'Re-imagined' Omni Amelia Island Plantation doesn't disappoint

By Mike BaileyApril 23, 2013, 4:26 pm

AMELIA ISLAND, Fla. -- If first impressions are important, then you'll fall in love with the Omni Amelia Island Plantation resort as soon as you walk in the lobby.

An $85 million renovation, which the Omni has called a 're-imagination,' is just that for the 1,350-acre resort that opened in 1972. It used to be that the lobby didn't have a view of the Atlantic Ocean; now the view from the new check-in area on the new Oceanside Wing doesn't just show you the sea, but opens up to an elevated deck of fire pits, an infinity pool and miles of beaches and ocean. The look rivals some of the best seaside resorts in Hawaii and Mexico.

Fortunately, for vacationers, the rest of the resort experience measures up to its first impression. Nestled between the dune-swept beaches of the Atlantic and natural saltwater marshlands of the Intercoastal Waterway on the northeast coast of Florida, the Omni Amelia Island offers more than 400 rooms – all ocean-view – golf, tennis, nature excursions, biking, Segway tours, a plethora of kids activities and nine superb restaurants.

The golf is highlighted by two terrific courses. The championship level Oak Marsh Course is set between the hotel and the marshes of the Intercoastal. Recently renovated, the course got new greens, a little lengthening and new practice facilities, including an expanded driving range that's a 1,000-percent improvement over what was there before. At more than 7,000 yards, this Pete Dye design is a great test for accomplished players as it winds its way around acres of live oaks and through the marshland, culminating with three fantastic finishing holes.

Ocean at Amelia Island

The Ocean Links Course, designed by Bobby Weed, features five holes along the Atlantic and 13 other good holes that make their way around the lagoons and marshes on the property. While the course is only 6,100 yards from the tips, it's anything but easy, especially with the wind blowing off the ocean. It's also been ranked among America's best 50 courses for women.

But while the golf is superb, what really makes this resort exceptional is the total package. If you play tennis as well, you'll love Racquet Park, which features 23 Har-Tru tennis courts on the site that hosted the women's professional tour for nearly 30 years.

This is also the location of Verandah, a seafood restaurant that overlooks the stadium court. It's a prime example of the Plantation's exceptional dining, offering an array of fresh ingredients sourced from nearby waters, farmers and sustainable fisheries. Another example is found at the new Oceanside restaurant, which is part of the new wing overlooking the Atlantic. Executive chef Daven Wardysnki coined the term 'Floribbean,' when describing the menu at this casual, yet elegant setting.

There's also a spa that takes advantage of the natural light setting of the resort. And if you bring the kiddos, you they won't be disappointed either at this extremely family-friendly resort that features a splash-up pool, nature center, outdoor movies and game room, where the old viewless lobby used to be.

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Day's wife shares emotional story of miscarriage

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 12, 2017, 4:12 pm

Jason Day’s wife revealed on social media that the couple had a miscarriage last month.

Ellie Day, who announced her pregnancy on Nov. 4, posted an emotional note on Instagram that she lost the baby on Thanksgiving.

“I found out the baby had no heartbeat anymore. I was devastated,” she wrote. “I snuck out the back door of my doctor, a hot, sobbing, mascara-covered mess. Two and a half weeks went by witih me battling my heart and brain about what was happening in my body, wondering why this wouldn’t just be over.”

The Days, who have two children, Dash and Lucy, decided to go public to help others who have suffered similar heartbreak.

“I hope you know you aren’t alone and I hope you feel God wrap his arms around you when you feel the depths of sorrow and loss,” she wrote.  

Newsmaker of the Year: No. 5, Sergio Garcia

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 12, 2017, 1:00 pm

This was the year it finally happened for Sergio Garcia.

The one-time teen phenom, known for years as “El Nino,” entered the Masters as he had dozens of majors beforehand – shouldered with the burden of being the best player without a major.

Garcia was 0-for-72 driving down Magnolia Lane in April, but after a thrilling final round and sudden-death victory over Justin Rose, the Spaniard at long last captured his elusive first major title.

The expectation for years was that Garcia might land his white whale on a British links course, or perhaps at a U.S. Open where his elite ball-striking might shine. Instead it was on the storied back nine at Augusta National that he came alive, chasing down Rose thanks in part to a memorable approach on No. 15 that hit the pin and led to an eagle.

Full list of 2017 Newsmakers of the Year

A green jacket was only the start of a transformative year for Garcia, 37, who heaped credit for his win on his then-fiancee, Angela Akins. The two were married in July, and months later the couple announced that they were expecting their first child to arrive just ahead of Garcia’s return to Augusta, where he'll host his first champions’ dinner.

And while players often cling to the notion that a major win won’t intrinsically change them, there was a noticeable difference in Garcia over the summer months. The weight of expectation, conscious or otherwise, seemed to lift almost instantly. Like other recent Masters champs, he took the green jacket on a worldwide tour, with stops at Wimbledon and a soccer match between Real Madrid and Barcelona.

The player who burst onto the scene as a baby-faced upstart is now a grizzled veteran with nearly two decades of pro golf behind him. While the changes this year occurred both on and off the course, 2017 will always be remembered as the year when Garcia finally, improbably, earned the title of major champion.

Masters victory

Article: Garcia defeats Rose to win Masters playoff

Article: Finally at peace: Garcia makes major breakthrough

Article: Garcia redeems career, creates new narrative

Video: See the putt that made Sergio a major champ

Green jacket tour

Article: Take a look at Sergio's crazy, hectic media tour

Article: Garcia with fiancée, green jacket at Wimbledon

Article: Watch: Garcia kicks off El Clasico in green jacket

Man of the people

Article: SERGIO! Garcia finally gets patrons on his side

Article: Fan finally caddies for Sergio after asking 206 times

Article: Sergio donates money for Texas flood relief

Article: Connelly, Garcia paired years after photo together

Ace at 17th at Sawgrass

Growing family

Article: Sergio, Angela get married; Kenny G plays reception

Article: Garcia, wife expecting first child in March 2018

Departure from TaylorMade

Article: Masters champ Garcia splits with TaylorMade

Squashed beef with Paddy

Article: Harrington: Garcia was a 'sore loser'

Article: Sergio, Padraig had 'great talk,' are 'fine'

Victory at Valderrama

Article: Garcia gets first win since Masters at Valderrama

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Newsmakers of the Year: Top 10 in 2017

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 12, 2017, 12:30 pm
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Montana parents can't watch kids play high school golf

By Grill Room TeamDecember 11, 2017, 9:47 pm

Well, this is a one new one.

According to a report from KTVQ in Montana, this line in the Montana State High School Association rule book all but forbids spectators from observing high school golf in that state:

“No spectators/fans are allowed on the course except for certain locations as designated by the tournament manager and club professional.”

Part of the issue, according to the report, is that most courses don't bother to designate those "certain locations" leaving parents unable to watch their kids compete.

“If you tell a parent that they can’t watch their kid play in the Thanksgiving Day football game, they would riot,” Chris Kelley, a high school golf parent, told KTVQ.

The report lists illegal outside coaching as one of the rule's chief motivations, but Montana State women's golf coach Brittany Basye doesn't quite buy that.

“I can go to a softball game and I can sit right behind the pitcher. I can make hand signals,” she is quoted in the report. “I can yell out names. I can do the same thing on a softball field that might affect that kid. Football games we can yell as loud as we want when someone is making a pass or a catch.”

The MHSA has argued that unlike other sports that are played in a confined area, the sprawling nature of a golf course would make it difficult to hire enough marshals to keep unruly spectators in check.

Meanwhile, there's a lawyer quoted in the report claiming this is some kind of civil rights issue.

Worth note, Montana is one of only two states that doesn't allow spectators on the course. The other state, Alaska, does not offer high school golf.