From Miami to Fort Lauderdale, diverse designs dominate south Florida golf menu

By Travel ArticlesNovember 20, 2012, 5:57 pm

Donald Ross, Robert Trent Jones Sr., Joe Lee, Bobby Weed -- south Florida has attracted superb golf architects to its subtropical environs for decades.

These and other architects designed a wide array of courses that have stood the test of time. Distinguishing south Florida layouts from ones in other parts of the peninsula are the mature trees, towering palms, tropical foliage and lakes that give the courses a sense of place and history.

The menu in the Miami and Fort Lauderdale area is an eclectic one offering golfers of all skill levels great places to tee up.

High-profile gems

Host to a Champions Tour tournament for 18 years, the Bruce Devlin/Robert von Hagge-designed Crandon Park Golf Course, built in 1972, is an island paradise just 10 minutes from downtown Miami. Situated on a barrier island surrounded by turquoise and deep blue waters, Crandon is engulfed by mangrove thickets and lush, tropical foliage.

For Donald Ross design fans, the Biltmore Golf Course, which sits directly behind the opulent and ornate Biltmore Hotel in Coral Gables, is a testament to the Scotsman's design genius.

Designed by Ross in 1925 and later restored by architect Brian Silva, the 6,800-yard, par-71 championship layout captures the essence of Ross designs with its strategically positioned bunkers and challenging greens with subtle dips and contours that demand well-thought-out approach shots and confidently struck putts.

In Miami Lakes, the Senator Course at Don Shula's Hotel & Golf Club is a must play for those who enjoy non-gimmicky, traditional style golf courses. Originally designed by Bill Watts in 1962 and updated in 1990 by Kipp Schulties, the course has some of the most impressive mature tree growth in south Florida. The first few holes on the 6,982-yard, par-72 layout are rather benign; however, the challenge mounts as you proceed to the back nine, which is tighter with water coming into play on almost every hole.

Mature palms and hardwoods also line the fairways at the Bonaventure Country Club in Fort Lauderdale, where 36 holes of Joe Lee designed golf is the draw. Bonaventure's East Course, with its famous No. 3 Waterfall Hole, the longer of the two, measures 7,158 yards from the back tees. Much shorter at 6,128 yards, the West Course is a mixture of six par 3s and challenging par 5s that stretch to 531, 545, 561 and 575 yards. No matter your choice, you'll see lots of bird life, such as wild parrots, blue herons and snowy egrets.

In Plantation, Bobby Weed, a Ponte Vedra Beach architect who designed TPC Tampa Bay and Golf Club, has fashioned two 18-hole layouts at the Jacaranda Golf Club. Jacaranda's East Course has hosted a variety of qualifiers for USGA tournaments as well as a PGA Tour Q-School. Jacaranda's West Course is a shot maker's layout with lagoons, doglegs and bunkers that tighten landing areas.

Quintessential Florida designs

Designed by Robert Trent Jones in 1961, the Country Club of Miami -- where comedians Jackie Gleason and Bob Hope and crooner Bing Crosby often played back in the day -- has 36 holes of golf with recently re-grassed greens.

The 7,017-yard, par-72 West Course with a slope of 132 is the more challenging of the duo. For shorter hitters, the 6,353-yard, par-70 East Course, with a slope of 124, is a shot maker's course that requires less brawn off the tee and acute strategy on every hole.

In Tamarac near Fort Lauderdale, Woodmont Country Club's Cypress Course, designed by Bruce Devlin, has been a staple in the area since its opening in 1978. Once a private layout that opened to the public in 2007, the Woodmont Cypress Course, which has hosted a Nike Tour Event (now the Tour), stretches 7,043 yards from the back tees. The experience incorporates mature trees and lakes, water views, elevated tees and contoured greens.

Short and fun

One of the region's more popular shorter courses is the 5,900-yard Flamingo Lakes Country Club in Pembroke Pines, which was designed by relative unknown John Condon in 1984. Dominant features include occasional hilly terrain, narrow fairways and smooth, consistent greens.

If you don't have time to play 18 but still want a challenging nine-hole experience, head to Greynolds Golf Course in North Miami Beach. Measuring 3,100 yards, this par-36 course was designed in 1964 by Mark Mahannah, who fashioned other Florida layouts such as Rio Pinar Country Club in Orlando. Greynolds features oak tree-lined fairways in a park-like setting.

Another nine-hole possibility, situated eight blocks west of US 1 in Miami, is the par-31, 1,869-yard Briar Bay Golf Course, designed by Bruce Devlin and Robert Von Hagge in 1975. The palm-dotted layout features four par 4s and five par 3s. The longest hole is the 305-yard No. 4.

TOUR Championship Final Round Becomes Most-Watched FedExCup Playoffs Telecast Ever and Most-Watched PGA TOUR Telecast of 2018

By Golf Channel Public RelationsSeptember 25, 2018, 6:48 pm

ORLANDO, Fla., (Sept. 25, 2018) – NBC Sports Group’s final round coverage of the TOUR Championship on Sunday (3:00-6:19 p.m. ET) garnered a Total Audience Delivery (TAD) of 7.8 million average viewers, as Tiger Woods claimed his 80th career victory, and his first in five years. The telecast’s TAD was up 212% vs. 2017 (2.5m). Television viewership posted 7.18 million average viewers, up 192% YOY (2.46m) and a 4.45 U.S. household rating, up 178% vs. 2017 (1.60). It also becomes the most-watched telecast in the history of the FedExCup Playoffs (2007-2018) and the most-watched PGA TOUR telecast in 2018 (excludes majors).

Coverage peaked from 5:45-6 p.m. ET with 10.84 million average viewers as Woods finished his TOUR Championship-winning round and Justin Rose sealed his season-long victory as the FedExCup champion. The peak viewership number trails only the Masters (16.84m) and PGA Championship (12.39m) in 2018. The extended coverage window (1:30-6:19 p.m. ET) drew 5.89 million average viewers and a 3.69 U.S. household rating to become the most-watched and highest-rated TOUR Championship telecast on record (1991-2018).

Sunday’s final round saw 18.4 million minutes streamed across NBC Sports Digital platforms (+561% year-over-year), and becomes NBC Sports’ most-streamed Sunday round (excluding majors) on record (2013-’18).

Sunday’s lead-in coverage on Golf Channel (11:54 a.m.-1:25 p.m. ET) also garnered a Total Audience Delivery of 829K average viewers and posted a .56 U.S. household rating, becoming the most-watched and highest rated lead-in telecast of the TOUR Championship ever (2007-2018). Golf Channel was the No. 2 Sports Network during this window and No. 7 out of all Nielsen-rated cable networks during that span.

 This week, NBC Sports Group will offer weeklong coverage of the biennial Ryder Cup from Le Golf National outside of Paris. Live From the Ryder Cup continues all week on Golf Channel, surrounding nearly 30 hours of NBC Sports’ Emmy-nominated live event coverage, spanning from Friday morning’s opening tee shot just after 2 a.m. ET through the clinching point on Sunday. The United States will look to retain the Ryder Cup after defeating Europe in 2016 (17-11), and aim to win for the first time on European soil in 25 years, since 1993.


-NBC Sports Group-

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Tiger Woods names his Mount Rushmore of golf

By Golf Channel DigitalSeptember 25, 2018, 6:29 pm
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Mickelson savoring his (likely) last road game

By Rex HoggardSeptember 25, 2018, 3:49 pm

SAINT-QUENTIN-EN-YVELINES, France – Phil Mickelson lingered behind as his foursome made its way to the ninth tee during Tuesday’s practice round.

He needed the extra practice, no doubt. He’s one of just six players on the U.S. Ryder Cup team with even a modicum of knowledge about Le Golf National, but the likely reason for Lefty’s leisurely tempo was more personal.

The 2019 Ryder Cup will likely be Mickelson’s last road game as a player.

He’ll be 52 when the U.S. team pegs it up at the 2022 matches in Rome. Although there’s been players who have participated in the biennial event into their golden years – most notably Raymond Floyd who was 51 when he played the ’93 matches – given Mickelson’s play in recent years and the influx of younger players the odds are against him.

“I am aware this is most likely the last one on European soil and my last opportunity to be part of a team that would be victorious here, and that would mean a lot to me personally,” Mickelson said on Tuesday.

It’s understandable that Mickelson would want to linger a little longer in the spotlight of golf’s most intense event.

For the first time in his Ryder Cup career Mickelson needed to be a captain's pick, and he didn’t exactly roar into Paris, finishing 30th out of 30 players at last week’s Tour Championship. He’s also four months removed from his last top-10 finish on the PGA Tour.

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Although he’s reluctant to admit it for Mickelson Le Golf National looks every bit a swansong for the most accomplished U.S. Ryder Cup player of his generation.

In 11 starts at the Ryder Cup, Mickelson has a 26-16-13 record. Perhaps more telling is his 7-3-1 mark since 2012 and he holds the U.S. record for most matches played (45) and is third on the all-time list for most points won (21.5), just two shy of the record held by Billy Casper.

Mickelson’s record will always be defined by what he’s done at the Masters and not done at the U.S. Open, but his status as an anchor for two generations of American teams may never be matched.

For this U.S. team - which is trying to win a road Ryder Cup for the first time since 1993 - Lefty is wearing many hats.

“You know Phil and you know he's always trying to find a way to poke fun, trying to mess with someone,” Furyk said. “He's telling a story. Sometimes you're not sure if they are true or not. Sometimes there's little bits of pieces in each of those, but he provides some humor, provides some levity.”

But there is another side to Mickelson’s appeal in the team room. Although he’s never held the title of vice captain he’s served as a de facto member of the management for some time.

“At the right times, he understands when a team needs a kick in the butt or they need an arm around their shoulder, and he's been good in that atmosphere,” Furyk said. “He's a good speaker and good motivator, and he's been able to take some young players under his wing at times and really get a lot out of them from a partner standpoint.”

In recent years Mickelson has become something of a mentor for young players, first at the ’08 matches with Anthony Kim and again in ’12 with Keegan Bradley.

His role as a team leader in the twilight of his career can’t be overstated and will undoubtedly continue this week if Tuesday’s practice groupings are any indication, with Lefty playing with rookie Bryson DeChambeau.

As DeChambeau was finishing his press conference on Tuesday he was asked about the dynamic in the U.S. team room.

“We're going to try and do our absolute best to get the cup back,” he said.

“Keep the cup,” Lefty shouted from the back of the room, noting that the U.S. won the last Ryder Cup.

It was so Mickelson not to miss a teaching moment or a chance to send a subtle jab delivered with a wry smile.

Mickelson will also be remembered for his role in what has turned out to be an American Ryder Cup resurgence.

“Unfortunately, we have strayed from a winning formula in 2008 for the last three Ryder Cups, and we need to consider maybe getting back to that formula that helped us play our best,” Mickelson said in the Scottish gloom at the ’14 matches. “Nobody here was in any decision.”

If Mickelson doesn’t step to the microphone in ’14 at Gleneagles in the wake of another U.S. loss and, honestly, break some china there probably wouldn’t have been a task force. Davis Love III likely wouldn’t have gotten a second turn as captain in ’16 and the U.S. is probably still mired in a victory drought.

Lefty’s Ryder Cup career is far from over. The early line is that he’ll take his turn as captain in 2024 at Bethpage Black – the People’s Champion riding in to become the People’s Captain.

Before he moves on to a new role, however, he’ll savor this week and an opportunity to win his first road game. If he wants to hang back and relish the moment so be it.

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DeChambeau gets foursomes, fourball mixed up

By Will GraySeptember 25, 2018, 3:31 pm

SAINT-QUENTIN-EN-YVELINES, France – Bryson DeChambeau is an accomplished player when it comes to match play, having captured the U.S. Amateur and starred on a Walker Cup team. But don’t ask him to explain the semantic difference between the formats in play at this week’s Ryder Cup.

DeChambeau became crossed up Tuesday at Le Golf National when he was asked about the intricacies of foursomes play – better known to many Americans as alternate shot.

“Fourball, foursomes, I always get those mixed up,” DeChambeau said. “It’s just easier for me to say alternate shot.”

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Thankfully for DeChambeau, he still has some time to make a distinction between the two before the matches begin in earnest. And when they do, it’ll be fourballs for the morning sessions both Friday and Saturday, with foursomes in the afternoon – a change from the 2016 matches when DeChambeau was on the grounds at Hazeltine as a spectator.

While the foursomes format brings with it added pressure in an already tense environment, one of the biggest concerns is how well players can adjust to using the ball of their partner on a given hole. DeChambeau is known to leave nothing to chance in his preparation, and he’s already circled that particular factor as he gets set to make his Ryder Cup debut.

“It’s key because we want to be comfortable. Each player needs to be comfortable with the ball that they are playing,” DeChambeau said. “So for compatibility reasons, it’s one of the most important things out there in regards to alternate shot. It is the most important.”