Saddlebrook Resort in Tampa: 36 holes, BannLynch teaching academy and much more

By Travel ArticlesJune 11, 2012, 4:31 pm

WESLEY CHAPEL, Fla. -- One size doesn't always fit all.

That's the philosophy of Barrett Wood, general manager of BannLynch Golf, the teaching academy at Saddlebrook Resort, located about a half-hour from downtown Tampa and an hour's drive from Orlando.

Saddlebrook is a golf resort that is more known for its tennis, having trained such stars as Jim Courier and Jennifer Capriati, but it is making itself famous as a top golf academy and resort. With two championship courses and the golf academy, Saddlebrook is a great way to get in some serious golf lessons while being away from the traffic of Orlando and Tampa, but it still lets the golfer and family stay close to the big cities.

Wood directs the academy on site, but Steve Bann and Dale Lynch are the masterminds behind the golf academy. Among the notable golfers on the PGA Tour coached by Bann and Lynch are K.J. Choi, Geoff Ogilvy, Stuart Appleby, Aaron Baddeley and Kevin Na. Saddlebrook Resort may be a little out of the way, but it hasn't stopped some of the top players on golf from dropping by.

'The first thing we do is avoid the one-size-fits-all mentality,' Wood said. 'We are trying to create a good swing and make them work around their strengths instead of doing everything with the same philosophy, because everyone is different. We try to cater the game to you and not everybody else.'

Bann was nominated to the World Golf Hall of Fame in 2011 and was the 2010 Australian PGA Teacher of the Year. Lynch, also from Australia, was ranked No. 11 as the Most Influential Person in Australian Golf over the past 40 years. It's an impressive staff as well, with three Master instructors and two Certified instructors. Wood said anyone willing to pay the price -- it can be a bit steep -- will come away from the Saddlebrook Resort experience with a better game.

'We have fitness instructors, the top teachers, and the courses are great,' Wood said. 'We have two of the most recognized teachers in the world, and they are on site a lot of the time. They are two of the most under-recognized coaches in the world, and they keep a low profile, but they are great, and their record speaks for itself.'

The golf academy offers plenty of other amenities. There is a newly renovated 20-acre driving range, state of the art golf-swing analysis software, large putting and chipping greens, a private teaching area, and practice facilities for every shot in golf.

There's more. Choi designed a clay court area that exists nowhere else in the world where golfers can work on their ball contact.

'We have things no one else can offer, and the courses are in great shape all the time,' Wood said.

Golf and more at Saddlebrook Resort

Arnold Palmer designed the two golf courses at Saddlebrook Resort -- the Palmer Course and the Saddlebrook Course, and both are challenging with plenty of tricks. The greens are undulating, and there is some change in elevation, which is rare in Florida golf. The first tees of both courses are right in the center of the resort, so golfers have little distance to walk from their villas to the first tee.

The resort itself features facilities that can be used for corporate events, meetings and conferences, many junior camps, and also offers a great spa getaway for those who don't want to play 36 after a grueling hour lesson. Since Walt Disney World is close, it offers a chance to get away from golf for a day while still enjoying the facilities.

There are more than 100 deluxe hotel rooms and many smaller accommodations that can suit any budget. There are seven restaurants on the property and plenty of amenities for the kids. There is not a lot of night life or things to do outside the Saddlebrook Resort, but there's really not much of a reason to leave.

With two courses -- and several more within a few miles -- the golf is great and a fine way to practice the lessons learned during a stay at Saddlebrook Resort.

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Watch: Tiger birdies 3 of 4, then goes OB

By Golf Channel DigitalMarch 18, 2018, 8:30 pm

Starting Sunday five off the lead, Tiger Woods teed off in his final round of the Arnold Palmer Invitational with a laced 2-iron and a par at No. 1.

Woods hit the green at the par-3 second but left himself a 50-foot birdie putt and a 6-footer to save par, which he walked in.

A two-putt 4 at the par-5 fourth gave Woods his first birdie of the day and moved him to 8 under for the week. Apparently energized, Tiger pulled driver at the short par-4 fifth and unleashed this violent swing.

A pitch from the thick rough hit a sprinkler head and stopped on the apron, leading to this birdie try, which fortunately hit the pin but unfortunately didn't fall.

Looking to pick up another stroke - or two - at the par-5 sixth, Woods took his drive 317 yards over the water and hit this second shot from 227 yards to 13 feet, leading to another two-putt birdie when his eagle try burned the right edge.

Returning to his trusty 2-iron, Tiger found the fairway at the par-4 eighth and then threw this dart from 176 yards to 6 feet and rolled in his third birdie putt of the day to move to 10 under.

His momentum was slowed by his first bogey of the day at No. 9, the product of an errant drive and its ensuing complications. As a result, Woods made the turn 2 under on his round, 9 under for the week, and still five off the lead, like when he started the day.

But Woods wouldn't wait long to make up for his mistake, immediately responding with another flagged iron and another birdie at No. 10.

He continued his assault on Bay Hill's par-5s at the 12th, getting up and down from the sand for a birdie-4 that moved him to 11 under par, just two off the lead.

And with this roll at 13 giving him his third birdie in four holes, the charge was officially on, with Woods just one back.

Just when it looked like Woods was primed for a late run at his 80th PGA Tour victory, Woods stepped to the tee at the par-5 16th, where he had missed wide right three days in a row, and sniped his drive out of bounds into a backyard miles left.

He made 4 on his second ball for a bogey-6 to drop back to 11 under, three behind.

(More coming...)

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Tiger Tracker: Arnold Palmer Invitational

By Tiger TrackerMarch 18, 2018, 5:00 pm

Tiger Woods will start Sunday five off the lead at the Arnold Palmer Invitational. How will he follow up last week's runner-up? We're tracking him at Bay Hill.

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McIlroy: Time for Tour to limit alcohol sales on course

By Ryan LavnerMarch 18, 2018, 1:50 pm

ORLANDO, Fla. – Rory McIlroy suggested Saturday that the PGA Tour might need to consider curbing alcohol sales to stop some of the abusive fan behavior that has become more prevalent at events.

McIlroy said that a fan repeatedly yelled his wife’s name (Erica) during the third round at the Arnold Palmer Invitational.

“I was going to go over and have a chat with him,” McIlroy said. “I think it’s gotten a little much, to be honest. I think they need to limit the alcohol sales on the course, or they need to do something, because every week it seems like guys are complaining about it more and more.

Full-field scores from the Arnold Palmer Invitational

Arnold Palmer Invitational: Articles, photos and videos

“I know that people want to come and enjoy themselves, and I’m all for that, but sometimes when the comments get personal and people get a little bit rowdy, it can get a little much.”

This isn’t the first time that McIlroy has voiced concerns about fan behavior on Tour. Last month at Riviera, he said the rowdy spectators probably cost Tiger Woods a half-shot a round, and after two days in his featured group he had a splitting headache.

A week later, at the Honda Classic, Justin Thomas had a fan removed late in the final round.

McIlroy believes the issue is part of a larger problem, as more events try to replicate the success of the Waste Management Phoenix Open, which has one of the liveliest atmospheres on Tour.

“It’s great for that tournament, it’s great for us, but golf is different than a football game, and there’s etiquette involved and you don’t want people to be put off from bringing their kids when people are shouting stuff out,” he said. “You want people to enjoy themselves, have a good day.”

As for a solution, well, McIlroy isn’t quite sure.

“It used to be you bring beers onto the course or buy beers, but not liquor,” he said. “And now it seems like everyone’s walking around with a cocktail. I don’t know whether (the solution) is to go back to letting people walking around with beers in their hands. That’s fine, but I don’t know.”

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Confident Lincicome lurking after 54 holes at Founders

By Randy SmithMarch 18, 2018, 2:45 am

PHOENIX – Brittany Lincicome is farther back than she wanted to be going into Sunday at the Bank of Hope Founders Cup, but she’s in a good place.

She’s keeping the momentum of her season-opening Pure Silk Bahamas Classic victory going this year.

Her confidence is high.

“Last year, I won in the Bahamas, but then I didn't do anything after that,” Lincicome said. “I don't even know if I had a top 10 after my win in the Bahamas. Obviously, this year, I want to be more consistent.”

Lincicome followed up her victory in the Bahamas this year with a tie for seventh in her next start at the Honda LPGA Thailand. And now she’s right back on another leaderboard with the year’s first major championship just two weeks away. She is, by the way, a two-time winner at the ANA Inspiration.

Missy Pederson, Lincicome’s caddie, is helping her player keep that momentum going with more focus on honing in the scoring clubs.

“One of our major goals is being more consistent,” Pederson said. “She’s so talented, a once in a generation talent. I’m just trying to help out in how to best approach every golf course.”

Full-field scores from the Bank of Hope Founders Cup

Pederson has helped Lincicome identify the clubs they’re likely to attack most with on the particular course they are playing that week, to spend more time working with those clubs in practice. It’s building confidence.

“I know the more greens we hit, and the more chances we give ourselves, the more our chances are to be in contention,” Pederson said. “Britt is not big into stats or details, so I have to figure out how to best consolidate that information, to get us exactly where we need to be.”

Lincicome’s growing comfort with clubs she can attack with is helping her confidence through a round.

“I’ve most noticed consistency in her mental game, being able to handle some of the hiccups that happen over the course of a round,” Pederson said. “Whereas before, something might get under her skin, where she might say, `That’s what always happens,’ now, it’s, `All right, I know I’m good enough to get this back.’ I try to get her in positions to hit the clubs we are really hitting well right now.”

That’s leading to a lot more birdies, fewer bogeys and more appearances on leaderboards in the start to this year.