memberships for lots starting at $750,000 USD.

About Cabot Revelstoke:

Cabot Revelstoke will feature the exceptional golf, amenities, lodging and real estate you have come to expect from the Cabot brand, upstaged only by the jaw-dropping natural beauty surrounding them. The Cabot Pacific golf course from Rod Whitman and his new company—Whitman, Axland & Cutten—will feature 18 holes routed overlooking the Columbia River with views of towering Monashee and Selkirk peaks in every direction. The Lodge at Cabot Revelstoke, a 150-room hotel planned for the base of Mount Mackenzie, will offer a mix of rooms and suites, serving as a hub for year-round adventures to the delight of golfers and skiers. Amenities will include a ski concierge, a range of dining venues, a full-service pro shop, The Spa at Cabot Revelstoke, meeting facilities, and an all-season outdoor pool and hot tub complex. For more information, visit www.cabotrevelstoke.com.

About Cabot:

Cabot is the developer and operator of a diverse collection of residential, resort, golf club and master-planned communities. The portfolio includes the award-winning Cabot Cape Breton in Nova Scotia and most recently added Cabot Saint Lucia. Cabot continues to build upon a legacy of excellence in golf, luxury residential offerings and boutique resort lifestyle across each unique property, where owners and guests have exclusive access to destination specific experiences and an unparalleled quality of service. For more information, visit www.cabotlinks.com.

About Revelstoke Mountain Resort:

Revelstoke Mountain Resort (RMR) offers the most vertical in North America at 5,620 feet of lift-accessed terrain, 3,121 acres of fall line skiing, two high alpine bowls and 65 named runs, including legendary glades and phenomenal groomers. Across the group of companies that include RMR and Selkirk Tangiers Heli Skiing (STHS), skiers and snowboarders have access to a total of 515,000 acres of terrain. In the summer, RMR is home to The Pipe Mountain Coaster, North America's first Brandauer mountain coaster, an expanding network of lift-accessed and enduro-style mountain bike trails and breathtaking sightseeing via the Revelation Gondola. For the latest news, visit www.revelstokemountainresort.com.


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