Swing South into Spring & Tune-Up your Golf Game

Posted in Golf Travel, Golf Writers Column, The Perfect Life by on February 18th, 2013

So you’ve had it.  It’s finally gotten to you:  Icicles so large you need an ax to cut them down from your eaves, melting snow turning ground to mush. Nor’easters —  the full Monty. One sure-fire cure to shake out the winter crotcheties is to head south where the sun shines warm and golf courses are in full swagger with the cart girls doling out Bloodies  and the latest TaylorMade drivers all shiny on the rack.

When you’re ready to go, consider these exceptional warm weather stay and play packages in South Carolina, Georgia and Florida.



What? Sea Pines Plantation

The 60-room Inn at Harbour Town at The Sea Pines Resort is perfect for those looking for a smaller boutique-style hotel.  Located within a wedge shot of the Harbour Town Golf Links and Yacht Basin, the inn was recently renovated and named one of Condé  Nast Traveler’s “Top 150 Resort” in the World.”

In addition to playing Harbour Town, venue for the PGA RBC Heritage tour event, the resort offers two additional 18 hole courses, Heron Point by Pete Dye and Ocean course along with 23 tennis courts, incredible seascapes and hiking and biking in the 605-acre Forest Preserve.


How? Inn & Villa packages

The Sea Pines Resort’s Inn Golf Package gives you accommodations at the Harbout Town Inn and golf starting at $186, per person per night.  A Villa Golf Package starting at $162 includes unlimited golf on Harbour Town Golf Links, Heron Point and Ocean Course and villa accommodations plus range balls, pro shop discount, food and  beverage discount, and use of Fitness Center. Seapines.com

A Hilton Head Spring Fling Package playing Old South Golf Links includes two nights at the Hilton Garden Inn with breakfast and three rounds of golf from $365 per person. Play Old South Golf Links, Crescent Pointe and Eagle’s Pointe Golf Club. Hiltonheadisland.org

The Palmetto Dunes Group Golf Special gives you four rounds of golf, free replays including the RTJ Oceanfront Course from $253 per person for groups of more than nine while the Heritage Collection Stay-And-Play Golf Package includes three nights and three rounds of golf (choose from seven Hilton Head courses) from $134 per person.  Hiltonheadisland.org



What? The sweet southern state of Georgia is a peach.  Or so they say, especially so when it comes to golf along the southeastern coastal islands. Particularly sweet is the storied golf community on tiny Sea Island, Georgia where the place to stay for golf, spa and the good life is The Cloister Hotel or The Lodge at the Sea Island Golf Club.

You play historic Seaside by Tom Fazio; Retreat by Davis Love III and his brother, Mark; and Plantation, a par 70 layout winding through marshland and forest and get your swing grooved at The Golf Learning Center, home base for several pro touring golfers.

After golf sit back with a cool drink on the Lodge’s wide porch and listen to the plaintive sounds of the bagpipers at sunset. For a real treat, book a treatment at Sea Island’s Spa renown as a preferred retreat for guests who don’t need to ask “How much?” but thanks, to some fabulous specials, accessible to those ready for an upscale experience without blowing the budget. And ask about a service incorporating the spa’s baths to refresh mind and body after a decadent night starring a fine Cab and crème brulée.

Fitness fanatics can get into their outdoor training programs on the fabulous beach encompassing weight training, exercises and even navigating an obstacle course. And for sure, ask about their golfer-friendly treatments, motivational programs and tennis.


How? Stay and Play Unlimited Golf

You get: Luxury accommodations at The Cloister; daily breakfast; unlimited golf; forecaddies for one round a day and cart; choice of play either on arrival or departure day. Cost: From $530 per night/single; $from 665 per night double. Other packages available with stays in The Lodge. Seaisland.com


Where? FLORIDA: Coast-to-Coast

What? New Legends of Golf Trail

Looking for the ultimate high combining great golf, great resorts and top destinations? Imagine this: Nine courses designed by Jack Nicklaus, Arnold Palmer, Tom Watson and Larry Packard and three first-rate condo resorts with just two or less of driving between destinations. Fly into Jacksonville, Orlando or Tampa, rent a car, and let the people at Salamander’s Grand Golf Resorts of Florida do the rest.

A logical way to go is to start at Hammock Beach Resort on Florida’ eastern Palm Coast where there are two spectacular courses; then drive to Orlando to Reunion Resort and play the tree superb tracks there; and end your odyssey in Innisbrook near Tampa on west coast by teeing up at four extraordinary tracks including Copperhead, venue for a PGA Tour event.

Play all nine tracks, stay two nights in each place where your condo amenities include luxuries like wet bars, Jacuzzi tubs, pillow-top beds and large kitchens and living rooms and sharpen up your game with daily clinics.

At the end of each day, there are plenty of places to eat and drink within each of the resorts ranging from macho-size steaks at Innisbrook’s Packard’s to the Sushi bar at Hammock Beach. You can also unwind with a spa treatment or take a lesson at the Annika Sorenstam Academy.


How? Legends of Golf Trail Package

You get: six night condo accommodations in Innisbrook, Reunion and Hammock Beach resorts; nine rounds of golf at different courses at three resorts from $292 per golfer, per night.  And for the ultimate flexibility, (you can use the package consecutively or break into three separate trips); breakfast daily; $20 credit per each resort stay; advance starting times; use of practice and fitness facilities, daily one-hour golf clinic and club storage.



Where? SANDESTIN, Florida’s Panhandle

What? Whereas many courses in Florida’s golf-rich areas like Naples and Palm Beach can cost $100 or more to play, several reasonably-priced tracks are available in the Pensacola Bay and Destin area stretching out into the Choctawhatchee Bay.

One of the most popular golf and family destinations, the 2,400-acre Sandestin Golf & Beach Resort along the northwest Gulf Coast, has four excellent courses including The Raven Golf Club, a Robert Trent Jones Jr.-designed layout and a stop on the Champions Tour; Burnt Pines by Rees Jones; and The Links and Baytowne by Tom Jackson affording magnificent water views. And if those aren’t enough, there are several great tracks within easy driving distance.

Sandestin has just about everything you could ask for when it comes to off-course activities from tennis, beach, spa and fitness center to biking, shopping, water sports galore, dining, entertainment — you name it. This is a great place to enjoy even if you don’t play golf, so it’s popular with families.  While you golf others in your group can have a great time doing other things.

Stay in Beachside, Bayside, Lakeside or The Village in condos and villas, most with spectacular views of the long, white sand beach.


How? Swing into Spring

You get three rounds of golf (Raven, Links and Baytowne) with lodging in your choice of a two-bedroom condo in Baytowne Wharf or a three-bedroom condo at Bayside from $172 per person, per night along with use of the practice facility and ball, a $20 beverage cart credit, a Nike wedge and use of golf cart.  Sandestin.com



What? Grand Cypress Resort

With 45 holes of Jack Nicklaus signature golf and newly renovated villa accommodations, Grand Cypress is a win-win for golfers and non-golfers alike. In addition to the18-hole New Course, there are three additional 9’s: North, South and East.

While Nicklaus has crafted the 18 holes of the New Course as a tribute to Scotland’s Old course, including evoking the Swilcan Burn Bridge on the 18th and a version of the “Road Hole” on the 17th with the small but treacherous pot bunker in front of the green, the New course combines replicas of holes and holes designed in the spirit of the St. Andrews classic. All you need is the rolling mist, the drizzle and the bagpipes and you could almost forget the Cinderella Castle is right down the way.


How? Grand Golf Experience

Go with your pals or your family and stay in one of the Villas of Grand Cypress accommodations, either a Club Suite or a Villa. You get one round of golf per adult, per night (unlimited June-September), cart, use of golf range. Rates depend on your dates.

So break out your clubs, book some reservations and get ready to play some golf where come spring, the sun shines warm in Florida, Georgia and South Carolina.



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