Golf Channel - Golf Travel Insiderhttp://www.golfchannel.com/news/travel-insider/en-USCopyright 2013 Golf ChannelWed, 20 Mar 2013 09:26:00 ZBlogsGolf Channel RSS Generatorhttp://www.golfchannel.com/rss?feedID=Blog&ID=efcec7f9-9503-4404-bbe7-82cb3444331aefcec7f9-9503-4404-bbe7-82cb3444331aFalseStory:572438820http://www.golfchannel.com/news/travel-insider/golfnow-local-leaderboard-tampa-sarasota/BlogsGolfNow Local Leaderboard: Top 10 golf courses in Tampa-SarasotaWith the PGA Tour at the Innisbrook Resort for the Tampa Bay Championship, we've sought out the top-rated daily fee courses in the area. Fri, 08 Mar 2013 10:47:00 Z2013-03-08T10:47:00Z572438820http://www.golfchannel.com/news/travel-insider/golfnow-local-leaderboard-tampa-sarasota/#commentsThe golf scene from Tampa-St. Petersburg area to Sarasota is a coveted -- and crowded one. Area residents and seasonal visitors have their pick of the litter around this part of the Florida coast. Among Top 100-rated and PGA Tour host courses like World Woods and the Copperhead Course at Innisbrook Resort, a wealth of lesser-known public and semi-private clubs also warrant plenty of attention.

We've scanned the player ratings of the 90-plus area public golf courses on GolfNow.com. to uncover which stand out above the rest between Brooksville and Sarasota.

The GolfNow Leaderboard: Top 10 golf courses in Tampa-St. Petersburg-Sarasota

1. Rolling Oaks at World Woods (4.68/5.0): It's not surprising that World Woods tops the list in Tampa-area panels, but the fact it's Rolling Oaks and not Pine Barrens is the shocker. Rolling Oaks delivers a more traditional, lowcountry-type layout with mossy oaks and rolling land that's supremely pleasant. 

2. Kingsway Country Club (4.67/5.0) - Golfers praise this semi-private facility as one of the best layouts for the money around Sarasota. A classic layout from the 1970s, course architect Ron Garl rebuilt the course after Hurricane Charley in 2004. 

3. Club Renaissance (4.63/5.0) - Just south of downtown Tampa, this is the top-rated course around Tampa and best of the courses located at Sun City Center. A private club that offers some limited public play, it can be played for less than $60 in the morning.

4. Pine Barrens at World Woods (4.63/5): A perennial Top 100-ranked course, there's nothing quite like the sandy, dramatic setting at Pine Barrens anywhere else in Florida. It's also one of the most accessible and affordable courses in the Top 100. View photos of Pine Barrens.

5. River Strand Golf and Country Club (4.45/5.0): Golfers call conditions absolutely pristine on this 27-hole Arthur Hills layout in Bradenton. View photos of River Strand.

7. Lake Jovita Golf & Country Club (4.42/5.0): One of the area's more reputable semi-private clubs, there are over 1,000 acres at the disposal of this gated community with 36 holes of golf.

8. Heron Creek Golf & Country Club (4.36/5.0): South of Sarasota, Heron Creek features 27 well-conditioned holes of Arthur Hills-designed golf, plus private club-worthy amenities.

9. IMG Academy Golf Club (4.32/5.0): More than just aspiring junior players have taken to IMG Academy, thanks to stellar conditions and a challenging course layout. View photos of IMG Academy

10. St. Petersburg Country Club (4.32/5). This classic area country club recently began allowing public play for $69 in the morning, and area golfers appear to appreciate this institution opening its gates.

Ratings based of GolfNow.com golfer reviews of Tampa and Sarasota-area golf courses between 9/20/12 and 3/5/12. Minimum 25 reviews needed to qualify. 

]]>
Brandon Tucker8056c921-6225-4003-9bb7-f93ce05e740a
Story:572267100http://www.golfchannel.com/news/travel-insider/ginellas-journeys-south-florida/BlogsGinella's Journeys: Finding bargains on golf courses around MiamiTravel expert Matt Ginella has scanned the internet for top deals at his favorite courses around South Florida, including the Doral Resort, Crandon and Country Club of Miami. Wed, 06 Mar 2013 11:05:00 Z2013-03-06T11:05:00Z572267100http://www.golfchannel.com/news/travel-insider/ginellas-journeys-south-florida/#commentsWith the PGA Tour in sunny south Florida for the WGC, host Lauren Thompson and golf travel expert Matt Ginella scoured the web to see what deals could be found around Miami.

Ginella starts with an old muni favorite, Crandon Golf, a jewel of the city set on Key Biscayne. While twilight tee times can be had for as low as $25, weekend afternoon times can be found under $100 (rack rates for non-residents can cost up to $200).

Next, they spotlight the Country Club of Miami, an area golfing institution dating back to 1961. This affordable club features two 18-hole courses, the East and West. Weekend times can be found in the afternoon for as low as $33.

Ginella also spotlights the many golf options at the Doral Resort, which is home to this week's World Golf Cadillac Championships and was recently purchased by Donald Trump. While the TPC Blue Monster hosts the pros, golfers can find tee times on the resort's four other courses, including the Greg Norman-designed Great White

Lastly, Ginella spotlights The Biltmore, a historic hotel with a Donald Ross design on property. Public tee times can be found on Sunday afternoon for $139.

You can view the entire segment here: 

Click here to view more information and tee times on golf courses around South Florida.

]]>
Golf Channel Digitaldcf734a1-78f4-4ed3-835e-67f5c66a1573
Story:572184300http://www.golfchannel.com/news/travel-insider/changes-coming-to-golf-courses-on-oahu-hawaii/BlogsCourses & TravelBack to the future: Oahu golf courses look to revive the glory daysOahu has the most golf courses (and residents) of any island in Hawaii. But it hasn't been the top draw for tourists. But that might change. New ownership and investment is revamping the island's golf sceneTue, 05 Mar 2013 12:05:00 Z2013-03-05T12:05:00Z572184300http://www.golfchannel.com/news/travel-insider/changes-coming-to-golf-courses-on-oahu-hawaii/#commentsHONOLULU, Hawaii -- There are glimpses of golf greatness on Oahu.

The 17th green on the Palmer course at Turtle Bay Resort sits 100 feet from the ocean, overlooking the crashing waves. The 15th tee at Ko’olau Golf Club delivers a panoramic view of the mountains and a tropical rain forest. To get to the 12th tee at Ko Olina Golf Club, players drive their carts under a manmade waterfall and rock landscaping.

Oahu boasts the most golf courses of any Hawaiian island. Yet it still is widely dismissed as a second-tier golf destination in Hawaii, long removed from its heydays of the 1970s and 1980s when it was king. Today, its top courses lack the star power and ocean views of those on its sister islands. There’s no Top 100 track that serves as a beacon to attract players like Maui's Plantation Course at Kapalua or Kauai's Prince Course at Princeville. There are no true ocean holes, either. And many of the courses aren’t consistently in great shape.

Mark Bowlby, an Idaho resident, spent two weeks in January playing golf on the Big Island and Oahu. Bowlby, who has visited the islands 15 times, said the difference between each golf scene was striking. He fell in love with the new-and-improved Mauna Kea Golf Course on the Big Island. “I felt that the courses I played on Oahu were a little weak relative to other islands,” he said.

Mind you, a fantastic golf getaway can still be had on Oahu. It’s only considered “weak” when compared to the world-class competition nearby. There are three luxury golf resorts and plenty of Hawaiian culture and natural beauty to explore on Oahu.

Much of its potential remains untapped, though. Pacific Links International Chief Executive Officer Bruce Simmonds said golf on Oahu has “huge potential.”

His company has purchased five courses on the island in the past three years.

“The last 30 years the standards of maintenance and design and the quality of courses (on Oahu) has taken a hit,” he said. “There have been quite a few built and not well maintained. … We think we can bring more sophistication to the industry there. A lot of the course presentation and service isn’t what it is on Maui. We are looking to change that.”

Oahu’s Resort Scene

Ko Olina

Ko Olina boasts JW Marriott resort and 18 sunny holes of LPGA-caliber golf. 

Oahu’s best golf resorts are all so uniquely different.

Turtle Bay Resort works in harmony with the gorgeous North Shore and its signature natural resource, the ocean waves. Guests can take a surf lesson at the Hans Hedemann Surf School of Oahu or sit safely on the sidelines, watching more experienced people tackle the challenge.

The well-conditioned Palmer Course, a former LPGA TOUR and Champions Tour host, plays resort friendly with a few tough approach shots over water sprinkled in for effect. The George Fazio course serves up a few more glimpses of the ocean with fewer shot-making demands. Under new owners, the resort just completed a major renovation of its lobby and Surfer, The Bar. Makeovers of the guest rooms and restaurants are on tap.

Ko Olina, a resort community on the dry and sunny leeward side of the island, translates in Hawaiian to “place of joy.” Adjacent to four secluded ocean coves, the JW Marriott Ihilani Resort & Spa certainly follows that mantra. The hotel’s unique design showcases a collection of saltwater ponds filled with reef sharks and stingrays. All 387 guest rooms and suites were refreshed in 2011. A visit to the Ihilani Spa, refurbished in 2010, for a traditional Hawaiian lomi lomi massage or a seawater soak in jetted tub will set the world right again. Across the street, the Ko Olina Golf Club began hosting LPGA events in the 1990s, including the 2012 and 2013 LOTTE Championship. Architect Ted Robinson created a pretty palette for golf. Afterwards, splurge on dinner at Roy’s Ko Olina Restaurant next to the clubhouse or walk to Paradise Cove for an interactive Hawaiian luau.

Golfers looking for more action should stay at the Hawaii Prince Hotel Waikiki to revel in the hustle and bustle of Honolulu. All of the rooms and suites in its two towers face the Pacific Ocean and the Ala Wai Yacht Harbor, as does a rooftop pool and hot tub on the fifth floor. Free shuttles run to the Waikiki beach and shopping district and to the playable Hawaii Prince Golf Club, a 27-hole Arnold Palmer/Ed Seay design 40 minutes away in Ewa Beach. The hotel's Prince Court restaurant serves a popular seafood buffet for dinner.

Improving Oahu’s golf scene

Makaha Valley

Oahu's Makaha Valley Country Club has new ownership and renovations coming from Greg Norman's design firm. 

Pacific Links International, a Canadian company formed in 2009, bet big on Oahu by purchasing the Royal Hawaiian Golf Club, Kapolei Golf Club, Olomana Golf Links and the West and East courses at Makaha Valley Country Club. It hired Greg Norman Golf Course Design to renovate both the Royal Hawaiian Golf Club and the Makaha West course. The company even sponsored its first Champions Tour event, the Pacific Links Hawaii Championship, at Kapolei in September of 2012 as a coming out party for the brand.

The knock on Royal Hawaiian, formerly called Luana Hills Country Club, was always a layout too quirky to be enjoyable. Its intoxicating jungle setting reminiscent of Jurassic Park was just too unforgiving. Norman’s renovation to make the original Pete/Perry Dye more playable has revamped several holes on the front nine, especially to start the round. Simmonds said the extensive back nine changes should be completed this summer.

Norman’s work at Makaha West will take more time. The course, currently closed, could open in 2015, Simmonds said. This is the first time the neighboring West and East courses – both William F. Bell routings - have been under the same ownership since their openings in the 1960s. The East course, a par-71 of 6,369 yards, continues to operate as a value-oriented place to play. “The changes (on the West course) will be dramatic,” Simmonds said.

Like a lot of locals, Michelle Wie learned the game at the 6,326-yard Olomana Golf Links in Waimanalo. Infrastructure upgrades, while necessary, will have to wait.

Oahu’s other top courses

In many ways, the Ko’olau Golf Club symbolizes golf on the island. It could be oh-so-good, but it’s not quite there. Like the Royal Hawaiian and Olomana, being located on the windward side of the Ko’olau mountain range has its drawbacks. It rains more here, which can often yield wet playing conditions. Ko’olau, ranked No. 25 on Golf Digest’s list of America’s Toughest Courses, would be well-served by a Royal Hawaiian-type makeover that enhances playability. American Golf, which manages the course for its unique owner, the First Presbyterian Church of Honolulu, has done an admirable job of taking out some bunkers and cutting back the jungle in recent years. On a clear day with dry conditions, there are few better golf playgrounds in the islands. Just be prepared to lose a few balls.

The Ewa Beach Golf Club, a 6,711-yard design by Robin Nelson, has none of those conditioning issues. It’s situated in one of the Oahu’s driest climates near the Hawaii Prince Golf Club. A Kiawe forest pinches the first nine holes before water hazards overwhelm the more open back nine.

Ewa Beach, too, symbolizes golf on Oahu. It’s underrated and finally becoming better appreciated..The same should be said of the entire golf scene on this special and diverse island. Oahu golf is still incredibly good, albeit not great … yet.

]]>
Jason Deegan8a81f690-18e5-457f-8e39-f2b5494055ac
Story:571841160http://www.golfchannel.com/news/travel-insider/ginellas-journeys-spring-sandestin-phoenix-las-vegas-chambers-bay/BlogsGinella's Journeys: Weekend deals coast-to-coastIn this edition of Ginella's Journeys, host Lauren Thompson and travel expert Matt Ginella spotlights some of the best deals around the U.S. this weekend.Fri, 01 Mar 2013 12:46:00 Z2013-03-01T12:46:00Z571841160http://www.golfchannel.com/news/travel-insider/ginellas-journeys-spring-sandestin-phoenix-las-vegas-chambers-bay/#commentsIn this edition of Ginella's Journeys, host Lauren Thompson and travel expert Matt Ginella spotlight some of the best deals around the U.S. this weekend.

In the Florida Panhandle, Sandestin Golf & Beach Resort is celebrating the 40th anniversary of its Links Course by rolling green fees back 1970s rates: $19, a 75% discount.

In Phoenix, Arizona Grand Golf Resort is celebrating a warm weekend forecast by featuring morning tee times for as low as $75.

Out in the Pacific Northwest, 2015 U.S. Open host Chambers Bay has announced their new green fees for the month of March. Weekday green fees start at $99 and weekend rates are $109, virtually unheard of bargains for a U.S. Open venue.

Finally, with March Madness right around the corner, it's time to start thinking Las Vegas golf vacations. Ginella highlights a few of his picks, including TPC Las Vegas, 36-hole Primm Valley Golf Club and Royal Links Golf Club.

]]>
Golf Channel Digitaldf20d336-e457-4dae-8121-b25798ea078c
Story:571677300http://www.golfchannel.com/news/travel-insider/in-northern-ireland-propsed-bushmills-dunes-golf-resort-gets-green-light/BlogsCourses & TravelIn Northern Ireland, propsed Bushmills Dunes Golf Resort & Spa given the green lightAfter 20 years of planning, it appears Bushmills Dunes in Northern Ireland finally has the green light to begin construction following today's court ruling.Wed, 27 Feb 2013 15:15:00 Z2013-02-27T15:15:00Z571677300http://www.golfchannel.com/news/travel-insider/in-northern-ireland-propsed-bushmills-dunes-golf-resort-gets-green-light/#commentsBig news for fans of golf in Northern Ireland today: Bushmills Dunes, a proposed 18-hole links course and hotel minutes from Royal Portrush and Giant's Causeway has finally been given the green light by Northern Ireland's High Court. 

More on today's ruling can be found in this article posted by the UK Telegraph.

Last year when I attended the The Irish Open held at Royal Portrush, there was an air of disappointment after the National Trust announced intentions to file for a judicial review of the project. They argued the construction of the resort could cost Giant's Causeway its UNESCO World Heritage designation (which seemed difficult to believe considering you couldn't see any of the course or hotel from the Causeway). Today, that claim was thrown out by the courts and Bushmills Dunes developers can now proceed. The golf course, set on coastal dunes land beside Bushfoot Golf Club, will be designed by David McLay Kidd. 

Dr. Alistair Hanna, the Northern Ireland-born developer of Bushmills Dunes who has been pursuing this project for 20 years now, released a statement following the ruling: 

"My team and I are focusing on turning the plans for one of the most spectacular golf developments ever seen in Ireland into reality,” said Hanna. “Work will start as soon as possible now that we have been given the green light following a judicial review of the planning application.

"Not only will the resort provide a world-class golf links course and facilities attracting thousands of visitors each year, it will also protect the vulnerable topography of the coastal area which has been left vulnerable following decades of neglect.”


More on Golf in Northern Ireland: Irish Open shines in return to Royal Portrush



]]>
Brandon Tucker92fc1d86-4dc5-4ac7-bfb1-bf3682dbba14
Story:571662720http://www.golfchannel.com/news/travel-insider/bandon-dunes-resort-putting-course-construction/BlogsCourses & TravelSneak peek: Bandon Dunes Resort's new putting course under constructionMatt Ginella shares news of Bandon Dunes’ latest addition: wedged between Bandon Preserve and Bandon Muni will be a putting course. Punchbowl is the name, for now.Wed, 27 Feb 2013 11:12:00 Z2013-02-27T11:12:00Z571662720http://www.golfchannel.com/news/travel-insider/bandon-dunes-resort-putting-course-construction/#commentsOn Wednesday’s "Morning Drive", I only had a few seconds to share the news of Bandon Dunes’ latest addition: wedged between the completion of Bandon Preserve and beginning of Bandon Muni will be a putting course. Punchbowl is the name, for now.

Punchbowl at Bandon

Photo courtesy of @LuxHomeMagPDX

The popular resort on the Southwest Coast of Oregon continues to get bigger and better. Pinehurst recently opened Thistle Dhu. The Old Course at St. Andrews has the Himalayas. Now Mike Keiser, Bandon’s owner, is building a putting course of his own.

Keiser told me that he was considering his “usual suspects” as the architects, which are Tom Doak, Jim Urbina, Bill Coore & Ben Crenshaw and Gil Hanse. Coore & Crenshaw are building Keiser’s Cabot Cliffs in Nova Scotia. Hanse is waiting on the green light on the Olympic Course in Rio and is on deck to build Keiser’s Bandon Muni, which might start by the end of the summer. Keiser chose Doak and Urbina for Punchbowl, the same team he commissioned to build Pacific Dunes (2001) and Old Macdonald (2010).

Doak and Urbina go back 20 years but haven’t worked together on a new project since Old Macdonald. With the shortage of new jobs and a down economy, Doak had to shrink his staff a few years ago. But according to Urbina, “there’s a comfort level here. Mike likes our synergy and doesn’t want to let that go.”

Doak (and Keiser) will oversee most of the design direction. Urbina will be the shaper. “I’ve never built anything like this,” says Urbina. “Nothing this big, in a setting like this and on this type of topography.”

Punchbowl will utilize 125,000- to 150,000-square feet of dunesland between the clubhouse at Pacific Dunes and the Pacific Ocean. The eighth green at Old Macdonald is 25,000 square feet and is currently the biggest single green on property. The Himalayas at the Old Course is roughly 140,000 square feet.

The land is being cleared now. Urbina says the goal is to have it seeded by May and the first putt might be as soon as the fall. Most of the crew who have been making the tweaks to Bandon Trails for Coore and Crenshaw will also be working on Punchbowl. Ken Nice, Bandon’s czar of agronomy, will oversee the turf seeding, etc.

Bandon management says Punchbowl might be 18, 22 or 36 holes. It might depend on the day. And they are considering adopting a green fee similar to the one they use at Shorty, the par 3 course near Bandon’s practice area. Shorty is free, but there’s a donation box near the first tee. All proceeds go to the Evans Scholarship Foundation, which awards college scholarships to caddies of modest means.

]]>
Matt Ginellaa024fb87-5b64-420b-8baa-973dbe0e1b27
Story:571651200http://www.golfchannel.com/news/travel-insider/list-of-value-courses-in-the-us/BlogsCourses & TravelGuide to value golf in the U.S.Travel Editor Matt Ginella offers his guide to value golf in the U.S.Wed, 27 Feb 2013 08:00:00 Z2013-02-27T08:00:00Z571651200http://www.golfchannel.com/news/travel-insider/list-of-value-courses-in-the-us/#commentsValue is obviously relative. And a "value golf course" is an assessment of history, design, condition, service, fun factor, charm and cost relative to other courses in the area. Having had the opportunity to play throughout the U.S., I've developed a sliding scale of comparison courses that helps me make judgment calls on what I can safely consider good value. Those courses are Old Brack in San Antonio ($55), Bethpage Black in New York ($75), The Classic in Brainerd, Minn. ($125), Forest Dunes in Roscommon, Mich. ($150) and Pasatiempo in Santa Cruz, Calif. ($250).

For my money, my own money, I'd always be OK paying peak-season prices to play those courses on a weekend. Any course over $250 would have to be one of the best, not only in the country, but in the world. And at $495, plus the caddie or cart fee and at least $700 to stay in The Lodge, even a course like Pebble is relegated once-in-a-lifetime status.

I could play any of the courses on the following list every day for a lifetime. And that's the difference.

I'll continue to add to the list below until it becomes The Ultimate Guide to Value Golf in the U.S. (I'll stop at 50 courses, and continue to tweak the list accordingly.) The order will start with Coronado, the least expensive, and no course on this list will be over $99; $100 is a fair ceiling to what most cost-conscious avid amateurs would consider "ultimate" value.

• Coronado GC in Coronado, Calif. ($35)

A good course with some fun holes. The flat terrain makes it easily walkable and finishes with a scenic stretch of golf along the San Diego Bay. Slow play can be an issue, but that's also a tribute to its popularity, not necessarily because it's a problem. People who play Coronado are willing to spend more time on the course as opposed to spending more money to ensure a four-hour round. 


• Wachusett CC in West Boylston, Mass. ($40)

A Donald Ross original (1927), only 45 minutes from downtown Boston – Wachusett has been owned and operated by four generations of the Marrone family. The finishing hole is a 177-yard par 3.


• Peninsula Golf Resort in Lancaster, Ky. ($42)

There aren't a lot of Pete Dye designs for under $50. If you can find Peninsula Golf Resort, roughly 45 minutes from Lexington, you'll consider this course great value. With 24 neighboring four-bedroom villas, it's especially great for buddies trips who like non-pretentious seclusion for their various forms of debauchery.


• Warren Golf Course in Notre Dame, Ind. ($45)

The website says it all: "Beautiful, Playable and Affordable." Host of Notre Dame's golf teams and the 2010 Women's Public Links Championship, the Warren Course was built by Bill Coore and Ben Crenshaw in 1999.


• The Highlands in Elgin, Ill. ($46)

A little less than an hour from Chicago, Highlands was built by Keith Foster and is considered one of the best deals in the Chicagoland area. Foster, one of the good guys in the golf industry, worked with Arthur Hills, and after breaking out on his own, has built up a well-respected resume of courses. He has also renovated some greats, such as: Southern Hills in Tulsa, Okla.;Garden City on Long Island and Colonial CC in Fort Worth, Texas.


• Wild Horse G.C. in Gothenburg, Neb. ($48.50)

Not far from Sand Hills Golf Club in Mullen, Neb., Wild Horse gets almost as much acclaim. Especially for a green fee of less than $50. Dave Axeland and Dan Proctor, two of the guys who worked on Sand Hills with Bill Coore and Ben Crenshaw, designed Wild Horse. You'll enjoy a minimalist look on rolling dunesland for a nominal fee. 


• Pacific Grove in Pacific Grove, Calif. ($52)

The back nine offers glimpses and stretches of golf along the same coastline as Pebble Beach. Pacific Grove is widely considered the poster course for value golf, and thus, it's on this list. ‘Nuff said.  


• CommonGround in Denver, Colo. ($52)

Tom Doak waived his design fee to renovate an old military course into an 18-hole championship course and a nine-hole kid’s course. Doak did such a good job, CommonGround was used as the companion course to Cherry Hills for the 2012 U.S. Amateur Championship


• Delray Beach Golf Club in Delray Beach, Fla. ($52)

The oldest muny in a state loaded with golf, Donald Ross built the first nine holes in 1923. Some complain about slow play, but no one is opposed to the green fee or the $3 charge for a bucket of balls.


• Brackenridge Park Golf Course in San Antonio, Texas ($55)

An A.W. Tillinghast original, "Old Brack" is the oldest golf course in Texas and original host of the Texas Open (1922). With strategic doglegs, tree-lined fairways, some elevated square greens that are well protected by iconic Tilly bunkering – although it's only 6,200 yards from the tips – Old Brack has plenty of bite.

]]>
Matt Ginellabb7c68e1-3cdc-4313-95ba-26a3170614b2
Story:571614900http://www.golfchannel.com/news/travel-insider/westin-la-paloma-sewailo-gallery-golf-club-tucson-news/BlogsCourses & TravelIt's not just snowy in Tucson: Three new happenings to the area golf scene Images of snow and bundled up golfers may have dominated coverage of the WGC Accenture Match Play at Dove Mountain, but Tucson's golf scene will have its time in the sun in 2013.Tue, 26 Feb 2013 21:55:00 Z2013-02-26T21:55:00Z571614900http://www.golfchannel.com/news/travel-insider/westin-la-paloma-sewailo-gallery-golf-club-tucson-news/#commentsTUCSON, Ariz. -- Poorly timed snow storms aside, Tucson is set to have a great golf year in 2013 thanks to a handful of new developments. One resort is wrapping up extensive renovations, a prestigious private club is opening its tee sheet and even a brand new golf course is coming to southern Arizona. 

Here's the skinny on what's hot (no WGC irony intended) in Tucson's golf scene: 

Next to Dove Mountain, The Gallery Golf Club opens its tee sheet

Across the street from the 27-hole Ritz-Carlton Dove Mountain Golf Club is the The Gallery Golf Club, a private 36-hole facility that began offering a limited amount of public tee times on both the North and South courses this year.

The Gallery was the first high-end golf club to come to Marana just north of Tucson, opening its first 18 in 1998. After initiatively offering some public preview play in its opening years, the club went fully private until now. Current operations, which were assumed by Troon Golf last fall, call for alternating public tee times between the North and South courses daily.

Currently, morning rates are $169 while twilight rates are $79 and can be booked on their website. The North Course checked in at No. 25 on Golf Digest's Best-in-State rankings in Arizona for 2011-12, while the South hosted the WGC Accenture Match Play in 2007-08 before it moved to Dove Mountain.

Gallery

More Choices in Marana: 36-hole Gallery Golf Club now offers public play. 

Hotel and golf course renovations nearing completion at the Westin La Paloma

Along the foothills of the Santa Catalina mountains is the rejuvenated Westin La Paloma Resort, a 497-room hotel that shares 250 acres with La Paloma Country Club and the 27-hole Jack Nicklaus-designed golf course. In 2010, the property filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection, and is now emerging on the other side with extensive, $30 million enhancements that are touching just about every part of the property. Nearly all guest rooms have been entirely redone to this point, while the resort's pool area, slated to reopen April 19th, is the last major component to be finished.

The golf course, open only to members and hotel guests, helped usher in Tucson's high-end course boom in the mid-1980s. It recently completed a full renovation of its greens and bunkers (but are still far more different than Jack's topsy-turvy greens at Dove Mountain up the road). Now seeded with Miniverde Bermuda, La Paloma's greens are no longer over-seeded in the fall like most other area courses. Instead, greenskeepers apply a dye applicant that keeps them green and pure rolling throughout the winter without browning. The practice not only helps green health and saves water but also bids transition periods in the spring and fall adieu.

New golf: Sewailo Golf Club set to open in July at Casino Del Sol

Sewailo Golf Club

Southern Arizona will be the site of a rare brand new course opening in the United States this year, Sewailo Golf Club. This course will be an amenity of the Casino Del Sol, located southwest of Tucson on Pascua Yaqui Tribe property. The 215-room casino hotel, which opened in 2011, features seven restaurants and seven bars to go with live table gaming and slots. Outside, a large pool area is the centerpiece for warm weather fun to go along with a 5,000 seat amphitheater that attracts big acts like Van Halen, Don Henley and James Taylor.

Sewailo, designed by former PGA Tour player Notah Begay III and golf course architect Ty Butler, translates to "Flower World" and promises an oasis setting full of lush vegetation and water features. 

“We started with a completely flat piece of desert terrain and created a dramatic golf course winding seamlessly through rolling terrain,” Butler told the American Society of Golf Course Architects recently. “Notah and I worked hard to create a mix of superbly crafted strategic holes combined with a wonderful range of shot values and aesthetics.”

The course will be accompanied by a Jack Nicklaus Academy housed in the practice range's 2,000-square-foot, climate-controlled teaching facility. 

Sewailo is scheduled to open in July, which isn't exactly peak golf season in southern Arizona. That said, snow shouldn't be in the forecast on opening day. 

]]>
Brandon Tuckercbdcd619-7d02-4fed-b084-42563d12f94f