Time flies when you are having fun…so many courses so little time!
We have been to Orlando so many times but on this occasion, while at Marriott GolfCON, we stayed at the JW Marriott Orlando – Grand Lakes. Right next door, within walking distance, is the Ritz Carlton Golf Club, a fantastic Greg Norman design that you should put on your “must play” list next time you go down to visit with Mickey and Minnie.
Flying back home out of Tampa (way fewer kids on planes) I got to visit one of Florida’s top golf resorts going through a multimillion dollar refurbishing of accommodations for all of you visiting golfers. Of course what would a visit to Innisbrooke be without a round on the fabled Copperhead Course with my buddy Drew (who just happens to work there)? Copperhead is home to the PGA Tours Valspar Classic.
The fall was not nearly as crazy as the spring time period when my 49,000 kilometer journeys took me to, 2 Continents, 4 Countries, and seven States over a three month period that included 22 road rounds of golf and 25 Marriott nights.
Back to Branson, Missouri in September where another piece of the puzzle at America’s Next Great Golf Destination was unveiled! Ozarks National, a Coore/Crenshaw design, is the fourth of five courses that are part of Big Cedar Lodge. The 5th, Payne’s Valley, is the first public Tiger Woods Course and a tribute to Payne Stewart.
Quick turnaround and it was off to Japan for the first ever IAGTO Japan Golf Tourism Convention. I landed late in the afternoon just in time for my first Sushi dinner! Only two days in Tokyo, not nearly enough but did manage to squeeze in a round of golf. A most unique place to play where culture and etiquette is at an extreme – in a good way!
A rundown of the 12 days in Japan, and the tie to the upcoming 2020 Summer Olympics was published last month in the regular edition of the Traveling Golfer and separate and more detailed features will follow in upcoming editions. While there we did dodge two Typhoons and our Convention was at the prestigious Shimo Kanko Resort which hosted the G-7 in 2017 and I got to sit in Justin’s chair – whoopee! Spent 3 days at the base of Mt. Fuji did not see it once unfortunately but did play one of the Top 100 courses in the world – Fuji Course at Kawana Hotel. A must play.
Everything anyone has ever told you about how great the food in Japan is, is absolutely true. Seafood a plenty but some of the best beef in the world as well. Check out this little 1 minute video of one of the best meals. All seafood caught, cooked and served by the all female Ama Divers. Ama Hut Hachiman is in the Toba Area of japan and while in the area you won’t want to miss Mikimoto Pearl Island and a diving demonstration by the all female team if divers.
Next up we are heading down to South Carolina where I will be escorting a fun group of media guys including Big Dog Tim Baines for a return visit to the Santee Winter 4 Ball Classic where over 100 golfers have already registered. Guess we are going to see some old friends from last year and make some new ones this year. You can bet that this media group will be showing off some Loudmouth!
Winter is coming. Actually, it’s here.
Definitely not my favourite time of season. As I’ve gotten older, though, the clubs never really go into hibernation or storage.
I’m guessing before next April rolls around, the snow has (hopefully) vanished and golf courses are opening in this area, I will have already played at least 20 rounds of golf over the winter.
Up first is South Carolina. We’ll start off with three days of wonderful golf courses (Springfield, Carolina Lakes and Oak Hills) that are part of the Mountain to Midlands Golf Alliance, a partnership of four regions.
From there, it’s on to the second annual Santee Winter 4 Ball Classic – Dec. 2-4 in Santee, an awesome South Carolina town of less than 800 people that offers terrific golf packages. It’ll be my second time at the 4 Ball Classic – had a blast last year. I still can’t get over how much swag they give you (Tour Edge golf club, shoes, shirt, jacket, glove and golf balls) for the entry fee. Thanks, Santa.
I’ll be in Orlando for the annual PGA Merchandise Show in January – there will be some golf played there over the course of a week.
Then it’s off to the Grand Bahia Principe La Romana all-inclusive in the Dominican Republic with a group of more than 50 from Ottawa’s Club EG. Our stay will be highlighted by rounds of golf at the breathtaking Teeth of the Dog and an afternoon round at Dye Fore.
I’m actually excited about my golf game, something I seem to say every year at this time. The drives seem a little straighter and the short game is very good at times. I guess that’s what keeps me coming back for more while enjoying some cold beer in warmer climates.